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Combining modes and effects

From: After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control

Video: Combining modes and effects

Using blending modes is about as close as you can get to instant gratification inside After Effects. However, you don't have to stop at just applying a blending mode. I showed in the previous movie where you can try using more than one mode. Another great trick is to apply effects to the layer that's moded on top. This is another way to create some interesting looks. For example, say that I wasn't quite happy with the mixtures between the highlights and darks in this particular composite of images. I can keep trying different modes like Soft Light and Hard Light, seeing if one of them gives me the effect that I want, but another way is just to process this layer to maybe get the contrast that I prefer.

Combining modes and effects

Using blending modes is about as close as you can get to instant gratification inside After Effects. However, you don't have to stop at just applying a blending mode. I showed in the previous movie where you can try using more than one mode. Another great trick is to apply effects to the layer that's moded on top. This is another way to create some interesting looks. For example, say that I wasn't quite happy with the mixtures between the highlights and darks in this particular composite of images. I can keep trying different modes like Soft Light and Hard Light, seeing if one of them gives me the effect that I want, but another way is just to process this layer to maybe get the contrast that I prefer.

So I'll select this layer and go to the Effects & Presets panel, which is a very nice way of finding effects. I am going to apply a very simple Levels. I can drag the effect onto the desired layer or if I already have the layer selected, I just need to double-click the effect and now Levels has been applied. I'll drag the Effect Controls a little bit wider so I can see the full Histogram and Levels. From reading the Histogram, I can see that the original source goes down to the darkest darks and goes up to the brightest whites, but what I can play with is the gamma, where the midpoint gray is in this image and what is the balance between the darks and the lights.

So I am going to click on this intermediate slider and start dragging it while watching the Comp panel to the left. By dragging to the left, I'm going to bias towards more brights being above 50% gray. It gives me sort of a brighter image, or go to other extreme and go to a darker image, towards a bit more ghosted in there. That also has a very interesting effect right around there. As a matter of fact this hump in the Histogram indicates to me that's kind of like the middle of the brights. So that's another particular look which is kind of interesting, or I can go to the other extreme where my colors are more closely matched with the layer underneath and to get rid of this some of this film grain that's in the layer on top, I can apply another effect.

And go to Effects & Presets, you just go to Effect > Blur & Sharpen > Fast Blur and give it just a little bit of blurring, just to get rid of some of that noise. Just a small amount of blur, I am going to hold down Command to go ahead and scrub the smaller increments to get around there. That's before the blur and after the blur. That's fairly close I can finess that more. I might even knock the Opacity down a little bit to get right around there. And again, I'm going to recall that snapshot I took in the previous movie. Just an Opacity blend. Press F5.

You can see now why I'm so in love with blending modes. That's now very boring looking compared to this rich image I have here. You can play with other effects of course. I am going to go ahead and turn off Levels and turn off the Blur for now. Instead, try a color tinting effects such as Tritone. Click on Tritone, drag it over to my layer, release and play around with the midtone color of that image on top. I drag it here side by side, so you can see what's going on here. Pick maybe a more saturated color and play around with blending.

Maybe if I want to add a little bit of coolness to it, I can go ahead and pick a bluish purple for my midtone color, which is now tinting the final composite. And go to red to get some magentas into here or make it that much warmer by picking something in the orange range. I can also use the Eyedropper to pick a color for my source, like around there. Click OK and again play with Opacity to get the blend that I want. Maybe around there and maybe I'll switch the mode to something like Soft Light, increase the Opacity back.

That's something a little more harmonious of a blend. I could also play around masking, feathering this edge. You can try crazier effects as well. I'm going to turn off Tritone. Instead pick something like Minimax. I like Minimax, because it kind of creates sort of a crystallized look. I'll double-click it to apply it to my selected layer and play around with increasing the Radius. Maybe to something even small around 2 or 3 just to create this interesting crystallized look. Maximum is bright, Minimum is dark.

So there is a lot you can do with combining blending modes and effects. In the chapter later in this lesson, we're going to show you one of our favorite tricks called the filmic glow look, which uses this combination. But right now, I'd like to explore this combination of modes and effects a little bit more. You can use modes to apply effects in a way you may not have thought of and I'll show that next.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control
After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control

38 video lessons · 12304 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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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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