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There are two effects I like to use quite often in my graphics, and those are gradients and glows. So in this video we're going to add a gradient into the scene, to better blend out graphic element with the background video. And then we're also going to add some glows onto the scene, to add a little bit of softness. So to get started we need to create a new Layer solid for our gradient. We're going to apply the gradient over top of everything. Make sure we have the Composition Panel selected, go up to the Layer menu and then choose New Solid. Just make sure your solid is the Comp size, so I'm going to click Make Comp Size.
Doesn't necessarily matter what color you choose, so I'm just going to go ahead and choose white, for the sake of choosing whites. And then I'll click OK. Now in order to create a gradient with a Layer Solid, you can go up under Effect. In there, there's a Generate option, and the gradient in After Effects has always been known as Ramp. If we go here, that's what this means, it's a Gradient Ramp. In here, we have a Linear Ramp. Obviously, we could choose a Radial Ramp if we'd rather, but let's choose Linear. Since we want to blend this in with our background later, I'm going to go ahead and toggle my switches and modes.
In here, I'll change my mode from Normal to Multiply. Now, I want the footage to be darker at the bottom and lighter at the sky. So if we go down here in our Effect Controls, let's click the bottom button that says, Swap Colors. That's already looking a little bit better, but to stylize it even more, let's add some blue. So I'm going to go to my End Color dropper, and Click on it. And I'll choose this dark blue up in the sky, here. For our Start Color, which is up here at the top, I want a slightly off white color. So, this time I'll just Click in the drop well, and just choose a different color. If we chose like a red, we could do something really stylized. I'll choose a funky blue green.
Now when we click OK, we've added our gradient into the background. Now the swoop lines need a little softening, and we can do that with a glow and a blur. I'm going to add the glow first, just to see if that fixes what I'm looking for. So with Layer two selected, we can go up under Effect, Stylize and choose Glow. The first thing you should pay attention to when you apply glow, is what is it based on. So if we look at our swoop lines, it did already have a Gradient Ramp applied, and that's how they're going from white to blue.
Let's collapse Gradient Ramp, now our glow is based on the color channels. I want to soften the edges, so I'm going to change that from Color Channels to Alpha Channel. Now I've already got almost what I'm looking for. Down here, I could adjust the Glow Radius by Clicking and Dragging the number up, and the Glow Threshold will just make an adjustment as to how hard or how soft the gradient is being created, based on the brightness of the Alpha Channel. Now if it was set on colors, it would be based on the brightness of the colors. Now we can increase the glow intensity, just by Clicking and Dragging to the right.
And that's definitely making my lines pop, but it's not exactly what I want. So we'll just leave that alone. Now, we could choose whether we want to Composite the original behind, or on top of the glow. So if I say On Top, notice now our colors kind of come back, and our gradient has reappeared as the dominant feature of the glow lines. Let's go ahead and Disable Glow here, and Re-enable Glow, and you can see it is kind of creating a soft halo. Glow colors by default we'll choose the A and B colors. So let's change our color A to this kind of blue green color, and we can change our color B, down here, to just a slightly different blue green color. Now if we turn the Glow off, and we turned it on, you can see its much more subtle. We can change the glow operation to change the Blend mode, but as you can see there are plenty of other options we could explore as well. There's my quick little run down of two of my favorite effects. I'm sure you will recognize these effects, throughout all of the different graphics that we'll be creating in this course.
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