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After Effects: Insight into Effects was created and produced by Trish and Chris Meyer. We are honored to host their material in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
After Effects gurus Chris and Trish Meyer share their real-world insight into how to get the most out of the effects that come bundled with this popular software. After Effects: Insight into Effects covers their favorite effects, hidden gems, optimal parameter ranges, "gotchas" to avoid, and alternative effects to consider. Among other tidbits, this course also contains "special topic" movies that pertain to more than one effect, demonstrate how to use After Effects more efficiently, and compare different effects to try in order to achieve a desired creative result. After Effects: Insight into Effects is recommended for all After Effects users, regardless of which version they use. This ongoing series that will be updated with new movies on a regular basis.
This course was recorded using After Effects CS4, but it contains many timeless concepts and effects. After Effects: Insight into Effects is recommended for all After Effects users, regardless of which version they use. This is an ongoing series that will be updated with new movies on a regular basis.
Sometimes you may encounter a shot that flickers. The Luminance values change erratically throughout the shot. This can happen with old or archival footage that's a bad development of a film or it can happen, if you say how auto contrast or auto exposure turn on the camera. Something flies through the scene to temporarily darken it or brighten it and causes flickering in the overall luminance. Well, there is an effect in After Effects called the Color Stabilizer, which can help to remove some things, flickers and contrast or color throughout a shot.
Let's give it a quick look. Here is a piece of archival footage that's has an issue with some flickering in the luminance. You're particularly notice it in this black to white gradient on the back wall where the gradient seems to move, because the midtone values of the shot are changing over time. Let's select our footage and apply Effect > Color Correction > Color Stabilizer. Color stabilizer gives you a few different options on how you stabilize this image. For example, if the whole image is getting brighter or darker evenly, you can select just Brightness.
This will give you one point to go ahead and pick and move around to what's a representative color and say keep that point. The Sample Size of 3.0 pixels or say 20.0 pixels or whatever you choose, the same color throughout the shot. However, few shots have even differences in exposure throughout. There are differences in the highlights and in the shadows. And if we were to RAM preview with this setting, you could see how now the entire image is flickering, not just the gradient on this back wall.
So this is not the correct setting for those shots. If it is just a highlight/shadow issue, here's where you want to use so called Levels, where you get to pick a Black Point and I might pick something like his tie, and a White Point, I might pick something to like this headband on him and say keep those two points stable and do whatever you need throughout the shot. This is almost like an Auto Contrast to this point except for it's affecting the color. Now a most subtle shot like this where the black-and-white was frankly staying pretty even throughout the shot, but the gradient was moving, this is where I'll use Curves as my stabilizer setting.
Now I get to pick my Black Point. Again, I'll use this tie. My White Point point. Again, I'll use this headband. But I'll also pick my Mid Point. In this case, I'll pick something as close as I can to about 50% gray and say stabilize that throughout the shot. Make sure you choose points that are going to stay constant throughout the shot, then nothing is going to fly cross them like a hand or bird or whatever to throw off the correction. Then this point on, Color Stabilizer is very automatic. I'm going hit 0 on the numeric keypad to calculate a RAM preview.
Let's see how it looks once we're done. Here is the preview and you will notice that this gradient is no longer chasing up and down this wall. It is a pretty smooth gradient along this wall. I'll turn off the effect, preview again. Now you see what we had before. It was really jumping around quite a bit. The Color Stabilizer on and preview, you'll see how steady it is. This is what Color Stabilizer is good at: removing these flickers throughout a shot.
What if the first frame in your footage does not have the ideal colors or contrast that you like to stabilize? What if there is a different frame later in the footage, which is a better representative reference frame? Here's where the easily missed Set Frame button comes on. Move the Time Indicator to the frame, which you want to be your reference. Let's say after his hands down right in that area, then click Set Frame. At that point Color Stabilizer will now use the colors underneath these points, at this frame as the reference and then bend the colors in the rest of the shot to match this reference frame.
A Color Stabilizer is not a Color Correction effect. If I want to say improve the contrast of the shot, I may apply to something like Color Correction > Auto Contrast, and put it before Color Stabilizer, so I have a nice maximized image. If I want to add a tint to this effect, I might apply something like Color Correction > Color Balance to really tweak out the image or even something as simple as Hue/Saturation just to do a quick shift to the whole image such as get a skin tone of more yellow rather than red.
But Color Stabilizer is what will lock in this contrast and this color throughout the entire shot and stop these bits of flickering and shifting there going on. So it's nice to tool to add your arsenal.
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