The holidays always reminds me of two things – I get to stuff my face full of delicious eats and Harrison Ford, brutally hunting down bio mechanical replicants whose crime is only wanting to live. (Blade Runner, 1982)

Yea, it warms my heart too.

Since this holiday season is all about giving, I am going to be  giving  you 5 Cyberpunk After Effects Tutorials that will take your next science fiction film to the next level in visual effects.

If you want to make an awesome sci-fi video then you need to know basic visual effect arts in order to sell the story you’re trying to make. This will set a unique tone for your project and sell the idea to the audience the characters you’ve created are from the future.

These tutorials are made possible by our own Mikey Borup at After Effects W/ Mikey. To make these visual effects work you will need to have an intermediate level of understanding of After Effects.

 Let’s get started!

1. Terminator Vision:


The Terminator is one of the most well known sci-fi classics of the 80s, and in my opinion the second movie to define the cyberpunk genre behind Blade Runner.

Here is a tutorial showing you the odds and ends on how to recreate a basic T-800 HUD.  Just a tip on shooting your Terminator vision scene would be to mount your camera on a helmet your actor can wear. This will record realistic first-person movement and eye view. You can also purchase the iVue Horizon 1080p eyewear camera that was used to shoot the test footage in the tutorial.

iVUE Horizon

2. Electric Title Card Opening:


Watch movies like The Matrix, Tron,  The X-Files, The Thing, Star Wars because all of these films start off with a bang! Their title card openings are explosive, mysterious, and electrifying. It let’s the viewers know they’re in for a wild ride, which is a good tactic to catch an audience’s interest and begin the film right from the get go. This electric card opening is perfect for a short or feature where robots take over the world or a secret agent hacking into the database of an evil organization. Hopefully, this gets you pumped as much as it does for me.

3. Animated Hacker Type:


Films like The Social Network and The Matrix,  depicts the art of computer hacking as a cool and tactical skill. If there’s going to be any computer hacking in your film, creating an animated hacker type appear on a terminal monitor is excellent. It’s a great subtle visual effect that can appear in the background or front and center to convince to your viewers.


4. Create a Future Helmet:


Too add more visual flare to the Terminator Vision effect you can make a transformation helmet that phases on and off onto your actor. Think of it as a cross between the helmets of Iron Man and RoboCop, or the hidden gem known as Lost in Space (1998).  The best part of this visual effect is Cinema 4D won’t be necessary; it can be designed all in After Effects. It’s a visual effect I haven’t seen used all too often in sci-fi movies, and I think it would be refreshing spectacle for an audience member to experience once more.

Lost in Space (1998)

5. Digital Noise in Footage

This last entry could be used in sci-fi/horror documentaries like the Paranormal Activity or Europa Report. Our After Effects plugin called, Glitchify, adds digital noise to found footage style video. Mikey goes step-by-step how to use and manipulate the settings.

So those are our 5 Cyberpunk After Effects tutorials, which ones are your favorites? Comment below if you know other similar sci-fi tutorials.

Happy holidays everyone and keep up the good work.

Photo above is concept art for Blade Runner, 1982
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About the author

Tony is a Brigham Young University-Idaho graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Communication. He has experience in journalism and video production. One of his favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. His favorite superhero is Spider-Man. He lives in Rexburg, Idaho with his lovely wife.

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