anime sunset glitter sparkle water tutorial

anime sunset seaside
This is a short tutorial on animating anime style sunset seaside sparkle and glitter water using AfterEffects. But the method can be use in any other software with particle system, I believe you can even use it for game development.

The final result of sunset water effect can be view in the following youtube video.

Background painting

Paint the background plate normally but leave the sea water without any details since we will be animating the waves and glitter later using particle system.

anime sunset seaside tutorial
Pay attention on the gradient of the sea color. Look at how the area near to the sun is in brighter colour while the corners are in darker shade.

Water wave effect

2D seaside wave effect can be achieve using procedural cloud texture.

anime sunset seaside tutorial
In AfterEffects, procedural texture is call Fractal Noise. Apply this filter on a black solid and modify the following settings:

  • Fractal / Noise Type - Leave this as default but you can experiment with other type.
  • Transform - Disable "Uniform Scaling" and and stretch the noise horizontally.
  • Offset Turbulence - Offset the texture. You can leave this as default. But I found animating them moving slowly give the impression of moving water.
  • Evolution - You must animate this value for the noise animation, else it will stay static.

Remember to use Corner Pin filter to stretch it to match the horizon.

Water glitter and sparkle effect

Glitter effect can be achieve using a particle system in 2 steps.

  1. Set particle emitter only emit in 2 axis. In this case, the water level.
  2. Disable physic. no velocity and gravity (maybe very minimal)

anime sunset seaside tutorial
I am using AfterEffects' plugin CC Particle World. Apply this filter on a black solid and modify the following settings:

  • Birth Rate - How many particles.
  • Longevity - How long particles stay.
  • Position XYZ - Position of Emitter.
  • Radius XYZ - Emitter zone, set it so it appear flat.
  • Velocity - No veloctity or a very small value so the particle move in a direction slowly.
  • Gravity - No gravity or a very small value so the particle move in a direction slowly.
  • Particle Type - "Star" work the best, you can use "cube" too.
  • Birth / Death Size - Use a small value.


Compositing the effect on our background art is straight forward.

anime sunset seaside tutorial
We will be using multiple particle system for glitter effect and multiple fractal noise for wave effect. Generally, we will divide them into two groups, glowing and non glowing.

anime sunset seaside tutorial anime sunset seaside tutorial
  • Use Classic Color Dodge / Color Dodge blend mode for the glowing glitter and wave.(area below the sun). This blend mode will give more colors compare to Add or Linear Dodge
  • Use Overlay blend mode for the non glowing glitter and wave.
  • Mask the glowing wave and glitter layer so it only appear below the sun. (Look at picture for reference)
We can also apply other filters like Glow and Camera Lens Blur for bokeh effect.

Using Blender3D

If you are a Blender3D user, you can achieve similar result using particle system for glitter effect and procedural cloud texture displacement for sea wave.

anime sunset seaside tutorial
Just remember the two step, emit in 2 axis, disable physic. For the glitter shape, you can model or use a texture plane.

anime sunset seaside tutorial
Wave effect can be done in blender3D using Displace modifier or Wave modifier. If you are using Displace modifier, set texture coordinates to Object and use an Empty to animate the wave.

Using stock footage

Aside of doing the effect manually, we can actually just use stock footage to achieve the same (maybe better) effect.

anime sunset seaside tutorial
Take your camera with tripod and go to a nearby lake or sea to record some video. Then import the footage and Color Dodge blend them in AfterEffects.

anime sunset seaside tutorial


DeviantArt Anime Sunset
Pixiv Anime Sunset
Youtube Anime Sunset
Vimeo Anime Sunset


Post a Comment