Join Amy Leland for an in-depth discussion in this video The Blend & Comp node in ConnectFX, part of Smoke 2015 Essential Training.
Now that we've used color correction as a way to explore the connect effect's work flow, we're going to start to get deeper into the tools you have inside of that area. Connect Effects is a very powerful compositing tool. We're going to look at some different types of composition you can do inside of that tool. The first thing I'm going to show you is a neat trick we have inside of connect effects for creating composited effect looks. We'll take one clip and apply multiple effects to it and then use Connect FX to decide how those effects will blend together.
I'm going to create a new sequence as always, I can right click on my sequences clip library and choose New Sequence or the shortcut Cmd N. And I'm going to call this sequence Blend and Comp. And create, and if you have other sequences open from earlier work you can close those if you'd like. What I'm going to work on with this first example of composting inside of Connect Effects, is taking a single clip and using a composite setup, to make a more complex overall look.
I'm going to continue to work with this same opening scene master. I have that clip still open in my source monitor, if you don't, you can select it in your clip library and again accept the normal ins and outs, and hit F10 to overwrite it into the timeline. And I'm going to hit Shift z to fit that timeline into my window. I'll then select that clip, and again either choose your FX button, right click on the clip or use the shortcut control tab to get your effects selector, and I'm going to choose create connect effects. So what I'm going to look at for this effect is how we can take multiple effects and blend them together.
I'm going to try to make a really neat animated look to this effect, so what I'm going to first place into this area is an effect we have called edge detection, so come to your node bin, remember you can scroll through the node bin to find it. You can hold your mouse over the node then and hit E to bring up just the effects that start with E, which in this case is just Edge Detect. And if this is something, you can save to another tab to find it more easily. But I'm going to choose this Edge Detect, hold down the Option key, and bring it up into the path. Edge Detect is a really interesting visual effect that creates a new look based on the edges of all the objects in the clip.
But there are some things we can change about it. To get access to it's controls, I'm going to double click it's node. One of the things that I like to do if I'm trying to create a bit more of a look is to use this option under edge effects that says double edge. What that does is it thickens all of the edge detections so you're getting a bit more of a look here. Right now, it almost looks like I have a version of my clip that was made out of neon or something, it's pretty cool. By default, what you get when you use the edge detect is a clip made out of just those edges. But if you'd like, you can actually those detected edges and the original clip together in a neat way.
In order to do that, I am going to change my result output over here, I'm going to click it to toggle it from edge only to result. It doesn't make a change yet because in order for me to see that result, I have to blend those edges down to the original clip behind them. That's where I come to this blending mode. I'm going to choose the blend mode subtract, whenever you're using blend modes I always recommend choosing some different ones and see how they turn out because the result of that blend will depend on the specific pixels being blended. But I'm going to choose subtract, and what I get is this sort of neat painted version of my clip.
I can also adjust the blend by adjusting this transparency value to give it sort of more or less of that painted look. So I've created kind of an interesting look here. I'm going to combine this edge detect look with a second visual effect to create a different overall look, so I'm going to come back to my fx nodes. The second effect I am going to add is a really neat one called stylized and I love this effect, it gives us access to a bunch of really interesting presets. This gives you a fast way to apply some really looks to your clips.
I could drag this stylized node into the schematic and connect it into the path between my edged attached and my results node and that would add those two effects together. However, it would add them together in a way that didn't let me control how they added together. So I'm going to do this a little bit differently, and you'll see some really cool stuff we can do inside of this connect effects. Instead I'm going to bring it into the schematic but not automatically connect it in. Instead I'm going to drag a connection from my clip to this stylized node and I'm going to double click that stylized node to get access to it's effect.
Now there's already a look that's applied, and like I said, the stylized node is largely about working with these presets. The preset menu is over here to the right, if I click the down arrow next to the presets, I will get a long list of all the available presets. If you happen to know what the exact preset is that you want to use, this might be great. You already have one that's a favorite and you know exactly what it's called, you can just grab it quickly here. But if you'd like to see what they look like, instead of clicking on that down arrow, I'll click on the actual Presets button and take myself to the Presets browser.
Now if I go into one of these categories, I'm going to go into this one called comic, you'll notice that I still see just a list that's not very helpful. Up at the top left of this browser is a button that says titles. If I click that to toggle, instead I get proxies, and now what I get is a little preview image of what a clip might look like with that effect applied. I can also navigate back up one level to see all of the categories, and I could either go back into another category, or I can also turn on this button that says scan subdirectories and see all of the presets at one time.
I'm going to choose this first impression as painting precept, but I want you to notice something, as soon as I click on that precept, I get this warning. Because stylize works with presets I can turn on a preset and then make adjustments to it. But if I go choose a new preset I will get this warning letting me know I'm resetting everything inside of that stylize node. That's totally fine, that's what I want to do I'll click confirm. And I've now made an impressionist painting out of my clip, but so far, I only have the option to see one effect or the other.
When you are navigating this schematic by the way, you can always click on different parts of the path to see how things are adding up. I can click on the original clip to see it without the effect and at this point in time I click on either the edge detect to see what that looks like or the stylized to see what that looks like. And at the moment my results look the same as the edge detect because that's the only path that completes all the way to the result node. I now need a node that will blend these two together. I'm going to go back to my FX nodespin and what I'm looking for is a very powerful effect called blend and comp.
What this note is going to let me do is bring these two effects in and then decide how they blend together. I'm actually going to go ahead and place the blend and comp in the already completed path that goes out the results. Now, something I want to point out about this blend and comp node, you notice it has two red inputs. What this means is I can connect two different streams into this one connecting node and blend those two together. So, I am going to click and drag from the output of my stylized to the second red input on my blend and comp and if I double-click the controls for my Blend & Comp, what I'm seeing is the result of those two effects blended together.
We still have more we can do with that, but it's already taken those two and turned them into one overall effect. So what you have with Blend & Comp are two separate sets of controls. Input one allows you to make changes to the first input on my effect detect. Input two allows you to make changes to the input from the second effect, my stylize. So you have an overall color wheel. So for instance I could take that impressionist painting I made with the stylize and maybe cool the color tones down a bit by dragging the color wheel toward cooler colors.
You can change the saturation, the color levels, the transparency you can make all kinds of changes to those individual layers. But the power of this blend and comp is this blend area over to the left, by default we're just adding them together as simple blend mode. But you'll notice under blend type, and this will be interesting for those of you with Photoshop experience, we can choose different blend types including. Photo shop, and what this gives me access to in the blend mode, is all of the different blend types that we have available to us inside of photo shop.
I'm going to choose soft light, and what I now have is a very interesting blended version of those two effects. Where my edges are sharp and brought out edge relief because of that edge detect, but there's als an impressionist sort of look from that stylized and I've blended them together in the way that I have chosen. With this blended look, I want to show you one last thing about navigation within this Connect Effect Schematic. I already showed you before how I can sort of walk through the Schematic. I can start at the original clip, I can see it with just the edge detect or just the stylized and I can step further forward to the Blend and Comp to see the combination of the two.
What if I wanted to get a chance to see my output without everything that's in the path involved? Let's say that, for whatever reason, I wanted to temporarily turn off the Edge Detect to see how that was affecting the overall image. If you select any node in your schematic, you'll notice that over to the bottom right of your screen you have a button that says bypass. If I click on bypass, you'll notice that the outputs on that node turn red and now if I select my final result I'm seeing only the effect from the stylize.
If you ever want to turn a node back on, you can select that node and turn bypass off. What this gives you the ability to do is look at your final result with something further back turned off, rather than only being able to see the effect path moving forward. So this blend in comp is an incredibly powerful tool inside of connect effects that will let you create blended looks. In very customized ways, I'm going to exit back out to the timeline. As we've seen in previous lessons, rendering in 2015 is greatly improved.
Even with Connect Effects, you can generally scrub through. You may even be able to play back, though you may see dropped frames or differences in playback quality. If you need to play it back smoothly and it's not playing back without rendering. You can't always select the clip and render it but you should be able to at least see your work. In the next lesson we're going to take the idea of compositing in Connect Effects even further and look at keying clips inside a complex Connect Effects scene.
- Creating a project and user
- Importing and organizing media
- Editing in the timeline
- Trimming in the timeline
- Connecting scenes with transitions
- Using timeline effects like 2D Transform and Action
- Color correcting
- Adding 3D objects to a scene
- Working with titles and 3D text
- Exporting your final project