Design in Motion
Illustration by John Hersey

019 Using blend modes to stencil text and create color effects


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Design in Motion

with Rob Garrott

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Video: 019 Using blend modes to stencil text and create color effects

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.
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  1. 8h 15m
    1. 000 Welcome
      46s
    2. 001 Communicating emotion using color correction
      11m 18s
    3. 002 Learning the basics of 3D logo animation
      7m 55s
    4. 003 Using expressions to control animation
      6m 54s
    5. 004 Creating flow energy streams
      12m 50s
    6. 005 Creating a camera shake rig
      15m 3s
    7. 006 Rendering type in a seamless environment
      13m 58s
    8. 007 Using the Graph Editor to control animation
      5m 10s
    9. 008 Creating dynamic liquid
      12m 54s
    10. 009 Doing more with less in the After Effect render queue
      6m 33s
    11. 010 Logo modeling basics
      13m 20s
    12. 011 Building simple objects with polygons in C4D
      11m 45s
    13. 012 Creating gradient type in After Effects
      10m 40s
    14. 013 Logo lighting basics
      11m 55s
    15. 014 Creating a smooth camera orbit using parenting
      10m 23s
    16. 015 Creating bouncing animated type using dynamics
      7m 18s
    17. 016 Animating type using parenting
      8m 12s
    18. 017 Shading type using gradients in Cinema 4D
      11m 32s
    19. 018 Using custom workspace layouts in Cinema 4D
      5m 20s
    20. 019 Using blend modes to stencil text and create color effects
      6m 56s
    21. 020 Exploring the content browser
      8m 10s
    22. 021 Learning the basics of 2D tracking
      10m 56s
    23. 022 Controlling animation with track properties
      7m 18s
    24. 023 Styling animation to communicate emotion
      3m 57s
    25. 024 Modeling with MoGraph
      10m 1s
    26. 025 Creating distressed metallic type
      11m 28s
    27. 026 Creating realism with Global Illumination
      9m 29s
    28. 027 Creating a reflective floor using After Effects
      10m 29s
    29. 028 Creating a simple car animation using splines
      15m 27s
    30. 029 Working with XRefs to simplify your workflow
      4m 40s
    31. 030 Using constraint tags to control the camera
      8m 53s
    32. 031 Creating motion blur in After Effects
      6m 54s
    33. 032 Using keyframe interpolation in After Effects to fine-tune movements
      8m 0s
    34. 033 Creating motion blur in Cinema 4D
      10m 8s
    35. 034 Using negative space in designs
      5m 36s
    36. 035 Creating depth of field in After Effects and C4D
      7m 1s
    37. 036 Correcting color in After Effects with C4D and object buffers
      10m 59s
    38. 037 Creating and animating a flower with MoGraph
      14m 51s
    39. 038 Animating circular text in Cinema 4D
      17m 36s
    40. 039 Glowing "sci-fi" text in C4D and After Effects
      17m 31s
    41. 040 Editing music for motion graphics
      14m 56s
    42. 041 Using iPhone video to create motion backgrounds
      9m 33s
    43. 042 Creating a cel-shaded look in C4D without Sketch and Toon
      6m 57s
    44. 043 Animating a paint streak with Photoshop and C4D
      15m 33s
    45. 044 Using C4D to move Particular in After Effects
      10m 41s
    46. 045 Tiling images in Photoshop for 3D textures
      15m 22s
    47. 046 Quicktime movies as textures in C4D
      14m 16s
    48. 047 Fun with paint splats in After Effects and C4D
      18m 25s

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Watch the Online Video Course Design in Motion
8h 15m Intermediate Oct 26, 2011 Updated Sep 19, 2012

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.

Topics include:
  • Communicating emotion using color correction
  • Using expressions to control animation
  • Rendering type in a seamless environment
  • Doing more with less in the After Effects render queue
  • Creating bouncing animated type using dynamics
  • Creating realism with Global illumination
  • Working with Xrefs to simplify the workflow
Subject:
Video
Software:
After Effects CINEMA 4D
Author:
Rob Garrott

019 Using blend modes to stencil text and create color effects

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!

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