Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding flash bulbs with the CC Light Rays effect, part of Cinema 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects.
The last step in our stadium compositing process is going to be to add some flashbulbs going off in the background. What that's going to do for us is to really give this a big-time stadium feel, making the crowd actually come to life in the background and having them focus on the type after it hits. In order to do this, we're going to use a built-in filter that's going to create a flashbulb effect and we'll position that flashbulb randomly throughout the scene. So let's start off by making a new solid layer. I am going to go to the Layer menu and go to New > Solid, and this layer I want to be black.
So I'll click on the color swatch and drag it down here on the bottom-left to make it perfectly black. And I am going to rename this and call it Flash bulbs. And I want to make this the exact same comp size. So I'll click the Make Comp Size button and then hit OK. So that gives me a black solid that's on the top of my image right now. What I want to do is I want to go and add an effect. The effect that I want to use is called CC Light Rays. So the CC Light Ray effect is a built- in plug-in but I can't remember which submenu it falls under. So I am actually going to use the Effects & Presets search window to find it.
So if I go over here and click in the Search field by the magnifying glass, I am going to type-in Light rays, and there it is, CC Light Rays. If I double-click on this, it's going to apply itself to the layer that I have selected. So I double-click and then there is the CC Light Rays effect. So what I want to do is dial the Intensity up to about 150% and then I am going to uncheck Color from Source. And what that's going to do is the Color from Source button tries to draw the color from the source layer, and because our source layer is black, we couldn't see the effect. I am also going to change the Shape from Round to Square.
That's going to feel a lot more like an actual flashbulb going off. Then I want to rotate the Direction around a little bit. I don't want it to go straight up and down because I don't want it to look like a plus. I just want to have it just not quite where it was originally. And now I am going to dial the Radius up a bit because I want this to feel pretty heavy. I am going to bring it up in like the 60 range, 65 or so. There we go! I think that's looking pretty good. The next thing I want to do is I want this flashbulb effect to show up on top of my image and right now the black of the layer is blocking it out.
There's a couple of ways to do this but the way I am going to do this today is by making this into an adjustment layer. So if I go to my Switches and modes and toggle over my Switches, I can turn this Flash bulbs layer into an adjustment layer by clicking on this column right here. And that's all an adjustment layer is, is a solid that's been converted into adjustment layer. So now any effect you apply to it gets applied to the image down below. So any layers that are down below this layer get this effect. What I am going to do is drag this down below the Type and Phone Passes so that they actually show up behind them and they don't affect those two layers.
Now what I want to do is position these flashbulbs and right now it's only one but we're going to be creating more of them. So if I go to the Flash bulb's Center and I click on that, I get a crosshair. I am going to position this crosshair right about here. And now I don't want my flashbulbs to actually start happening until around frame 98 or so. But I am actually happened to be on frame 97 right now, but I am going to go one frame forward more than 98. So our type has actually already hit its mark and that's when I want the flashbulbs to start going off.
After the type hits its mark, the flashbulbs are going to start popping like crazy. So now what I do is I am going to go to the Flash bulbs, and I am going to set keyframes for Intensity and Center at this point in time. Then I am going to hit U on the keyboard and reveal the light rays. In this layer I want my lightbulb to actually show up in a different spot each time. In order to do that, I am going to be keyframing the position over time. But I want the actual bulb to feel like it's flashing on and then dying out slowly so the Intensity keyframes need to be a little bit skewed.
So if I back up one frame and I hit Page Up on the keyboard, I am going to do two things. I am going to set an Intensity keyframe of 0. That's going to make my flashbulb go away. I am also going to move the Center keyframe to this exact point. And then I am going to turn this into a Hold keyframe. The way I do that is by right- clicking on this and going to Toggle Hold Keyframe, and that sets this as a Hold keyframe. A Hold keyframe means that, the next keyframe I set, instead of doing a smooth transition from keyframe to keyframe, it's going to jump.
And I don't want to see my actual flashbulbs move over time; I want them to magically appear in different locations all over this image. So now I am going to go forward about maybe 6 frames or so, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. I am hitting Page Down on the keyboard by the way. And I am going to set my Intensity back to 0. So now what I get is I have the effect of this flashbulb popping on and then dying out slowly over time. So what I want to be able to do is to have these flashbulbs go off all over the background in this image.
In order to do that, I am going to be repeating these keyframes over and over again, probably about 7 or 8 times. Each time I do it I am going to move the position of the center of the light ray so that it shows up at a different place. Now that is going to take me a little bit of time to do and so rather than show you all that whole process here in the video, we're going to do a cross dissolve back to the finished keyframes. Okay. So now we're done with the keyframing process for the flashbulbs. So just to summarize what I did, I actually went through and randomized the position of these keyframes, just copying and pasting as I went, and each time I pasted down a new set of keyframes I changed the position.
Then I duplicated the layer and quickly offset the keyframes and then just changed the position of these layers so that I had more flashbulbs. The idea here is that we're using the keyframes as much as possible and only changing one keyframe each time, and that makes the process go a lot faster. So our stadium background is pretty much done. The last step in the process I want to do is a RAM preview. Now this is going to take a few minutes in order to actually generate this preview. So we're going to cross dissolve to the finished RAM preview. In order to do the RAM preview I am going to click on the RAM Preview button up here.
Before I do that though I am going to change my resolution from Full down to Half. That's going to give me a much faster RAM preview. So as I do that, I click on the RAM Preview button up here and then it's going to give me a green progress bar that's going to scroll across the top. Okay. So now you can see our RAM preview playing here and it is really looking cool. We've got excellent glow happening on our stadium background, we've got energy pulsing into the stadium platform that's going to be the impetus for the phone emerging out of it, and we've got those beautiful flashbulbs going off in the background, really, really kicking it up to the next level.
The animation compositing process is really about control and breaking your process down into manageable chunks. Our stadium was done just this way. By building it layer by layer we've created a background that's both flexible and looks great.
- Setting up a multi-pass render
- Batch rendering in CINEMA 4D
- Importing 3D elements into After Effects
- Creating and using precomps for compositing control
- Compositing 3D text in a dynamic 3D environment
- Creating a glow effect using Trapcode Starglow
- Using 3D layers to create masking effects
- Adding a flash bulb effect with CC Light Rays
- Adding glows and glints to type
- Creating a 2D camera shake effect using pre-comps
- Adding depth of field with the Lens Blur effect