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In After Effects CS3 Effects, Adobe Certified Instructor Chad Perkins explores the basic purposes and practical uses of each of the application's effects. He teaches in detail how to apply every native effect, covering 3D Channel effects, Blur & Sharpen effects, using channels for blending and reflections, color correction, distortion, particle systems, and keying. This training is essential for those who want to push After Effects CS3 to its limits. Exercise files accompany the course.
The Glow effect in the Stylize category is one of the most commonly used After Efects effects period and it's one of the ones that gives life to motion graphics the most often. Unfortunately, a lot of us have been poisoned by kind of growing up with Photoshop as Photoshop was kind coming into its own and we have kind of associated Glow with like a kind of cheesy outer glow. Well, glows can be so much more than that as the Glow here that we are going to cover in these movie shows. It does add a kind of cool glow and we will see that in example next, but one of the things that it does that's really cool too is it adds a glow to the inherent colors in the layer. So let's go ahead and add Glow to this lava.
You'll see instantly that it doesn't add a halo of outer glow, there is no alpha channel here, but it brings out the colors and enhances the contrast of what we are already seeing here. Now, the most important parameters in Glow are probably these top three right here; Glow Threshold, Radius and Intensity. Threshold basically determines what parts of the layer get glowed. And so I am going to take down Threshold, which allows more of the colors to have Glow applied to them. I will take this all the way up to 90 or so, we are really not getting too much glow at all.
So I am going to take this down quite a bit. And I realize this is really ridiculous. What I am going to do is take down the Glow Radius, which is basically the blur applied to the glow, so if I take this up a lot, it starts kind of getting so blurry, it's becoming like a haze, which can be helpful. But I want to take this down to something a little bit more modest, not all the way, a little bit like that. But now the problem is that the areas that it's blurring are good and the amount of blur good, it's just a little bit too bright. Well, that's where Glow Intensity comes in.
And you see that's a pretty fragile effect because it's already down to 1 by its default and that glow is a lot. So I mean if this were like up to 100, then we would know that we have some wiggle in room, but it's really, really sensitive. So if we take this down to maybe, I don't know 0.5. Then now we are starting to have a pretty awesome little glow, maybe a little bit less. At 0.4, you see a little dab will do you. Just a 10th of 1 makes a big difference. So now we could see the before and the after. Look at the life that this is brought to the image. It's just remarkable.
Oftentimes what I will do when I have say like some Fractal Noise fire or something else that I kind of want to bring to life, I will add wiggle expressions to some of these Glow parameters so that it just kind of appears to bubble in intensity. Now probably the other really important part of glow is these Glow Colors. Right now and by default, Glow Colors are set to glow the Original Color. So when it comes over an orange area and it glows the orange area, there is an orange glow. We could also have it choose A and B color, which are these colors right here. So we could actually choose what colors we want to have in our glow and we will do that in our next example. But I want you to be aware of this, I am not going to cover this really. But you could also choose an Arbitrary Map and this is just like the PS Arbitrary Map effect and there is a whole history with like Curves in Photoshop and how to save an Arbitrary Map and all that stuff. And if you are interested in that, you can click on the Options bar to load or open an AMP file, and it need PS Arbitrary Map file, I believe it's in the Color Correction section in this title I cover what a PS Arbitrary Map is and how to save one and load it and all that kind of stuff, and the same applies here to Glow.
Anyway, enough of that. I am going to move on to the More Glow composition. And basically we have here some simple masks, like really nothing super complicated here, just a bunch of scrutiny lines and then I applied the Vegas effect and that's where these little things are coming from. The Vegas effect is in the Generate category. So you could learn about that in this title if you are interested. And as I scrub this, these little lines kind of pop up like so. And basically, there is kind of like a glow in the background because all I did is I just duplicated these Vegas layers, put them in the background and I added some directional blur and I just increased the blur length, that's all I did.
Also, if you want to learn more about directional blur, there is a movie about that in the Blur and Sharpen area and so there is a movie on that. The thing is and I am just going to click here yo deselect. As beautiful as this is, it's not that beautiful, it's just not that cool, there is just not that much life to it. And we could probably tint it with something or what have you, but it needs a little bit more than that, and that's where Glow comes in. Glow is the ultimate thing to come in and just apply it one time and add color and life and all sorts of light energy to whatever else you've got going on. That's why it's such a great asset for motion graphic design.
So I am going to select our Adjustment Layer. I made an Adjustment Layer overall of these layers of Vegas and Blur. And on our Adjustment Layer, I applied Glow. And here are the settings that I used. I changed the color to orange for Color A, red for Color B and I made sure to change Glow Colors from the Original Colors, which wouldn't help us much here as it would basically be a black and white glow, to A & B Color, so that it would use these two colors. I have also adjusted the Glow settings. I have taken down the glow Threshold quite a bit so that everything gets Glow applied to it.
I have also increased the Glow Radius a lot so that we have a big blurry glow that covers the whole scene. And I have also taken up the Glow Intensity quite a bit. And when we- let me zoom in here so you get the full effect. And when we turn on our Adjustment Layer that has only one instance of Glow applied, we get a whole face full of color. Look at that. Look at how these just appear to burn, glow and there are just tons of light in the background, it just really has filled our scene with light and even more than that, just an electricity and just all these shades of colors. This is just so natural and wonderful looking. So I am going to zoom out a little bit. I will take the resolution to half and let's just do a quick RAM Preview of what we have here.
RAM Preview, let's go. Awesome. Just spectacular. Look at how the light, and just the colors, just fill the entire scene. And again, by way of contrast, here's this same exact thing without glow. We will just take off the Glow effect. And look at the difference, how drab and sad. And then with Glow, it's just amazing. And I think it's actually in my opinion, the Glow effect that makes the Distort effects so cool and powerful.
And in the Distort effect chapter, we look at basically twisting and taking solids and just kind of bending them or whatever, and that's really not that cool until you take into consideration what Glow can do. So you just make a little tiny simple solid and twist it or Wave Warp it or whatever, add a little Glow to it and voila, you've got some instant great looking motion graphics. Never underestimate the power of the Glow effect.
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