After Effects

Watercolour wipe- revised & updated

According to my website statistics the original watercolour wipe project (further below) is incredibly popular. I’ve always found this intriguing as it’s a very simple project that only took a few minutes to put together. And although it’s useful as a teaching aide it doesn’t look especially great, and honestly it doesn’t look much like a watercolour.

So – as promised – here’s a revised and updated project which hopefully looks a lot nicer.

A watercolour style effect - revised and updated
A watercolour style effect – revised and updated

The project is driven by two basic compositions – one contains the image to be wiped on and the other contains a very basic gradient to control the direction of the wipe. You can easily import your own image to replace my holiday snap, and any greyscale gradient can be used to replace the simple ramp that I’ve used.

The difficult part is making the image look as though it’s part of the paper and not just superimposed on top of it. The next step is to adjust the matte patterns so that they also have some texture, otherwise the image simply looks like it’s fading up.

The paper in the project was created using only Fractal Noise in a separate project, and if you’re interested in the process then head over to the Cow.

You can download the updated project watercolourwash-revised.


I have revised and tweaked this project yet again, and have created a 2-part video tutorial examining how everything works.  You can download the latest version of the watercolour wipe project (2013) here – and you can watch the video tutorial here.