Experts

Classic Course: Calculations

A Swiss Army Knife plug-in for creating grayscale images, creative composites, and more.

Continuing our theme of often-overlooked utility plug-ins in Adobe After Effects that can create interesting composites with a minimum of layers and precomps, Calculations is a real Swiss Army Knife effect that can perform grayscale conversion and composite one layer with another with a variety of options. ‘

First let’s take a look at how Calculations works:

And now let’s explore how to recreate two of our favorite footage enhancement techniques – “instant sex” and “lighting effects in post” – using Calculations:

The use of Calculations has been enhanced by a new feature recently added to After Effects CC that allows all compound effects – Calculations included – to look at a second layer’s source (the old behavior), after masks have been applied to that layer, or after masks and effects. These choices now appear next to where you select the second, “control” layer in a compound effect.

These movies previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making them available publicly for free.


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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,…

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