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How to Make a Kaleidoscope Effect in After Effects

Flip a video clip on itself to create an eye-catching, mirrored effect. You can do it in a few quick steps in Adobe After Effects CC.

Start from scratch, or download practice files for a head start. Click on the image below to watch our one-minute tutorial.

Step 1. Create a new project in After Effects (File > New > New Project).

Step 2. Search Adobe Stock video footage: Open the Libraries panel (may be the tab next to Effects & Presets). Search Adobe Stock for beach or waves footage (for example, we searched for “hermosa beach drone”). Hover over the clip you’d like to use and click on the shopping cart icon to license it. (Or click on the cloud icon to preview it with a watermark before you buy it.) Then right-click on the video clip in the Libraries panel and choose Add To Project. (Alternatively, you can use the file called Hermosa Beach.mov that we’ve included as a practice file.) Then, import the clip (File > Import > File).

Step 3. Add the video clip to the timeline: From the Project panel, drag your .mov clip to the Create A New Composition icon.

Step 4. Define the work area: Drag the playhead to the 20-second mark on the timeline. Press the B key to show the beginning of the work area moving to the playhead. Tip: If your timeline displays frames per second, command-click (Mac), or control-click (Windows) on the timer to switch to seconds.

Step 5. Apply the Mirror effect: From the Effects & Presets panel, search for the word “mirror.” Drag the Mirror effect on to the .mov clip in the timeline.

Step 6. Add the first Mirror effect: In the Effects Controls panel, set the Reflection Angle to –90 degrees.

Step 7. Add the second Mirror effect: Right-click in the Effects Controls panel and choose Mirror. Click the first value in the Reflection Center field for the second mirror effect and add “2” after the number to change the value to half of the original.

And that’s it! Play your sequence to see the complete movie title.