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Divide mode

From: After Effects CS5 New Creative Techniques

Video: Divide mode

The other new blending mode they added in After Effects CS5 is Divide and Divide needs a little more explaining. I have left myself in 32- bit floating-point mode. And when I do that, the Info panel displays values from zero to one. Black is zero so you can see as I am in this very dark area, my pixel values are close to zero, white is one. So as I move my cursor around these bright areas, the pixel values are near one. That's important part of math to remember when working with Divide mode. By the way, you make the Info panel display zero to one in any mode.

Divide mode

The other new blending mode they added in After Effects CS5 is Divide and Divide needs a little more explaining. I have left myself in 32- bit floating-point mode. And when I do that, the Info panel displays values from zero to one. Black is zero so you can see as I am in this very dark area, my pixel values are close to zero, white is one. So as I move my cursor around these bright areas, the pixel values are near one. That's important part of math to remember when working with Divide mode. By the way, you make the Info panel display zero to one in any mode.

You just need to change it to a decimal but I am leaving it on Auto Color Display for now. Okay, let's take a gray solid. Its value is 50 percent or 0.5. Well when you take a value and divide it by 0.5, it has the same effect as multiplying it by two. Dividing any number by a value less than one will give you a result that's larger than the original number.

So, in short, Divide mode tends to brighten the result. I'll put my gray solid into Divide mode and you will see that my gears are a lot brighter. Before, I drop around the gear, I am getting these green values around 0.57. After, I am getting green values that are in the area of 1.13-1.14, double the value it was before. If you want to really see this in action, I am going to select my gray solid, type Command+Shift+Y on Mac, Ctrl+ Shift +Y on Windows to open up the Solid Settings.

You'll notice another improvement in CS5 is this live preview. At long last, you can alter the colors of solids in CS5 and see what happens without having to close the dialog. As I move my solid towards white, you will see we revert to our original colors. Again white has a value of one. Dividing anything by one gives the original value. But as I pull my color towards black and go to a much smaller value for my divided layer, you will see I blow out the result until eventually I get to a mathematical impossibility, divide by zero.

Fortunately After Effects doesn't give an error. It just gives a very, very bright layer as a result. And this may seem a bit counterintuitive. Basically everything gets brighter in a way not quite like Add mode. Why would you use this? Well actually it does have several uses in composting. Let me show you one of them. I am going to open up this layer which has a strong blue cast to it. You know it's a blue sky but obviously the blue is really colorizing what should be white or gray smoke.

Let's say that I want to remove that color cast. I will go Layer > New > Solid. I am going to eyedropper my solid to be the color of this tint. Basically I am thinking the brightest part of this smoke should probably be white. I am going to eyedropper that as my color for my solid. Now when I put this tinted solid on top into Divide mode, it removes that color cast from the final image. Before and after.

So advanced compositors use Divide mode to remove color casts. They get to define what color is being removed, and remember you can type T to reveal Opacity and fade out that layer on top to affect how much color cast removal is taking place. So Divide may not be immediately intuitive but it actually is a very useful mode.

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After Effects CS5 New Creative Techniques

35 video lessons · 17924 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
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