Learn it fast with expert-taught software and skills training at lynda.com. Start your free trial

By Scott Fegette | Thursday, June 04, 2015

5 Amazing Visual Effects from Mad Max: Fury Road

mad-max-hero

“Mad Max: Fury Road” ends a 30-year hiatus in George Miller’s wildly popular post-apocalyptic Mad Max movie series, and if one thing’s obvious after three decades, it’s that visual effects have come a long, long way since 1985.

The movie’s popularity is largely due to its non-stop, breakneck-speed action sequences featuring seamless visual effects that immerse you in the dystopian world of Mad Max.

Here are my five favorite types of visual effects in Fury Road—an amazing cornucopia of “modernized” photographic techniques and cutting-edge 2D and 3D digital effects orchestrated by visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson. If you’re interested in taking a shot at a few of these techniques yourself, I’ve included links to lynda.com courses that can help get you started.

By Steve Grisetti | Friday, March 27, 2015

HitFilm 3 Pro: Blasts, Bursts, and Booms for All Skill Levels

hitfilm 3 pro

If you’re relatively new to special effects, you may be most comfortable working with grab-and-drop preset effects. Or you may be more of a do-it-yourselfer, preferring deeper settings and advanced levels of customization.

Whatever your comfort level, HitFilm 3 Pro will meet you there—and accompany you as deep as you want to go.

For those who like working with presets, the program comes bundled, for instance, with a surprisingly specific library of ready-to-go gunfire blasts—from small arms to laser beams and from shotguns to Uzis. And for expert users, the program is fully equipped with tools for creating blasts, bursts, and explosions from scratch, with dozens of emitter, core, force, and particle controls.

Let me show you!

By Chris Meyer | Friday, August 23, 2013

Editing and Animating to Sound

Editing and Animating to Sound in After Effects

Although I’m primarily known as an Adobe After Effects user and motion graphics artist, my background is in the music industry. Over the years I’ve found a sympathy for sound to be a big benefit to video professionals: timing animations to your project’s sound increases the impact of your visuals. Inversely, strictly focusing on the visual elements of your edits without serving the sound can distract the viewer, and dilute the overall impact.

I’ve recently distilled years of experience creating visuals to sound into a two-and-a-half-hour video course of exercises and real-world examples, Editing and Animating to Sound in Adobe After Effects. I start with the basics of learning how to “read” an audio waveform to spot the timing of beats in music, and then cut video, build animations, and even drive effects using the audio in your project. I also include a list of “magic tempos” you can hand to musicians so they can create a soundtrack at a speed that makes editing and animating easier.

By Mike Rankin | Thursday, January 12, 2012

InDesign FX: Exploring the Satin effect

InDesign’s Satin effect allows you to blend colors by combining objects that act like two inner shadows. By default, where the shadows intersect, they knock each other out, creating a kind of highlight.

InDesign's Satin effect blending colors

You can also invert the effect so a shadow is created only where the inner objects overlap. You can change the position of the objects and apply a blur to blend the colors.

InDesign's Satin effect creating shadow only where the inner objects overlap

The effect can be somewhat like beveling, but with intricate shapes, the highlight can zig-zag to follow all the edges of the shapes and create complex blends that you cannot make any other way in InDesign.

In this week’s video, I will show you how to simulate flames by combining a number of effects including Basic Feather, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, and the real key to capturing the shifting nature of flames, the Satin effect. Here’s a comparison of the flames with and without Satin:

Flames with and without Satin effect

You can see that without Satin, the flames are filled with a plain old linear gradient, but adding Satin introduces a randomness that completes the effect in a very satisfying way. I also show how Satin can help you make ice as well as fire:

Ice made with Satin effect

Expect that it may take a little while to get the hang of using Satin, and remember that a little bit of Satin goes a long way as it’s easy to overdo the effect and create something gaudy. My advice is to be subtle when using Satin. Use it in combination with other effects. Keeping the opacity low, blend with dark colors, and match the Size and Distance values for a good-sized blur. Then try it on some complex shapes to test the unique power of Satin.

For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week in the Online Training Library® that discusses Exploring Gradient Feather Settings, including how to use gradient feather to enhance a shiny reflective effect, like the one seen here:

Exploring InDesign's Gradient Feather Settings

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

Interested in more? • The complete InDesign FX course • All InDesign courses on lynda.com • All courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next: • InDesign CS5 Essential TrainingInDesign SecretsInDesign Styles in Depth• Photoshop for Designers: Color

By Mike Rankin | Thursday, December 22, 2011

InDesign FX: Creating metallic chrome effects

In this week’s free-to-all InDesign FX video, I show how you can use gradients to create different chrome effects. A shiny metallic chrome effect is a great demonstration of the powers of a simple gradient fill like this one:

InDesign chrome gradient fill

I’ll show you how to use a linear gradient to create a convincing chrome look in any InDesign object or live text with as few as four color stops. There’s no need to invoke InDesign’s transparency effects at all. The key is to simply drag the gradient stops very close together, so they’re nearly touching, to create a point somewhere in the gradient where colors shift abruptly.

Setting InDesign gradient stops close

When gradient stops rub elbows, an abrupt change in color happens, and that is what creates the illusion of chrome. Most commonly chrome gradients include some blue to represent a reflection of the sky, and some brown or black to represent a reflection of the ground, but feel free to take this idea and run with it. Experiment with various tints and colors to make your own chrome gradients, and remember, you can click and drag with the Gradient tool to apply your chrome gradient over any length and at any angle of your choosing.

If learning chrome effects doesn’t satisfy your shiny-object wishes, I have another new video this week exclusively for members of the lynda.com Online Training Library® called Creating Glass and Plastic Effects. Here’s an example of the glass effect discussed in the member-exclusive course:

InDesign glass effect

Happy shiny-object Holidays from InDesign FX. See you here again in two weeks!

Interested in more? • InDesign FX complete course • courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library® • courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®

Suggested courses to watch next: • InDesign CS5 Essential TrainingInDesign SecretsDesigning a Newsletter Hands-On WorkshopPhotoshop for Designers: Layer Effects

By Mike Rankin | Thursday, December 08, 2011

InDesign FX: Simulating multiple strokes in InDesign

If you’ve ever wished you could apply more than one stroke to an object in InDesign, then this week’s free InDesign FX video is for you. While there is no way to trick InDesign into applying more than one stroke at a time to an object, it is easy to create custom-stripe stroke styles (try saying that three times fast!) that give the appearance of more than one stroke. In the video, I show how to create a custom inset stroke-style by starting with the Triple stroke and simply removing the outer stripes you don’t want. In the example below, I made a custom stroke based on Triple, and then simply deleted the two outer strokes in the New Stroke dialog box. The result is an inset stroke, held in place because it started out as the innermost of three strokes.

InDesign Triple stroke simulating a double stroke

I also show how to use InDesign’s Gap Color and Gap Tint settings to make multi-colored strokes using solid color swatches or gradients. The Gap Color controls are key for simulating multiple strokes and they are easily overlooked because they’re not in the Swatches panel. You’ll only find them in the Stroke panel. I’m especially fond of using gradients to create a metallic look in striped strokes, as I’ve done here by setting the Gap Color to black and the Stroke color to a metallic swatch:

InDesign metallic-look striped strokes

A double-stripe stroke is great for simulating a photo frame and matte combination, like the one below. In this instance, I also applied an Inner Bevel to the stroke to make the frame look like it was made of four separate pieces:

InDesign double-stripe stroke effect

For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week exclusively in the Online Training Library® that demonstrates even more ways of simulating multiple strokes. It’s called (wait for it…) Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 2. Here’s a preview of one of the effects:

Multiple strokes InDesign simulation: Postage-Stamp Look

So, if you don’t want to settle for InDesign’s single stroke per object limitations (or wait for an Illustrator-like Appearance panel in some future version of InDesign), you can trick InDesign into simulating multiple strokes by tweaking the existing stroke styles today.

I’ll see you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

Interested in more?

InDesign FX complete course • courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library® • courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®

Suggested courses to watch next: • InDesign CS5 Essential TrainingInDesign SecretsInDesign Styles in Depth

By Mike Rankin | Thursday, November 24, 2011

InDesign FX: Exploring Inner Shadow settings

Using shadows to create a sense of depth in a design can really bring it to life and make it pop. Most often you might employ effects like Drop Shadow or Bevel and Emboss to make elements seem like they’re lifted up off the page (or screen). But you can also add depth by going in the opposite direction, down into a design, with the help of the Inner Shadow effect. In this week’s video I show how to use the settings in the Inner Shadow dialog box to make it look like objects are sitting at a lower level than their surroundings.

Example of inner Shadow used to make an object appear lower than its surroundings

Inner Shadow can also be very effective for making text seem like it’s cut out of an object.

Example of inner shadow used to make text appear cut out

In the video, I also show how to apply a big, soft inner shadow to give a more subtle sense of dimension to something like this envelope.

Envelope with big, soft inner shadow to give it subtle dimension

We tend to think that lighter objects are closer than darker objects, so darkening the edges of the envelope just slightly makes the middle of the envelope seem to puff up toward the viewer.

For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week exclusively in the Online Training Library® that explores Drop Shadow settings, including how to add noise to an object, like I’ve done to this object below:

Object with noises added by InDesign Drop Shadow settings

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

Interested in more?InDesign FX complete course • Courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library® • Courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®

Suggested courses to watch next:InDesign CS5 Essential TrainingDesigning a Magazine Layout Hands-On Workshop • InDesign CS5 New FeaturesInDesign Secrets

By Mike Rankin | Thursday, November 10, 2011

InDesign FX: How to create a Polaroid picture effect

Say cheese! In this week’s video I show how to make a photo look like it was taken with a Polaroid instant camera.

Example of InDesign Poloroid project creation

The key to the effect is using Directional Feather to create an unequal stroke around the photo, where the bottom stroke is much thicker than the stroke on the top and sides. This is not only a fun exercise, but it’s also useful for learning about two important (and somewhat obscure) Effects dialog box settings: Choke, and Shadow Honors Other Effects.

The Polaroid effect is also useful for illustrating how your scaling preferences affect your effects. In General Preferences > Object Editing > When Scaling, you have two choices: Apply to Content, and Adjust Scaling Percentage.

Example of Object Editing options in InDesign

Apply to Content essentially tells InDesign “don’t scale FX.” No matter how large or small you scale an object, its FX remains fixed in size. So in this case, the width of the Directional Feather doesn’t change along with the photo and you get undesirable results. However, if you choose Adjust Scaling Percentage, your FX will scale along with the object. So the width of the Directional Feather stays in proportion to the photo and all is well.

Example of Adjust Scaling Percentage in InDesign Poloroid project

After you get the hang of the Polaroid effect, you can try this bonus technique (not shown in the video). Place a large photo on the page, arrange several empty Polaroid frames on top of the photo, then cut the photo and use the Paste Into command to paste it into each Polaroid frame.

Poloroid picture project created with InDesign

For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week focused on creating metallic strokes, like the ones you see below. This video, and the entire InDesign FX series, can be viewed any time from the lynda.com Online Training Library®.

Metallic strokes created with InDesign

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

Interested in more?the entire InDesign FX series in the Online Training Library®courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®

Get the latest news

  •   New course releases
  •   Pro tips and tricks
  •   News and updates
  
New releases submit clicked

You can change your email preferences at any time. We will never sell your email. More info

Featured articles

A lynda.com membership includes:

Unlimited access to thousands of courses in our library
Certificates of completion
New courses added every week (almost every day!)
Course history to track your progress
Downloadable practice files
Playlists and bookmarks to organize your learning
Start your free trial

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.