Compositing the effect
Video: Compositing the effectI have applied my track to the Radio Waves and used that to animate the Producer Point for the waves. The problem is, is all I am seeing is the Radio Waves effect, I am not seeing the underlying footage, and I want to composite the two together. Well, you might have said to yourself, Chris, you gave us the advice elsewhere to always apply effects to solids. That way it's easier to blend them on top of underlying footage. The problem with that in this case is that the effect needed to be applied to the footage I was tracking in order for the Tracker to be able to pick it as the Motion Target.
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Explore how to use the motion tracker and stabilizer built into After Effects and shows how to handle a variety of shots. Author Chris Meyer leads a quick tour of the third-party software mocha and demonstrates the workflow for The Foundry's KEYLIGHT, both bundled with After Effects. The course also covers tracking a greenscreen shot with a handheld camera and replacing its background.
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®.
- Understanding motion stabilization and keying
- Performing a track
- Applying tracking to effects
- Keying with KEYLIGHT
- Replacing images
- Improving the composite
- Garbage masking
- Dealing with interlaced footage
Compositing the effect
I have applied my track to the Radio Waves and used that to animate the Producer Point for the waves. The problem is, is all I am seeing is the Radio Waves effect, I am not seeing the underlying footage, and I want to composite the two together. Well, you might have said to yourself, Chris, you gave us the advice elsewhere to always apply effects to solids. That way it's easier to blend them on top of underlying footage. The problem with that in this case is that the effect needed to be applied to the footage I was tracking in order for the Tracker to be able to pick it as the Motion Target.
That's why I started with them together. But it's okay, now that I have got the track done and applied, I can go ahead and isolate the Radio Waves onto its own layer. I can either copy and paste the whole thing onto the solid, or just to be quick and dirty, I can just go ahead and duplicate this entire layer. I am going to take the one underneath, type E for Effects, Delete Radio Waves, and now I'm left with the one on top with just the Radio Waves effect. Indeed, I am going to rename this layer to Radio Waves so I can keep them separate.
Underlying footage, waves on top. Once I've isolated effects under their own layers, now I am going to take advantage of Blending Modes to more artfully combine it to the underlying footage. Overlay is usually one of the first modes I try, because it does create interesting effects, but in this case, it's getting a little bit lost in the darkness of the mountains. Since I don't want things to get lost in shadows, I am going to use a brightening mode, such as Add or Screen. I am going to start with Add because it's brighter.
Select my Radio Waves Layer, press F3 to open up its Effect Controls, and now I'll play more with the Profile of this wave to make it look good. Not particularly thrilled with how the default blue color is compositing over these mountains, and click on the Color Swatch and try some alternate colors. Now I am getting some nice interactive changes, and I kind of like something in this more Cyan tone range, more of a turquoise color. I can also have more fun now with things such as this Profile. I found that these various Sawtooths have a very interesting look to them as well.
In this case, the Sawtooth is giving me a sharp edge on the leading edge going away from the wave and fading away as it travels, and I think that heightens the effect. I think I am going to have a little bit larger End Width just for fun here. And I am going Expand a little bit faster and maybe produce them a little bit faster as well. Radio Waves has a lot of other controls in here, so just setting different sort of Wave Types and different Polygons, like how many sides you have to it; you can have Triangles, Squares, like the nice little shapes, or crank it up to get something very similar to a Circle.
And in case you're ahead of me, you will notice that Radio Waves does not have its own composite pop-up. Some effects do have the ability to composite themselves over footage, but you will still get more flexibility putting it on its own layer, as I have here. Let's RAM Preview this, and there's our final composite effect, and I kind of like that. There are many other effects that have Producer Points or other effects points you can apply the Tracker too.
Lightning is an obvious example, and we'll have an Idea corner later on in this lesson based on an idea, but there is also Lens Flares, Beam Effects, Particle Systems, the list goes on. The main concept to take away from this is, not only can one layer track a feature of an underlying piece of footage, so can an effect. Again, as before, I'll close all to cleanup my display before moving on. You might also want to go ahead and save your project so you can store everything you've done so far. And I'll go back to the Project panel.
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