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After Effects Classic Course: Colorama 1 – Overview

The last few posts have been about both the corrective and creative uses of color manipulation. Now it’s time to get purely creative with the most over-the-top color manipulation plug-in in After Effects: Colorama. 

This powerful effect is initially overwhelming, because it can do so much from sedate tinting to psychedelic color cycling. So let’s start with a gentle but thorough introduction to how it works, and then in the next two posts we’ll get into the mild and wild applications of it.

This movie previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making the movies from it available publicly for free. Click here for the playlist of previous movies we’ve made available.

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Post Production PVC Experts

After Effects Classic Course: Color Balance 2 – Creative

In the previous post, we showed how to perform traditional color correction duties using the Color Balance effect. In this one, we’re going to share some more creative applications, including teaming it up with the Hue/Saturation (discussed a couple of posts ago): 

This movie previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making the movies from it available publicly for free. Click here for the playlist of previous movies we’ve made available.

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Post Production PVC Experts

After Effects Classic Course: Color Balance 1 – Corrective

The Color Balance effect provides an easy yet powerful way to color-correct an image without diving into a full-blown color “looks” system. However, it’s long list of parameter names and lack of a visual user interface might initially be daunting. Let’s demystify them, while showing a workflow that will help you get the most out of the Color Balance effect:

This movie previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making the movies from it available publicly for free. Click here for the playlist of previous movies we’ve made available.

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After Effects Classic Course: Hue/Saturation vs. Color Balance HLS

In the previous post, we focused on the Hue/Saturation effect – but at the end, we briefly mentioned the Color Balance HLS effect which would seem to cover the same territory. Well, it actually has quite a different look. The following movie compares the two head-to-head:

Since we created those movies, a new effect appeared that we also like: Vibrance. Vibrance has a similar effect as increasing saturation, except that it never clips a color channel, meaning it keep a much better overall balance to the resulting colors with a less-obvious result. It’s a very simple effect, with just Vibrance and Saturation sliders and no tricks like selecting a specific color range to affect, but it’s useful when you need to bring just a little more life to an existing image or piece of footage.

This movie previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making them available publicly for free. Click here for the playlist of previous movies we’ve made available.

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Post Production PVC Experts

After Effects Classic Course: Hue Saturation Tips

After that run of movies on blur effects, now we’re going to turn our attention to color, starting with what was one of our most-used plug-ins: Hue/Saturation. You maybe used to just grabbing the Hue wheel or Saturation slider to alter an image, but there is so much more inside this simple effect, including the ability to target and modify just a specific range of colors, which is incredibly useful both for creative and corrective purposes:

This movie previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making them available publicly for free. Click here for the playlist of previous movies we’ve made available.

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Post Production PVC Experts

Classic Course: Lens Blur

Continuing our look at effects that take advantage of “blur maps”, the two movies below focus on Lens Blur. This effect is a much more advanced version of Compound Blur, rendering with higher quality while giving you more control over the blur as well.

After these movies were originally recorded, Adobe updated Lens Blur to a new effect called Camera Lens Blur. As part of this, the parameters were renamed slightly: 

  • the Depth Map Layer and Channel are now under the Blur Map section in Camera Lens Blur
  • the Iris Shape, Radius, Blade Curvature, and Rotation parameters are now grouped under the Iris Properties section, with some new parameters such as Diffraction Fringe to create even more realistic effects
  • the Specular Brightness and Threshold parameters are now under the Highlight section
  • the Noise parameters have been dropped

This first movie focuses on taking advantage of the iris properties, which don’t require a depth map:

The second movie focuses on the use of a depth map, including ways to fake one:

These movies previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making them available publicly for free.

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Post Production PVC Experts

Classic Course: Compound Blur

An important concept in After Effects is the idea of a “blur map”: a layer that tells you how to blur another layer. This is often used in compositing – often in conjunction with multi-channel 3d renders – to help you create a sense of depth by blurring areas that the camera’s not focused on. But it there are also a lot of creative uses for blur maps, as well.

The two movies below cover the original Compound Blur effect, which is a good introduction to the idea of how to use a blur map. The first movie focuses on how to put it to good use:

While the second movie focuses on its shortcomings:

At the end of that second movie above, we mention Lens Blur as a better alternative to Compound Blur. Therefore, that’s the effect we’re going to feature next week.

These movies previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making them available publicly for free.

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Classic Course: Compound Effects

The next couple of blur effects we want to show you look at the contents of a second layer to decide exactly how to blur the layer that they are applied to. Before we got into that, we thought it might be wise to first go over exactly how compound effects work, as they can initially be confusing. We also touch on pre-composing, which is another “next level” skill to learn in AE:

We’ve covered compound effects before here on PVC; for example, click here to read a few tips on compound effects from our Hidden Gems series.

These movies previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making them available publicly for free.

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Classic Course: Smart Blur

Smart Blur – along with Bilateral Blur, which we discussed back in January – was originally created to help blur out flaws in an image (such as dust, grain, skin flaws, etc.) while maintaining detail in transitions such as the outline of the image or features in it. It’s a powerful tool that includes the ability to show you where it found the edges it’s planning on preserving, helping you fine-tune the effect that much faster:

However, blurs have tons of creative uses as well, and Smart Blur is no exception. In this second movie, we show you a number of different possibilities to have Smart Blur stylize your images, ending with an example of Chris using it to create fine art:

These movies previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making them available publicly for free.

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Classic Course: Directional Blur

After Effects has long supported the ability to calculate motion blur of layers animated inside AE. However, that could add a lot of time to your renders. Therefore, some users liked to “cheat” by applying blur effects to layers to simulate the blur of motion – or to add that impression to pre-rendered layers that are not animating inside AE. 

Last week we shared some of the Radial Blurs in After Effects; this week we’ll focus on Directional Blur. As is often the case, effects like these can be used in creative ways in addition to mimicking reality.

These movies previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making them available publicly for free.