02-10-2006, 05:49 AM
Can I see a shot of the poor footage?
02-10-2006, 07:20 AM
just as a project for learning and bettering myself in AE, i want to create a decent effect of a friend throwing some sort of plasma/energy ball. i have the footage, taken with my DVX100A, which is quite nice looking.. but for the sake of discussion, let's say was it a shoddy video taken on something like a digital8 camcorder, or even a point-and-shoot digital camera in video mode.
you know, low resolution, really crappy looking.
i can create the effect of some energy ball flying where i need it, but what are some ways for isolating the visual effects and making them match the color data / grain / and everything else of the video? a simple pixelation filter doesn't quite do the trick.. ;)
There are quite a few tricks for matching effects in, these are just a few and surely someone out there has better ones:
1. If you are using After Effects 6.5 (this one may be pro bundle only) there is a great tool for this under Effects>Grain. There is a match grain option, which you apply to the effect layer or composition, and use the video layer beneath this as the source of the grain. This will match the grain pretty well for a free option and is based on a once for-pay plugin called Grain Surgery.
2. Create an adjustment layer at the top of your timeline and apply "effect>levels" to it. Using the gamma slider (the middle one) "slam" the levels by pushing the gamma to its lowest and highest points. This will reveal to you the differences in gamma between your source footage and the effect layer. If the energy ball layer's shadows and/or highlights look dramatically different than those of the source footage, you will need to adjust gamma on one of them or the effect will never match in. You should probably adjust the energy ball layer for this particular example, since it is more important for it to match the footage, not the other way around.
Use a levels effect on the actual layer you intend to correct (energy ball), and hide the adjustment layer you made for now, leaving it on the top of the stack to be turned on now and then as you adjust levels. This will allow you to check your progress by turning on the gamma adjustment layer and check for a closer match.
Because color correction is absolutely vital to matching in an effect, you need to use this in conjunction with individual color correction of each red, green and blue channel until things match well. Going into more detail on levels adjustment is way beyond a single post, but if you need help with that I can give it a go...
3. Make sure your info pallete is open (Window>Info). Roll your mouse over the darkest blacks in your video footage. Take note of the RGB values in the info pallete. Apply another levels adjustment (or use the same one from before if possible) and Adjust the "output black" slider until the blacks in your energy ball layer match the density of the blacks in your source footage. The "output black" slider essentially makes your blacks more or less milky looking, which is a signature look of DV footage. This slider is the one on the far left of the levels effect (with RGB selected in the pulldown) beneath the main black-point slider.
4. Motion blur should match on the effect. If you are doing it in 3D, just step through a few frames of your source footage and look for movement. If it seems there is a lot of motion blur, set your 3d App to apply the same amount of motion blur. If this effect is purely after effects, you can toggle on the motion blur for your energy ball's layers.
These are just a few of the many tactics you can use to match effects in. If these don't do it for you, check out www.creativecow.net (http://www.creativecow.net), or this book:
I've worked with this guy and he truly knows his stuff. Even though I've been doing effects and compositing for years, I found this book highly informative, full of useful tricks and very easy to follow. And no, I don't receive a dime for saying such nice things about it ;)
02-10-2006, 06:02 PM
wow, that was an incredibly comprehensive reply. thanks a lot!
02-10-2006, 06:02 PM
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