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Rich: Just like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects supports the use of Adjustment Layers. And this is an easy way to apply an effect to the clip. I want to show you one of my favorite effects, the Black and White Adjustment, but use it in a creative way. I'll start by making a new Adjustment Layer. Layer > New > Adjustment Layer, and now, I can apply an effect. For example, let's do Color Correction > Black and white. The Black and White adjustment allows you to mix the individual channels to create a dramatic black and white image. I could darken down the blue skies to make the clouds pop, and play with the value of the reds to get the rocks to have the right amount of detail. Let's roll the gold there, to get some subtle highlights back in. And play with the Cyan to further refine the sky. That's looking pretty good and it's an attractive black and white image. But I don't want it black and white, I'll click the switches and modes here, and change the blending mode of the adjustment layer to something like Overlay.
And you see, the effect takes on a really cool high contrast look. So, even though that this was shot as a standard Time Lapse, it begins to take on an HDR like feel. And if overlay's too much, you can go ahead and try something like Soft Light. And remember, the keyboard shortcuts of Shift++ will take you through the Blending modes. Shift+- will go backwards through that list, and you can find the look that you like. I think Overlay's good. I'll press T for Opacity, and I can adjust that a little bit. And if you don't remember that shortcut, just twirl it down, and you can access the transform controls.
Well that's looking good, and that adjustment has been applied globally. I like the overall look. We have some flicker, but we'll solve that a little bit later. Besides, adding adjustment layers, you can also stylize the image a bit. Let's choose Layer > New > Adjustment Layer. And I'll press the Return key so I can name this. Vignette and we'll name this other one, High Contrast. There we go, on the Vignette Adjustment Layer, I'm going to apply a Blur.
We'll use the Fast Blur and adjust it a bit, with a repeated edge pixel. I'll also apply an Exposure Adjustment, and pull it down. You're probably wondering why I went through all this effort to make a blurry, dark shot. But remember, adjustment layers can have masks, so I can isolate this effect to just the outer edges.
With the adjustment layer selected. I will choose the Ellipse tool and with a double-click I could apply the Elliptical Mask. Twirling down the controls I will set that to Subtract and refine it with a nice feathered edge. There we go. So what I've created there is a blurring at the edge with a darkening. There we go, and let's pull that down even more, I like that. So, I have a blurred, darkened edge for a nice power window vignette and that really drew the viewer's focus to the center of the shot.
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