After Effects Lately 2013.01.31

Morning webinar, compositing, keying, slideshows, and more

Here's some of the last few weeks or so of assorted After Effects tutorials, tips, and scripts & plug-ins new and old.

A History of After Effects webinar is on Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at 10:00am Pacific Time (the recording of “Ask A Video Pro: The History of After Effects” was later posted ):

“Join After Effects creators, Dave Simons and Dan Wilk, as they take you on a trip down memory lane to see how After Effects started—from concept to initial user interface. See how much After Effects has changed throughout the years and why things are simply the way they are.”

Next month, on Thursday, February 28, 2013 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST, there's Free Live Training: Image Restoration + Touch Up in Adobe After Effects w Michele Yamazaki where one “attendee will win a one year Adobe Creative Cloud Membership – a $600 value!” Topics include blemish & makeup fixes, object removal, noise and grain reduction, repair of flicker, damaged pixels, or dust, and scaling. This appears to be designed for BorisFX users, although BorisFX is not mentioned.

Angie Taylor has a newsletter that collects her notices, tutorial, and a variety of native and 3rd-party presets at Effect Cafe, including one celebrating AE's 20th year.

If you missed the 3rd annual made with after effects awards & birthday bash, the video is now up on For more on the 20th anniversary, see After Effects at 20: A Trip Down Memory Lane. By the way, the AE team has a new t-shirt, shown above.

In more BorisFX-related news,there's Celebrate 20 Years of Adobe After Effects with a Free Broadcast Graphics Project from SternFX. Duration and Size is the tutorial, with a “method to change the length of the composition keeping the animation intact. Scale and modify the final comp using a built-in script.”

In AE Basics 63: Persistent Disc Cache (CS6 & Above), “Andrew Devis explains a significant 'under the hood' improvement in CS6 which reduces the need for 'Pre-rendering' and makes the operation of After Effects much faster. These improvements are called the 'Global Performance Cache' and the 'Persistent Disc Cache'. Andrew explains how these operate, options to use background rendering and the work-flow savings this offers.” See also “Chapter 4: Optimize Projects” (free PDF under sample content) from Adobe After Effects CS6 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen.

Here's Andrew, and Todd Kopriva and Brian Maffitt on the same topic:

In Red Giant QuickTip #78: Using Trapcode Particular Z-Buffer (Integrating 3D with Particles), Harry Frank “shows you how to use Trapcode Particular's Z-buffer to allow particles to move around 3D objects – such as those generated in AE with VideoCopilot's Element or Maxon's C4D (and other 3D apps)”

Zach King at Final Cut King shows you how to Make Things Float in After Effects, and provides a free project footage so you can follow along.


Fake Light Leaks in After Effects is the latest from . For more see, Lens wacking, free lensing, and light leaks, a mini-roundup of some resources for creating your own, downloading free or stock footage, and using the effect.

Compositing Fundamentals – Overview of Selections by Dave Scotland looks “at selection methods within a compositing environment and discuss the importance of understanding them. Although its aimed at someone just starting out in the world of compositing, the more experienced artist will also find some valuable information. After a brief overview, and in order to bring greater clarity, we will implement the various selection methods in a test project.”
For a more in-depth treatment, see Mark Christiansen's After Effects CS6 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques. Here's Dave Scotland, who has more archived on his CG Swot, including the recent 47. Composite a Fantasy Storm Scene:


Bartek Skorupa's BS_CompositingBundle 2 brings CS6 compatibility to his set of three now native AE plug-ins that allow you to combine mattes, solids and layers without having to pre-compose. bs_SmartSetMatte and the others offer features not found in the AE-shipping versions. For background, see Set Matte: a 32-bpc node for After Effects: One matte for multiple layers.


Surfaced Studio has new tutorials, including After Effects Camera Tracking – Moving Blood Hit, on how to use camera tracking for realistic blood hits in a moving shot, and After Effects 3D Integration VFX Tutorial on how To Shoot 3D Integration VFX, in 2 parts. For some related effects, see Muzzle flashes in After Effects, a roundup by Rich Young. By the way, there's much more on the Surfaced Studio website and YouTube channel.

Premium Beat posted an Introduction to After Effects Scripting. A fuller resource summary appeared earlier on PVC, Using and creating After Effects scripts.

Get Buff! With After Effects is a new set of 3 tutorials on how to fake enhanced muscle definition and size with After Effects and Mocha. Here's part 1:

Film Riot wants to help you Put a Helicopter in Your Film! They shoot a toy helicopter, and comp similar to Create An Animated Helicopter From A 2D Image by Jack Grundy from last year. Others  use 3D helicopters, sometimes in Element 3D inside AE (StellarLensProd, MrJohnyMnemonic). Elementary – Element 3D Helicopters: Animation & Shadows from Kevin Schires helps solve some 3D issues with Kevin's AE script Elementary.


Audio Visualization in Adobe After Effects: Introduction is the 1st of 3 parts of a series by Evan Abrams.


How to Automate a Stop Motion Photo Slideshow by Emanuele Fiorito shows “how to work some expressions to create your own preset that you can apply to achieve a stop motion effect for hundreds of photos.” For a similar look using video, see Create A Simple Stop Motion Style For Your Video Clips by Adam Everett Miller.

EFX Chromatic Aberration from EFX Tools is an inexpensive plug-in that “lets you apply (or remove) the chromatic aberration effect to a layer.” There are a number of ways to do this, and many previous tutorials, most of which would take longer than a dedicated tool like this or Separate RGB from Satya Meka. The thoughtful tutorial from EFX sells the product quite well:

Premium Beat introduces keying in Keying Fundamentals in Adobe After Effects. For more, Todd Kopriva outlined a set of four video tutorials on color keying by Andrew Devis. Jeff Foster, author of The Green Screen Handbook, was the host of a series on Splice Vine, August: Keying / Matting. See also FxGuide's Art of Keying and The Art of Roto, both by Mike Seymour, and Greenscreen and keying resources, 'Super tight' garbage mattes in After Effects, and Rotoscoping tips on AEPortal archive. And also How to Light Wrap: Blending composite edges with and without 3rd party filters by Rich Young.

Here's Best Practices in Software Keying, from Jeff Foster's video2brain course Fundamentals of Compositing, Tracking, and Roto Techniques with After Effects:

Premium Beat also introduced keying in Premiere, with How to Chroma Key in Adobe Premiere Pro. See also, Premiere Pro CS6 Techniques: 98 Ultra Key Part 1 by Andrew Devis and The Chromakey Effect in Premiere Pro CS6 by Maxim Jago.

Bartek Drozdz describes the Tool Xmas Card – realtime video compositing in WebGL and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg at Nervous System shares Surface meshing in the browser. And now for something different:


LiveLeak notes the 1.8 gigapixel ARGUS-IS. World's highest resolution video surveillance platform by DARPA. See also, “Top Secret America,” a Washington Post investigation (and the Frontline follow-up), and the The Surveillance Catalog (“Where governments get their tools”) from the Wall Street Journal.


Please note that these roundups are for quick review and comparison. There is almost always vital information from the originating authors at the links provided-and often free presets, projects, or stock footage too.


Rich Young

Rich Young is a long-time After Effects user from the San Francisco Bay Area. His After Effects and Premiere Pro round-ups provide viewers with an easy-to-digest summary of developments. He also supplies info and links for tutorials that allow users to do things in After Effects they thought were possible but weren’t sure.