After Effects CC 2022: How to Use Shift Channels Effect

Solids Folder Basics

This tutorial is will show you how to use the Shift Channels Effect in Adobe After Effects CC 2022 to produce an RGB Split or Chromatic Aberration/Distortion that is commonly seen in vintage footage.

Why Use Shift Channels Effect?
The Shift Channels Effect is often used to give footage a retro or vintage look as chromatic aberration or distortion (color fringing around the edges) was common in older photos and videos.

Chromatic Aberration:
Chromatic aberration or distortion, is color fringing or distortion that creates an outline of color along the edges of objects in a photo or video. 

Shift Channels Effect:
It is under the ‘Channel’ effects and it allows you to replace the values from one channel with the values from another channel or turn channels off.

Alpha (A) (transparency)
Red (R)
Green (G)
Blue (B)

Keyboard Shortcut:
Duplicate Layers: Cmd/Ctrl + D
Nudge Layers: Tap Arrow Keys (left, right, up, down)
Rename Layers: Tap Enter or Return and type a new name

00:05 Intro: What you will learn
00:26 How to apply Shift Channels Effect
00:47 Duplicate Layers (Cmd/Ctrl + D)
01:07 Rename Layers (Enter/Return)
01:26 Red Layer: Shift Channels Settings
01:52 Green Layer: Shift Channels Settings
02:04 Blue Layer: Shift Channels Settings
02:16 Change Blend Modes to ‘Add’
02:46 Select Red Layer: Nudge Using Arrow Keys
03:27 Align Panel to Reset Channels
03:57 Cheers! 👍

Software Used:
Adobe After Effects CC 2022 (Click To Try or Buy)

How To Apply the Shift Channels Effect

  1. Create a New Composition (Cmd/Ctrl + N)
  2. Add Footage (Text, Photo, Video, etc)
  3. Select Layer
  4. Go to the ‘Effects & Presets’ panel (Window…Effects & Presets)
  5. Search for ‘Shift Channels’
  6. Drag Shift Channels on to Footage Layer
  7. Select Layer in the Layers Panel
  8. Duplicate 2 times (Cmd/Ctrl + D)
  9. Select the bottom layer and tap Enter or Return and rename it ‘Red’
  10. Select the middle layer and tap Enter or Return and rename it ‘Green’
  11. Select the top layer and tap Enter or Return and rename it ‘Blue’

Shift Channels Settings

  1. Select the Red Layer and go to Effect Controls Panel
  2. ‘Take Red From’…•Red
  3. ‘Take Green From’…Full Off
  4. ‘Take Blue From’….Full Off
  5. Select the Green Layer and go to Effect Controls Panel
  6. ‘Take Red From’…Full Off
  7. ‘Take Green From’…•Green
  8. ‘Take Blue From’….Full Off
  9. Select the Blue Layer and go to Effect Controls Panel
  10. ‘Take Red From’…Full Off
  11. ‘Take Green From’…Full Off
  12. ‘Take Blue From’….•Blue

Nudge Channels To Create the RGB Split Look

  1. Select Red Layer
  2. Tap the Arrow Key in any direction (left, right, up, down) until you see the color fringing around the edges
  3. Repeat with the Green & Blue layers if necessary

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