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Revealing a Logo with a Sweeping Beam of Light

COW Library : Adobe After Effects Tutorials : Mark Simpson : Revealing a Logo with a Sweeping Beam of Light
Revealing a Logo with a Sweeping Beam of Light

by Mark Simpson,
JAM Digital, Redondo Beach, California, USA
©2001 by Mark Simpson. All rights are reserved.Used at CreativeCow.net by kind permission of the author.

Mark Simpson ARTICLE FOCUS:
Mark Simpson
uses The Foundry 'Tinderbox' plug-in T_Beam filter to sweep a narrow beam across a logo, eventually widening the beam to reveal the entire logo.

This tutorial is in response to requests about how to use the Tinderbox 'T_Beam filter' to reveal a logo as a light beam is swept across it. At the end of the animation, the beam widens to reveal the entire logo. This is a fairly simple task for this fast rendering effect.



The final movie


This is how it's done:



PART A: Create your Logo

I used Adobe Photoshop to create my basic logo. I created it at the size I wanted it to be in the final AE project. Then I used Kai's Power Tools 5 to give a glassy look to the logo. Since this is to be a bitmap image when imported into AE, it's important to create it at a size that will not require enlarging as this creates undesirable quality issues if it has to be scaled much in AE. So create your source image and import it into AE.

Create your basic logo
Original source image that was created in Photoshop



PART B: Set up your Project in AE

1) Create new project and import your source image into the project.

2) Create a new composition 12 seconds long, drag your image into it to create a layer containing your logo.

3) Create another layer with the same dimensions as your composition. Name this layer 'Beam'

4) Make sure the 'Beam' Layer is topmost in the timeline, and set it to 'screen' mode. Leave the 'Logo' layer set to 'normal'

AE Timeline
After Importing into AE and bringing into the comp



PART C: Applying and Animating the Light Beam

1) Select the 'Beam' layer in the timeline, and apply the Tinderbox 'T_Beam' filter to it: Effects>Tinderbox - Generators>T_Beam. Choose Beam Colors as desired (Controls>Form>Beam Color, Controls>Form>Corona Color, Controls>Form>Background Color)

2) With the time marker at 0:00:00:00 in the timeline set the 'position' of the beam (in the T_Beam effect window) to be centered horizontally (X axis) and at the absolute top of the composition/layer vertically (Y axis) This should be '0' or even slightly negative. Set a keyframe for Beam Rotation by clicking on the word 'Rotation' (Controls>Rotation) in the effect window while pressing the 'option' modifier key on the keyboard. Do the same for the 'Elevation' control (Controls>Elevation)

3) Here's where you're going to have to experiment a little to get the setting that works best for you. I'll give you my settings based on a layer size of 720 x 270 with the beam positioned at 360, 0.

4) Move the time marker to 0:00:02:15 in the timeline window and create another keyframe for the 'Rotation' and 'Elevation' controls by setting them as follows:

Controls>Rotation: 270 degrees

Controls>Elevation: -90 degrees

5) Move ahead in the timeline to 0:00:07:15. Duplicate the 'Elevation' and 'Rotation' keyframes from step 4 at this position in the timeline. Set keyframes for the following T_Beam Settings:

Controls>Form>Cone Angle: 10

Controls>Form>Radius: 25

Controls>Form>Intensity: 250

6) You should now have a narrow beam pointing straight down composited on top of the logo layer.

First Beam
Your project should now look something like this.



and your effects window should look like this:


Tinderbox effects palette
You can use this image to make all your basic settings.



7) Move back to 0:00:00:00 in the timeline and set the Controls>Elevation setting to -15 degrees.

8) Move ahead to 0:00:05:00 and set the Controls>Elevation setting to -165 degrees.

9) Do a RAM preview to verify that you beam starts at center, sweeps to the right, then sweeps back past center to the left, and returns back to center.

10) Move ahead in the timeline to 0:00:10:00 and create keyframes by making the following changes:

Controls>Form>Cone Angle: 90

Controls>Form>Radius: 150

Controls>Form>Intensity: 500

11) Select the 'Beam' Layer, and press the 'U' key on the keyboard a time or two to toggle the layer parameters until only the layer parameters that have keyframes assigned to them are showing. Your Timeline window should now look like this:

AE Timeline showing Keyframes
The timeline window with only the keyframed parameters showing.



And your Composition Window should look something like this:

Full Beam
The composition window @ 0:00:10:00 in the timeline.



12) Select the Title word 'T_Beam' in the effect window so that it is highlighted and copy the effect (Command>C on the keyboard). Highlight the 'Logo' Layer in the timeline and paste the effect onto that layer (Command>V on the keyboard). With the 'Logo' layer selected, pressing the 'E' key on the keyboard will toggle the layer to show any effects applied to it. This should allow you to verify that the 'T_Beam' effect is now also applied to the 'Logo' layer. Set Controls>Blending>Method to 'Hue'.

13) Drag a box around all the keyframes in the 'Beam' Layer (toggle the 'U' key to show them if they aren't showing already) to select ALL the keyframes. Copy them (Command>C on the keyboard). Move back to 0:00:00:00 in the timeline, select the 'Logo' Layer, and paste the keyframes (Command>V on the keyboard) into this layer. Select both layers (by clicking on them while holding down the shift key until both are selected simultaneously), and toggle the 'U' key so that all keyframes for the entire project are showing. The keyframes for the 'Beam' Layer should also appear in exactly the same place in the 'Logo' layer.

14) Adjust the Controls>Form>Softness and Controls>Form>Fall Off settings to taste for both layers. RAM Preview the animation, make any final adjustments, and render it out.



Have Fun,
Mark Simpson

Mark Simpson is a leader and frequent contributor in the Adobe After Effects COW.
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