Create an Video Conference Call Glitch Effect in After Effects

In this After Effects video tutorial, we’ll learn how to create a realistic lag-glitch effect, commonly seen on video calls.

Our goal in this tutorial is to recreate the lag and digital glitches commonly experienced during video calls, entirely in After Effects. We’ll also look at some secondary ways you can customize the glitch and control how many of them you want to appear. Don’t forget to download the free project file, which includes footage you can use to follow along with the tutorial!


Designing the Glitch

First, we need to design the glitches. To do this, we will apply the Fractal Noise effect to a new Solid layer in our composition. Next, we need the fractals to look more “blocky” to match the look of a digitalized glitch. Set the Fractal Type to Turbulent Smooth and the Noise Type to Block. Set the Contrast to 280 and the Brightness to -125. Later on, we can keyframe the Brightness setting to control how many glitches appear on screen. Uncheck the Uniform Scale option, then set the Width to 520 and the Height to 40. Set the Complexity to 2.

Fractal Noise
Creating the glitch pattern using Fractal Noise.

Adding Expressions

Now, we need to add some expressions to create our glitch animation. We’ll be adding these to a few of the Fractal Noise settings. First, let’s apply an expression under the Sub Settings. Hold Alt+Click on the Stopwatch next to Sub Scaling. Add wiggle(3,30) in the expression window. Next, to animate the evolution of the glitch, hold Alt+Click on the Stopwatch next to Evolution. Add time*1000 in the expression window. Finally, we need to add an expression to the Random Seed, located under the Evolution Options. Hold Alt+Click on the Stopwatch next to Random Seed. Add posterizeTime(6);random(500) in the expression window. Now, our glitch should be fully animated using expressions.

Fractal Noise Animation
Animating Fractal Noise using expressions.

Add in your footage directly underneath your Fractal layer in the composition. Duplicate your footage so that you have two copies. On the top footage copy, set the Track Matte to Luma Inverted Matte. On the bottom footage copy, apply the effect Posterize Time and set the Frame Rate setting for the effect to 6. You should now see the digital glitches on your footage.

Inverted Luma Matte
Set the top copy of your footage to Luma Inverted Matte.

Keyframing the Glitch Animation

As mentioned earlier, you can keyframe the Brightness setting on the Fractal layer to control how much of the glitch you want on your footage. The lower the Brightness setting is, the fewer glitches you’ll see. A higher Brightness value results in more glitches.

Keyframe the Glitch
Keyframe the Glitch effect using the Brightness setting.

Accenting the Glitch

You can add secondary effects to the “glitched” parts of the video by applying effects to the bottom copy of your footage. Try out effects like Tint to desaturate the glitched areas. You can also use free plugins like Quick Chromatic Aberration 2 to really make the glitch stand out.

Accenting the Glitch
Use effects such as Quick Chromatic Aberration 2 to accent the glitch.

Bonus Glitch Effect

Finally, as a cool bonus trick you can try, apply CC Kaleida to your Fractal layer. Set the Mirroring setting to Starfish. This will give your glitches a symmetrical-tech pattern. It’s a fun alternative look to experiment with!

Technical Pattern Glitches
Create some technical pattern glitches using CC Kaleida with Fractal Noise.

Looking for more video tutorial tips and tricks? Check out these articles:

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