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Adding a filmic glow

From: After Effects Apprentice 15: Creating a Sports Opening Title

Video: Adding a filmic glow

Okay, we are partway through our client change list, and I just realized I haven't saved in a while. So let's go ahead and make sure we save our current project. And indeed I might go ahead and Increment and Save again just so I can have a version to go back to in case I don't like the changes I make from here forward. Now, I am up to Final Project 3. I will go back to the Final Comp and another comment that our client had is he felt everything looked a little too--well clean and video and graphic--and they wish they had a bit more of a hot, intense glow.

Adding a filmic glow

Okay, we are partway through our client change list, and I just realized I haven't saved in a while. So let's go ahead and make sure we save our current project. And indeed I might go ahead and Increment and Save again just so I can have a version to go back to in case I don't like the changes I make from here forward. Now, I am up to Final Project 3. I will go back to the Final Comp and another comment that our client had is he felt everything looked a little too--well clean and video and graphic--and they wish they had a bit more of a hot, intense glow.

What they're describing is more of a filmic look, which usually means overexposed and saturated. Well, we can do that. And there's a trick we taught you a little while back called Filmic Glow. Let's run through that again. Filmic Glow works really well when you already have an edited together series of layers. You just go up to Layer > New > Adjustment layer. It's over your entire composition, including all of the layers below, including your transition. That's great! Now let's add an effect. I usually use blurs for filmic glow, both Box Blur. And one of the Lens Blurs are good candidates.

I am going to start with Box Blur since box shapes are a theme that we're running throughout this video. I will select that, set a Blending mode such as Overlay--my usual starting point. You see how intense things got already. Then start increasing the blur radius. This is where the glow part comes in, from sharp to still sharp, but now some shadows and highlights going on. When Iterations are set to 1, that blur has a boxy pattern, which kind of echoes our grid look.

You can even turn the mode off for now to see how boxy it is. I will go back to Overlay. Higher Iterations give smoother blurs. About 3 is similar to a Gaussian Blur and now we just have a soft glow, 0, and a little bit of value. So that's another part. Just get a little bit of that in there. Then very high iterations just give a very puffed out look. It also takes longer to render. Since I am trying to go for this boxy theme here, I am going to go back down to 1 Iteration and then pick a blur radius that seems to match something like a half, third, maybe even a quarter of the size of those grid elements.

Now, this is a very intense look and there are a couple ways of backing this off. One is, you can just press T to reveal the opacity for this layer and fade the hold of the effect in and out. I might go for something around, say here, and check how it looks at other points of my composition. This is without; this is with. Yeah, that does add some contrast; it does kind of adds an intensity to it. Let's go back earlier in time here in this first comp, without, with, and I do think that's making an improvement.

If you think this is making everything look too dark, we've shown you some ways you can take this further. For example, you could duplicate this adjustment layer, put the top copy into something like Add or Screen, get some intensity, and even add different blur amounts and softnesses to treat your highlights separately from your shadows. Press T and blend in those highlights separately. Really blown out, soft look, maybe somewhere around there to balance off. And there are other tricks you can do by applying additional color correction effects, levels to change the Gamma, et cetera.

But compared to before and after, I think we've accomplished the client's goal of making this look hotter, more intense, more saturated, more "filmic".

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This video is part of

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  1. 3m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 39s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 17m 38s
    1. Building the grid floor
      8m 48s
    2. Creating a radar sweep
      5m 13s
    3. Adding lightning
      3m 37s
  3. 14m 18s
    1. Building the video panel
      4m 34s
    2. Using the Block Dissolve effect
      3m 52s
    3. Stylizing the footage
      2m 15s
    4. Duplicating precomps
      3m 37s
  4. 21m 22s
    1. Importing Illustrator files
      5m 47s
    2. Working with paths and masks
      4m 54s
    3. Animating the Stroke effect
      4m 20s
    4. Tinting the event names
      2m 42s
    5. Wiggling the rings
      3m 39s
  5. 33m 35s
    1. Starting a new composition
      1m 48s
    2. Spotting music
      5m 55s
    3. Building the floor
      5m 27s
    4. Adding a video panel
      3m 40s
    5. Creating a reflection
      7m 47s
    6. Adding the dial
      4m 7s
    7. Arranging the frame
      4m 51s
  6. 9m 22s
    1. Setting up the final pose
      4m 28s
    2. Keyframing the camera
      4m 54s
  7. 14m 39s
    1. Adding a text layer
      5m 16s
    2. Using text animation presets
      3m 16s
    3. Customizing the preset
      6m 7s
  8. 6m 56s
    1. Adding a Spot light
      3m 41s
    2. Casting shadows
      3m 15s
  9. 12m 7s
    1. Improving consistency
      2m 43s
    2. Adding a 2D background
      4m 29s
    3. Tying up loose ends
      4m 55s
  10. 20m 37s
    1. Overview of Main Comp 2
      3m 32s
    2. Grouping layers
      4m 39s
    3. Animating the swivel
      9m 2s
    4. Assembling the final comp
      3m 24s
  11. 25m 56s
    1. Adding a transition
      7m 0s
    2. Keyframing the camera
      3m 20s
    3. Adding a filmic glow
      4m 0s
    4. Increasing the motion blur
      4m 2s
    5. Retiming a video source
      7m 34s
  12. 13m 4s
    1. Exploring render settings
    2. Outputting for archiving
      1m 15s
    3. Outputting anamorphic widescreen DV
      1m 57s
    4. Creating a 4:3 center-cut version
      2m 31s
    5. Outputting for web
      2m 23s
    6. Exploring components for editors
      2m 10s
  13. 12m 49s
    1. Creating the inner ring
      5m 19s
    2. Creating the outer ring
      3m 9s
    3. Creating the text ring
      4m 21s

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