Jason Fletcher
Motion Designer
PACK ⬕ Mask Hypno
- This pack contains 174 VJ loops (25 GB)

Masks are so useful for bright visuals that you want to tone down so that the environment can be more dynamic. Masks are also useful as dazzling patterns for LED strips. So it's two birds with one stone. For the last few months I've been brewing on techniques that would create some interesting masks.

I've always been interested in Moiré patterns and so that was a natural thing to begin experimenting with. After some initial exploration I realized that the difference blend mode was going to be super useful here. I'd been a bit nervous to begin experimenting with Moiré patterns since it's reliant on just trying things out and seeing what sticks, but the process ended up being fun to just quickly try things out.

The checkerboard scene was one of the first scenes I had in mind to jam with. Checkerboard5 and 6 was such a pain to set up since I wanted to have a checkerboard continually halve itself, all the way to the pixel level. That meant I had to create loads of stacked precomps within precomps within precomps that relied on the difference blend mode. I'm actually amazed that After Effects was able to handle it since it was insane how many nest precomps were necessary. From there it was very satisfying to create some slitscan variations since I wouldn't be able to create that look any other way.

A while back I had wanted to create an Escher themed pack and so I used Stable Diffusion to output 48,907 images that were inspired by Escher in an abstract style. But the resulting dataset had a large amount of variation and so StyleGAN2 wasn't able to stabilize. So I put the dataset on the backburner knowing that it would be useful someday. Months later I stumbled across StyleGAN2-Extended and realized that it more than doubled the size of the model, which might mean that it could absorb a dataset with more variations on a theme. It ended up training about just as heavy as StyleGAN3 and so it took multiple days to fully transfer learn the model. But I ended up with not something kinda adjacent to what I was actually after but was just as interesting. It's curious to see how the interpolations of StyleGAN2-Extended are somewhat different then SG2. The results can be seen within the "EscherSG2ext2" scenes.

Lately I've been tinkering with AnimateDiff in ComfyUI and trying to get smooth animations out of it, which has been annoyingly difficult. As part of my experiments I did some more Escher experiments using this tool. I had the best results injecting a frame sequence into the Line Art ControlNet, which allowed me to create videos with unlimited length. For these experiments the TemporalDiff-v1 model was the best in this context and sometimes I kept the denoise at 1.0 and other times at 0.9. The results can be seen within the "EscherAD" scenes. I didn't use any motion LoRA's in these experiments but that's something I definitely want to experiment with in the future. I think this AnimateDiff will continue to bloom into something groundbreaking and I have so many ideas to try out.

I also made a bunch of very simple masks. But when it comes to masks, even the most simple animations can be the icing on the cake and make your visuals sing. Plus sometimes it's useful to stack multiple masks together. Have you ever seen the Goat Sea? Hope you enjoy the easter egg.

Released December 2023