Cheap Tricks | AQUAMAN Underwater Effects: Part 1 (VFX Tutorial)

It’s time for another episode of Cheap tricks, with Hashi from Action Movie Kid! This month, Hashi shows you how to recreate an underwater effect as seen in DC’s Aquaman.

Get the tools we used to make this:

Check out Action Movie Kid:

Get ready to learn a ton about visual effects and motion graphics in Cheap Tricks – a new tutorial series from Red Giant and Daniel Hashimoto (creator of Action Movie Kid). Each month Hashi will show you how to quickly and inexpensively create Hollywood Blockbuster-level VFX and mograph by breaking down shots from popular films and trailers.

0:00 Introduction
2:08 Defining the Underwater Look
3:24 Footage/Filming Suggestions
5:00 Quick Overview
5:28 Clip 1 – Underwater Staircase
6:20 Pro-Tip #1 – Normalizing your 3D Workspace
8:48 Color Correction and Trapcode Shine
10:38 Trapcode Form – Floating Bits
12:00 Caustics (Light Ripples)
13:10 Universe Heatwave for Distortion
13:50 Trapcode Particular – Fish!
20:10 Clip 2 – Ballroom with Chandelier
21:51 Particular Motion Paths
24:27 Pro-Tip #2 – Rove-Across-Time Keyframes
30:13 Clip 3 – Underwater Ballerina
30:30 Trapcode Mir – Reflective Water Surface
34:25 Particular – Motion-Driven Particles

Download the Project Files here:
Get the tools we used to make this at

Clips provided by
Audio Equipment provided by RODE

Check out Jacob Dalton’s tutorial, “Fill a room with water”

CC Attributions:
Swimming Fish Model by,


J Walker says:

I didn’t think Aquaman was cool until I saw this video.

Ngọc Lâm says:

wow , great ! thanks you red giant

Joky Bones says:

This is God mode!

BasedSM says:

Great tut, but why make the fish 3 if you just turn them into pngs?

Will Dano says:

Highly appreciate the comprehensive tutorial!

Nathan Dodge says:

Great timing for this. I was doing some similar particular things for a project. For some reason though my swarm is delayed so it doesn’t start moving at the first frame of the light movement. So there is a cluster of spawned particles that sit at the starting point of the motion path and never move. I want to get the particles to come on and move at the same time without any stationary particles. Suggestions?

Anthony Cupo says:

Tremendous tutorial. Thank you.

Fiv Lines says:

Like it if you want red giant monthly subscription

Арсентий Ларионенко says:

Damn cool and useful tutorial! Big thanks))

Florian Feldmann says:

awesome! also nicely presented 🙂

Jordi! says:

These tutorials is why I follow Red Giant. Thank you, guys! Keep it up with amazing videos and amazing tools

Erik de Gruiter says:

Awesome tutorial! But are the settings different in the latest version of Trapcode Mir 3?? I don’t get any reflection??

AliTKhan says:

The best thing i just learned is 3d Scene normalization!

Máximo Miranda says:

great tutorial!


i love this channel man…!

Flavio Presutti says:

Amazing Skills!!!

Ryan Pietersen says:

Nice tut enjoyed it 😉

Matt Fletcher says:

Great tutorial! 🙂

Melodi tobi says:

men I love this tutorial. at times the easiest of things are hard to find

Seb Travel says:

One think it’s not true: moving objets under water don’t make bubble! Only if air is mixed with

padrello says:

Talking About Chandelier with a background music where you can sing the song Chandelier… lol

Eloyer Marian says:

Using Chandellier as bg music while masking the chandellier.. clever 😉

Mirko Zohren says:

So, so good.

Shizik22 xpr says:

Amazing stuff!

David Robillard says:

Amazing to watch, thanks for the sharing your comps.

Joe Lancaster says:

Good shit.

One small technicality though… water doesn’t ‘distort / warp’ things like you suggest. It’s only a change in density that does this. If everything is underwater, it will remain undistorted. 😉

Alfonzer Harvin says:

where is the universe heatwave effect in the project??

swaygfx says:

wow, great job!

Eugen C. says:


Freddie TF2 says:

This is actually so inspiring. Lots of things to learn that are useful for so many more things than this particular (no pun intended) effect!

Also, the instrumental version of Chandelier is an absolute banger.

Dick Oliver says:

A tutorial that contains 1000 tutorials. so many creative ideas. THANK YOU!

Uma Cabeça says:

Thank you so much!!!!!!!

ASMR Digital says:

Wow, you’re really good at this.

RCN Edits says:

you guys always got the best tutorials! 🙂

Niko Paso says:


Writer B.L. Alley says:

A very well presented tutorial. Most of these are nothing but the presenter showing how good they are without explaining anything.
After watching this I’m not sure if it’s easier or more difficult than hand-drawn animation and optical compositing. LOL

JC says:

34:50 it’s called cavitation, not magical bubbles…cavitation erodes ship propellers’ blades, that’s why they have to be sharpened from time to time…and adding chromatic aberration should help with the look, specially on saltwater, the more salt, the more chromatic aberration, google “Abbe number”, this parameter is used in some render engines like Arnold.


That was the most incredible tutorial I have ever seen, so fun, exicting and informative! Left not a single question unanswered, other than if these animations in a certain new Hollywood flick were actually done by you!

Chrr Z says:

really awesome tutorial!
and many thanks for sharing the template!!

Hodios Films says:

Great tutorial.. I can’t believe i have watched to the end.. This was awesome

mario Cazares says:

This looks great and the video is funny and entertaining thank you!

pureparkour says:

i watched this movie like 5 days ago, it’s amazing.

Wagner Cursino says:

Gosh, being a newbie on RG products for AE, I can say you guys saved my bacon a couple of times already for some projects I’ve been assigned, in just a month! And this tutorial is a proof that I’m surrounded by some of the most skilled professionals on the market. I will watch it several times, over and over, in order to learn all gems you guys are sharing. I suspect this is only possible because of RG ecosystem and support. Congratulations!

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