The Matrix Raining Code

The Matrix Raining Code

Posted on 02. Aug, 2011 by in After Effects

Have you ever felt that theres something wrong with this world? Have you ever felt you know something, and that what you know you can’t explain? Now you can. Sort off…


Some time ago I needed to create the raining code look as seen in “The Matrix” movie, so I started to google for ready to use projects, but found nothing of value that I could use in my work… So I had to create my own. Watch this tutorial to learn all about it.

My first instinct was to use Trapcode Particular along with some custom particles to create the look I was after, but I quickly found out, that it’s just not going to cut it. The raining code has some very distinct look to it and the key to making it look good was to really pinpoint what was happening with the falling letters. Here’s what I found out after watching the original design as seen in the movie:

  • There are two types of letters: leading, and following (after vision letters)
  • The leading letters are brighter than the others
  • The letters fall down in columns at different speeds
  • One column can have multiple leading letters falling at different speeds
  • Both leading and following letters change chars at random points in time (out of sync)
  • The amount of the following letters is random (tail length)
  • The letters always move a given amount of pixels (letter height)

As far as everything on the list above could probably be achieved using Particular to create the look, the last point would be really hard to do. In theory all of the points above could be done, however it would take a lot of calculation to get the parameters of Particular just right, so I figured to change the approach a bit, and instead of having a “leading letter particle” spawn “after vision particles”, I decided to build a grid of letters, and then use Particular and Mosaic effect to reveal them. That way I could focus on the look, speed, timing and other “artistic” aspects of the work, and not think about how to set up Particular.

At the end of the tutorial you will also see how to change the color of the leading letters using the Threshold effect. What I forgot to mention is that you can of course play with the Threshold parameter changing the range of letters that are being treated as “leading letters”. Give it a try. It can create some really awesome looks.

Download: Tutorial project file (After Effects CS4)

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25 Responses to “The Matrix Raining Code”

  1. Elhadji - JOTNAR

    02. Aug, 2011

    Heeeey! Long time with no updates on the site! So, great to see you again here to lead us ;)

    We missed you!

    Growling greetings from Canary Islands…

  2. Kubrixbeard

    03. Aug, 2011

    YES!! Welcome back! Been checkin every day for about 18 months, keep em comin man!

  3. Kubrixbeard

    03. Aug, 2011

    Are there going to be new live sessions? :)

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      03. Aug, 2011

      Yup. I got a new broadcast platform so they are coming soon.

  4. JohnU

    03. Aug, 2011

    Dziękuję from the US, Jerzy! Welcome back!

  5. Krishan indora

    03. Aug, 2011

    Welcome Back sir
    i am wetting for your new updates on this site!
    very nice work

    thanks
    krishan indora {india}

  6. Thomas

    03. Aug, 2011

    I didn´t look at the project file yet, only the screenshoot above. First thought was .. Why not use TextAnarchy from Redgiant ? Look´s similar …

    Best,
    Thomas

  7. Billy

    03. Aug, 2011

    Nice to see you again, Sir !

    With best regards,

    Billy

  8. James Wicks

    03. Aug, 2011

    Great to hear your voice again!
    Welcome back, my friend.

    Oh, and nice tutorial, too!

  9. powl

    04. Aug, 2011

    Thank you and nice to see you again. Nice Tutorial!

  10. Lyndon

    06. Aug, 2011

    Dude it is GREAT to see you back in action. You are one of my most fav teachers >:D I’ve gotten better over the years because of you and many other online mentors.

    Just happy to see that you’re back!

  11. illd

    07. Aug, 2011

    Good to see you are back – we missed you badly man! How was your europe trip?

  12. Joseph

    09. Aug, 2011

    am glad you are back. i missed you so much. pleaseeeee !!! don’t go off again. thanks i love your tuts

  13. david superville

    12. Aug, 2011

    awesome. good to hear from you again. just a week ago my girlfriend asked me “hey, how come you don’t watch tutorials from that new jersey guy?” i was like ‘what are you talking about?’ she said “you know, that after effects guy with the cool accent.” lol

  14. PhSn

    15. Aug, 2011

    Cool Tutorial :) What’s that Ford-Thing in the end? The project where you needed it?

    Nice to see you again!
    Haven’t heard a while from you :)
    Keep up being active again! I also just relaunched my site and gave it a new name. come and look if you want to :)

  15. Saturn5

    15. Aug, 2011

    Welcome back! This has been a great tutorial. I would not have thought that it could be these simple to re-create the Matrix character cascade. Thx. (thumbs up)

  16. jiaoliang

    17. Aug, 2011

    As far as everything on the list above could probably be achieved using Particular to create the look, the last point would be really hard to do.

  17. Ruslan Nasirov

    12. Nov, 2011

    Thank you very much!

  18. Ryan

    27. Nov, 2011

    The matrix font is really just Japanese katakana.

  19. Matej

    07. Jan, 2012

    HI,great tutorial….
    how did u make on the end “matrix the ultimate tutorial” ??
    i want to make like urs but i dont know :D,i dont want to overwirte ur text in ur project file,i want to learn..
    this is my first time that i use AAE,for my school project..

  20. motiontuto

    17. Jan, 2012

    amazing effects nice work

  21. Hamada

    01. Apr, 2012

    nice tutorial…Thanks!

  22. housni

    28. Oct, 2012

    nice tutorial…Thanks!

  23. David

    04. Dec, 2012

    Great tutorial! Thank You!!

  24. Antonio Muñoz

    05. Apr, 2013

    Excellent tutorial , thank you so much!

    holy crap so many robots in the coments