LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Creating a Nebula: Part One of the Golden COW by Serge Hamad

COW Library : Adobe After Effects Tutorials : Serge Hamad : Creating a Nebula: Part One of the Golden COW by Serge Hamad
Creating a Nebula: Part One of the Golden COW by Serge Hamad

A CreativeCOW Adobe After Effects Tutorial


Creating a Nebula
Serge Hamad Serge Hamad,
New York City, New York, USA


© 2004 Serge Hamad and Creativecow.net. All rights reserved

Article Focus:
Many of you have seen Serge Hamad's various animations in the After Effects forum at CreativeCOW. In this 5-part tutorial, Serge demonstrates the steps involved in re-creating his "Golden COW." In part one, we create the nebula. You'll need Image Lounge from Red Giant Software. If you don't have it, download the demo.


Download Movie Project file: sit Project file: zip

Introduction

Salut,
Many of you asked for a tutorial on this one so here it is. I dissected this animation in several short and easy tutorials to make it as simple as possible for a beginner to follow the consecutive steps. I used many different third party plug-ins to create this animation but still I would like to you to pay attention to the compositing aspect and the idea behind some tricks that would allow you to successfully combine 2 & 3D in After Effects.

This first tutorial is about creating the strange nebula you see at the beginning of the movie (downloaded in the green bar above).

To work on this first one you will need Image Lounge from the Red Giant Software. If you don't own the plug-in, please download and install a demo first.

In the following tutorials you will learn some tricks using mainly the following third party plug-ins:

  • Image Lounge from Red Giant Software
  • 3D Stroke from Trapcode
  • Invigorator from Zaxwerks



Preparation


Download the project files from the green bar above. You'll find the aep and a png. You may have to re-link the media.

-Start first by creating two new folders in the project window and naming them respectively “STILLS” and “Nebula_Comps” This will help us keep things “clean” in our Project Window.

-Now just highlight your STILLS folder in the footage window and hit (Ctrl+I) Command+I to import the Nebula.png. file from the Stills folder you downloaded.

Note:
This still was created in Photoshop using the KPT Fraxflame effect. The size of this file may slow your render if you are using an older system so please consider working with proxies. If you don't know how to use proxies, check the tutorial section here at the Cow.


-Highlight the Nebula_Comps folder and create a new composition (720 x 486) and twelve seconds in length. Name it Pre-Nebula.

-Save your project and name it “SciFi_1”


Nebula


-Drop the imported Nebula.png to your TimeLine

-Switch the 3D icon for your layer.

-Hit (P) to reveal the position parameters in your TimeLine.

-Set an initial KeyFrame by clicking on the watch icon and set the Z-Axis to (940)



-Scrub your TimeLine to (09:17) and change the value to (-900) to make your layer disappear.

-Go back to the beginning of your TimeLine, select the Pen Tool in the Tools Palette window and draw a circular shape in the middle of your Nebula layer. This will eliminate the jump that occurs once the layer intersects with your virtual camera.

-Change your Mask Transfer Mode to Subtract then feather it nicely.

To fake a 3D perspective with these kinds of organic effects it is always recommended using several instances (Duplicated layers), transforming slightly some of their respective effect and animation property values then offsetting those layers in the Z-Axis; so let us do just that.

-Go to the beginning of your TimeLine, duplicate your Nebula layer (Ctrl+D) and hit (P) to change the Z-Axis value of your duplicate layer to (1066.0).

-Drop now your duplicate under the original layer.

-Duplicate your last layer and change the Z-Axis to (1257.0) for the duplicated layer that should be the bottom layer.

What you've done right now was positioning your duplicates backwards in Z Space vis-à-vis your first Nebula layer and ending their journey at about one second interval.

You could also go ahead and create even more layers if you want and offset them as we did, but for our example three layers should be enough to achieve the look we are after.

Note: You may now want to slightly alter the masks shapes of your duplicated layers so they don't look exactly the same.



Wavy Look -- Image Lounge Mirage


This plug-in as you guess can produce all kind of thermal distortions like heat waves, mirage, gas, smoke and more with a minimum of tweaking.

Basically it is using a fractal noise that you can influence with the help of different properties to shape the distortion of your choice.

Note the following:
-The Velocity and Mutation Rate properties are for speed adjustments.
-The Scale property is for the waves’ size. The higher you set the value the more waves you get.
-The Detail controls how much high-frequency distortion is visible.
-The Aspect Ratio allows you to stretch the distortion field. Negative values will stretch vertically and the positive values, guess what…
-All Field properties deal with the edges. You can use them to feather and blend the edges of your effect as well as accentuate or reduce the distortion to taste.

Some effects in the Image Lounge set use what’s called the Custom Control. You can use it in your Composition window for the following:

-The top node lets you adjust the Length as well as rotate the distortion field.
-The right and left nodes let you adjust the width.
-The Producer Point is located at the intersection of the Custom Control.

Dragging those nodes to adjust them to an object like a flame, a car exhaust etc… makes it easier to control the placement.

Custom Control:




-Start by selecting all layers in your TimeLine and applying the IL Mirage effect.
-Select only your top layer and click on the Solo to hide the other layer.

From to

-In your Effect Control window make sure IL Mirage is highlighted.
The first thing to do is to set the Producer Point at the bottom for instance of your comp and alter the Field Length & Width so the effect covers your entire Composition view.

Why the Comp view and not the entire layer?

You don't need to cover your entire Layers in this example as we animated them to start at a certain scale and then grow in size. Fitting the Field

Length & Width to the entire layer size would just increase your render time.

-Now change the following values to get a smooth wavy look:

Top layer: Middle layer:
Deselect the solo icon for your first
layer and work on your second
layer adjusting the Mirage effect
parameters to taste.
Here are the values I used for the
middle layer


Bottom layer:





Texturing -- Image Lounge Color Map

We will use this effect to color our nebula.

For those who are familiar to Colorama, this effect will be easy to understand.

The following steps are visualized through a movie I've prepared:
Click here to load the movie

-Apply the IL Color Map effect to your Top layer.
-Start by deselecting the Premultiply Colors box.
-Select for the Color Map 1 the Fire preset.
-Select for Color Map 2 the Black to Red preset.
-Blend now Map 1 with Map two to about 50%
-Select a Marker in the Color Map 1 and change its color.
-Decrease the transparency of the new color.
-Move the Marker now to a new location until you are satisfied with the result.

I tried to keep the basic of working with this great plug-in as easy as possible.

I am sure that if you spend few minutes playing with it you would achieve great results.

-Now go ahead and repeat the procedure with the bottom layer choosing different presets and colors. If you want you could open the project you downloaded to see my settings.

I did not apply the Color Map effect to the middle layer and I also changed its Transfer Mode to Screen.


Extra Steps


-It's about time to go nuts now! Select your top layer and cycle through the different Transfer Modes (Shift++).

-Once you are satisfied with the way your nebula looks like, highlight your Nebula_Comps folder in the footage window, create a new 30s long comp and name it “Nebula”.

-Drag and drop your Pre-Nebula comp inside of this new comp.

-Add the Optic Compensation effect (Effect>Distort>Optic…) to increase the 3D perspective.

-Check the Reverse Lens Distortion box.

-KeyFrame the FOV value to (0.0) or higher if you want at the beginning.

-Scrub your TimeLine to (11:07) and change the value to about (160.0).

Preview your work and add right before the final render a Light Layer with a cone angle of about (115 degrees) and the color of your choice.

I would advise you to render a QT movie with the Animation codec set to Best and Millions Of Colors + to render an alpha as you will need the transparency channel if you want to follow the next project.

PS: It is not forbidden to play with Shine during this tutorial but please don't kill the texture of your layers.
Stay tuned for more.
Salut.
Serge


Part Two: Creating Planets & Auras

Part Three: Creating Shockwaves


Please visit our forums and view other articles at CreativeCOW.net if you found this page from a direct link.




Related Articles / Tutorials:
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects Glitter Text - No Plug-ins Required!

Adobe After Effects Glitter Text - No Plug-ins Required!

Learn how to create a GLITTER TEXT EFFECT in Adobe After Effects without ANY plugins! VFX guru and filmmaker, Surfaced Studio's Tobias G, introduces you to CC Particle World, a powerful particle generator included in After Effects! You can use it to create all sorts of cool particle effects including explosions, smoke, fairy glitter, stars and much more. Along the way, Tobias brings the remarkable breadth of in-depth tips and tricks that will help you raise the level of your own AE expertise for every kind of creative task.


Tobias G
Adobe After Effects
After Effects Advanced Content-Aware Fill With Photoshop

After Effects Advanced Content-Aware Fill With Photoshop

In part three of his series on Adobe After Effects Content Aware Fill, filmmaker and After Effects artist Cody Pyper takes his deepest dive yet! Following requests from viewers in the series so far, Cody takes a closer look at how Adobe Photoshop can help you remove unwanted objects from your video footage in After Effects.


Cody Pyper
Adobe After Effects
Best Results with After Effects Content-Aware Fill: Reference Frames

Best Results with After Effects Content-Aware Fill: Reference Frames

Join filmmaker and After Effects artist Cody Pyper for a deep dive into how to get the absolute best results using the Content-Aware Fill tool in After Effects. Locked-down shots with simple backgrounds are one thing, but Cody shows the details of how to get fantastic results with complicated backgrounds and a moving camera using reference frames.


Cody Pyper
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects Reverse Stabilization

Adobe After Effects Reverse Stabilization

You're going to be blown away by how you can power up your After Effects workflow with reverse stabilizing your footage! By separating your tracking from your compositing, you can focus on each step, and in addition, overcome the render order complexities when match moving elements and effects on a moving shot.


Roei Tzoref
Adobe After Effects
After Effects Content Aware Fill: When It Doesn't  Work

After Effects Content Aware Fill: When It Doesn't Work

There’s a new artificial intelligence-powered feature in Adobe After Effects called Content-Aware Fill that allows you to remove anything from your shots fairly easily! It's powerful, but if you’ve tried it you know that it doesn’t always work perfectly. So what do you do when it doesn’t work as well as you'd hoped? Filmmaker Cody Pyper is here to show what to try next!


Cody Pyper
Adobe After Effects
VFX in Adobe After Effects: An Artists Panel (NAB)

VFX in Adobe After Effects: An Artists Panel (NAB)

Join panelists Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot, Jayse Hansen, and Mary Poplin of Boris FX, along with moderator, Victoria Nece of Adobe, as they discuss the world of visual effects from an artist’s perspective.


Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe After Effects
Scars, Tattoos & Digital Makeup: After Effects & Mocha Pro

Scars, Tattoos & Digital Makeup: After Effects & Mocha Pro

How do you add SCARS, TATTOOS or DIGITAL MAKEUP to a person's face? Learn how to use Mocha Pro's planar tracker and the Mesh Warp tool to insert a flat image/video on a (non flat) human face! Join VFX guru Tobias G from Surfaced Studio for a closer look!


Tobias G
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use, Pt 5: Brightness

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use, Pt 5: Brightness

The first challenge to understanding the nature of brightness in compositing starts with remembering that we're not actually seeing color at all, but rather something of an illusion that appears to us as color! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 5 of the best look behind the technology of compositing that you've ever seen, as he takes a look at the math behind brightness, and how to apply that to the compositing toolsets in your favorite editing, compositing, and color grading applications.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
60 Second Tutorial: Alien Invasion in Adobe After Effects

60 Second Tutorial: Alien Invasion in Adobe After Effects

Here's a fast, fun one! Sixty seconds to create and animate an alien using the 3D and Track Camera tools to animate your character in Adobe After Effects. Use the included files, or bring your own!

Tutorial
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe After Effects
What Are Adobe Motion Graphics Templates?

What Are Adobe Motion Graphics Templates?

A Motion Graphics Template, referred to as a MOGRT, is an animated sequence that is self-contained and can be used in Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Premiere Rush and Adobe After Effects, combining graphics, text, audio and video files, as well as vector or still images (including logos), to create a still or animation that can then be customized by the MOGRT user. The result is a dynamic creative tool that provides design freedom and is consistent to its users across apps and devices. Reuse, share, and even sell them!


Rod Harlan
MORE
© 2020 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]