LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

More Lighting and Shadows

More Lighting and Shadows
CreativeCOW After Effects Tutorial


More Lighting and Shadows-- This is part 2 of a 2-part tutorial on Shadows
Bill O'Neil Bill O'Neil
www.chicagospots.com
Chicago, Illinois, USA


©2005 by Bill O'Neil and CreativeCow.net. All rights are reserved.

Article Focus:
In part two of our Shadows tutorial, Bill O'Neil continues with an explanation of an effect that he's constantly asked how it was done. He doesn't use 3D -- it's done entirely in After Effects and the coolness of the scene is mostly from the lighting and shadows. As an added bonus, Bill includes his project files for snow and smoke.



I get a lot of questions related to the Midway Games titling clip that appears on my website. This is strange to me because it was so simple to create. There was no 3D program used. It was done entirely in After Effects with two text layers, a ground layer and some spotlights. I added a smoke layer behind the text and a snow layer in front but the coolness of the scene is mostly from the lighting and shadows.

Let’s get started.

Take a look at the COW version of this movie by clicking here.
Download your project file here.




I included the ground texture layer in the tutorial which is tiled a few times to make our runway for the camera.

The black, foreground text layer was copied and placed slightly behind the first layer. I changed the color to white and made it flicker by key-framing the opacity parameter. This layer would serve to give the text an edge as if backlit from the lights behind it. It also gives the text a 3D look.




There are two lights behind the text that are animated slightly from side to side. Because the lights are at the same level as the text, we will see very long shadows cast on the ground layer that sweep across the foreground. You can adjust the cone angle of the spotlight so it doesn’t spread out past the edges of the ground layer. You can also adjust the spot light’s edge softness. The light’s intensity is also animated to give a lightning effect. (Lighting while it’s snowing? I know but it looks cool.)

Make sure accept lights and shadows are turned on for your ground layers. Also make sure the black text layer and the lights have cast shadows turned on.

You can tweak the ground layer’s material settings to allow for more or less shine.

In this clip the camera and its point of interest are racing toward the logo. The camera’s proximity to the ground gives the scene more excitement especially with motion blur turned on. For more drama you can slowly animate the camera sideways to allow the long shadows to breath. You’ll find more details of camera motion in my “Shooting for 3D post” tutorial.


SMOKE

Included in this tutorial is a project file that has a simple smoke recipe using “CC PS LE Classic” particles (effect, simulation). The project file includes a grad layer to blur the lower half of the smoke and a comp that will give you a seamless loop of the billowing smoke.
Click here to download the smoke project file




The smoke clip is pretty handy to place behind titles or to use as an undulating holdout matte. For this clip I layered the smoke loop side by side to cover the length of the text. In the Smithe “Lamp Battle” spot from part 1 of this shadow tutorial, I positioned the smoke clip on the ground behind the actors. Make sure to use the “screen” transfer mode to allow for transparency.


SNOW

I also included a snow project file using particle playground. You can render this out and place it above the other layers. The snow and flashing shadows are also a great way to hide imperfections in the scene while adding drama.
Click here to download the snow project file

Click here if you missed part one of Dressing Up a Scene With Shadows

Bill O’Neil
Go to Bill's site to see more of his work: www.chicagospots.com

Y.

Discuss this technique or others in the After Effects forum at CreativeCOW.net.





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
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
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use Pt. 4 - Advanced Alphas

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use Pt. 4 - Advanced Alphas

When most people hear the words "alpha channels", they think "transparency", but that's not exactly accurate. The truth is more complex, and a quite bit more interesting! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 4 of the best look behind the technology of compositing that you've ever seen, packed with practical advice for applying the secrets of alpha channels that's simply not possible before understanding these underlying principles. No matter which applications you're using for editing, compositing, or visual effects, this one is a must-see!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 3 - Alpha Channels

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 3 - Alpha Channels

When most people hear the words "alpha channels", they think "transparency", but that's not exactly accurate. The truth is more complex, and a quite bit more interesting! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 3 of the best look behind the technology of compositing that you've ever seen, packed with practical advice for applying the secrets of alpha channels that's simply not possible before understanding these underlying principles. No matter which applications you're using for editing, compositing, or visual effects, this one is a must-see!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use 2: Advanced Blend Modes

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use 2: Advanced Blend Modes

Whether you're a full-time compositor and VFX artist, an editor working in one of the many NLEs that supports Blend Modes (including Adobe Premiere, Apple FCP and FCPX, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Rsolve, and VEGAS Pro), or whether you just want the additional graphics power that comes with insight into the secret world of pixels, this is the tutorial for you! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 2 of the best look behind the technology of blend modes that you've ever seen, with some practical steps you can start taking today to make your work look better than ever.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 1 - Blend Modes

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 1 - Blend Modes

Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for the best look behind the technology of blend modes that you've ever seen. This isn't just for graphics and VFX, but for video editors too -- anyone who puts anything together, and wants to learn more about HOW images combine at the most basic level, in a way that applies to every application you might use, whether Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple FCPX, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve, VEGAS Pro, and yes, graphics and VFX programs like After Effects, Motion, Fusion, Nuke, Scratch, and many more.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Disintegration VFX in Adobe After Effects

Disintegration VFX in Adobe After Effects

Join VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio for a classically energetic Adobe After Effects tutorial combining difference mattes, displacement maps, edge glows, and compositing tricks to dissolve (or explode!) one element in your frame while leaving the rest alone.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
MORE
© 2019 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]