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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
So, now we're going to give our wizard some lightning. Now an interesting trick here: if you go to the Effects & Presets panel and you do a search on Lightning, there are two different Lightning effects; There is Advanced Lightning and then just regular old Lightning. You can probably tell which one we're going to be using, because the regular Lighting one is in the Obsolete category of Effects. So, it is gone to do Effects home of broken souls there. So, we're going to use Advanced Lightning. So, let's go ahead and right-click in a Timeline panel in a blank spot here. Create a New > Solid, and we'll go ahead and just call this Lightning. Hit OK.
Then we'll apply Advanced Lightning to this layer. Now unlike Flare, our Lens Flare, as you can see, Advanced Lightning completely replaces the content, removes whatever content was there, and just shows you the Lightning. So, what we're going to do - there are two effect control points here. There is the starting point and actually you can see that here it's the Origin. Then also the Direction point, the ending point. So, I'm going to move the Direction over here, and you can see how cool that looks as we - just let me zoom in little bit so you can see - as I move this effect control point.
This lightning is just moving very organically. There is forking here. It's a very complex, little structure of lightning. So, I put this at the end, put the Origin in his hands. One other thing that's kind of cool with this is that we can change the Lightening type. There is Direction Lightning. That's the default. So, it starts here, and then it goes in that direction. Then there is also a Strike Lightning. There is also Breaking. That's just kind of like lightning everywhere. There is also Bouncey, and Bouncey is very unusual. It creates these big balls of electricity, which are really cool.
There is also like a Two-Way Strike. So, if you want to have like two things shooting lightening to each other like the Emperor & Luke Skywalker at the end. Actually, it's pretty much just like the Emperor just shooting directly at Luke Skywalker, but you get the ideas. It's like lightning going back and forth between two points. So, I'm just going to change this back to the default, direction. If we want to animate this, it doesn't animate, by default, on its own. So, we need to change something, the Conductivity State is one way to animate this. So, if we animate this parameter, and you're going to get this, where it's pretty much every frame is different.
We can also change the Core, and that's part of the terminology of this effect. The main line of lightning is referred to as the Core, and these little tiny offshoots are referred to as Forks, and then we also have the glow. So, here, we could set the Core. Maybe we want it to be like a little bit thinner, so we can take that down little bit. So, the Core is little bit thinner. Or if we want to make that thicker, we can bring this value. I'm just going to take is to about 1.5. We can also change the Opacity of the Core and the Core Color and also the Glow.
So, by default, it's like this blue Glow. What I'm going to do is I'm going to click on the eyedropper. I want to sample one of the colors from our background, probably like a purple from like right around here or something, or maybe even from like the wizard's outfit or something. That blends little bit more with what we're doing here. We can also control how many offshoots of this lighting there is with the Forking parameter. So, as I increase this, we have more splits and offshoots, which are looking very cool with how it's blending with the light behind it. You take this down, so there is less forking and more just like kind of one main point there if we want to do that.
I kind of like it high, I don't know. It's looking pretty cool to me. One of the things that I'm not really a big fan of is that we had this big lens flare, this big burst of light, and that's supposed to be kind of like what he is using to send out this lightning bolt like a big bolt out of his hands. The lightening is on top. So, we're not really seeing like the full brightness of the Lens Flare. We're seeing some of the darker glow here. That's looking not very realistic. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to grab the Lightning layer, and I'm going to drag it beneath the Flare layer, so that the Flare is on top of the Lightning. That gives us a more realistic look there.
Now there are many more settings here. So, feel free to experiment and play around. As we'll talk about later on in this chapter, at the end, there are ways that you can learn all the details about what these settings do. I'll be explaining those to you later.
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