Viewers: in countries Watching now:
Design in Motion is a series of creative techniques featuring short projects using After Effects and CINEMA 4D. Taught by motion graphics expert Rob Garrott, the course covers how color correction, expressions, rendering type, lighting, and animation are used in each program, and the topics are updated weekly. Using these tips and tricks, motion graphics designers will find designing to be a more efficient process.
Hi! Rob Garrott here and welcome to Design in Motion, the weekly series where we will explore important fundamentals in the world of motion graphics. Now blend modes in After Effects are a crossover from the world of Photoshop. And they are really important tool in your design arsenal. If you do a search on lynda.com, you'll find tons and tons of references on them. So rather than cover each blend mode one at a time, I just want to show you few cool ways you can use them in After Effects. Let's get started. So here we are in After Effects and I've got this clip of a cyclist close up to the camera.
And not a lot of motion in there which is just what we need here. We are going to talk about how the blending modes interact with this footage. And a common thing that comes up is how do I take piece of video and contain it within a layer. Well, there is a very special blending mode for that called, Stencil Alpha. And I've got a Type layer here I am going to turn that on. And it's just some orange type on top of the video now. I want to be able to contain the video inside of these letters. And so what I am going to do is go to the Blending Mode pull-down. If your Blending Mode pull-down is not visible, you can go to the Switches/Modes button down here and Toggle that on and off to reveal your Blending Mode pull-down.
And I am going to pull this down and scroll all the way to the bottom and grab Stencil Alpha. And when I do that, you are going to see now the video contained with in the letters, and if I turn on the Transparency Preview I can see now that my stencil type is over a transparent background and I can use this in another composition. That's one of the awesome things about this is that I can now put something behind it, but I don't ever do that in this composition. If I make any other layer and put it below this type, it's going to get cut out and contained in there.
So what I want to do instead is to pre-compose this. So I am going to take this composition in the Project window and drag it onto the new Comp button and that's going to pre-compose it automatically for me. Now I can add a new solid layer and I will just do a Command or Ctrl+Y on the keyboard to make a new solid and I am going to leave it blue. That's fine for now. And it shows up on top. If I move this down below in the layer order, I now have this type on top of that blue background and I can put anything beneath here that I want, and this stencil type will exist independently.
That's really an awesome tool. Now let's go back to the original composition and talk about the opposite of Stencil which is Silhouette. I will turn off this Stencil. And you see it's totally nondestructive. As soon as I turned that Stencil layer off, it disappears and our layer becomes visible again. And the Silhouette, it is the opposite of Stencil. If I go to the pull-downs here and go all the way down to the bottom and do Silhouette Alpha, Silhouette Alpha will reveal the transparency inside the letters. So Stencil reveals transparency outside the letters; Silhouette reveals transparency inside the letters.
And if I go back to my precomposed file over here you can see that blue now that I had in the background shows up inside the letters. So that can be really awesome as well. We can out stylize type on top of this footage. So let's go back again to our Start composition. And I am going to turn off the Silhouette layer and talk about my favorite blending modes. And the blending modes are divided into categories and let's take a look at those categories. First thing I want to do though is turn on these two layers. I have got a grey-ramp and a gradient. And the grey-ramp and the gradient layers are just illustrator files that I have made.
I have got a grey-ramp that goes from black all the way to white on one side and a range of colors across the image. And I am going to select both of these layers at the same time by holding down the Shift key. That way I will be able to change the blending modes at the same time as well. When I change one, both will change. So I will click on the first grey-ramp pull-down and I want to talk about the categories real quick. So the categories are basically Darken, Lighten, and then Overlay. So I go to the Darken category, my favorite one in this is Multiply. And Multiply gives me a really interesting change in the values of the image overall and it darkens and does a very smooth blend of the colors to darken the image as well.
So as you can see, I have got a very rich darkening of the color values in this color ramp and also in the grey-ramp as well. It does a very smooth darkening on the left side of the ramp that transitions do nothing on the right side. And one of the characteristics of the Multiply mode is that black values will darken, light values will disappear. So you can really use that to create an effect in your composition. Now, the next one up is the Add and all of these modes do some sort of lightning of the image. My favorite is Add. And you see it does pretty much the opposite of Multiply.
And it brightens up all the values and tends to blow out the contrast and once again you can use that to a dramatic effect as well. My favorite blending mode though is by far Overlay. And if I go back to my pull-down here and let's go to the Overlay blend mode. It tends to change the value of an image based on the mid tones that are in that and that can be really used to create effect for a color correction. You can see I have a great range of color now that the image has been tinted here and that tinting is what I want to talk about next. I am going to turn these two layers off. Now I have a full screen grey ramp here.
I am going to turn that one on and I am going to go to the pull-down and change that back to Overlay as well. And this is a technique I would like to use quite a bit. You can see what's happening now is that the grey-ramp is now darken the image but only on the side and just left these other values a little bit brighter over here but the mid range is been left untouched, over on his face. And that's a really great technique when it comes to color correction. Let's say I wanted to do a color cast on this image. Let's turn this grey ramp off. I am going to make a new solid, Command or Ctrl+Y on the keyboard, and leave it the comp size and this Blue is fine.
If I go to OK, now I have this blue solid on top of it. If I change the blending mode from Normal to Overlay, you are going to see now that we get this beautiful blue cast on the image. Now let's say I didn't want to have this blue cast show up on the actor's face. I only wanted in the outsides of the image. All I need to put up mask on this layer and so I can go up to the Pen tool and I am going to activate RotoBezier, if it's not already checked. In this case it is. And I'm going to draw a RotoBezier around this actor's face.
And you don't have to be too precise with it. You want it to feel kind of organic. When you first draw the RotoBezier it's going to contain the layer inside the boundaries. I want to invert that so I am going to Hit M on the keyboard to reveal the mask options for this and then I'm going to click on the Inverted. And then I will reveal the Feathering options by twirling mask closed and open again. And going to Mask Feather and crank in that up. Let's do it about 100 pixels. You are going to see that the edges of the mask just got a lot softer. And so now what we have done is we have colorized the background but left the actor's face untouched.
And that's really the awesome part of the Overlay mode. You can do a lot of really cool color correction effects, using that mode. blend modes are an important way of manipulating your animations to add style and visual appeal. To learn more about blend modes, check out Chris and Trish Meyer's After Effects Apprentice 4 in the Video section of lynda.com. That's it for this edition of Design in Motion. Keep it moving and I'll see you next time!
There are currently no FAQs about Design in Motion.
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.