After Effects: Insight into Effects
Illustration by John Hersey

After Effects: Insight into Effects

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Colorama and color cycling

A fun alternate use of Colorama is as a color cycling effect. In this case, I have a simple gradient mapped from black to white, simple grayscale mapping. You may remember from the first movie, this Phase Shift parameter, which basically offsets the input black to white range and how it's mapped to the output cycle. As I start scrolling it, I start seeing this edge of this black to white transition, as it happens at some middle gray point in the underlying layer. It's kind of interesting but not really.
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  1. 2m 6s
    1. Welcome
      2m 6s
  2. 7m 27s
    1. The Effects & Presets panel: finding effects
      2m 42s
    2. The Effects & Presets panel: animation presets
      4m 45s
  3. 1h 24m
    1. Bilateral Blur
      5m 30s
    2. Box Blur
      5m 33s
    3. CC Vector Blur
      6m 18s
    4. Creative Channel Blur
      2m 2s
    5. Corrective Channel Blur
      1m 47s
    6. The pros of Compound Blur
      4m 35s
    7. The cons of Compound Blur
      3m 3s
    8. Directional Blur
      2m 35s
    9. Fast Blur and Gaussian Blur
      5m 16s
    10. Lens Blur: iris effects
      6m 17s
    11. Lens Blur: depth maps
      4m 41s
    12. Overview of Radial Blurs
      4m 16s
    13. Radial Blurs shootout
      3m 29s
    14. Reduce Interlace Flicker
      4m 12s
    15. Corrective Smart Blur
      4m 26s
    16. Creative Smart Blur
      7m 40s
    17. Unsharp Mask theory
      5m 5s
    18. Unsharp Mask and Sharpen
      3m 59s
    19. Unsharp Mask power tips
      4m 14s
  4. 41m 5s
    1. Overview of Calculations
      3m 55s
    2. Creative Calculations
      3m 32s
    3. CC Composite
      4m 54s
    4. Overview of Channel Combiner
      2m 49s
    5. Channel Combiner and color space
      3m 56s
    6. Channel Combiner and transparency
      4m 0s
    7. Remove Color Matting
      4m 24s
    8. Set Matte vs. Track Mattes
      6m 45s
    9. Set Channels and Shift Channels
      2m 0s
    10. Solid Composite
      4m 50s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Auto Color vs. Auto Levels
      6m 21s
    2. Auto Contrast vs. Auto Levels
      4m 44s
    3. Channel Mixer
      5m 34s
    4. Corrective Color Balance
      8m 15s
    5. Creative Color Balance
      3m 19s
    6. Color Stabilizer
      4m 51s
    7. Overview of Colorama
      7m 40s
    8. Tinting with Colorama
      5m 48s
    9. Colorama and color cycling
      3m 12s
    10. Hue/Saturation tips
      5m 4s
    11. Hue/Saturation vs. Color Balance
      2m 17s
    12. Tint vs. Tritone
      4m 34s
  6. 14m 40s
    1. Compound effects
      5m 43s
    2. Repeat Edge Pixels
      2m 12s
    3. Grayscale shootout
      6m 45s

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Watch the Online Video Course After Effects: Insight into Effects
3h 31m Intermediate Jul 30, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Subject:
Video
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Colorama and color cycling

A fun alternate use of Colorama is as a color cycling effect. In this case, I have a simple gradient mapped from black to white, simple grayscale mapping. You may remember from the first movie, this Phase Shift parameter, which basically offsets the input black to white range and how it's mapped to the output cycle. As I start scrolling it, I start seeing this edge of this black to white transition, as it happens at some middle gray point in the underlying layer. It's kind of interesting but not really.

Well, the secret for color cycling to work is that the color mapped to black must match the color mapped to white. This way, the transition from black to white on the input side will be seamless and you'll get a nice gradient moving through this image. For example, if I take this white slider and pull it down here to the middle, so we go from black to white and back to black again, we'll now have a smooth set of gradients mapped to this image. As I start scrubbing the Phase Shift parameter, you no longer see that harsh edge as we went from black to white.

Instead, you see a nice, smooth, endlessly cycling range of colors going through the underlying image. I'll undo. Once you know that, you'll see the logic behind of many of the preset palette colors. A lot of these colors, such as say golden, indeed have this same color mapped to black and white. That way, when you do a phase shift, you get a really nice endless cycle of colors going through your gradients. There are many other cool presets, such as Copper. Notice again that the black and white colors are the same.

Rusty, again black and white colors are the same. I'll go back to Golden 1 for now; this is one of my favorites. Now what I've done is I've set up some keyframes where phase shift goes from 0 to -1 revolution, and here's an important point. If I hit the End key, the last frame of my composition is one second and 29 frames. I don't want to set a keyframe at that time. If I do so, I'll have a hitch as basically this last frame and then the first frame is repeated.

Instead, whenever you're setting up something that's looping, you need to go one frame beyond the end of your composition. Press Page Down to get there. Set your identical keyframe there and now it will seamlessly map back on to the starting keyframe at the start of your composition. Let's go ahead and queue up a quick RAM Preview. Now you'll see as I preview, I've got an endlessly looping color cycle running through this original gradient. And I can have fun. For example, these are some gradients I got from the pixel line collection and there are other ones such as fairy stripes, foggy patterns, just endless psycledelia, Drippy, which will move down the screen continuously.

Color cycling was indeed one of the original reasons that Colorama was developed by Atomic Power, the plug-in company that originally made it. This is a fun use for it. Although you frankly don't see it much on television these days. Me, I prefer the tinting powers of Colorama and that's what I focus on when using this effect.

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