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Tutorial: How to Create an Instagram Filtered Look Using Adobe After Effects CC

Instagram is quickly emerging as one of the top social media video platforms in online video, and "Instagram looks" have become instantly recognizable to social media users. In this short tutorial, I'll demonstrate how you can achieve some of these stylized filtered looks in your videos by using gradients in Adobe After Effects.

Instagram is quickly emerging as one of the top social media video platforms in online video, and “Instagram filtered looks” have become something instantly recognizable to social media users. There will most likely come a time when your client or boss will ask you to add an Instagram filtered look to a future video project. In this short tutorial, I’ll demonstrate how you can achieve some of these stylized filtered looks by using gradients in Adobe After Effects.

Keep in mind that there are several methods of creating these looks. The one I’ll show you in this tutorial is a quick way to create a customized style that can easily be adjusted.

Create a Comp and Add an Adjustment Layer

To begin, load a clip in Adobe After Effects, and create a new composition by dragging the video to the Create a New Composition icon in the Project panel (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1. Creating a new comp

For this project, I’ll be working with the silhouetted timelapse of the Brooklyn Bridge and the lower Manhattan skyline you can see in Figure 2 (below). My goal is to make this an even more dramatic and saturated shot.

Figure 2. The silhouetted timelapse we’ll enhance with a customizable Instagram look in this project. Click the image to see it at full size.

The first step is to add an Adjustment Layer. Navigate to layer in the toolbar, then choose New > Adjustment layer (Figure 3, below). Now we have an adjustment layer sitting on top of our video clip in the timeline.

Figure 3. Adding an Adjustment Layer

Apply and Customize a Gradient

Next, go over to the Effects and Presets Panel. If you don't see this panel, then go to Window in the toolbar and make sure there's a check mark next to the Effects and Presets option. In the search bar of this panel, type in Gradient Ramp. When this effect appears, drag it on top of the adjustment layer you just added (Figure 4, below).

Figure 4. Adding the Gradient Ramp effect.

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