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In this course,, visual effects guru Mark Christiansen covers the relevant new features of After Effects CS5.5, including the new Warp Stabilizer, 3D Stereoscopic workflow, and Lens Effects tools. The course also covers light falloff enhancements and workflow improvements in this release.
The initial results with Warp Stabilizer can seem so seamless and almost magical, you might easily overlook the fact that you do have options to tune and customize that result. Let's take a look at some of the features in the Warp Stabilizer effect to do just that. If we compare the before and after on this shot, and we can do that just by toggling the effect on and off, you will see that the shot is scaled quite a bit. In fact, if we look over here in the effect you will see that the Auto-scale value is a little bit over 115%.
In the visual effects world that's often considered a no-no. You're really not supposed to scale up a shot at all, and if you do, you generally try to avoid scaling it up more than a few percentage points. However, in this case, the tradeoff might be worth it. You might not notice the shot getting particularly soft and you certainly would notice if it's bouncy. But is there a compromise point? Well, certainly there is. Let's take a look at some of the options. Looking under the Stabilization category here, there are two types of result possible.
No Motion isn't really an option here. That's locking off the shot. We will get to that in a different lesson. But you can reduce the amount of Smoothness. In fact, you could take it all the way down to 0. You will see the orange banner and it's just redoing the second phase of the analysis, where it stabilizes the shot. Now, the question is, is this exactly the same as what you started with? Well, clearly not quite, because Auto-scaling is still above 100%. Let's take a look at the result.
(Bicyclist: Down tubes and seat stays, those are all different in 2010. That's how they got a more compliant?) So although that isn't identical to the original shot, it certainly still has a lot of the original lumpy bounciness that we were trying to get rid of. 0 is not an option. There might be an in- between value that would work. The thing about that is the advantage might not be so great. If 40% Smoothness only saves us a percentage point or two in the amount of Auto-scaling, is it really worth it? It might be better to look at other options.
By default, Warp Stabilizer actually warps individual pixels in the image. That means it changes the image. It doesn't have to do that. You can in fact choose, for example, just to change the Position and let me change the Smoothness back to the default 50%. (Bicyclist: Down tubes and seat stays, those are all different in 2010. That's how they got a more compliant?) That result scales the image less, but it really hasn't done as effective a job of smoothing the shot.
You can see how much other motion is occurring in the shot besides what you can cover with a basic Position Stabilization. In this case we might have better luck with Perspective as a compromise or perhaps Position, Scale, and Rotation. They're going to be almost identical, because there's very little perspective shift in this shot. The shot is basically pointing in one direction the entire time. Auto-scale is not as high as it was and the result looks like this.
(Bicyclist: Down tubes and seat stays, those are all different in 2010. That's how they got a more compliant?) So for the most part the shot is nearly as smooth without Warp Stabilization in this case, as it would be with it. However, there are a few little things you can fix. Those will be covered in a different movie. There is a whole different way to approach this. I am going to take this back to Subspace Warp and under Framing I'll choose Stabilize, Synthesize Edges.
Notice that Auto-scale is now grayed out and it has gone to 100%. After Effects is now going to attempt to fill in the gaps with information from surrounding frames. So instead of scaling up the frame in order to cover the areas where it was stabilizing, it's now going to actually try to add pixel data. Let's take a look. This may take a little longer to preview, so we will just skip to the result. (Bicyclist: Down tubes and seat stays, those are all different in 2010. That's how they got a more compliant?) This Synthesize Edges option leaves the scaling at 100%.
You can see some oddness happening, particularly toward the left of the frame. And if there's only a small amount of it you could argue that you could get away with a certain amount of what you're seeing. There is this Additional Scale option to just zoom up slightly past whatever's causing your problem. You even have the option of giving this a negative value, if you want to see what Synthesize Edges is actually doing. So here you see the edges of frame that are being rebuilt.
So you can see that even though we started with a result that was pretty great automatically, there are plenty of options to refine the results and those can make the application perform better, reduce the amount of scaling applied, or even fabricate new edges for the clip while leaving the scaling right at 100%.
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