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This course was created and produced by Chris Meyer. We are honored to host his material in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Motion: Adding Lighting Effects in Post demonstrates how to use any version of Motion to easily add animated lighting effects to existing footage. Going beyond basic techniques, Chris Meyer shares his personal experience and uses many examples to teach the best way to select and fine-tune lighting clips to enhance a variety of underlying shots. He presents techniques for subtle enhancements that will help hold the viewer's attention while adding production value to virtually any shot.
Here's our trumpet player again and here's the lighting layer we'd like to add to it. The lighting layer has a nice diagonal orientation that more or less matches what's going on with the trumpet. The problem is that there's not a lot of contrast going on in this layer. So go ahead and apply it in something like Overlay mode. I just don't see that much lighting going on, not that much animation. I can try other modes such as Multiply or Color Burn, but there's just not enough contrast. So let's add some contrast to that lighting layer. I'll select it.
Apply Filter > Color Correction > Levels. I'll open up the Inspector for it and now with my Histogram, I can see that my lighting is only in a very narrow band of values. I'll bring down my input white to go ahead and boost the whites. I'll bring up my input black to go ahead and give more contrast. You can see what's happening in this upper-left corner here and it has a much stronger result on the trumpet player. Now, I actually see light and shadow playing across the trumpet. Now, this effect may be too much, but that's okay.
I can back it off, just have a little more subtle lighting playing across the bell of the trumpet, and I can go back to trying other modes such as Overlay. Now that I've got a layer that has full range of contrast, full range of gray values, I can go ahead and play around with other modes like Soft Light or Overlay and really see what's happening with lighting going on inside of this trumpet and across the guy's face. So increasing the contrast of your lighting layer is usually a good starting point. Then you can always just reduce the opacity as needed to blend-in the amount of the effect that you want. Now in addition to increasing the contrast of a layer, sometimes you need to just brighten the layer.
Let's go back to an earlier example we were playing around with. This woman in the office, turn off that lighting layer and just play her again. Again, fairly even lighting on the background and across her. We want to make this more interesting and exciting. We were playing with this lighting layer earlier. I'll turn it to Normal now so you can see it, give its full value. Since it's predominately white, I would be tempted to use this in Multiply mode where the white areas would let the original layer beyond molested and the dark areas would add shadows to the underlying layer. But the problem with Multiply mode is that layer does not go to full white. So as a result, I'm kind of darkening my overall scene. There's the original and there's with my light layer on top. It's adding actually too much shadow. Fine, let's go ahead and brighten up that layer.
Again, we're going to add Filter > Color Correction > Levels, look at my Histogram and start bringing down my input white so that I'm crushing out my white levels and I'm getting full illumination. Before, after. Now, I'm not losing any lighting on the background, but I do have some shadow play moving across the background, and a little bit across her face. So I brighten up this layer to be more effective by adding lights and shadows to the scene.
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