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Quizzler solution one: Pyrotechnic composite

From: After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control

Video: Quizzler solution one: Pyrotechnic composite

Our first Quizzler challenge is how to make a nice composite out of this simple background footage in this pyrotechnic foreground footage? Just to prove that this pyro has no Alpha channel, I'm going to solo it and use Transparency Grid. And you see, no alpha. Solid black layer. I'll turn off Solo. Now if you come from a video editing background, you maybe tempted to look for Effect > Keying > Luma Key. This is a way a lot of editors try to key out black.

Quizzler solution one: Pyrotechnic composite

Our first Quizzler challenge is how to make a nice composite out of this simple background footage in this pyrotechnic foreground footage? Just to prove that this pyro has no Alpha channel, I'm going to solo it and use Transparency Grid. And you see, no alpha. Solid black layer. I'll turn off Solo. Now if you come from a video editing background, you maybe tempted to look for Effect > Keying > Luma Key. This is a way a lot of editors try to key out black.

I'll apply it, start to determine the threshold, and start to eat away the black until I can see the symbol underneath. Let me tell you, this is not the preferred solution. No matter how much you tweak Tolerance, Edge Thin, and Edge Feather, you're going to end up with a black fringe and basically unsatisfactory details around the edge of this object. So don't use Luma Keyl instead use blending modes. I'm going to Toggle Switches/Modes, bring up my Mode panel, and then for the explosion on top I'm going to choose a mode that inherently brightens the composite.

When you choose something like Add, or Screen, or Color Dodge, anything that's black in the layer on top will have no effect on the composite and any pixels brighter than black will add to the layer underneath. I'll start with Add mode and that is result that I wanted. The black of the explosion is dropped off completely. No Alpha channel has been created. It's basically not adding any color values to the footage underneath. Then the color values of the rest of the explosion are added to the symbol footage.

And you can try other modes. Screen has a less severe look, Color Dodge tends to have a more interesting colorize look, but I'll go with Add. Now there is one other small problem here is that explosion is not lined up with where the stick is hitting the symbol. So to change that, I just need to pick up that footage and move it so that it does align. Of course now I have a problem that I don't have enough footage to cover the entire shot. My anchor point already exists at the center of the explosion. That's great.

I'll just press S for Scale and scale it up until I see that it's going to cover my entire frame. Now the layer is outside the layer boundary of this composition. Normally, it's a bad idea to scale this up pass 100% . That's why it's good to have a store of high-def footage around, but in a composite like this, you can get away with it. I'll RAM preview and there you go. The main point is don't always reach through things like keying effects when you need to composite layers. Blending modes is often one of your best tools to create composites, be it for motion graphics or for visual effects.

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Image for After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control
After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control

38 video lessons · 11977 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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  1. 3m 20s
    1. Overview
      1m 20s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 23m 19s
    1. Stacking and sliding layers
      5m 23s
    2. Trimming layers in the Timeline panel
      5m 45s
    3. Trimming in the Layer panel
      3m 31s
    4. Pre-trimming and inserting layers from the Footage panel
      3m 20s
    5. Slip editing
      5m 20s
  3. 12m 13s
    1. Applying sequence layers to footage
      4m 45s
    2. Using sequence layers with objects
      2m 14s
    3. Example: Sequence layers and photographs
      2m 20s
    4. Creating a new composition using sequence layers
      1m 35s
    5. Understanding the importance of layer order
      1m 19s
  4. 17m 20s
    1. Looping footage
      3m 15s
    2. Importing a sequence of still images
      4m 30s
    3. Using Time Stretch vs. altering frame rates
      3m 23s
    4. Frame blending
      6m 12s
  5. 19m 1s
    1. Overview of blending modes
      7m 5s
    2. Combining modes and effects
      4m 45s
    3. Why apply effects to solids?
      7m 11s
  6. 22m 2s
    1. Using the Effects & Presets panel
      5m 3s
    2. Applying presets
      5m 34s
    3. Working with behaviors
      3m 2s
    4. Creating and saving presets
      8m 23s
  7. 7m 55s
    1. Importing Photoshop files with layer styles
      4m 7s
    2. Applying layer styles inside After Effects
      3m 48s
  8. 9m 27s
    1. Using adjustment layers
      3m 17s
    2. Working with adjustment layers and alpha channels
      3m 14s
    3. Applying a filmic glow treatment
      2m 56s
  9. 6m 50s
    1. Quizzler challenges
      1m 16s
    2. Quizzler solution one: Pyrotechnic composite
      3m 7s
    3. Quizzler solution two: Sequenced fades
      2m 27s
  10. 11m 51s
    1. Idea corner one: Adjustment layer shapes
      1m 55s
    2. Idea corner two: Creating a traveling glass bar
      4m 12s
    3. Idea corner three: Creating sequences from filmstrips
      5m 44s
  11. 27m 23s
    1. Looping footage by crossfading
      5m 20s
    2. Working with effect point paths
      5m 12s
    3. Brainstorming
      7m 19s
    4. Working with pixel aspect ratios
      9m 32s

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