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Creating a fireball

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Creating a fireball

In this video, we're going to look at how to create a fireball coming out of the mouth of this dragon here. This effect is going to be created with a combination of two effects. One is Fractal Noise, which will create the inside texture of the fireball. The other one is the Roughen Edges effect, which will give the actual edge texture that we need, and both of these together will create this cool fireball. So, let's go over to Dragon fire START.

Creating a fireball

In this video, we're going to look at how to create a fireball coming out of the mouth of this dragon here. This effect is going to be created with a combination of two effects. One is Fractal Noise, which will create the inside texture of the fireball. The other one is the Roughen Edges effect, which will give the actual edge texture that we need, and both of these together will create this cool fireball. So, let's go over to Dragon fire START.

And I've gone ahead and created a layer for you. This is basically just like a blob layer. You can see I've just made a blob that animates like in the shape of our fire here. So, I'm going to go out to my Current Time Indicator to about one second and 11 frames in, so I get a good view of what the fireball is going to look like here. Go ahead and apply the Fractal Noise effect. Actually, apply it to the Fire layer, and the settings here are pretty much good. What I want to do is I want to take Contrast up a little bit more so we can kind of see the texture. And I want to open up Transform and maybe take down the Scale a little bit, so that it's little bit more concentrated what's happening here.

In other words, if we were have zoomed in too close, it's going to get a little bit soft and fuzzy, and that's just not very fireball-esque. So, as we zoom out by reducing the Scale, then what we're doing making everything tinier and finer. So, now as we scrub this, we can see that we have Fractal Noise. That still looks really terrible. So, what are missing are these edges here. Now we could also animate the Evolution value if we wanted to so that the fire in the fireball looks better, and that's actually what I did in the previous example that I showed you. But we're not going to take the time to do that now.

But if you wanted to animate Evolution, you could do that. Let's go ahead and apply the Roughen Edges effect to this layer. Roughen Edges shares a lot in common with Fractal Noise, actually. So, in this tutorial, there's a method to the madness. You'll notice that there is an Evolution property for example. But first of all, before we really get into this, let's change the Edge Type from Roughen to Roughen Color. That basically roughens up the edges a little bit, but put some of this Edge Color around the edge.

Let's go ahead and click on the color swatch for the Edge Color and change this to a full-on red. To do this, I'm just going to take this - because the default is like this orange color - I am just going to take the color picker in the hue bar, take this down to red. The color picker is really cool, because it tells you on the bottom what your previous color was, and it tells you on the top what your current color is. So, you kind of compare and contrast the color that had coming into the color picker versus the color that you are now choosing. I am going to go ahead and click OK. Now by default, the Roughen Edges effect creates a very thin, rough edge, which a lot of times is exactly what you are looking for.

In this case, we want a very defined, rough edge. We want to increase the Border. So, as you increase that, you could see the edge of the Border kind of encroaching upon the rest of the layer. So, I want to take this to a value of around 50 or so - looking pretty awesome. Let's go ahead and take Edge Sharpness to .5. Leave Fractal Influence at 1, and we're going to increase the Scale value to about 120. And as we saw in the last video, Complexity refers to the layers of noise making up these roughened edges.

Just like in Fractal Noise, if we take this down lower, it's going to have a more soft look. And right now it's looking a little soft. We want it to be a little bit tighter, a little bit more sharp. So, we're going to increase this Complexity value to 3. Now those edges become a little bit more sharp. Now again, there is an Evolution value. And we could see that here as we increase this. That just looks awesome. That just kind of brings this whole thing to life. Now another way to bring this to life is with the Offset Turbulence parameter. Offset Turbulence we saw in Fractal Noise.

We didn't really talk about it too much. Basically, what that does is allows you to take the layers of noise and move them. It's almost like the Position parameter for the noise. So, if I grab the X axis, the left value here and click and drag this to the left, we could see the noise on the edges moving to the left. If we grabbed the Y value and clicked and dragged it to the left, we could see the fire rising. So, if we had like a bonfire effect, you could see that the edges would be perfect for that.

Now one of things that's kind of distracting is that we have black-and-white fire with a red edge. It's looking really cheesy. It's almost like hard to work in that. Even knowing that we are going to colorize it, it's still just distracting to work. So, I'm going to go ahead and click this X to close out of that search, and I'm going to type in Colora short for Colorama, and we're going to apply this effect to our other effects. So, now we have a series of three effects going on at the same time.

We'll leave Colorama here for now. I want to open up the Output Cycle area in the Colorama effects, so we get this little color wheel here. Then we have all these series of Presets. Colorama is basically an effect to colorize layers. It is a very complex, powerful effect. So, we're not going to really get in detail in it at all here, but it does have this Use Preset palette function. And all of these presets are a series of preset colors we can use to colorize layers. So, I'm going to choose Fire from this dropdown.

Again, in the Colorama effect, open up Output Cycle and in the Use Preset palette dropdown, choose Fire. And now things are looking much more fiery. Now what I'm going to do actually, and this is something we haven't talked about yet, but the order in which you apply effects matters, or the order in which effects happen matters. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to click and drag on Colorama and drag it in between Fractal Noise and Roughen Edges until you see a horizontal black line there. Let that go, and you can see the difference that it made to our fireball here.

Again, this is before if we have Colorama processed after Roughened Edges, and this is if we drag it above, or in other words processed before Roughen Edges. So, what was happening before was that Colorama was colorizing these semitransparent edges created by Roughen Edges, and it was making them more harsh. So, it's taking them, and there's not really any semi-transparency with Colorama. So, everything was full red. So, what we're doing here now is we're just colorizing the Fractal Noise and then Roughen Edges is applying the color to the edges.

So, now we have a great-looking fireball and what we need to do now to bring it to life, which I'll let you do, is by animating the Evolution values of both Fractal Noise and Roughen Edges. All in all, though, a pretty sweet effect for how little work went into it.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67170 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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