Compositing is the art of combining multiple images to create the appearance of a single image. Learn how to create almost anything imaginable with a few simple compositing techniques.
We’ll cover the basics of digital compositing simple techniques for achieving impressive effects, how to use After Effects and Premiere Pro for VFX compositing, and the After Effects shortcuts to save you precious time.
Let’s go y’all.
After Effects is a program so big and complex that it feels it can do almost anything which is great, but it also makes it hard sometimes to hone in on the things that will actually help you improve. So today I’m going to share with you my 30 favorite keyboard shortcuts that will help you to work faster, more efficiently, and maybe even just blow your mind with some of the things you didn’t know where possible.
I’m going to be trying to make sure that all of these shortcuts are helpful to your basic workflow. And we’re going to be starting off with some more simple shortcuts and then move on to some more advanced ones later on. And just to clarify, we’re going to be displaying all the shortcuts for both Mac and PC, but I’m working on a PC, so any time I use control or alt substitute it for command or option on your Mac. But with that out of the way, if you’re excited, hit the like button, and let’s start the list.
When you create something new, like a shape or a piece of text, you may notice that the center point of the object isn’t directly in the center, making scaling up shapes or texts look like this instead of this. So how do you fix it? Hold control or command and go up to this icon here and double click it. Now your anchor point for that object will be in the center. And you can also do this with an entire layer itself with the keyboard shortcut control home if you’re on a full-sized keyboard. And if you don’t have a full-sized keyboard, you can customize this manually when we get the keyboard shortcut number 30.
Once you have some things down in your composition, you might want to make changes like position, scale, or rotation. Instead of dropping down each of these layer menus and adjusting, you can simply hit the P key for position, The S key for scale, the R key for rotation, and the T key for opacity to bring up only that one parameter. And if you do this with multiple layers selected, you can bring this up for each layer and make all of those changes together at the same time, as long as they’re all highlighted. And by holding alt and shift and hitting one of those parameter buttons, you can make a keyframe for all of those selected layers.
Now, if you’re like me, you create a lot of solid layers in every project. So instead of going through menus, just hip control or command Y, and by hitting control alt Y, you create a new adjustment layer. A seemingly small detail, but if you use it a lot, it adds up over time.
If you want it to move your play head forward one frame at a time, you can hit page up or page down. But if you don’t have a full sized keyboard, you can also hold control or command and hit your left or right arrows to get the same result. And by holding control shift and clicking left or right, you can move forward or backward ten frames at a time, and you can use the same idea if you wanted to move keyframes instead of your play head, just highlight the key frame or keyframes you want to move, hold Alt or option and arrow left or right. And just like moving your play head, you can also hold shift to move those keyframes forward or backward ten frames at a time.
But sometimes getting to those key frames through all of your layer options can be kind of time-consuming and frustrating. So instead, you can show all of your keyframes present by just hitting the U key and all the layer options which have keyframes will show up. Press it again to collapse it all back down, and if you want it to expand, just literally everything, just hit the U key twice.
Let’s stick with keyframes for a little longer and say that you spent a lot of time building out an animation with a lot of keyframes, but you realize that it’s either too fast or too slow. Instead of moving each individual keyframe, you can just highlight all of them that you want to adjust, hold alt or option and just click and drag to stretch out your entire set of keyframes proportionally. This one can save you so much time.
Now, let’s take it even further. Let’s say that you wanted to reverse the order of your keyframes. Instead of taking these two and dragging them back and forth, you can actually just highlight them and hit alt or option R and giving those keyframes. Some smooth animation is super easy by selecting a keyframe or multiple keyframes and pressing F9 or function 9 on a Mac, and it will give those keyframes and easy ease. You can also hold control or command and click on any of those keyframes to make them linear again.
Now, if you’re doing a lot of animation, you’re going to want to make multiple changes at the exact same spot where you made previous keyframes. So you end up hopping between keyframes a lot. You can make that process a lot easier by hitting K to jump forward to the next key frame or by hitting J, you’ll move backwards to the closest one behind the play head.
Once you have an animation set up, you’re probably going to want to view it by itself to see that it looks right and usually without having to view your entire composition. So what you can do is just highlight a layer, and by hitting control Alt B, you’ll set your work area to the exact length of that layer. This is helpful because now when you want to preview your work, it’ll loop only within this section, helping you to save time by not rendering any of this extra work and for even more helpful playback tips by hitting shift 0 on a PC or Command 0 on a Mac, you can preview your entire composition, but skip rendering every other frame to give you a general idea of what your composition looks like by cutting out half of the rendering your computer has to do. Just a heads up though, the zero for that shortcut has to be on the number pad.
So now that you’ve selected a smaller section of your timeline, getting closer to view just that portion is easy by hitting plus button to zoom in and the minus button to zoom out to get a broader view of your timeline.
Now, let’s say you created something great, but you wanted to swap out an element. Say, for example, a logo with a different color scheme. But you did all of that work, and you don’t want to have to reanimate everything. You can actually replace elements without adjusting anything. Just select the layer you want to replace, then hold alt or option and click and drag the new element into the composition timeline or the composition window. Or alternatively, you can select the layer that you want to replace. Select the item that you want to replace and hit control alt backslash.
Now, once you have a nice composition assembled, you may want to pre-compose it so that you can work with all of that baked into a larger composition. You can right-click and select pre-compose, but you can also just highlight the layers you want to include and hit control Shift C, easily converting all that work into a single layer.
By now, you’ve got loads of layers, potentially in multiple compositions, and you may end up finding that working with all of those is tough within this small area here. Well, a quick solution is just to hover your mouse over the composition layers and press the tilde key. If you don’t know which one that is, it’s right here on both a Mac and PC, right below the escape button. Pressing this makes the panel go full screen. Now you’ve got a lot more area to work with your keyframes and layers, and if you wanted to go back to normal, just press the tilde key again. And this actually works for absolutely any panel.
Now, one thing that might get frustrating is if you’re doing something tedious, like rotoscoping and you need to zoom in and out a lot of your image here. Don’t use the percentage values you can just to zoom in and out using the scroll wheel of your mouse or two fingers on your trackpad. But if you’re having trouble zooming into a specific area precisely, just hold space and click and drag around your image with the hand tool. This combination of scroll zooming and using the hand tool is so much faster, and the great thing about using spacebar for the hand tool is that it reverts back as soon as you let go. And if you’re using something like the pen tool to create a complicated mask, it won’t interrupt that process.
Now that you’re all done with that, if you’re OCD like me, you want to bring things back to a perfectly centered full screen. So instead of selecting the fit view, just hold shift forward slash. And now your view goes back to filling the window precisely. But during this process, if you notice, for some reason you’re not able to actually see your mask outline, you’ve probably accidentally turned off layer controls. Easily turn them back on by hitting control shift H. This can also help you to temporarily get rid of distracting boundary boxes if you want just a nice clean image.
Now before rendering and exporting everything, if you just wanted to save a single frame of your project, maybe for a thumbnail or maybe to show your client what one frame looks like, you can hit control alt S to send the frame that your play head is currently on over to the render queue, and from here you can select a JPEG export option and click Render to get your final still frame.
And of course, the final keyboard shortcut is control alt comma to bring up your custom keyboard shortcut window. This will give you full access to view and edit every single keyboard shortcut possible inside of After Effects.
And guys those have been my thirty favorite keyboard shortcuts to help you work faster and more efficiently inside of After Effects. I really hope that you guys found the video helpful. And if you’re looking for other ways to get your work done faster with great-looking results, we’ve got tons of awesome looking After Effects templates over at motionarray.com, and some of them are actually free. But guys, that’s it for me. Thank you so much for taking the time to watch, and I can’t wait to see you in the next video.
Hi guys, Jordan with Motion Array, and today we’re going to be taking a look at how to crop inside of After Effects, thankfully, it’s incredibly simple. So let’s take a look.
So there’s two different kinds of cropping inside of After Effects that you might be after. Cropping our entire work area to a new size and shape, sort of like cropping inside of Photoshop or the second option is more like cropping inside of Premiere Pro, where you’re taking a particular clip and chopping off one of its sides. Both of these are incredibly simple to do, but if you don’t even know where to start, it can be incredibly frustrating.
So let’s take a look at that first version of cropping and jump right into After Effects. Let’s say, for example, you wanted to take your entire frame here and crop it down so that really only the text here is visible. The way you do that is you take your composition window here and you go down to the bottom and there’s this box called a region of interest. Click on it. And now you can draw pretty much the same way you draw a rectangular mask. Just click and drag. And from here, when you let go, you can see that we’ve cropped it down to just what’s included inside of this box and everything else around it is surrounded by black. And we can click the edge here and drag around and reposition and click and drag the edges and realign to get exactly the framing that we’re after.
But here’s the thing. Once we’ve done this, we haven’t actually changed the resolution of our project. We haven’t effectively cropped yet. If we go up to composition, composition settings, we can see that we started with a composition that’s 1920 by 1080 and that’s still what we’re at. In order to actually crop it and apply the cropping that we’ve just done, go back up to composition, crop comp to region of interest. And now we can see that we’ve actually cropped down. There’s no more black bars around the outside. If we go back up to composition, composition settings, we can see that we actually have a new resolution of 590 by 262 pixels.
OK, so that’s been one version of cropping. But this next one that we’re going to take a look at is how to crop an individual element or layer within your larger project. Let’s jump back into after effects and take a look at the second version of cropping. So you can see that we have a little bit of a different setup. We have a composition here with a background, a piece of text at the bottom, and then a red rectangle. And all of these layers are individually controlled. And this red rectangle is the thing that we wanted to crop. Now, the easiest way to crop in After Effects, in my opinion, is actually not to use a crop effect, it’s to use a mask.
So the way that you mask is, you click and highlight the layer that you want it to mask, then go up to the rectangle tool here, or you can just click the q key. And here you can just click and drag. And now anything inside of this box you’ve created is going to be kept, and anything outside of the box is going to be cut off, effectively cropping it. You can see why this is so easy.
So let’s say, for example, we wanted to crop it off by about that much. Now, if we wanted to get even more control over this, we can see that underneath our layer here for the red rectangle, we have a section for masks and underneath here we have a lot of control over how we can use this mask. We can add a bit of a feather to it. We can change the opacity of the entire box as a whole. It’s got a lot of control.
So this is a really unique and effective way to crop inside of After Effects when it’s technically not even cropping. But if we wanted to actually use a true version of cropping, all you have to do is go to the effects and presets section here. And if you can’t find that, just go up to window and click on effects and presets and that’ll bring it up. So inside here you can just simply type in crop and there’s a crop edges effect. Now, the reason that I didn’t suggest using this right off the bat is that if we drag and drop this onto our footage, we can see that it’s really broken down in a nice way. We’ve got, you know, parameters for cropping from the top, from the bottom, from the left, and from the right. But when you try to actually use it, it doesn’t actually let you. You can try to click and drag these sliders, but they always jump back to 5% and they’re all in red, sort of indicating that there’s something special going on with them.
Now you can click and drag this top parameter and bring down all of the edges at the same time, but that’s probably not what you’re going after. Now there is a way to fix this. You can actually change this so that it is working properly every single time you open up After Effects in each of these are working individually and you’re not running into problems. But if you just wanted a quick and dirty solution, the base effect that this comes from is actually being used by the linear wipe transition.
And if we click and drag the linear wipe transition, actually, I’m going to quickly move the slider here, click and drag this linear wipe transition onto your footage, and you could see that it makes it disappear right away, but it’s actually just because it’s created a transition for it. It’s making your footage pop in here. Now, if we go up to effect controls here, we can see that there’s a blue stopwatch here. And what that shows us is that there’s active keyframes taking place. So if you hold control on a PC or command on a Mac and click that, it’ll get rid of that, and then it won’t have any sort of changing keyframes now.
So it’ll just stay at whatever percent you had it at. And now we can drag it down to 0% and we effectively have a great starting point to crop our footage. You can see that if we take transition completion here and we slide this up to 100%, we lose all of our footage. And if we slide it back, we get a whole range in between here that we can crop or footage from. And by default, it’s going to be cropping from the right. But you can see it. If we change the wipe angle, we can change with really a high degree of control what angle we’re wiping from. But if you just wanted like classic 90-degree angles, you can go back to 90 degrees or zero degrees to go from the bottom. 180 degrees, if you wanted to go from the top or -90 if you wanted to get back to that right to left motion that we had before.
So all you have to do is take this slider and crop it as much as you want and you also have a parameter here for feathering. If you wanted it to be not, you know, completely harsh of an edge, you want it to be a little bit of a gradiation there. That’s perfectly fine. You have all these parameters set up here. So this is great. This is a great substitute for using the crop effect. But if you’re like me, you’re like, Well, why did that crop effect before not work as I expected it to? Like it set up in such a nice way where you have all these different parameters ready for you to use it.
Now there is a way that you can actually fix this and you can save it so that every single time you use it in the future, it’s ready to go. All you have to do is underneath your layer dropdown here you can see under effects. You have all these different cropping parameters. Just click on the top one and then hold shift and click on the bottom one. And now you’re going to click the U key twice, and that will break down everything here. And you can see that there’s some writing here. These are what’s called expressions, their special commands for each of these different parameters.
We don’t want these. So to get rid of these, all you have to do every single time that you see a red parameter here. Just go to the stopwatch to the left that it’s associated with and hold alt if you’re on a PC and option if you’re on a Mac and then click that and you can see it gets rid of it. So for any red parameter, we’re just going to get rid of that. And all the way down to the bottom here and perfect.
There’s just one last thing here. Now we can see that there’s a bunch of parameters that have a bunch of percentage sliders ramped up a little bit. So we’re just going to take these from five down to zero. And now we have a cropping effect that’s perfectly set up for us to be able to use. Now if we wanted to crop from the left we can just take the slider and we can start cropping from the left or we can crop from the right and perfect, and you can use these in combination. And if you really wanted to, you could actually change up the angles of each of these. So you still have a high degree of control, but it’s set up by default in a way that’s really user-friendly.
So now is the last piece. If we wanted to save this so that we can just use this and not have to change it every single time we add a new crop edges effect, that’s also really simple. Just highlight the crop top here and for each successive one, hold control or command and click, or you can click the top one and then hold shift and click the bottom one here. Now go up to animation. Save animation preset.
We’re going to be saving this as a new effect, so it’ll by default send you to your user presets. And from here, all you have to do is type in the name that you want to call this. You can call this crop if you want to, but I’m going to call mine simple crop. Click Save. And then what you’ll notice here is that on the right-hand side, we already have crop typed in here. Under your user presets, we have this simple crop effect.
And just to prove to you that it works, I’m going to take away all of these parameters here. So we’re starting with a blank sheet. And if we drag and drop our simple crop, we can see that all of these parameters are ready to go. Perfect.
So now we have a user-friendly way to start cropping in After Effects for every single new project. So those are a few different methods to crop inside of After Effects. I hope that you were able to find some of them helpful and that some of these tips were able to help you save time and work way more effectively in the future. And if you work inside After Effects every day, you probably know that cropping is a really basic function that can help you to achieve some really cool results.
So if that’s you, let us know when to comment what your favorite application of cropping is. But guys, that’s it for me. Thank you so much for watching. And I can’t wait to see you in the next video.
In this quick tutorial, we’re going to be showing you two different methods to changing solid colors inside of After Effects.
So a little while ago, we shared with you how to change solid color layers inside of After Effects. But, we also wanted to share with you a method of how to change solid colors when the color isn’t one perfect value all the way across. Like in this example, where we have a person wearing a solid piece of clothing. You’ll notice that if we hover over their article of clothing, even though it’s just blue, the specific pixel color for each piece of that blue shirt is slightly different. So even though it’s a solid, it’s not nearly as solid as an actual solid layer in After Effects, which is literally only one color value.
This slight variation makes it a lot more difficult to change. One solution that people try is to add the change to color effect. While there are situations and ways to make this work, we would prefer the following method. For very quick adjustments that don’t require a lot of fine-tuning, You can use the lumetri color effect inside of your effects dropdown and then go to curves. And look for the Hue versus Hue curve. By clicking on the eyedropper and selecting the color in question, your curve will automatically have three dots appear, two range limits, and then the center one, which you can move around to change that color.
It’s as simple as that. And by holding shift, you can move this point here up and down with no horizontal shifting at all. For a quick color changes, this is a great solution. But you can see here that using this method on this blue shirt color leaves it with some blue fringing around the edges that’s really challenging to get rid of. So if you need high precision and this method isn’t working for you, we’d suggest trying the following method.
Start by duplicating your clip by hitting control or command D and to keep things organized, I’m going to rename the top clip Keylight and the bottom clip Shirt Color. Next up, we’re going to search for the keylight effect and drag and drop it onto that top clip. Basically, what we’re going to be doing is trying to key out the color in question, sort of like making a cutout of just that color and then letting it show through to the bottom image. Then we’re going to change the color of that bottom image. Let’s take the eyedropper here and click on a sample of the blue shirt to get our starting point. And we should notice that there’s no difference yet until we turn off the bottom layer that’s filling in the key.
Cool. So you can see the effect starting to take shape already. And actually, if we turn the bottom clip on again and add a hue saturation effect, then rotate the hue around, we can see that we’re already getting the effect that we want, but it’s pretty messy.
There’s three glaring problems off the bat. One is the poor quality of the key, leaving some dancing pixels on her shirt. Two is the blue halo or fringing that surrounding her. And then three is that I’m not getting the right shade of red that I actually want.
So let’s go through those and clean them up. The first thing I’m actually going to do is start with the Hue saturation effect and set it to colorize instead. You can see that when we solo this layer, what we’re actually doing is instead of rotating all of the colors in the image, it establishes a wash of one color over the whole image. OK. Next, using the colorize hue, saturation, and lightness sliders, I’m going to adjust until I get the tone of red that I want. For me, I need to actually drop the lightness below zero to get the shade of red that I’m actually looking for. So keep in mind that for this parameter, you can actually drop the amount below zero.
And now I’ve got a shade of red that I actually want. But you can also see that if we go back to turning the colorized feature on and off, we’ve also started to take away that blue halo. So we’ve solved one problem and started to work on another. So let’s fix all the remaining issues just by going up to our top clip again with the keylight effect. And let’s change the view mode to combine matte. Then we can go down to the screen matte options and our goal is to make her shirt and anything vaguely red, black. We’ll do this by sliding up the clip black option from zero up until we start to get the desired changes. To really see how this effect is changing our image, let’s go back to final output for a second, and we can see that raising it up helps to fully let the color show through to what’s underneath.
But we also need to be careful because as we get to about 75, in our case, it’ll start to take out things that are even vaguely blue, like parts of the whites of our subject’s eyes. We don’t want this, but what we do want is a little bit of this because of the reflection of things like the blue on her shirt onto her chin, for example. Having some of these elements seep through, but not others is one of the keys to a great-looking effect. So for our example, close to 75 is just about right, and now we can see that all three original problems have now been addressed and we can see that the blue color has effectively been replaced.
If you want to change out the color to something different, all you have to do now is go back to that bottom layer and adjust the colorize feature to get exactly what you’re looking for.
And guys, I really hope that you enjoyed that quick tutorial on changing solid colors in After Effects. And if you guys want to introduce more fun and creativity into your After Effects projects, feel free to check out all of our After Effects templates right here at MotionArray.com. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I can’t wait to see you in the next video.
Today we’re going to be showing you how to display and export a transparent background in After Effects. OK, so this topic is really simple but can make people really frustrated if you don’t quite know how to do it. So open up After Effects and follow along. Once you have a project open, how do you actually display that elements within your scene are transparent? What you want to do is go here to your composition window and at the bottom here you should see a checkerboard icon called the transparency grid. This is all you have to do to display your transparent background.
To be clear, this isn’t making your transparency active or de-active, but just rather changing the way that the transparent background is clearly displayed. If we turn it back off again, we get a black screen. But this actually isn’t a true black video. It’s just what we have After Effects set by default to display transparency when the transparency grid is not active. If we go up here to composition, composition settings, and then select a new background color, we can see that this is now how it’s displayed. But you can probably see why using the transparency grid makes a lot more sense. And even having the background set to black by default feels more intuitive. You have complete control over these preferences, but we’d suggest keeping your background default set as black and using the transparency grid whenever you need to clearly see what’s actually transparent within your project. I’m just going to set my text color to black so that it’s a lot easier to see for the rest of the tutorial.
Next up, when you export, how do you make sure that your elements remain transparent? Thankfully, it’s really simple, because if you actually don’t intentionally do this, you’re transparent elements will be rendered out as black video. Thankfully, the whole process is really simple. First, let’s get ready to render by either going up to file, export, add to render queue or by using the shortcut key control or command M. Now let’s go here to the output module. Click on the blue text. Mine says lossless. It’s important to know, though, that not all formats support exporting transparency. When you’re exporting, this transparency is typically referred to as an alpha channel, so you can see here that if we go to channels, we can click on RGB and instead choose RGB + Alpha.
Now, if we were to export this, all of the transparent elements within our project would remain transparent in our final video. Now when we actually take a look at that exported element. It’ll look as if it’s placed on top of a black background, but that’s just the way that most programs show transparency by default. When we actually place it over top of another video. You’ll actually be able to see that it’s transparent.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into some more technical details. By default, I don’t like exporting an AVI format just because it creates an incredibly large file size. Another great option is to go to QuickTime Animation and then from here, select RGB + Alpha. This produces a much smaller file size while still retaining excellent quality. You can see that this project, when exported in AVI format, is 3.47 gigabytes. And the same project exported in QuickTime Animation is only 155 megabytes, making the AVI file more than 22 times larger with little to no discernible difference. If larger file sizes don’t bother you, you can choose anything from AVI to certain variations of ProRes or a variety of other formats and select RGB + alpha. It’s worth pointing out because it’s such a popular format that h.264 does not support Alpha Channel exporting.
And if you wanted to see a full list of formats that actually support Alpha Channel exporting, we’ve provided one in the description below. Now that you’ve set up your export to be able to render out the transparency, go through the rest of the steps that you normally do for exporting. I’ll go through my personal method if you’d like to copy me.
QuickTime Animation is my setup. Selecting RGB + Alpha, then hit OK to go up to the render settings. And make sure it’s set to the best quality and full resolution, then go to the output section and click on the name. Choose a name and location that you’d prefer, then hit OK and either render from here or from Adobe Media Encoder. Once it’s complete, your project will be ready at the new location you specified. But what happens if you have multiple projects and files that you want to render and export, and you want to use Adobe Media Encoder for this process? Well, you actually follow the same steps that we just went over, but items are located in slightly different places.
Once you set your project to Adobe Media Encoder, click on the format option in blue text. This will take you to an export settings window that you should be familiar with if you’ve used Premiere Pro. From here, just select one of the formats that supports alpha channels, like before we used QuickTime Animation. So here I’m just going to go to QuickTime. And then choose Animation under video codec, and here you’ll scroll a little further down and see an option to select 8-BPC + alpha. This alpha selection is what will allow you to render out the Alpha channel to retain transparency within your export. Keep in mind again that some codec support alpha channels while others don’t.
For example, if we go to Apple ProRes 422, we don’t have this option. But if we go to ProRes 4444, we do have this option for rendering out the Alpha channel. So feel free to take a look at that link that we provided to see and decide for yourself which option you’d like to render out for yourself.
Once you’ve made your selection hit OK, make sure you’ve named your file and chosen its export location, and then hit the Start queue icon. And even if you have multiple files and projects being exported, they’ll just go through one by one until they’re complete. Just make sure that you’ve set up the sequence settings for each one of these individually.
But if you want to save time and make sure that they all have the same export settings without doing this process manually for each one, highlight all of them, then click on the format for one of them and go through this process of choosing your selection. And when you hit OK, as long as they were all selected to begin with, you should be able to see that they’ve all taken hold of the changes you’ve asked so you can export two, three, or even 100 files without having to manually start each one. And finally, this transparency tutorial wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t show you my personal favorite way of including transparency by doing absolutely nothing.
Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s actually by using Adobe’s dynamic link, but it feels like you’re doing nothing because you can either start by taking an element like a title in Premiere Pro and select Replace With After Effects Composition. Then once you’ve created your element inside of After Effects, the transparency shows through back in Premiere Pro without you having to do anything at all. It’s just there.
But what happens if you start in After Effects first? Well, just move over to Premiere Pro and find the After Effects project file on your computer, then drag and drop it into your project window and select the composition you want to import. Once there, you can treat it like a normal clip and place it into your scene. And there you go. You’ve got a transparent element without having to fine-tune any settings. Just using the power of Adobe’s dynamic link.
Guys, I really hope that you enjoyed this quick tutorial all about transparency inside of After Effects. And as always, you can check out all of our awesome After Effects templates, including the one that we featured within this video. Thanks for stopping by, and I can’t wait to see you in the next video.
What’s up guys, it’s Yuval here. And in today’s video, I want to tell you how to use the different elements like fire, smoke, dust, particles to really enhance your footage and make it look amazing. I’m also going to share with you some practical tips and tricks and walk you through a few techniques to really blend these elements in and composite them into your shots and make them look real.
So we’re in After Effects, and I want to start off with a pretty easy shot and a very quick and easy way to make your shot look better. So this is going to be a simple example, and then we’re going to move on to more complex things. I’m just going to drag one of the elements in, and you’re going to see how immediately, without too much work, it’s going to really enhance the footage and just make it look way better and more interesting just with a few clicks. So let’s go for that.
So we have this footage of this couple, there’s this bonfire there, they’re kissing, and now I’m going to go and search for embers. So let’s go into the VFX Pack folders and I’m going to go into embers. So we have a bunch of these and I’m going to go for Embers number five. I’m going to drag it in. I’m going to scale it up and I’m going to go into the blending mode and go full screen. And let’s play the final result. As easy as you like, just drag and drop. Change the blending mode. And there you have it, a beautiful shot.
So this next example is also going to be pretty easy, but we’re going to take it a step forward. I’m going to show you how to color-correct the elements to make them blend in more with the original shot. And it’s just going to give you the tools to really play around with the elements and just make them look good in any scenario that you’re using any footage, any element, any effect that you’re trying to achieve. I’m going to show you some tools to help you do that. So let’s go.
So we have this shot of the girl running. Let’s watch it. All right. Looks nice. And I really want to enhance this footage. Make it look more interesting. Just give it a little bit more of a pop. So a very easy thing that I can do is just go over to my VFX Pack. I’m going to go over to smoke and we have four smoke elements and I’m going to go for the first one. So I’m just going to grab it. And just like that, drag it into my timeline over the clip that I already have. And as you can see, the smoke is on a black background and it’s like, we can’t see the footage underneath.
So all we need to do to fix this is going to our blending modes, and I’m going to change the blending mode to screen, which basically eliminates everything that is darker. So we’re only going to see what’s lighter, which is the smoke. And as you can see, now we can see the smoke over here. So what I want to do now is make the smoke bigger. So I’m going to press S the on the keyboard to bring up the scale and I’m going to go for something around, let’s say, 250. Maybe. So already that’s quite a lot, but it doesn’t look really good because the smoke is white and the whole scene is more orange and the smoke that we already have going on is orange as well. So we’re going to try to match that to basically make this look as if it was really there when they shot this.
So I’m going to use a bunch of different color grading tools to help me kind of get this to look the same as the original. So I’m going to go to my effects and I’m going to type in curves and it’s going to be the first effect that we apply. And let’s go to red first and let’s try to play with that. So that’s looking already pretty nice. Now let’s go over to the blues. Now let’s try the greens. And something like that, I think, looks pretty nice. Let’s play it. And maybe I want to drop the opacity just a little bit. Maybe somewhere around 80. And yeah, that looks pretty nice. Very quick. Very easy.
And one thing I forgot to mention that I did is I actually sped up the smoke because it was going pretty slow. So I just went right click and time, time stretch, and I put this on 75, which basically made this go a little bit faster, which was more suitable to my shot. So this is another tool that you can use. You can make the elements go faster or slower, depending on your needs and on your shot. And I think that’s pretty much it for this shot. We just dragged in the smoke. I put it on screen, made it go a little bit faster. Scale it up. And we also used curves to color correct this and make it blend more with the original shot. So let’s just play the final result again.
So for this next shot, I want to show you guys something a little bit more complex. So we have this shot here of this car burning and there’s fire on the right side of the car and on the left side a little bit and the center is feeling a little bit missing. I want to have fire in there as well. So I’m going to use the fire assets under the effects pack to fill in the frame and get more fire in there. Make it more impactful. So I’m going to go into fire in my folders and I’m going to look at the different ones that I have. Maybe I’ll start off with fire number three. I’m going to drag it in.
And again, the background is black, so I’m going to change the blending mode, and I have a feeling that add is going to look better with this one. But let’s try screen first so you can see the difference. Like this looks nice, but it doesn’t have that kind of glow effect to it. So I think add is going to be better. So let’s see that. Yeah. So this is screen, which is a little bit like more transparent and add is just a little bit brighter, looks better for this scene, and still quite a lot of work to do on this one. So let’s start by scaling it down.
I’m going to position it somewhere around there. And now obviously, this doesn’t look good yet. But before I go into color correcting again, what I want to do is actually motion-track this. You can see that the footage has some movement. And if I play it, we can see that the fire element is staying stationary and the footage is moving, so it’s just not staying in place. So I want to fix that and we’re going to do that by doing some motion tracking. So I’m going to try to motion track it manually and let’s see how that works. So I’m going to press on P to get to my position. I’m going to click the stopwatch to create a keyframe. And now let’s move a few frames forward and let’s reposition fire, and we’re just going to keep on doing the same things.
So we did a pretty nice job with motion tracking this. The fire looks like it’s pretty much staying in place together with the footage. And that’s what we wanted. And now that we have it motion-tracked, I want to start color correcting it and just making it look more like the fire that is actually in the shot. So I’m going to go into my effects again, and I’m going to type in glow. I’m going to drag that into fire three. And let’s start messing around with these settings.
So I’m going to increase the intensity, and the radius, and the threshold. So this is a pretty nice start. This is with the glow. This is without the glow. It’s still not doing enough.
So next up, we’re going to go into curves again, and I’m just going to raise this up. And then I’m going to go into the tint, and that already made a pretty big difference, just the amount of tint I want to bring down. Maybe something like this because I do want to keep some of the color because it is yellow. But as you can see, the real fire is like almost pure white. It’s completely blown out. So that’s what I’m trying to go for here.
Now I can see that the fire that we added is just too sharp compared to the real fire. So I’m going to go into Gaussian Blur and let’s start blurring this up. And this is already looking much better. Let’s see everything that we did so far. So this was before and this is after. So quite a long way, but we still can make it look a little bit more real if you look at the fire on the left here. You can see it’s very blown out. And our fire is still like it has too much detail. So what I’m going to do is I’m just going to go into brightness and contrast. Let’s just bring this up.
So that’s looking already better and then back into my curves. Let’s try to get the color just a little bit more into the yellow side. And then just to really dial this in I’m going to go into Hue/Saturation and I’m going to go for reds, lightness, I’m going to bring this up. I’m going to take the saturation a bit down and then I’m going to move this wheel over. Maybe something like that, and I’m going to take the saturation down again. And you can see that brought us like very close now. I think it’s a little bit too blurry. So I’m going to take down the blurriness. And yeah, I think that looks pretty nice. Let’s play it.
So, yeah, I think now it’s blending in very well with the original fire. It doesn’t look fake, so it looks really good and it really added to the shot. And now we can go ahead and add maybe another fire on the other window and we can basically do the same thing again. So drag that in put it on Add, scale it down. And then I’m just going to copy everything that we did with this one. And there we go. We have another fire in there and obviously, we want to monitor and track that as well.
And another quick thing that we can do with this shot to really add a lot of depth is create a new solid and I’m going to give it a yellow color. I’m going to press, OK, then I’m going to create a circular mask, something like this. And then I’m going to feather this out quite a lot. Maybe something like this. I’m going to change the blending mode to add, and I’m going to put this underneath the fire and I’m going to drop the opacity way down. Let’s try 10%.
Yeah, something like that. We can even go 20. And you can see it’s just adding like kind of this atmosphere glow around the fire. The same thing that we can see happening with the real fire and we have like smoke and the car. So in real life, it would emit kind of a glow. So it’s looking pretty nice. So just a quick little thing that can add more depth and make this look even better. And in general, we can spend at least like 30 minutes or even an hour or more tweaking this to look just perfect. But just within a few minutes, this is looking really, really nice. And I like the results, and the fire elements really help intensify the scene and make it look even more powerful than it already was. So that’s the power of these elements.
So let’s go on to the next example. So for this next job, we have this couple sitting together in the rain, and I think we could really spice this up by using some raindrops. So I’m going to go into the VFX Pack folders and I’m going to go into raindrop and I’m going to choose raindrop number two. Going to drag it in and now we can see that if I choose something like screen, then it gets rid of the black. But this is not really looking good because all of the raindrops are white, which they shouldn’t be because in real life, it kind of catches on the color that is already there.
So the blend mode that we want to use for this is Color Dodge because when we do that, you can see that now all of the colors are coming through, but we’re getting the range of texture. So I want to make this a little bit bigger. And I also want to drop the opacity. And now you can see that we have a little bit of a problem because the shot is moving in and our raindrop is just staying the same, so it doesn’t really match up. So what we want to do is actually motion-track this. But this time we have like a forward movement and we also have like the X Y movement. So I do want to motion track this using the After Effects tracker and not manually like we did in the previous shot.
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to go into the tracker here, and if you can see this, then you have to go into window and check tracker over there. So I’m going to choose the base layer or base footage. I’m going to hide the raindrop for now, and I’m going to select track camera and I’m going to basically let it finish tracking. So the tracking finished and you can see that now we have all of these tracking points over here, and they’re all pretty much the same in this instance. So I’m going to go for this one, right-click create solid and camera. And now we can see that the solid is actually moving together with the footage. So what I’m going to do now is I’m going to right click and I’m going to click pre-compose this.
We’re going to double click that and I’m going to change the composition settings to go 4K, which is the size of our raindrops and the footage. And now I’m going to delete the solid and I’m going to copy our raindrops into the composition. Then I’m going to change the composition here back into Color Dodge. And now we can see that our footage is actually motion tracked and it’s kind of going together with the original movement of the footage. And now I just want to add a little bit of Gaussian blur, just a touch. So maybe something around like four? Yeah, that looks pretty nice. And the main takeaway that I want you guys to understand from this example is that we used a different blending mode, we didn’t use screen or add because those just made the blacks disappear. But it didn’t like made the colors come through.
And that’s why we used Color Dodge. And depending on your footage and what you want to achieve and the kind of element that you’re using, there’s like a lot of options here for different blending modes – dark and multiply, color burn, soft light. So just experiment with all of these and kind of see what works in your case and your footage and the effect that you trying to achieve. So just be flexible and try to kind of stay creative and just experiment.
So that is all for this video. I really hope you guys enjoyed it until the next one. Stay creative.
Today, we’re going to show you how to create a super eight-millimeter film look, using assets like film grains, film mattes, and film burns. Let’s jump in.
So we’ve got our Premiere Pro project open. We have different shots from Art Grid laid out on our timeline and straight away you can get that eight-millimeter film look by going to the creator’s pack and starting off with the matte. So you can just take the first matte from here. Drag it on top of your footage and straight away you can get that super eight look with the four-by-three aspect ratio.
If you don’t know anything about the super eight format, basically, it’s a format invented in the 1950s. It started to be very popular in the consumer market at the late 1960s, where families were using this format to film their vacation videos, their family videos. So by nature, a lot of those films look very shaky or unprofessional.
That’s what’s unique with the super eight-millimeter format, and that’s what we’re going to try to achieve today. It also reflects on the type of footage you want to choose. So we’re going to look for some shaky shots. That’s pretty good. That’s not shaky, but that’s a nice dog right there. This looks pretty good. I think we’re going to go with this shot. So let’s take the map and put it over this shot and boom straight away looks good, but like I said before, we can make it look better.
The second thing we can use is grains, which was very common in the super eight format. So we have different type of grains here. We can start testing them out. Again all you need to do is take the specific acid you want to try and put it on top of your footage and your matte. You’re going to get a black screen, so select the grain, go to effect control and change the blend mode of the opacity. You can go with either Lighten or Linear Dodge or Screen, whatever you like, and fits the style you want to achieve. I think we’re going to go with Lighten, so we have more grains here to test out. Let’s see.
Let’s go and zoom in on the clip. And yeah, that’s super grainy and that’s what we pretty much want. We can also duplicate the grain layer to get a stronger feel of the grain. We can do that by pressing Alt on the keyboard, just dragging the clip and that will duplicate it. You can change the scales to get bigger grains. Play around until you get the look you’re looking for. You don’t have to stick with the original look of the super eight. You can go crazy with it.
So why would you want to try to achieve the super eight-millimeter look? Either you want to create a nostalgic video that could fit the super eight-millimeter look, but also it’s super trendy these days. A lot of big commercials from Nike, from Adidas, big brands are going with that specific look. Also, a lot of these brands that are making these commercials use different split screens that are inspired from the film look. Super simple to use just drag and drop and crop your footage, according to the split. That is also very trendy.
We can add another acid from the pack, which is film burns. We have different film burns and we can preview them, so that looks pretty cool. Let’s look at some different film burns right here. That looks also pretty cool. I like that one. I think that’s the closest for what we want to get. This is also pretty cool. We can just test it out. Let’s throw it right over here. Just go crazy with the blend modes. See what type of results it gives you. Let’s see. Yeah, that’s too much.
So we’re going to choose a screen that looks the best. And like with any acid here, you can change the position of the acid. You can change the scale of it to fit your needs. You can also put the different assets like the film burn or the grain under the mat, so it won’t affect the matte. So just like this, now it affects only the footage. And you can also play with the opacity itself, not only with the blending mode. So you can do it either by double clicking, opening the channel and just start playing with the amount and the opacity. Let’s move it to fit the specific frame that we have. We have this line. We can get rid of it pretty easily by just creating a mask and asking the film burn to fit our frame, and we’re going to feather this.
If you don’t want the film burn going over your shot the whole way, you can just cut it, bring it back in and out, move it around and get different, you know, parts of the burn. We took care of this specific shot, but now we want the transition to this shot and we want film burn to help us do it. So basically, we can fly the same assets to the next shot. So let’s scale the footage a little bit. Let’s take this to the center. We’re going to take this part where it goes in. That’s going to be our transition and then goes back out. OK, so we want this specific part to be right on the cut point between the two shots. We’re going to change the blending mode to Screen, and that pretty much is it. Let’s see it.
Another simple but effective trick you can do is changing the frame rates for your footage, super eight is known for its choppy look. The original format was filmed in 18 frames a second, so the way you can get the same frame rate is by applying an effect called Posterize Time. All you need to do is go to the effect window right in post, and we got the Posterize Time. Just drag and drop it to your footage.
So in the effect control, we have it on default for 24 frames per second. We can change that to 18 frames per second. And now you get that choppy look that is very familiar with these super eight-millimeter look. You can also go with the extreme look and go with, I don’t know, twelve frames per second. Yeah, that’s very choppy. Less of the style we want to achieve. Let’s go back to 20. That’s more like it.
The next thing you can do is basically just play with the color. So what we’re going to do here is just open the workspace for color grading. Naturally, a super eight-millimeter look is not that contrast-y. It has low highlights, pretty crunched shadows, and a little bit of green tint to the shadows. So that’s what we’re going to try to do here. So we’re going to lower down the contrast and the highlights, as well as getting the shadows a bit darker. And the whites we’re going to lower down, blacks we can go with this. And also we’re going to reduce the saturation a little bit, not that much, that looks pretty good. And let’s go with that green tint in the shadows. We’re going to go to curves, go into the green channel and grab the shadows and just tweak it a little bit. I would also add a little bit of yellow in the highlights.
Let’s take the highlights and the color wheels. Take it to the yellowish. And of course, if you want to get more of an accurate grade for your eight-millimeter look, just go watch original footage filmed with an eight-millimeter camera. Use that as your reference. Naturally, the eight-millimeter film look was softer than what a digital camera can capture today, which is a much sharper image. So all we need to do is basically add some blur. So let’s go back to the effects, and we’re going to add a Gaussian blur and give it a little bit of blur. Let’s see, like 2%, maybe 3. So let’s zoom in to our clip to see the blur effect. We’re going to turn on and off. The image looks softer now, and that fits to the style and look that we’re trying to achieve. This could work pretty nicely. Let’s put it somewhere without any film burns to see the effect.
That’s just a taste and a sample of what you can achieve. You can also go into the Artlist sound effects library and download some eight-millimeter sounds. We have links down in the description below. So we hope this video helped you out. Until the next time. Huyah! Stay creative.
This is a video where I make my dog appear out of a picture and I’m going to show you exactly how I did it. So this is the whole effect in 15 seconds. I take a picture of my dog. Place it down. And he appears in real life and steps through it. It looks a little bit complex, but I guarantee you that if you have a little bit of patience and After Effects, you can pull off the same effect.
So let’s start with the first step. The first thing you need to do is actually record your footage. And the first thing that you need to film is nothing. I mean, not like not filming, filming an empty frame. We call this a clean plate, and this is going to be really helpful to us later on when we need to make our subject invisible. So once you’ve got a nice clean plate recorded, don’t touch the camera, but just get into position and go through the motion of the shot. For me, that’s pulling a picture frame over my dog. It looks especially nice if you can hold it in front first to get a nice headshot kind of a look, then pull it over and let your subject step all the way through.
Pretty simple. As long as your picture frame is actually big enough to fit over top of your subject and pro tip, it makes things a lot easier if you can actually communicate with your subject using words. Sit. Once you’ve gone through everything, exit the frame and keep the camera rolling to capture another clean plate. Why? Well, literally just because it might work better than the other one you did. You probably won’t need both of them, but it’s just nice to have another option in case something unexpected happens like something pops into your frame that you weren’t anticipating. It’s just nice to have more options at the ready so that you don’t get into the editing room and realize I need to go back and reshoot the entire thing. So now we can actually jump into After Effects and start building out this effect.
First step is let’s take our footage here and create a new composition based on the parameters of our clip. Nice. Now let’s find the portions of our clip that we want to keep. So here’s the start, and here’s the end. And to cut off those portions at the beginning and end, just place your play head over top of them and hit control or command shift D. So now that we’ve cut out this section, I’ll delete the first bit here, and let’s drag this main section back. And then I’m going to take the second portion here and look for where the clean plate starts to begin. Which for me is right here, so I’m going to place it below my original clip and have it present throughout the duration of the shot.
Now, let’s clean things up a little bit by setting an outpoint at the end of our project. You can do this by hitting the N key where the play head is over top. For me, I’m going to be putting this on social media, so I want to create a 15-second-long clip. So I’ll set the outpoint here for about 15 seconds. Hit the N key, then I can right-click here on this section and select trim comp to work area, and boom. That’s our entire project length. Now it looks nice and classy.
Next up, we’re just going to duplicate this main composition here, and we’re going to label these to help us get organized and prepare well for our next steps. You can either right-click and rename or just highlight the layer you want to rename and click Enter. So I’ll rename this top layer still frame. The second layer Main Footage and the bottom layer, Clean Plate. Nice and organized. OK, so now let’s move forward and decide at what point we want our picture to actually change from fake to real. For me, that’s right here. I’m actually choosing a point where the still frame looks the nicest, in my opinion. Like it could be a standalone, nicely composed photo. Great.
So now let’s take this top still frame layer, right-click, and select freeze frame. And here we should see that our scene freezes. Now here’s where the magic starts to happen. We can take our pen tool and just cut out the inside of the frame. Once you do that, you shouldn’t really notice any difference yet, except that it’s hovering over this spot here and just looks kind of awkward. So let’s drag the end of the clip here so that it stops exactly where we want it to transition into real life. So now we got something that looks a little like this. We’re getting there. You can sort of see where we’re going, but now we have to actually create the tracking so that this frame matches the frame of the picture throughout our entire shot.
So to do that, let’s just quickly hide this still frame layer here. And while we’re at it, let’s clean this up a little bit by precomposing the still frame layer, right-click and precompose and move all attributes to the new composition. You should see that this new composition lasts the entire duration of our project here. But because the clip that’s nested inside stops early, you’re still frame will actually still disappear at the correct moment. So now let’s highlight our main footage layer and go to our tracker. If you can’t find it, just go to window, tracker. And here we’re going to choose the track motion option. Now under this dropdown here, select perspective corner pin, and now we should see four tracking boxes appear.
Start by moving your play head to the exact position where your freeze frame was taken. If you’re having trouble finding it, you can go back to your Main Composition tab here and find the exact point where that is. Go back to the Layered tab here and we can keep going with our tracking. Now, this will likely be the most time-consuming part of the process for you, as what you need to do is line up all of these corners as exactly close as possible with the corners of the frame just getting a tiny little bit of overlap. So when the final steel frame is matched over top, you don’t see any empty space on the edges. Better to cut off a little bit of the edge of the frame rather than having it floating in the middle.
Now, this process is slightly different from traditional screen tracking. After Effects and Mocha are both really good at tracking shapes, clearly defined objects. But what we’re tracking is actually empty space technically. So because this will be more challenging for After Effects, what I would suggest to-do is to increase the size of these corner trackers here so that you capture the full corner, but that the center here is directly over the portion that you want nestled right into the corner. Once you have all four corners lined up, go up to the tracking icons here and instead of tracking forwards, we’re actually going to be tracking backwards.
Now I’d suggest actually tracking backward only one frame at a time, making sure that each step along the way your track on each of the four corners is in exactly the right position. What will really help you, in this case, is to film against a background that contrasts your frame. So I have a dark frame, so I shot against a bright background. If you had a white frame, then shooting against a blown-out sky is going to make the track much more difficult. So if you have a light frame, then your goal is to film against a darker background. Makes sense. OK, so now let’s go through the process of tracking backward one frame at a time and checking to ensure that it tracks correctly. If you notice that it doesn’t adjust and move backward and then continue moving backward, another frame. Rinse and repeat.
OK, so once we’re done, this is what it looks like. Not bad. So now we have to tell this information to track our still frame onto those corners. Thankfully, this is really easy, but we do need to do one or two extra steps. First, let’s just make sure that our target is actually the still frame layer, and once we hit apply, we should get something like this. You’ll notice that there’s a problem. The still picture is actually much smaller than the frame that we’re holding.
But why? Well, it’s because the tracker is literally taking the whole frame from each corner and squashing it into this region here. But we’re not starting with a full frame. We’re starting with only a partial cutout of a frame. So let’s undo. And now let’s prepare our still frame to be used properly. First thing we need to do is stretch out our image as much as possible. So let’s solo this layer. Hit S for scale and uncheck uniform scale. Now we can increase the width and the height independently until we get as close to our frame size as possible, and we can even click and drag the image around here to get it more centered. But because the image is skewed a little bit, we won’t be able to get it perfect.
So let’s precompose this layer again. Move all attributes to the new composition, and then let’s add an effect called corner pin. Here we can take the corners and manually stretch them out to match the edge of the frame. Getting as close as we can to making it perfectly match. There we go. Now let’s just precompose this one more time, moving all attributes to the new composition. OK, so now I know that this looks gross, but it’s going to work really well. Let me show you. Let’s go back to our tracker by highlighting our main footage and then selecting our motion tracker again. And we can click on the tracker here in the dropdown and get back all of that work that we did before. Now your track type might have switched during this process to something called raw, so switch it back to perspective corner pin. And let’s double-check that our target is still the still frame.
Once we’ve confirmed that we can hit apply and now we get the look that we’re going for. Awesome. This is really great, but all we have at the moment is the picture covering up our subject, which is still visible the entire time, and then switching to the real thing. What we need to do is hide our subject the entire time the frame isn’t over top of them. So this is where the clean plate comes in. On your main footage layer, create a mask around your subject. And set it to subtract. And feather it until it looks natural, don’t feather too much, otherwise, it’ll be impossible for it not to cut into the mask.
Now let’s move forwards to the first frame before where your picture starts to appear over top of that mask and set a keyframe for mask path. Continue frame by frame, adjusting the mask around the edge of your picture frame so that it covers up your subject, but not the frame.
What can help a lot with this process is instead of rotoscoping every single frame, try every two, three, or even five frames at a time to get the general motion and your mask path keyframe might actually automatically fill in the gaps properly, and if not, you can go back to those specific frames and make adjustments. This can save you a lot of time. And another thing that can help is if you have multiple sections that you need to erase, like, for example, I have below the frame. And then on the right-hand side, having multiple simple masks can be easier to adjust than one very complex mask. Just make sure that if you’re using multiple masks, all of them are set to subtract. Great.
Now, this is where you should be at. Looking good, but there’s still two steps that you can add for some extra polish. The first thing is we can add a little bit of a glossy layer over top of the photo frame. Dive into your still frame composition and add a new solid layer over top of it and make sure that it’s white. Then create a simple mask in the shape of a basic rectangle. And I like it going from corner to corner. Make sure that you feather the mask a lot and that the opacity is pretty low like 25% or less. And then keyframe the opacity to drop to zero by the time you switch to the real footage. Otherwise, your transition will become very obvious.
And finally, one of the easiest ways to help sell your effect is to add a little bit of a subtle camera shake. The reason is because having your camera perfectly locked off on a tripod makes your work in editing so much easier. But what it also does is it lets the audience know that this was set up prepared in advance. And so having a little bit of that natural-looking camera shake helps to make it seem like this wasn’t exactly planned out ahead of time, making it feel more organic and more real. So I’m going to bring in my After Effects composition into Premiere Pro and add a simple camera shake preset here that I got from Motion Array. You can also just use a wiggle expression in After Effects. We have a couple of tutorials on how to do exactly that. But for me, I’m actually going to be preparing the rest of this video inside of Premiere Pro because I’m actually going to be exporting it as a vertical video to go on social media.
So I’m already doing things like adding keyframes to move over from one area to the other. So this was just easier for me personally. But the other benefit to a preset is that it gets you that really natural camera shake look without spending a lot of time trying to dial it in yourself. It comes prepackaged with different options so that you can pick the one that’s closest to what you like specifically. And if you really did have that techie vibe to you, you can dive in into effect controls and toy with all the different parameters to make it exactly how you want it to look. So just pop on the camera shake and there you go. This is our final effect.
And guys, I really hope that you found this effect interesting and that you found the tutorial helpful. This effect incorporates a couple of different skills inside of After Effects. So even if you’re never actually pulling off this exact effect, I hope that this tutorial can help you to pull off some of the skills that you’ll need in other areas of your After Effects career. But guys, that’s it for me. Thank you so much for watching, and I can’t wait to see you in the next video. Bye.
Today I’m going to be showing you a really simple effect that has a lot of different use cases. So a while back, I made a keyboard that my dog could edit a video with, and there was one shot where my dog approaches the water and looks off into the sunset distance, except that’s not the original shot. This is the original shot. It was impossible to get him to do that action without me actually guiding him through the process. But this doesn’t really have the same emotional impact as this. So I remove myself from the shot and I’m going to show you how to actually achieve this effect inside of Premiere Pro. Then I’m going to show you some of the other practical use cases that you can use this effect for.
But first, you want to make sure that your footage is actually set up in a way that you can actually use it for this effect at all. The main thing that you’re watching out for is if you have multiple subjects in the same shot, there needs to be some distance between them at all times. They can’t cross over each other. But if you have no other choice, you need to make sure that the object that you want to remain visible is the one in front, and the object you want to remove is the one behind. The other piece is that it’s best if your background is not moving, but you might notice that my background is moving. There’s waves, but there’s a key exception. This is a background element that moves in a random, chaotic way. If you have a background where there’s predictable and specific motion like a bunch of people moving around that can each individually be identified, then it would be a lot harder to pull off.
So now that you know that your footage is actually in a place where you can use it for this effect, let’s dive into Premiere Pro and show you what we’re actually going to be doing. The basic idea of what we’re creating is this: two identical scenes stacked on top of each other, except with a stencil cut out of the top one and the bottom one moved in time just a little bit. And when you place it all back together, you see a perfect scene just without your subject. To pull this off in Premiere, set up your footage so that it’s the length that you want it to last for your scene.
Now let’s highlight it and go up to effect controls and click on either the ellipse or rectangle tool, depending on what fits your shape better. You’ll find this under the opacity section. You can also create your own custom mask shape by using the pen tool. Stretch your mask over top of the object that you want to remove and make sure that it completely covers them. And if you wanted more context for what you’re seeing, you can go up to this fx symbol beside opacity and turn it off. Make sure that your mask completely encloses all parts of your subject and then feather the mask, making sure that your subject is still contained within this inner circle. Turn fx back on, and what you should see is a black screen, except for what’s inside of your mask.
Now we have to make sure that the mask follows our subject for the whole scene. You’ll need to click on the stopwatch here beside mask path and then move forward or backward in time. Moving the mask to where it would be over your subject at this point in time, if you have a really simple motion in your shot, you might be able to just go about ten to 20 frames forward and then move the mask over top of your subject just that one time. And your mask will follow that path at all points in time in between those two keyframes. And if along the way you need to make some adjustments, you can just move it back over top where it doesn’t quite fit. Lastly, go up to your mask and click Invert and now your mask looks like this: a nice cut-out of your subject. We’re almost home-free now. Let’s take this entire layer and duplicate it by holding alt or option and clicking and dragging it up a layer. If you hold shift as well, you’re going to lock in time while moving that layer so that it doesn’t accidentally slip forwards or backwards. Now, highlight the bottom layer and delete the mask from this layer, and what you should be left with is nothing different.
But here’s the magic: move your bottom layer forwards or backwards in time with the slip tool shortcut key y, and depending on your footage, you’ll slip it either forwards or backwards to have an empty portion of your background layer showing through. Nice. And if you’re still finding that you’re having trouble. You can also use a slightly different method by having a clean plate of a background and then masking out the one part that you want to keep instead.
The process is the same, except instead of making a hole to see through to an empty back layer, you’re making a small cutout to stick over top of a clean plate. Play around and see which method works best for your situation.
And guys, that’s literally how easy it is to pull off this effect for yourself. But here’s the thing: you don’t actually need a dog. In order to actually use this, I’m going to show you a couple of different situations where you can take advantage of this effect for yourself. And the first one is pretty simple. Let’s say you had a shot where you wanted to get some nice, crisp, clean audio, but you didn’t have a lav mic and you didn’t want a big microphone like this visible in your shot. So what do you do? You record your scene as you normally would with the microphone in plain view, just making sure that you’re not crossing your hand or body part over top of where it is. Then once you’re done recording, keep the camera rolling and just push the microphone out of the way and get a clean plate of where this microphone would be.
And this is the final result: a great-looking shot with a nice, crisp, clean audio and no microphone in the way distracting your audience. And as long as you’re making sure that you don’t wave your hand or body part in front of where the microphone would be, the shot is going to come across as flawless.
You can also use this method to clean up your set if you like. I accidentally pulled the paint off the wall here when moving some stuff around, and it looks gross. So to fix it do exactly the same method. But instead of moving the footage forward and backwards in time, move it back and forth in its position to cover the hole with other portions of the wall that blend into the empty space.
And of course, there’s everybody’s favorite use. This is just the reverse of how to get a cloning effect. Instead of removing your subject from the top layer, just use this layer as your base, then stack on top of that footage of you in a different position without the camera having moved at all. Make a mask around this subject and you have the identical scene with just you in different positions and you’ve officially got a double of yourself. I’m convinced that masking is one of the most powerful tools in video editing that not nearly enough people are utilizing.
But guys, that’s it for me. Thank you so much for watching. I can’t wait to see you in the next video. Bye.
About this course
What is compositing? Compositing is the art of combining multiple images to create the appearance of a single image. It’s used in filmmaking to create almost anything you can imagine. This course covers how to combine live action shots with VFX (visual effects), change the colors of certain objects or subjects, remove elements from the frame and more. Learn how to realize your vision with a few simple digital compositing techniques.
What you’ll learn
- The basics of digital compositing
- Simple techniques for achieving impressive effects
- How to use After Effects and Premiere Pro for VFX compositing
- How to use VFX (visual effects) elements
- Time-saving After Effects shortcuts