Effect Exercises

As I am a beginner to using After Effects, to improve my skills and confidence ready for my final project I have made sure to do the lab tutorials provided. Initially, I realised that After Effects had a similar interface to some other Adobe programs, so I did feel confident enough that I wouldn’t find it too confusing, although there was still a lot to learn. 

Depth of field effect practise

Firstly, I was introduced to the various depth of field options available on Adobe After Effects. The main thing I learnt was how to control the camera within a 3D environment, despite using 2D images. This is done by using an X axis as well as the usual YZ axis’, this also taught me how to use different camera views in After Effects as I often had to go back and forth to the top view camera to ensure the objects were correctly places in the new 3D space. I also learnt how to focus the camera on particular objects and how to emphasise the focal points by blurring objects and zooming in. I also learnt some more basic aspects to creating things within After Effects such as adding keyframes and understanding the overall interface more. 

Flower references:

Blooming Artificial (2021) Artificial rose stem [Photo]. Available online: 

https://www.bloomingartificial.co.uk/artificial-rose-stem [Accessed 28/10/21]

Blooming Artificial (2021) Artificial cabbage rose stem [Photo]. Available online: https://www.bloomingartificial.co.uk/artificial-cabbage-rose-stem [Accessed 28/10/21].

Motion blur effect practise 

Next, I learnt how to add motion blur onto objects. I created some basic rectangles, and by using keyframes, I learnt how to animate them and add rotations. I then added the motion blur effect to the top rectangle, and can definitely see now how this has made the movement look much more natural. I did encounter a slight problem when it came to the rotations of the rectangles – at first the circumference of the rotation was really big and the rectangles would move out of shot. I then realised that it was the anchor point of the rectangles that were the problem – they were too far away. So, by doing a bit of research I learnt how to alter the anchor point and then when I did the rotations again they worked.

Lens and colour effect practise

I then learnt how to apply lens distortion onto an old video of mine that I filmed in Iceland of a waterfall. I went for a fish eye lens as I quite like this style effect. I also learnt how to alter the colour settings of video within After Effects. I learnt how to apply a very basic auto colour correction which I did feel improved the look of my video, but, I decided to alter some of the settings myself manually and I experimented with the colour settings such as exposure, contrast, black and white tones and saturation. Overall, I decided I wanted my video to have a moodier look so I made sure to take the exposure level down and desaturated it quite significantly. 

I did end up having some problems when it came to trying to render this video, first I tried to export to Media Encoder but it just wouldn’t go into the queue. I then tried to export it into Premier Pro, where an error message came up saying that the effects were missing. I then tried to solve this problem by doing some research, and I found a new way to link After Effects and Premier Pro via something called ‘Dynamic Links’ which seemed to work fine. 

Lighting effect practise

Next I learnt how to apply different types of lights within After Effects and how these various lights had different impacts on illuminating the scenes. For this task, I applied all of the different types of lights onto some text, I was able to manipulate where the lights were positioned and what parts of the text they were focusing on. Overall, I found out that some lights weren’t always suitable – such as the ambient light which in this particular situation, I felt was too dull compared to the others, despite editing with the intensity settings the text wouldn’t stand out. 

Particle effect practise

Here, I learnt how to make objects disappear by using basic particle effects. I filmed a basic short video of a Pusheen plush on a bed then took it out of shot, similar to the provided tutorial video. I then learnt how you can add layers to videos in After Effects and I separated the background layer from the top layer. I then used the pen tool to mask Pusheen, then using keyframes, I was then able to apply a basic particle filter and make it look as if it was disappearing. I then experimented a bit more with this setting and made Pusheen reappear. 

Typography effects

Finally, I experimented with some different types of typography effects to use within my final piece as typography will be featuring quite prominently in my final piece. The names of my cast members will be appearing over the video footage throughout my opening, and there will also be an ending screen which will feature the TV show title ‘Fall’. I haven’t settled on a particular effect that I would defiantly like to use in my final piece at the time of writing, but one that did stand out to me was the ‘typewriter’ effect. I felt that it was quite a simple effect but the style seemed to fit in with the horror aspect of my piece. As the typography will be one of the last things I will need to add to my piece, I plan on doing some more experiments when I have edited and added all other effects to the footage so I will be able to see properly if the typography effect matches well with what is on screen. 

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