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- Making precise selections using the Color Range command
- Controlling reference material through layer masks
- Creating custom brushes
- Painting snow, icicles, and trees
- Painting through a high-contrast matte
- Replacing the sky in an image
- Animating smoke and falling snow
- Reformatting and rendering a scene in After Effects
Skill Level Intermediate
No wintertime scene is complete without falling snow, so let's add that using an effect. First let's create a mew solid, so I go up to Layer > New > Solid. Then choose a completely black color. Now add an effect to this new solid. In the top menu, choose Effect > Simulation. Then choose CC Snow, a standard effect in After Effects CS5. In CS6, the effect has been renamed CC SnowFall.
As you can see, it added little particles of snow. It also blocked out the entire scene, so you need to set the Transfer mode to Screen. If mode isn't showing up in your Timeline, go to the upper-right corner of the Timeline and click on the dropdown menu. Then choose Columns and make sure Modes is checked. Now you have animated snow falling on the scene. I think the size of the flake should be larger, so raise Flake Size to around 3.
That's starting to work. The speed of the flakes looks about right; however, it shouldn't start snowing until around frame 100. You control how much snow as appearing by changing the Amount setting. So about frame 100, I am going to keyframe the Amount to 0. And then at frame 150, let's really have it snow. I'm going to dial this up to around 2000, so now it starts to snow and then the Winter landscape slowly appears.
Next, let's locate and turn on the BlueMultiply layer and the DuskSky to match. I want both the dusk version and the sky to start appearing together. Select the DuskSky layer, hit T for Transparency to solo the Opacity property. Set a 0% keyframe around frame 250 and then set a 100% keyframe around frame 300. Now the DuskSky animates on over 50 frames.
Select the BlueMultiply layer and solo the Opacity, set a 0% opacity keyframe around frame 250, move 100 frames forward to around frame 350. That automatically sets a new keyframe for you. On that frame, I am going to dial the Opacity up to 80%. Looking at it now, I think I want the DuskSky to fade on at the same rate as the BlueMultiply layer, so I am going to move that 100% opacity keyframe to frame 350.
Now the sky fades on over 100 frames. The DuskSky still needs to be animated, so I'm going to set up a position keyframe for where the sky first clears the left side, and then move that keyframe to the place on the Timeline where the sky first appears, and where it's set to 0 Opacity. And then move to frame 500 and move the sky to the left. Now I am going to scrub through it, and I want to see that the motion of the dusk sky fairly closely matches the motion of the daytime sky.
That looks pretty good. It would be nice if the snow stopped falling as dusk falls on the chalet. That will allow us to concentrate on the lights coming on and the glow on the landscape. So I'm going to click on that black solid that has the Snow filter on it. Then I am going to open up the properties for the CC Snow effect and set a keyframe for Amount around frame 300, and then a very low-amount keyframe at around frame 350, then find and turn on the Orange Overlay layer.
I want what the Orange Overlay layer to appear as dusk starts to fall but obviously not in the daytime version. Now press T to solo the Opacity property. Set a 0% opacity keyframe at around frame 300 and a 100% opacity keyframe at around frame 400 so that the orange glow fades on over 100 frames. Then move to frame 500, since we want the orange glow to disappear as the sun sets, and set a 0% opacity keyframe there so that it completely fades away.
We need to set two more keyframes for the BlueMultiply layer. One goes at frame 400, so we'll remain at 80% Opacity, and then at frame 500, it should be at 100% Opacity, as night falls on the chalet. Next up, we're going to light the windows one at a time, then animate the smoke using a displacement map.