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Adding blur

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Adding blur

For most After Effects workflows, blur comes in real handy. And I am going to show you a few different blurs that you can apply here. You might think it's just kind of like a simple softening of the edges, which can come in handy. I will show you how do that. But there are variety of ways to do that here. One the way that we apply blur in After Effects, one of the most intelligent ways is actually not an effect. It's kind of built into the program. I have this knight animation here, this hacking knight, but this looks very cartoony because he's moving very fast, and it's not blurring. And we are so used to the way film cameras work that we see a movie or something, and there's fast action.

Adding blur

For most After Effects workflows, blur comes in real handy. And I am going to show you a few different blurs that you can apply here. You might think it's just kind of like a simple softening of the edges, which can come in handy. I will show you how do that. But there are variety of ways to do that here. One the way that we apply blur in After Effects, one of the most intelligent ways is actually not an effect. It's kind of built into the program. I have this knight animation here, this hacking knight, but this looks very cartoony because he's moving very fast, and it's not blurring. And we are so used to the way film cameras work that we see a movie or something, and there's fast action.

Our eye just kind of expects it to be blurry. This is kind of like a problem for a film cameras. It's like a deficiency, but that's just the way it's been and that we've adapted to. So, when we see a fast action like this, it looks very robotic when there's no blur. So, what we can do is we can turn on Motion Blur. The way to do this is to make sure we are looking at the Switches. Again, if you are not seeing that, you can either right-click and go to Columns > Switches. You could right-click on this bar right here. You could click Toggle Switches/ modes. This is the modes area.

This is the Switches area. And then we want to come over here at the top a Timeline panel and click this Motion Blur icon, and that looks like this: a little circle with a bunch of little circles that's fading out behind it. You'll see that same icon here in the layer. So, what we need do is click and drag down, or you can manually just click the Switches for every layer there. And what that's doing is turning it on for the layer, whereas this button here turns it on and off for the entire composition. So, now with Motion Blur enabled both for every layer and for the composition, you can preview this with Motion Blur.

And you could see, even as it's paused, the difference here. It automatically blurs the sword and the moving objects based on how fast they're moving. Now the sword is at the end of the fulcrum. It's moving the fastest, so it has the most blur applied to it. The upper arm here is moving the least. Actually, the shoulder is moving the least, but it didn't have too much blur at all applied to it. And as we go up the arm, we have less and less blur applied because there is less and less movement. We don't even have to think about it. We don't have to animate anything.

We don't have to plan for anything. It automatically blurs it based on how fast it's moving. And as you can see, as it's moving, it's very blurry. You don't see it. You don't necessarily feel like hey! It's all blurred out. But because After Effects' treatment of that is so organic, we just sense it. We feel it. So, again, here is with the blur; it just feels like its moving fast; it feels realistic. And then here is without the Motion Blur; it's just too crisp. We can see the sword the entire time, every frame.

It's just too much. So, soften that out with the Motion Blur. It's great when you're manually animating thing, and then you want characters to be moving around or whatever enabling Motion Blur. Again, it does slow things down when you are rendering a lot. So, it's good to enable it for the layers that you want to enable it for, and then until it's time to render, just leave it off for the composition, and then you turn it on the whole composition again when you are ready to render. Let's go over to the Stars composition here. I have what's called the particle systems, which we'll be talking about later. But it's basically spitting out all of these little flowered things.

This looks terrible, but we can make it look really kind of cool with blur. And that's the real secret, to me, of After Effects, is that there's so much power here. There are so many creative tools here. You could take something that really wasn't meant for a given purpose and kind of re-purpose it because After Effects is so awesome. So, I'll go to Blur & Sharpen, the basic blur effect in After Effects is Fast Blur. So, I am just going to go ahead and drag and drop and apply Fast Blur to these stars. Fast Blur is very simple. There is just a Blurriness slider, so we can click and drag on Blurriness and increase that.

If we preview this, we have these kind of, I don't know, this faint little background or something like that. You can't really tell what it is because of the blur, but the movement is cool. So, we have something interesting. I don't know, an organic background maybe we're looking at glistening water of the waterfall or something. Maybe we can even had the Glow effect to this and sees how it brings these little particles to life. I am just going to delete Fast Blur. Fast Blur does render very quickly though, so it's a great effect to use. Directional Blur is another one that's very interesting. It causes blur in a given direction.

So, I am increasing the blur length a lot, and you could see that we have, by default, the blur is vertical. So, we create these kind of like wispy vertical little edges here, and so as things spit out, we have, again, an entirely different background. And no one would look at this and say oh! This probably came from a cheesy animation of flowers. So, again, with After Effects, it's not about what things look at face value. It's about what you can turn them into. Now in Directional Blur, there, obviously, is a direction.

So, we can change the angle here, and we can maybe move that to the right a little bit so it's diagonal. We can make it horizontal if we wanted to. So, there is a lot of choices and options in our blurs. One other blur that I think is kind of fun to play with is a Cycore effect called CC Radial Fast Blur. So, I am going to double- click to apply that to this layer. What that does is it kind of makes this look, like it's kind of zooming out at you like the blur is coming towards you. I'll increase the Amount value, and we can see that. So, that's kind of fun. Now there is a different way. If you go down to the Zoom dropdown, we can do Brightest, which causes these to overlap and causes them to be bright so you could see every piece, and we can also do the inverse to that where we choose Darkest where they appear to kind of disappear and vanish.

As we take down the blur Amount, we actually see more of them here, but still kind of interesting effect, no matter which one we choose. You know, obviously, there are loads more of blur effects, but these are the ones that I tend to use the most.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67400 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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