Join Mark Christiansen for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating lens blur with the After Effects camera, part of After Effects CS5.5 New Features.
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Camera lens blur is now automatically built into the After Effects camera. You can enable it simply by toggling on Depth of Field under the camera controls. Also added to the camera are a number of other properties that affect how the virtual lens behaves. This makes it fairly simple to create a compelling scene featuring shallow depth of field or even the out of focus look. Here I'm beginning with a 3D scene. As you know the After Effects camera only affects 3D layers. I'll create a camera by right clicking on the Timeline and choosing Camera.
I can toggle Enable Depth of Field on right here. I can also reveal it under the Camera options. Notice it's not immediately apparent that anything is really different in this scene. There are three main characteristics here that determine whether the scene is focused. Blur Level and Aperture work somewhat interchangeably and then of course the Focus Distance determines where exactly the focus is. We can get a better look at that by switching to 2 Views and I'm going to switch this one so that I can see the camera.
So as I adjust the plane of focus or the Focus Distance, you can see the plane moving and if I hold down the Shift key I can move it further. I will go back to 1 View so we can get a clear look here. Now, I can either raise the Aperture or the Blur Level. And let's make this pretty strong. So by raising either of these levels I can affect the amount of blur and by changing the Focus Distance I can affect where exactly the shot is in focus.
I can set the Focus Distance back to any object in the scene, including in this case I'll set it to these nebula+ particles by choosing that layer, plus the Camera, right-clicking on the Camera. This can also be done in the Layer > Camera menu and in either place I'll say Set Focus Distance to Layer. Now, if I check those settings again, the Focus Distance is set exactly to this element here. This time I'll raise Aperture until I really start to see the foreground and background area go out of focus and you can see really clearly that just that middle part is in focus.
So enabling depth of field for the After Effects camera is simple and it comes with all kinds of benefits that give a more realistic depth of field look than was available in the past.
- Adding smooth light falloff
- Using inverse square falloff
- Creating lens blur with the After Effects camera
- Working with Warp Stabilizer
- Recreating bokeh blur artifacts
- Creating rack focus
- Setting up stereo 3D
- Working with RED camera footage
- Saving preview time with disk caching
- Creating an orbit null