On lynda.com: Extended Vignette Techniques

Multiple approaches to guiding the viewer's focus.

Our most recent video course is After Effects: Extended Vignette Techniques, available exclusively through lynda.com. Creating vignettes – darkening or otherwise treating areas of an image in order to focus the viewer’s attention on your desired point of interest – may not seem sexy on the surface, but it is one of the most universal techniques you can learn. This is another one of our “foundational” courses in that rather than going through one whiz-bang project, we demonstrate a basic technique that you can use over and over again in a variety of situations. Vignettes can be used to better frame your subject, fix a poorly-composed shot, give a vintage feel, create “quiet areas” to overlay text and other graphics, blend an image over a new background, or otherwise creatively treat footage.

In this course, we show several ways to create and use vignettes, while pointing out their pros and cons. Along the way, we also give mini-lessons on:

  • masking
  • creating shape layers
  • editing gradients
  • painting in After Effects
  • lighting in 3D
  • motion stabilization
  • using effects such as CC Circle
  • …and more

Although created in After Effects CS4, most of the techniques shown may be applied in earlier versions as well. lynda.com premium subscribers have access to the project files and sources used in this course (by the way, they just started offering monthly premium subscriptions, rather than having to subscribe for the whole year at that level).

If you’re not a member of lynda.com and want to check it out, you can get a free 7-day all-access pass here.

The content contained in our books, videos, blogs, and articles for other sites are all copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed.


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Chris and Trish Meyer

Chris and Trish Meyer

Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, HBO, PBS, and TLC; in opening titles for several movies including Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley; at trade shows and press events for corporate clients ranging from Apple to Xerox; and in special venues encompassing IMAX, CircleVision, the NBC AstroVision sign in Times Square, and the four-block-long Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. They were among the original users of CoSA (now Adobe) After Effects, and have written the numerous books including “Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects” and “After Effects Apprentice” both published by Focal Press. Both Chris and Trish have backgrounds as musicians, and are currently fascinated with exploring fine art and mixed media in addition to their normal commercial design work. They have recently relocated from Los Angeles to the mountains near Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.