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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
No matter what your role is in the world of After Effects, you'll probably find yourself using glow quite often. Glow does a lot of stuff. If you're used to something like Photoshop where glow creates an outer glow around an object, it's kind of like a very 1990s look, still used, with tact, at certain places or whatever, but this glow effect in After Effects does much more than this. We are going to look at a couple of different examples here. Our first example is this cool footage. I love this shot. I love the colors. I love this biker guy. He's like silhouetted, just beautiful footage.
But what we want to do is exaggerate the beauty that's already here. So, we're going to do that with the Glow effect. Go to Effects and Presets, do a search for Glow, and you might have some animation presets that pop-up. But we're looking for the Glow that's in the Stylize category. So, I'm just going to grab Glow and drag and drop it onto my footage. Now glow is one of those effects that needs tweaking. So, I want to give you, basically some insight into the top three parameters here, the ones at the top. And these are the ones that you'll use most with the Glow effect.
The first one is Glow Threshold. As we take this down, we are increasing the amount of brightness that a picture will need to have to have glow applied to it. So, basically the higher the number, the less stuff gets glowed. If you had like a sparkle, like from diamonds, or in this case, maybe, like the sparkle of the top of the water. In those cases, if you just want to make those things come out a little bit more, you might want to set the Glow Threshold up pretty high. If you wanted to add, like a diffused glow, like a soft glow to everything in your in image then you'd want to take this down pretty low.
Now, before you start thinking that you will never use this because it looks so terrible, I'll just go ahead and click in this field and type in 70. That's the value we're going to use there. I realize this is still far too overdone. It looks terrible, but what we're going to do is we are going to take the Glow Radius up, and we are going to increase that value. The Glow Radius is the amount of blur applied to the glow. So, if we take this down to 0, you see that we basically have added glow to all these individual pixels, and they've kind of basically lit up. But it definitely looks better if we add a little bit of Glow Radius, and you could that that blur is being applied to the glow, and the glow is just kind of softening out.
In our case, we're going to click in Glow Radius and take this down to a value of 30. Now, I actually like the way this looked with a really high Glow value. That looked pretty sweet. So, if this the way you wanted to have things, that's totally cool and even then you can see the before, and the after - definitely much more full of life after. For me, this is still little heavy- handed, a little bit too intense, although I do like the way this guy seems to have a halo of glow around him, which is a very kind of realistic- looking effect. But still, I'm going to Glow Radius down to 30. Next, we have the Glow Intensity.
Now this really is the key. And it seems like it's set to a very low value of 1, but for this parameter 1 is actually a lot. So, if we took this down to like 0.3 - just type in 0.3 on your keyboard and hit Enter - you could see that this takes it down considerably. So, if you were to click and scrub on this, even a Glow Intensity value of a 10th of 1 value is still a lot. So, again, take is down to 0.3 and you'll see here that the result is much more of a nice, subtle glow. A subtle effect is what we're looking for.
And it almost seems like we didn't even do anything to it, which is actually usually when are processing an image, and you want to look realistic. That's what you're going for. You want to make it look like you're an invisible hand magically beautifying your images and that no one can tell what you did. So, you click the fx icon. Here is the before and after - what a difference. So, this is still very beautiful, but you add some glow, and it just adds a great additional beauty to what you already had. Now this is great, for example, for visual effects.
If you have a volcano or a fire or lightning or something like that, glow can really bring out the vibrance, the intensity of those colors. If you had a woman with some soft focus and some beautiful highlights in her hair, glow can exaggerate that as well. So, the possibilities are endless with this effect if we switch over to the More Glow composition. Another example of what you can do with Glow is to colorize motion graphics. So, this is kind of like this really intense look here. But if I turn off the visibility of this Adjustment layer, the top layer here, which I'll explain what these are later in this training series, but if you click that Eye icon, this is what the layers are initially- just some lines with some blur. And with one copy of the Glow effect, we bring this much life to it.
So, if we open up the Glow Effect, you could see that we have this really cool parameter here, Glow Colors. If you select Original Colors, which is basically the default setting, then it will take the colors, like we did with the Glow Start comp here, it took the original colors, and it added the glow based on whatever colors were originally there. In the case of the More Glow composition, our Original Colors were just black-and-white, so Original wouldn't have worked. So, we changed Glow Colors to A & B Colors, and then we changed Color A to orange and Color B to red, and that creates this cool kind of fiery glow.
So, in this case, we use the Glow Effect not only to add glow but also to add color. Glow is perhaps one of the most used effects in After Effects.
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