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After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control
Illustration by John Hersey

Applying a filmic glow treatment


From:

After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Applying a filmic glow treatment

As I mentioned, adjustment layers process the composite of all the layers underneath. This makes it really handy to unify a composition, not only as a stack of layers, but also as it changes over time with a consistent set of effects. One of my favorite uses of this trick is to do something called a Filmic Glow. If you've got the Exercise Files, open something that has several layers of footage on it, such as this comp 03a we are working with earlier. If you don't have the files, just create something that has several cuts, edits, cross-fades and another layers.
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  1. 3m 20s
    1. Overview
      1m 20s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 23m 19s
    1. Stacking and sliding layers
      5m 23s
    2. Trimming layers in the Timeline panel
      5m 45s
    3. Trimming in the Layer panel
      3m 31s
    4. Pre-trimming and inserting layers from the Footage panel
      3m 20s
    5. Slip editing
      5m 20s
  3. 12m 13s
    1. Applying sequence layers to footage
      4m 45s
    2. Using sequence layers with objects
      2m 14s
    3. Example: Sequence layers and photographs
      2m 20s
    4. Creating a new composition using sequence layers
      1m 35s
    5. Understanding the importance of layer order
      1m 19s
  4. 17m 20s
    1. Looping footage
      3m 15s
    2. Importing a sequence of still images
      4m 30s
    3. Using Time Stretch vs. altering frame rates
      3m 23s
    4. Frame blending
      6m 12s
  5. 19m 1s
    1. Overview of blending modes
      7m 5s
    2. Combining modes and effects
      4m 45s
    3. Why apply effects to solids?
      7m 11s
  6. 22m 2s
    1. Using the Effects & Presets panel
      5m 3s
    2. Applying presets
      5m 34s
    3. Working with behaviors
      3m 2s
    4. Creating and saving presets
      8m 23s
  7. 7m 55s
    1. Importing Photoshop files with layer styles
      4m 7s
    2. Applying layer styles inside After Effects
      3m 48s
  8. 9m 27s
    1. Using adjustment layers
      3m 17s
    2. Working with adjustment layers and alpha channels
      3m 14s
    3. Applying a filmic glow treatment
      2m 56s
  9. 6m 50s
    1. Quizzler challenges
      1m 16s
    2. Quizzler solution one: Pyrotechnic composite
      3m 7s
    3. Quizzler solution two: Sequenced fades
      2m 27s
  10. 11m 51s
    1. Idea corner one: Adjustment layer shapes
      1m 55s
    2. Idea corner two: Creating a traveling glass bar
      4m 12s
    3. Idea corner three: Creating sequences from filmstrips
      5m 44s
  11. 27m 23s
    1. Looping footage by crossfading
      5m 20s
    2. Working with effect point paths
      5m 12s
    3. Brainstorming
      7m 19s
    4. Working with pixel aspect ratios
      9m 32s

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After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control
2h 40m Beginner Feb 23, 2011 Updated Nov 15, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this installment of After Effects Apprentice, Chris Meyer focuses on ways to edit and enhance layers in After Effects. Through a series of Quizzler challenges and Idea Corner examples, Chris shares alternative ways to employ modes, sequencing, and adjustment layers, while special sidebar movies cover the subjects of creating seamless loops, animating effects points, understanding pixel aspect ratios, and employing Brainstorm to explore the variety of different looks that effects can create. The course also covers tricks for enhancing boring footage and tips for converting scans into moving sequences. Exercise files are included with the course.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.

Topics include:
  • Sliding and trimming
  • Slip-editing and insert-editing layers
  • Employing blending modes to enhance layers and composites
  • Applying, modifying, and saving animation presets and layer styles
  • Using adjustment layers to affect multiple layers
  • Experimenting with effects using Brainstorm
  • Understanding pixel aspect ratios
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Applying a filmic glow treatment

As I mentioned, adjustment layers process the composite of all the layers underneath. This makes it really handy to unify a composition, not only as a stack of layers, but also as it changes over time with a consistent set of effects. One of my favorite uses of this trick is to do something called a Filmic Glow. If you've got the Exercise Files, open something that has several layers of footage on it, such as this comp 03a we are working with earlier. If you don't have the files, just create something that has several cuts, edits, cross-fades and another layers.

Now you see I've got an edit between these different layers in this composition. What if I want to apply the same treatment to all of these layers across those edits? Well, this is another place where adjustment layers come in really handy. I'll go to Layer > New > Adjustment Layer. Nthing happens initially, because I've not applied any effects yet. You need to have an effect apply to an adjustment layer before you're going to see any result, and I'm going to apply Effect > Blur & Sharpen > Fast Blur.

As I increase it, you'll see the entire composite blurs. Now remember, this adjustment layer is a copy of everything underneath, but blurred. Also remember, we discussed how useful this thing called blending modes are to help process footage. Well, one way is to take a blurred copy of your footage and apply it on top of everybody underneath. If I pick a nice brightening mode such as Add, you'll see I get nice blown -out puffy highlights on all of my footage. And the same effect will apply across my edits.

Just to show you, this is before and after. If that depth is too much, I'll press T to reveal Opacity and just fade down adjustment blur and control how much of this effect that I see. And remember this effect is a composite of all the layers underneath, blurred, and then apply it in top of the original layers using a blending mode. I can pick a different mode. For example, Overlay is one of my favorite modes. It really increases the saturation before and after.

There is my skyline. There is my night scene. There is the jet landing. Now one really gets an improvement between the normal footage and the adjusted footage. And if you like, you can create multiple adjustment layers. I'm going to go ahead and duplicate this layer, set its mode to something different like Add, start balancing off the brightening qualities, and the saturation qualities of these multiple applications of these layers, before and after.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control.


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Q: This course was updated on 11/15/2012. What changed?
A: We have added exercise files designed for After Effects CS6. We also added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files.
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