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Adding lightning

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

Video: Adding lightning

In the last movie, you made this animated gradient. In this movie, we will add some more interest by compositing a lightning movie on top of this layer. In the Sources, twirl down Movies. You're going to be using the Curly Lightning.mov from Artbeats. What I am most interested in are the white lines and a little less of the blue smoke. So we'll need to color correct this so we're not adding too much blue.

Adding lightning

In the last movie, you made this animated gradient. In this movie, we will add some more interest by compositing a lightning movie on top of this layer. In the Sources, twirl down Movies. You're going to be using the Curly Lightning.mov from Artbeats. What I am most interested in are the white lines and a little less of the blue smoke. So we'll need to color correct this so we're not adding too much blue.

If you remember the final animation, it has more of a golden orange tint, and the floor is fairly neutral, something like a warm gray. So I will return to my Composition and add the movie to the comp. Now you will notice the movie is only at D1 size, so it's not filling my 1200 square comp. We can fix that by selecting Layer > Transform > Fit to Comp. If I press S for Scale, you can see I am scaling the layer by a large amount.

I wouldn't normally do this if this was a real job and not a tutorial. I would have the client buy the high-def footage so that we wouldn't be blowing out pixels. I think you'll get the idea if I just scale it up for now. So now we need to composite this on top of the gradient below. The first thing I will do is set the Blending mode, and you can pick something like Screen or even Add. And Screen will composite just the light values on top of the gradient. That helps a little, but we still have to remove the blue color and then fix the transparency problem.

There are lots of ways to change the color, but I think Color Correction > Tritone is quick and easy. It changes the blue to a sepia color, and I can click on this brown and maybe make it a little more desaturated. In fact, if you want to choose the exact color we used in the book, it's 90 for red, 85 for green and 70 for blue. I will click OK. And the last thing we need to do is fix the transparency. If I check the transparency for the gradient by turning off the Lightning movie, you can see the gradient is creating its own transparency which is reflected in the composition's Alpha channel.

I will Option-click. So this shows you clearly what the Alpha channel for the composition looks like. Now I'd like the lighting to play only inside the composition's Alpha. Fortunately, there is a very easy way to do that. Let me go back to RGB, turn back on the Lightning movie--assuming you still have the modes column visible--check out the T switch for Preserve Underlying Transparency. When you enable this switch, the Lightning movie will only be visible inside the Alpha channel of all the layers below.

In other words, it's not adding anything to the Comps Alpha channel, and I will turn back over to transparency. Now you can see why I rotated the gradient inside the pre-comp. I don't want the lightning to rotate as well, but if you do want the lightning to rotate, by animating the pre-comp after it's been nested, you will rotate both of the layers together. So that's it for this chapter. In the next chapter, we'll create the video screens that are placed on top of the floor.

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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
      2m 48s
    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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