Here’s a neat little trick to add realistic background objects to your footage in Adobe After Effects. In this case, I wanted it to seem like the footage was taken in the lobby of the client’s office. This could work for things like posters, hanging artwork, or logo plaques. Check it out.
Cinemagraphs are little looping animated videos that are actually pretty simple to make, especially if there isn’t any movement in the scene.
In this quick tutorial, we’re going to add a video on a polaroid in about 10 minutes using Adobe After Effects. I’ve provided the source files to get you started.
Ok, so let’s get to it. First I took a picture of a Polaroid of my wife and I. I know, I know, we’re cute.
Next, I found the video that I wanted to use as the looping video on the Polaroid. I used a night timelapse that I shot last year of the Austin 360 bridge. Finding a reason to recycle old footage is always fun.
Next, import both of them into After Effects and make a new comp with the Polaroid image. You can do this by dragging the Polaroid image onto the “new comp” icon in the project window.
Next, with the pen tool, carefully draw a mask around the picture on the Polaroid. Add a slight feather of 10 to the mask. And expand the mask a bit with the “mask expansion” parameter.
Next, add your video under the Polaroid image layer and make the video layer 3D. The reason we do this, is so we can rotate it to match the angle of the Polaroid. Scale the video down and rotate it so it fits in the Polaroid. Notice how the guide box roughly matches the edge of the Polaroid.
Next, let’s add some depth of field and blur the edges so they look out of focus. You could do a couple things to achieve this. The way we’re going to do it is by adding a camera to the comp and use the built in “Depth Of Field” parameter on the camera.
So, create a new camera by going to “layer/new/camera” (option, command, C). You can use the 80mm preset since that matches the focal length that the actual image was taken.
Now, we need to enable “Depth Of Field” and set the focus distance to the timelapse layer. Twirl down your camera options in your timeline, or press AA to show them. And enable “Depth Of Field.”
Now, to automatically set your focus distance to your timelapse layer, we need to select both our camera and our timelapse layer, then go to “Layer/Camera/Set Focus Distnace to Layer.” Make sure both your camera and the timelapse layers are selected. You can select multiple layers by holding command.
Nice. Now, let’s adjust our depth of field to match our shot. By bringing up the “Aperture,” it will make the focus plane narrower. And by bringing up the “Blur Level,” it will increase the blur of everything that’s not in focus. Play around with these two parameters until it matches. I landed on Aperture: 960 pixels and Blur Level: 250%.
Now we’re rocking. To add some final touches, I added a “Vintage FX” preset to bring it all together. A GIF isn’t a real GIF without a vintage filter. I added this to an adjustment layer so it affects both the Polaroid picture and the timelapse video. You may have to brighten up the timelapse footage so you don’t loose too much detail in those shadows.
GIF’s are better when they’re short and when they loop seamlessly. Let’s make it 3 seconds long. And let’s adjust our timelapse video so it loops seamlessly at 3 seconds. Basically, split your timelapse layer at 1.5 seconds by going to “edit/split layer” (command, shift, D). Then drag your beginning layer to start at 1.5 seconds. Drag the other layer to start at the beginning. Then fade the top layer out so it fades into the bottom layer. And set your work area so it’s only 3 seconds long.
Boom! Now export it and convert it into a GIF. The easiest way (that I’ve found so far) is to use an online tool called “GIPHY.” But, you’re only limited to a few seconds and the converted GIF’s are tiny. If that’s ok with you, then great, use GIPHY! If you want more control, you can use Photoshop’s “save for web” tool. It’s kind of finicky, but it works.
That’s it! You just made a cinemagraph. Now make sure to show your friends and tell them you found a magic Polaroid from the Harry Potter world. I’m sure they’ll totally believe you. If you have any questions or maybe additional tips that would make this better, post them below.
Dead pixels are annoying. I made a simple little Adobe After Effects preset to fix dead pixels.
When you apply the effect “Dead Pixel Fixer,” there are 2 adjustable parameters in your effects panel. Pixel target and pixel size.
Pixel Target: select the position of the dead pixel.
Pixel Size: adjust the size of the dead pixel area.
That’s it! To fix more dead pixels, simply add the preset to your footage again at the bottom of the effects list. You can download by clicking the download button below. To add the preset to you Adobe After Effects library, add the downloaded “.ffx” file to your presets folder. Additional instructions are in the “read me” file included with the download.
Here’s a neat little animated lower third that I made for our Easter production. You can download the After Effects project and insert any name you wish.
The project works in After Effects CS4 and above. I’ve also included static images of the lower third in case you don’t want to use the animated version. The font that I used is a free font from dafont.com called “One Direction.” I’ve included it in the download.
Many times, especially if you work in the church production world like I do, you are faced with very tight deadlines and have to come up with something stunning with a very small crew. How do you accomplish this without spending your entire week slaving over one small project? Simple, use a project template.
Alot of people have asked me if it’s OK to use templates in their video projects. Short answer: “Yes.”
Templates are tools to help you do your job faster and be more efficient. Now, keep in mind that if you’re hired to create something completely unique and specific for someone, using a template kind of defeats that purpose. Also, if you are thinking about using a template for paid freelance work, you’ll have to make sure that the license that you are purchasing with the template lets you legally use it for paid work.
And, if you do use a template, I encourage you to customize the template to your project. Dont use it exactly as-is You can simply replace a background to match other elements; change colors, fonts, etc.
We recently had a big women’s conference at my church……not a conference for big women, but a women’s conference that was big…..anyways, I was given the last minute task of making intro video bumpers for the 4 different speakers. Instead of rushing something from scratch that would of turned out mediocre, I purchased an After Effects template. I customized the temple and adjusted the timing to match my music and voice-over and the videos turned out great. And it only took me about an hour. Here is one of the intros. I used a template from Video Hive called “System Error Promo.”
Project templates can also be things other than videos. Check out this overview of a DVD menu template from Precomosed.com.
Speaking of template resources, here are a few:
- 10 FREE AE Templates (via PremiumBeat.com)
- 10 more FREE AE Templates (via PremiumBeat.com)
If you shoot with DSLR’s, or any camera with a CMOS sensor, you’re bound to run into the “rolling shutter” issue when panning. I’m not going to explain in detail why this happens, but it basically makes your footage look crooked and slanted when you pan sideways really quickly.
So, to address this inevitable problem, I’ve created a free After Effects preset that fixes it. Simply apply the preset to your footage, and adjust the angle to “straighten” your footage.
There are 2 effects: “Angle” and “DON’T TOUCH THIS!”
Obviously, adjust the “Angle.”
Simple. You can also keyframe the effect to adjust for “whip pans.” For instance, if your footage starts static on something, then pans quickly to another subject.
Adding the “pendulum” effect in After Effects has never been easier! 100% satisfaction or your money back!
There are 3 adjustable parameters in this preset.
“Velocity: the speed of the rotation;
Amplitude: the amount of rotation;
Decay: the amount of decay.”
Watch this tutorial video to be enlightened.
Ah, ye ol’ handheld look. Personally, I love the handheld look in films. If you have a clip that was shot on a tripod, or motion graphics that you want to add realistic motion to, you can easily add handheld “shake” with this simple After Effects preset.
There are two adjustable effects parameters when you add the preset. One controls the “shake,” and the other controls the “rotation.” The default settings of 10 and 8, work well for most clips.
Apply the preset to a null object, then “pick whip” your footage to the null. Apply motion blur to your clip for better results.
You’ll see the difference in the two images below. The first one is the original, shot on a tripod. The second one is with the “Handheld Camera” preset applied.
Watch this tutorial video to see how to use this preset. Let me know if you have any questions.
“Vintage FX” is a color grading preset pack containing 33 professional presets. Each custom preset color corrects your footage, making it look vintage and retro. I made these using native effects that are built into Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, so there’s no need to purchase high-end plugins or 3rd party programs. Each preset is uniquely crafted and made with different purposes in mind to suite various styles. Some are warm and faded, others are dark and contrasty.
In each preset, skin tone is made a priority to preserve the natural colors of skin. So, even with the most drastic presets, the skin-tones are still accurate.
The cool thing about using these kinds of effects, is that every preset reacts differently to each piece of footage. A bright clip with lots of highlights will react differently than a darker clip with more shadows. So you can play with all the presets to find the exact “look” that you’re wanting.
There are also some “extras” in the preset pack as well:
- a lomofi slider, to fine-tune the lomo effect and get the perfect amount of “retro” in your footage. (AE only)
- add dirt and grime to your footage. (AE only)
- add flicker and grain to mimic old film. (AE only)
- easy and adjustable vignettes.
- light leaks using built in effects! (AE only)
There is also an extra preset called “Basic Fade,” which gives your footage that nice basic “faded” look. This is a great start to build on and create your own custom effects.
Vintage FX will instantly add style to your film with a click of the mouse. Once you purchase, you will receive your download immediately so you can start producing that vintage film look.
Below are ALL of the presets applied to a sample image.
*Please note: Vintage FX is used with Final Cut Pro 7 and Davinci Resolve via the included LUT’s. To use LUT’s in FCP7, you will need to download the free LUT plugin, Magic Bullet LUT Buddy.
Everyone loves the Instagram app for their phones. It’s a cool way to create vintage/retro photos with a tap of the finger. Seriously, people go nuts over these type of filters. A while back, Daniel Box, created Photoshop actions of these filters. They’re awesome. Just a click of the mouse, and you’ve “Instagrammed” your photo in Photoshop.
I wanted a way to use these in applications like After Effects or Final Cut Pro. An easy way to achieve a simple color change is by using Look-Up-Tables (LUTs). I’m not gonna dive too deep into what exactly a LUT is, but basically, it communicates color changes from different applications. Aharon Rabinowitz posted a tutorial video about using Red Giant Software’s LUT Buddy, a free application by RGS to create and apply LUTs. It’s pretty helpful in introducing someone to what a LUT is, and how they work.
I took Daniel Box’s Instagram Photoshop actions, and made them into LUTs and presets to use with video. They work wonderfully. Keep in mind. LUTs are a bit limited in their functionality; they cannot apply things that use masks or generators, such as vignettes, diffusion, blurs, etc. But they are still awesome. If you are looking for more vintage presets for After Effects with more features and control, check out my Vintage FX presets.
Note: if you’ve clicked the buttons above, and your download has not started yet, click here.
How to use these presets.
For FCP7, Motion, and Premiere CS5
1. Download and install LUT Buddy from Red Giant Software. It’s free.
2. Apply the effect “LUT Buddy” to your footage, click Options, then Import LUT, then choose which effect you would like.
For After Effects
Download and install LUT Buddy from Red Giant Software. (If you are using AE CS5 or CS6, skip this step. You don’t need LUT Buddy)
Copy the corresponding “Instagram” presets folder into your application presets folder. (Applications/Adobe After Effects/Presets)
There are 2 different AE presets folders. One is for CS3-CS4, and the other is for CS5-CS6.
For Dacinci Resolve
Place the LUT files in library/application support/blackmagic design/davinci resolve/LUT/CineSpace
We recently set up a new green screen in our studio up at the church. Last week, I decided to put it to use. There’s still some kinks that need to be ironed out, but I think it turned out pretty good.
I shot this with a couple of Sony EX3’s. When shooting on a green screen, it’s all about the lighting. And you want to have your subject pretty far away from the green screen. I am limited to a fairly small studio, so I managed what I could. Some of the shadows were a problem with the couch being so low to the ground, so to hide the bad key at their feet, I put a dark shadow under them in After Effects.
This is a quick intro video that I composited together for my church here in Lubbock, Tx. The story was simple: We are here for GOD, not any false profits or other material distractions that may bring someone to church. This video was played live with the band playing the intro to the song “Here for You.” The last scene of the wide timelapse of the sanctuary was played at the very end of the song. The audio in this uploaded version is just a placeholder.
On the left, is the original footage shot with a Canon 5D mkII and a Sony EX3. On the right, is the final result, after visual effects and color correction. I tracked the scenes in Mocha and composited them in After Effects. I made 2D text with the built-in text tool, instead of 3D text with Zaxwerks Invigorator, mainly because I only had 1 day to finish this. Then I brought them all into Final Cut Pro and stuck them together and color graded mostly with Magic Bullet Looks. I could have color graded inside of After Effects, but I like to apply color grades after the final edit, where I can see all the clips together and their output, even on something as simple and short as this.
The scene outside with the sky replacement timelapse was a bit of a challenge. Had I thought ahead and known I would be doing a sky replacement, it would have been quick and easy, but I shot the 2 shots about 20 feet apart at different angles, and about 15 minutes apart (with the sun setting fast). I key framed the corner-pin effect in After Effects to line up the 2 pieces of footage and graded the sky scene to match the original scene. It turned out good enough for the 3 seconds that it is shown.
Thanks for watching!
Video Copilot just announced their new film entitled ‘Demon Cam.’ It’s somewhat entertaining, although it turned out to just be a very elaborate iPhone app promo. Still, the very beautiful and sexy
girls visual fx are stunning. Andrew Kramer never seizes to amaze me. Check it out.
This is pretty fun. Adam Everett Miller, over at AETuts+, has posted a quick Beginner After Effects quiz. This should be an easy ace for the experienced compositor, but a few of the questions might throw you a curve ball. Check it out.
UPDATE: Andrew Kramer just dropped a release date; July 10.
UPDATE: Andrew Kramer’s just released a bit more info on this awesome plug-in. Looks like you’ll be able to make 3D text and logos via vector files. That’s a unique feature that will catch most people’s eye. And the price is unbelievably low, much like all VCP’s products. Check the description below, which is straight from videocopilot.net.
Element 3D is well underway including some interesting new features but I need to save some surprises for the launch! So instead I thought I would throw out a few responses to some frequent questions from the Video Demonstration while trying to save some secrets for later. Our goal is to release at the end of August but it could be early September so this is just an estimate.
- 1. Reflections: Does Element 3D reflect other particles?
Element uses HDR or non-HDR images for reflection & refraction maps but the system does not do real “Ray-Tracing” so objects do not “truly” reflect others. HOWEVER, as you can see above there are ways to “fake” reflections to get realistic results in a fraction of the render time compared traditional ray samplers. Speed is our goal, not replacing a 3D program!
- 2. Price: It’s going to be around $149.95! (Yes I said around…)
There I said it. Although, we could probably sell it for more, especially considering the feature list but we wanted to maintain our philosophy of exceptional plug-ins at reasonable prices. The truth is, we thought maybe we SHOULD sell it for more than $149 and charge at least $249 for the sake of the perceived-value compared to other products on the market. We didn’t want people to think, “Oh, it’s ONLY $149.95″ so it must not be as good as other tools out there. So please don’t let price confuse you, it’s quite powerful on so many levels so we ask that you judge it based on what it can do, not just the price. Otherwise we would have to sell it ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!
- 3. 3D Text: Will you be able to make 3D text with Element?
Look, Element was not designed to be used as a 3D text tool but rather an intelligent particle array system that uses 3D objects as particles. We built a massive 3D rendering engine that runs extremely fast on moderate graphics cards, objects react to AE lighting, ambient occlusion, 3d model deformation, Material Options, Depth of Field, Motion blur, 3D Fog and much more. We wanted to make a plug-in that took After Effects to the next level.
So, can you use Element 3D to render 3D text and logos?
You better FREAKING BELIEVE IT! And it’s pretty sweet too.
If you’re like me, and you love Video Copilot, then you’re going to be super excited about this. Andrew Kramer is always cooking up something awesome to share with the masses. From my experience of owning most of VCP’s products, they are quality, and well worth the investment.
That aside, Video Copilot is announcing their newest plug-in, Element. What is Element, you say? “Element is a 3D geometry-based particle style plug-in for After Effects with many powerful features” From the screenshots, it’s obvious that 3D is the forefront of this tool.
Some of the key features include:
- 3D geometry based particles
- Advanced material options
- 3D falloff and depth of field
- Powerful array options
- Motion blur
- After Effects lighting
- Sub-atomic particles
Think of it as a 3D driven spin-off of Trapcode Particular, complete with reflections and 3D material options. I’m super excited about this. No word on pricing or availability, but I’ll let you know as soon as I hear something. Check the screenshots below.
If you’ve spent at least 10 seconds on this site, you know I’m a HUGE fan of Video Copilot and their products. They’re having a 30%-off-everything sale for 10 days. If I didn’t already own all of their stuff, I would totally jump on this deal. All you have to do is enter the code “REAL30” when you check out.
Last year, I made a promo for my church on an event called “Hope For Lubbock.” I fumbled with a few ideas, and 4 days before the due date, I decided to trash everything and start completely over, so I grabbed the Canon 5D mkII and our Glidecam, and went to town. Which, honestly, turned out to be a great idea.
I wanted something different. I knew I wanted words to be the main element to get “HOPE” in the viewer’s mind, with shots of around town to also be prominent, so people could connect better. I had watched a few tutorials on matchmoving, so I figured I would try that technique to add some edginess to the promo. Matchmoving is a bit time consuming, but I cut some time-corners when making the 3D text with Zaxwerks Invigorator. The presets in Invigorator made making high quality text very easy and simple. I used Trapcode Particular and Magic Bullet Looks. I also used Video Copilot’s Optical Flares, which is absolutely amazing. I don’t use it that often, but it is definitely one of my favorite plug-ins for After Effects.
This video turned out great, and for 3 days of work, I was proud of myself.
Recently, I made an iPhone app commercial for my church. Basically, I got this handy iPhone 4 Photoshop template, and animated everything in After Effects. I did the audio in After Effects, which I usually don’t recommend, to line up the animations a little easier. I tried to stick with the “Apple” style, and be somewhat minimalistic and “upbeat.” And, since there is only 1 element on the screen, I had to make it exciting enough to keep the viewers interest for the full 30 seconds, so I animated the text to flow with the phone on the rotations.
Last week, I made this video for my church University Ministry, “NineThirty”. I set out with only a small idea; to make a promo that mirrored the “TRON Legacy” trailer as much as possible. The main key ingredient being the ending bumper, with the 3D text and blue neon-light theme. I used Zaxwerks Invigorator Pro to make the 3D text. Invigorator is a very quick 3D plug-in that gives you tons of control. I basically had my logo as an Adobe Illustrator file, and simply imported it into Invigorator. Check it out.
The original “TRON: Legacy official trailer” is below.
This is my version.
Another simple preset is now on Red Giant People for your Trapcode Particular needs. Use with the text, or without it. The download .zip gives you the AE project, the preset, and images files. If using the preset in another project, just place the “leaf.jpg” in a 50×50 comp, and use that as your particle texture in Particular. The colors of the leaves are customizable, as well as size, gravity, rotation speed, etc.
PS. I figured out which font RGP uses for their logo. “Century Gothic,” I think.
Check out my new preset that I uploaded to Red Giant People. It’s a quick text reveal using Trapcode Particular. The particles look like confetti. Check out the sample video below.
You can change the text to whatever you want, obviously. Or, if you get creative enough, you can replace it with your logo to make it really interesting. And the best thing…it’s absolutely FREE. So have at it all you fellow mographers. Here’s the link that takes you to the download page.
So, the word on the street is, I am pretty miserable at making DVD menus. I can do them, they won’t be very entertaining, and it’ll take me a week to complete one menu, but I can do them. Recently, while going through some of my daily forums and sites, I ran across a post that caught my eye on DVinfo.net. It was by Jon Geddes, from Precomposed.com, and he was advertising his website that sells motion DVD menu templates that are fully customizable. I was immediately attracted. As soon as I saw the first preview, I was blown away. These menus are pretty slick. Each motion menu has its own theme, and has very clean and fluid transitions in between each menu: main menu, scene selection menu, & bonus content menu. I consider myself pretty good at After Effects, and I could probably make these menus myself with ALOT of time and creativity, MAYBE. But, with my very limited knowledge in DVD authoring and motion menus with transitions and such, there is no way this entire process would be possible. The whole package, with compositions matching various settings, (NTSC, PAL, HD, SD) and each comp singled out into a precomposed timeline, which is dynamically linked to an entirely different project, which takes the video & audio assets from a specified folder, is just crazy. Read More →