Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

After Effects: Lighting Effects in Post
Illustration by John Hersey

Fractal lighting


From:

After Effects: Lighting Effects in Post

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Fractal lighting

Now over time we have built a fairly large stock footage library of so called lighting clips that we can then quickly draw upon during the course of a job. If you have a camera and you are comfortable using tools like After Effects, you can also go out and shoot your own footage. Shoot it out of focus, slow it down in After Effects, colorize it, build your own library. And in fact, a lot of these clips are once that we've shot and released through Artbeats. They are called the Liquid Abstracts and Nature Abstracts. Finally, the great thing about a tool like After Effects is you can create some of your own lighting clips using some of these effects. Let me show you.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
After Effects: Lighting Effects in Post
43m 8s Intermediate Jun 12, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course was created and produced by Chris Meyer. We are honored to host his material in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.

After Effects: Adding Lighting Effects in Post demonstrates how to use virtually any version of After Effects to easily add animated lighting effects to existing footage. Going beyond basic techniques, Chris Meyer shares his personal experience and uses many examples to teach the best way to select and fine-tune lighting clips to enhance a variety of underlying shots. He presents techniques for subtle enhancements that will help hold the viewer's attention while adding production value to virtually any shot. Chris also discusses how to create lighting clips from scratch, either with a camera or by using Fractal Noise.

Topics include:
  • Adding fractal lighting effects Transforming images with lighting and color correction Using vignetting to set the scene Adjusting blur for a subtle change
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Fractal lighting

Now over time we have built a fairly large stock footage library of so called lighting clips that we can then quickly draw upon during the course of a job. If you have a camera and you are comfortable using tools like After Effects, you can also go out and shoot your own footage. Shoot it out of focus, slow it down in After Effects, colorize it, build your own library. And in fact, a lot of these clips are once that we've shot and released through Artbeats. They are called the Liquid Abstracts and Nature Abstracts. Finally, the great thing about a tool like After Effects is you can create some of your own lighting clips using some of these effects. Let me show you.

I am going to start with a blank composition. I'm going to add a Layer > New > Solid. Make sure it's the Comp Size. Click OK. I'll add Effect > Noise & Grain, either Fractal Noise or if you have After Effects CS4, Turbulent Noise. They are very similar. I'll use Fractal Noise. Now Fractal Noise creates these cloudy patterns. There is a few tricks to convert this into a suitable lighting layer. For one, I tend to lower the Complexity. Lower Complexity creates softer, more out of focus layers.

So as I go down, you can see we have something that's a bit more out of focus. The second thing is playing around the Transform. What we would like to do is turn off Uniform Scaling and then really scale it in one direction such as height or the width to go ahead and create streaks of lights rather than general overall clouds. Then finally, you need to animate the Evolution parameter and that's what will give you animated lights. The faster you animate Evolution, the faster your lights; the slower you animate it, the slower your light patterns are going to be. From there on, you can go ahead and play around with different Fractal Types, like the different Turbulent Types, different Noise Types to come up with different looks. But that's the basic trick. Lower Complexity, turn off Uniform Scaling, scale one dimension and then animate Evolution to create your lighting effect.

Now the last part of creating your own footage using Fractal Noise is creating your own seamless background loop using this effect. And by the way, you do need to use the Fractal Noise effect. You cannot use Noise & Grain > Turbulent Noise because it does not have this feature that I'm about to show you. Use Fractal Noise. To make Fractal Noise a seamless loop that you can render out and then treat as any piece of footage in any other program later on, you need to make its Evolution loop seamlessly. I'm going to go back to the very start of my composition. I'm going to start Evolution at a nice noble number like 0 degrees and then turn down the Evolution Options.

Inside here is this great trick called Cycle Evolution. It's what makes Fractal Noise loop seamlessly. I want to decide how many Cycles are in one full loop. Let's just say that I wanted to go 2 Cycles during the course of my seven second composition, so I'm going to say loop every two cycles, okay. Now I'm going to keyframe it and this is very important. So my first keyframe at 0 in time. For my second keyframe, I'll press N to go to the last frame of my composition. Then I'm going to press Page Down to go one more frame to seven seconds even. Now I'm going to say at that point in time, keyframe 2 Cycles of Evolution. That means at 2 Cycles, it will look exactly as it did at 0 Cycles because I have two cycles in my loop.

I also need seven seconds, one frame beyond the end of my comp, to look exactly the same as the first frame in my comp. A lot of people make the mistake of pressing End and putting their second keyframe there. The problem is that the last frame will look exactly like the first frame and you will end up with a hitch in the motion. This is the better approach. I am going to go ahead and RAM Preview. Renders relatively quickly and then when it starts playing back, you can see that this does indeed cycle endlessly when we get to the end.

And now you basically treat these things as your own footage that you can reuse in After Effects without having to render Fractal Noise again or hand off to an editor for them to lay end to end and use it as long as necessary in their own editing program. So that's how you can easily create your own lighting footage.

There are currently no FAQs about After Effects: Lighting Effects in Post.

Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects: Lighting Effects in Post.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked