View Full Version : [After Effects] AE Toolbox 2: Cool Effects for Specific Shots

01-11-2011, 02:49 AM
Hi there. Whether you've gotten here through a generic site search or through this thread (http://www.fanedit.org/forums/showthread.php?4363-Hebrides-s-Box-o-Tutorials-%28mostly-AE%29), welcome.

In this thread, you'll find some of the tutorials I've stumbled across on various sites that I have found to be, or hope to find to be, most useful for creating cool effects for specific shots. I hope they help you too!

Note: This thread is going to be more of a grab bag than most of the others in the Box O'Tutorials. It may not be as useful to those of you who want to learn the nuts and bolts of working in After Effects. If you really want to master a specific technique, you may learn about it here, but not in as much depth as in the other threads.

If, however, you already know how to use AE and want to learn a new trick or two, or if you're just dabbling to achieve that one shot your edit desperately needs, this may be the place for you. Good luck, and have fun!

01-11-2011, 02:52 AM
That VHS Look (http://www.fanedit.org/forums/showthread.php?4384-That-VHS-Look) by Tubes.

A lot of people have tried, with varying degrees of success, to clean up old VHS footage to make it look more like digital. But what if you want to do the reverse?

This tutorial by our own Tubes explores how to make digital footage look like an old videotape using MPEG Streamclip and Final Cut Pro. Tubes suggests this as an option for grindhouse edits, but I could also see this working for "TV" edits a la Tranzor, Predator Chronicles, the Twilight Zone Planet of the Apes edit, or Mollo or bionicbob's Star Trek edits.





01-11-2011, 02:53 AM
How to Blend and Bend Time (http://library.creativecow.net/articles/stern_eran/Time_FX/video-tutorial.php) by Eran Stern. This tutorial uses two built-in After Effects plugins to simulate objects and people passing by a static and central point of focus over time (in this case, Eran Stern's face).

It's good for emphasizing the passage of time, as in a time travel or dream sequence, or to create a more emotional sense of the world passing someone by. In other words, it can work for shots that have a sci-fi or mystical/magical component or for more introspective shots with an indie film feel. I'm sure there are other uses too.


01-15-2011, 03:17 AM
Creating Custom Shatter Maps (http://library.creativecow.net/articles/toula_jesse/Custom-Shatter-Maps/video-tutorial) by Jesse Toula, because let's face it -- sometimes you just want to break something. This is a great tutorial that teaches you how to go beyond the standard shape maps that come with After Effects when using the shatter effect.

While those standard shapes are great for what they do, they're pretty recognizable and, just like with any other presets, they work better as a base for an effect rather than a final effect. Unless you really need a brick wall to shatter, for example, you'd probably do better -- and come up with a cooler effect in the long run -- if you stay away from the standard brick map.

It's possible to make custom maps in Photoshop or similar programs, but this tutorial is particularly cool because it shows you the possibilities for creating custom maps without ever leaving After Effects. The tutorial covers a lot of ground in a very short time, including random shatter maps using fractal noise, placing logos within shatter maps (good for custom credits and "production companies," among other things), and using gradients to control the center of a shatter map. It also includes very brief but useful info about using virtual cameras in After Effects.

Note: The tutorial focuses on shattering a red solid, but it should work equally with other things too. The key is to have whatever you want to shatter in a single layer. Then apply the shatter effect to that layer, and make sure the shatter map is the layer below the affected layer. It should be possible to have a layer, or perhaps many layers, underneath both the affected layer and the shatter map layer; these background layers would then be revealed as the top layer shatters.

For some really complex compositing, it should also be possible to have multiple layers shatter at different times by using multiple shatter maps and then playing around with keyframes and/or positioning the layers along the master timeline in the work area.

In other words, this technique may be really simple, but it could lead to some pretty powerful and complex results.



Remixed by Jorge
01-19-2011, 02:55 PM
Cool tutorial for all LOST faneditors. This one is by Seth Worley. He shows you how to create your own SMOKE MONSTER!
good for all those naked scenes in LOST. Now the tutorial is very advanced but you could do as i do which is follow along and start and stop.
Once you learn youll be able to do this:


Here's the TUTORIAL (http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/videos/redgianttv-video.php?id=60)

01-19-2011, 05:33 PM
Very cool, Jorge! I never really got into LOST, but this has a lot to offer just about anyone: color correction, masking, compositing, etc., etc. Thanks for posting this!

Remixed by Jorge
01-19-2011, 09:51 PM
Very cool, Jorge! I never really got into LOST, but this has a lot to offer just about anyone: color correction, masking, compositing, etc., etc. Thanks for posting this!
and for you, you gotta love what camera tracker (http://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/cameratracker/training/) can do for that price.
Tell me you're not excited? tell me, tell me, tell me.

01-19-2011, 11:53 PM
Oh, I am...and I already got it ;-)

01-20-2011, 05:20 PM
I knew I'd seen this before, but I'd forgotten where until now. Here's a tutorial that could work as a very cool companion to That VHS Look (http://www.fanedit.org/forums/showthread.php?4384-That-VHS-Look) by Tubes.

It's Rewind Your Animation Like an Old VHS Tape (http://ae.tutsplus.com/tutorials/motion-graphics/rewind-your-animation-like-an-old-vhs-tape/) by Jason Moore on ae.tutsplus.com. More screenshots to follow in a bit.


01-27-2011, 02:01 AM
Here's a very cool tutorial by Ran Ben Avraham at ae.tutsplus.com called Grow From Young to Old in 2.5 Seconds (http://ae.tutsplus.com/tutorials/vfx/grow-from-young-to-old-in-2-5-seconds/) .

He uses planar tracking, masking, and a still photo to turn a young woman into an old one. Could be very cool for a science fiction or fantasy edit (think Dave Bowman aging quickly in 2001 or a "beautiful" young witch turning out to be an ugly old one), or for a death scene kind of like Donovan's in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Even if you don't want to do the transition between the two, it could still be useful if you've got the exact footage you're looking for of a particular actor, but he's too young in the shot as-is to be put into your edit.

The effect in the preview isn't perfect, but if the footage were color-corrected and re-lit, I think it could be more than passable, at least in moderation. And if you are working with footage featuring the same actor at a younger age, working off a reference photo of the older actor's own lines/jowls/etc. could really help sell the shot.

Be sure to check out the comments, particularly one from CGTuts and AETuts contributor Chandan Kumar about how the effect could be made even better.

Note: this tutorial requires both AE and mocha, a planar tracker that comes bundled with AE CS4 and above. If you're still on CS3, you can download mocha from the Imagineer Systems website (for a fee).

Preview clip:




01-27-2011, 03:10 AM
Here's one Rogue found on creating a Technicolor (http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=18718497) look in AE.

There are several third-party plugins, like Magic Bullet Looks, that can emulate two and three-strip film processes with varying degrees of success. Those processes are the foundations of Technicolor. This tutorial, though, tries to create a Technicolor look using only the plugins that came with AE.

As with many things that evolve out of forum discussions, it's a little tough to figure out who originally came up with the method, but it seems like DVEditor at theforce.net put it together into tutorial form.

I've tried it for KOTCS, and it didn't look quite right. However, once I played around with saturation, decreasing it instead of increasing it, it worked pretty well for emulating a 70-80s film look. It definitely looked better than Janusz Kaminski's original color palette, at least in the shots I tested it on (diner and college town chase). I'm not using this look for my final edit, but it was definitely interesting.

Also, here are some things Rogue himself noticed that were lacking in this effect, and I think he's right; this tutorial gets us most of the way, but not all the way there:

This week i realized somthing is missing in achieving the technicolor look. Its one thing to get the colors like technicolor, another to emulate fine grain as i'm sure that would be desirable too (it is to me) but there something else required, two things actually now that i think of it.
1: smoldering hot/bright set lights that seem to create a soft glow at times and give the actors eyes a unique shine.
2: that soft but detailed look that is somehow sharp (i'm sure you know what i mean).

I'm not sure how to implement Rogue's suggestions, and neither is he, so if anyone has any ideas, feel free to reply to this post! :)

ETA: The tutorial's text-only, so no screenshots from it this time.

However, here's a sample of the test I did on KOTCS. I didn't include the final step here, which involved desaturating by about 19 percent, but then desaturating isn't part of the tutorial, so...

Kaminski original:


Faked RGB strips:


Combined three-strip shot:


04-05-2011, 01:57 AM
Man, it's been a while since I last updated this! Part of the reason for the delay is that I've been waiting for a very special tutorial.

Long promised, it's finally been released: Andrew Kramer's Procedural Crumble (http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorial/procedural_crumble/) tutorial.

In this tutorial from videocopilot.net, Andrew Kramer makes a wall slowly crumble away to reveal text underneath. What's so cool about that?

Lots of things:

1. The effect itself is really cool-looking, and it would make a great logo reveal for a new pre- or post-title sequence. It could also work well for a custom DVD menu.

2. Though he works with text, he also talks about how you could use the same effect to reveal the structure beneath/inside a wall. This could be really useful if, like me, you want to create shots that show a particular feature of a building falling apart.

3. This tutorial makes extensive use of pre-composing. This is a cool technique to learn in AE because it allows you to work with/tweak pieces of an overall composition without changing the main effects that affect the composition itself.

4. It also, as its name implies, teaches how to work procedurally in AE. This is a new concept for me, but I can already see how it's incredibly powerful. The basic idea is that you create a series of steps -- a procedure -- that AE follows in a specific order. Once you have your procedure, you can apply it to whatever elements are present in the individual pre-composed layers. That means if you swap out elements from a particular layer, you don't have to redo all of your work! The procedure remains the same. This can save HUGE amounts of time.




This is pretty advanced stuff, so unless you're really good at following directions (and maybe even if you are), I'd recommend familiarizing yourself with at least the basics of AE before even trying to follow along.

Also, the tutorial makes use of Video Copilot's own Action Essentials 2 pre-keyed stock footage for dust particles to help sell the effect. If you don't have Action Essentials 2, you can still create the dust in AE itself; it'll just take longer and maybe not be as convincing, since about 90% of the footage in that collection is composed of real elements. Still, don't let that deter you -- the method still looks pretty cool even without the dust to give it that little extra bit of realism.

06-07-2011, 03:47 PM
Been a while since I've seen a tutorial that really offers something new, clever, and adaptable to a variety of purposes, but I think this one fits the bill:

How to Blow the Face Off a Zombie Pirate (http://ae.tutsplus.com/tutorials/vfx/how-to-blow-the-face-off-a-zombie-pirate/) by James Whiffin. This one involves a fair bit of detailed rotoscoping and compositing of different elements. While the effect it shows is quite specific, I can see how it could also be applied to other sorts of destruction, including of objects and non-humanoid creatures. It might even give you some ideas about how to achieve face replacement shots, which is something I'm always looking for.

Besides, how else are you going to survive the zombie apocalypse?


ETA: I should add that this sort of thing isn't entirely new. Andrew Kramer, for example, did a similar tutorial on Video Copilot quite a while ago called "Assisted Suicide (http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/assisted_suicide/)." The overall effect here seems different, though, as does the approach.