Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Fractal lighting

From: After Effects: Lighting Effects in Post

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.

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects: Lighting Effects in Post
After Effects: Lighting Effects in Post

11 video lessons · 6803 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

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.


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.

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
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.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

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
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.