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In After Effects, once you've got your images brought in, imported, and laid on to the Timeline, you can start setting your blending modes and fixing minor issues. Such as the size of that Part 2 volume First, I'll look at the blending modes in my images, making sure that the ambient occlusion multiplies over and the Part 2 volume screens. I tend to look at these one at a time, turning off the parti volume so I can see the occlusion clearly. I'll also drop down under the zoom here and choose fit so I can see the whole image. In this case, I'm magnifying at 39.4%, and that's relative to my screen size.
If you'd like, you can always drag around these windows, and show it bigger. It's a good idea to make sure you check at an even magnification. For example, we can try 50%. Lose a little bit of the image but make sure that we're not seeing any giant artifacts in the way these lay together. Now set my blending modes. Typically what I'll do is to right-click on the title bar here in the timeline and choose columns and modes. Now I've got blending modes available as a simple drop down, and I'll set the Ambient occlusion over to Multiply.
Remember, in Multiply, we multiply the over-color by the under-color and divide by the color space. Let's say, for example, we were working in a 256 color image where there is 256 possible values, each of red, green and blue. We'd multiply the overvalue for the red by the undervalue for the red, and divide by the color space. Two fifty six. So in multiply everything that is darker than white yields a darker image. Multiplying by white is like multiplying by one, and so there is no net result.
When we lay over an ambient occlusion then, we get our grounding darkness showing in all the details, but the white in the middle of the wall disappears, leaving our bright clear light alone. Now, I'll set over the party volume. I'll turn it on and set it's blending mode to screen. It works, although it's the wrong size and so I need to get this sized right by transforming it. What I'll do is because this is rendered at a percentage of the size, 50% as a test render is just to fit it to the comp. You can always go and look in the project window and see what size an image is.
I'll pick party volume, and you can see here it's 640 by 360, half size render. I'll right click here in my composition window, and choose transform and fit to comp. Now with that fitted over, I can just see a little bit of haze in the right side. That's the dust and the sunbeams coming in. As a side note on party volume and compositing, make sure you test your party volume in a composite solution first so that you can ensure that when your run the party volume you're not standing in the blinding white of the direct sunbeam.
Often, what I'll do, is to run a simple gray scale image, and then apart the volume ambient inclusion. And take them all the way forward in to a compositing app like After Effects, and test it out, even before the beauty render is done. Making sure there's no giant issues with where those sun beams are aiming. Now with all these pieces in, we can back off the opacity if we need. I'll hit T, for opacity here on the Part T volume. And I'll back it off just a little bit. I'll do the same with the Ambient occlusion. It's always a good idea when you are fine tuning the initial passes to make sure you isolate them and really check out how they are behaving.
I'll hit T for the opacity and Ambient occlusion and test it out comparing and contrasting 0% with a 100. I'll pull this back roughly in the 75% range, so I get decent darkness without overly darkening the corners I've worked hard to light and the Ambient occlusion, then, won't completely obliterate the color bounce I'm getting off the tile wall underneath the stairs. Before you get into color correction and post effects, then, make sure everything is laying together properly and that you fine-tune how each layer is behaving, so that you don't accidentally overwrite any of the lighting data you went to great length to produce.
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