What I'd like to do is show you how you can use After Effects to make your footage a little bit more interesting. Now, After Effects and applications such as Combustion are really useful for applying effects to footage to make them look different. For example, you can add a sepia tone feel to it. You can make the colors blow out in a posterized effect. You can add rain and you can even add something like a spotlight. So what I'm going to do is show you just one of the billions of effects available to you in After Effects. I'm currently using After Effects CS3 and I have a piece of footage of a little shack or a cabin in the woods that I modeled in Maya. I've always liked the whole concept of cabins in woods because I'm afraid of woods and cabins in woods are scarier than that. So what I want to do is make this footage scary by adding a spotlight effect. So I'm going to go to my Effects Menu and before I do this I want to show you something else. It's really important that you don't have, for example, nothing selected. You'll notice that I click right here in my Project Panel just to deselect everything so when I go to Effect, I can't do anything. It's ghosted out. So I just want to make sure that you click on your footage inside of the timeline to select it. Now the effects will be available to you. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to add a, let's see here. I think it was in the Perspective Category and I selected CC Spotlight. Automatically the effect is applied and it looks even scarier than it did before. But the thing with effects is many of them have controls that you can animate over time. The little stopwatch here is what you use to do that. So I'm going to give you a quick demonstration as to how this works by just animating a couple of the properties of the spotlight effect. So what I'm going to do is make sure I'm on my first frame, which I am and then I'm going to click on one of these categories. For example, I'll click on From and the stopwatch now adds a key frame. So I can scroll ahead with my current time indicator to another spot in the animation and I can change one of those parameters and all I'm doing is clicking in the numerical field and dragging my mouse. Likewise, I can also change other parameters, but we'll talk about that in a moment. So I have some animation and I can scrub with the current time indicator and look at that. It grows and it moves exactly as I planned. I'll return to the first frame and this time I'll enable the Edge Soft. So I'll go ahead and twirl that down so we can use the slider instead of using this here. So I'll enable that. Once again it adds a key frame and I'll move ahead in time and I'll increase the softness of that effect. Whenever you click on the watch in After Effects, you are simply telling it I want you to record the state of whatever the effect is at this frame. And when you scrub with the current time indicator, you advance the time and then you make some kind of change. You don't have to click the stopwatch again because After Effects will then add that key frame for you. Clicking on the stopwatch will remove the key frames, which is not generally what you want to do. So let's go ahead and see what we have. So we have a hard light. It increases in size and the softness also blurs out. So that's just an example; one of many that you can add to your footage. Now I'll just do one more just to give you a little bit more exercise in this. I'll go back to effect and I'll add a color correction, which is probably one of the more common things you'll do in your footage special effects. So I'm going to go to Color Balance and you'll notice that I have the ability to now twirl down my other effects. Let me go up to the top here. I twirl the spotlight down and I can focus on my color effects. So I can do shadow colors, I can deal with mid tones, highlights and more. Just to give you a quick example, here's the highlight for green. I'll just go ahead and show you what happens when I use the slider. And you can animate that over time. Imagine doing police lights when you have a police light thing going, a strobe light like this. You can do a club, you know, disco club and that kind of thing with the lights flashing. And once again, just click on the stopwatch to change the color as you see fit. You can either affect the shadow colors, the mid tones or the highlights and there are tons of effects for you to experiment with. Check out the After Effects training at the VTC website to learn more about how to use After Effects in its fullest and apply these kinds of effects to your footage.
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