Classic Course: Repeat Edge Pixels

Advice for the flat earthers out there (plug-ins included): What do you do when you reach the edge?

As we mentioned in our last post, we’re going to be publishing on PVC videos from our retired course Insight Into Effects that we think are still relevant to users today. They use a much older version of After Effects, but it’s surprising how much of the program has stayed the same over the years. As a result, many tricks that were useful back then are still useful today. We’re going to focus on the “universal concepts” movies from that course first, and then move onto specific effects plug-ins.

This movie is about a mysterious switch that appears in some plug-ins: Repeat Edge Pixels. It’s useful when an effect has the option of blurring or otherwise extending a layer’s alpha channel, but there are no pixels beyond the original edge to process.

What should do you do in this event? Well, you either crop the alpha channel at its original boundaries rather than blur it, or you repeat the color of the pixels at the very edge so that you have something useful to process. Otherwise, After Effects may give the appearance of “pulling in” black pixels from the edge – but in reality, most of the time what you’re seeing is the black background.

Here’s that concept demonstrated, with some simple rules for when to enable or disable the Repeat Edge Pixels Option:

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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.

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