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After Effects: Natural Light Effects

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Introduction

How to make light look more realistic by adding natural-looking imperfections that also help with compression.
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  1. 17m 24s
    1. Introduction
      1m 7s
    2. Application
      8m 52s
    3. Synthetic Smoke
      7m 25s

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After Effects: Natural Light Effects
Video Duration: 0s 17m 24s Intermediate


View Course Description

After Effects: Natural Light Effects was created and produced by Trish and Chris Meyer. We are honored to host their material in the Online Training Library®.

Volumetric lighting effects, such as light rays and glows, are susceptible to two common problems: They can look too synthetic, and they are prone to banding when compressed for DVDs and the web. In After Effects Natural Light Effects,Chris Meyer shows how to make light look more realistic by adding dust or swirling smoke, creating natural imperfections that help with compression. He demonstrates how to do this using stock footage of this natural phenomenon or the After Effects Fractal Noise and Turbulent Noise effects.

After Effects


Hi, I'm Chris Meyer of Crish Design and I like to share with you some tricks to create more natural looking volumetric light effects. Now by volumetric lights, I mean things such as glows, light rays, anything where a visible light appears to be emanating from a particular object. Now there are lots of great plug-ins out there to create these effects, but they all tend to suffer from two major problems. The first problem is they are too perfect. The reason we can see visible light is because light is either bouncing off of or being blocked by particles of dust, smoke, water, or other things in the air. These particles tend to be swirling around or drifting slowly which adds some animation to the light.

Most of these plug-ins don't take that into account. Two, these effects tend to create perfect gradients of color as the light emanates away from an object. Unfortunately, perfect gradients when compressed for the web or for a DVD tend to show up with banding and posterizing and tend not to look very good. Well, this same trick that introduces those dust particles into the light, they also break up the banding. So let me go ahead and show you how it's done.

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