Hey there, Joey here for school of motion. And in this lesson, we'll be taking a look at how to build a better glow effect than what after effects has to offer us right out of the box. The built-in glow effect that comes with after effects is really clunky to use and limits the looks you can achieve the way that I'm going to show you how to build a glow effect will give you a lot more flexibility to really dial in the look you're going for. Don't forget to sign up for a free student account. So you can grab the project files from this lesson, as well as assets from other lessons on the site. Now let's jump in. So I have a comp set up here and there's one layer in it, which is this Photoshop file. And I picked this Photoshop file because it has a lot of contrast in it.
And when you have images with lots of contrast, um, especially when you shoot these things on, on film, a lot of times you'll get natural gloves and that's why compositors and motion graphics artists add glows a lot to these types of images. Um, I also chose this image because it's very, very saturated. And when you add glows to images like this, there's a lot of problems you can run into. Um, and I'm going to show you how to deal with those and, and some better ways and cool effects you can get using this technique. So to start with, I want to show you the way most people go about adding a glow. Um, and when I say most people, I mean, most beginners that I've worked with in other freelancers, um, and people who don't know how to do this new technique, which I wish everyone knew how to do.
And you get these weird, I really don't understand why, why you get this black halo and it's annoyed me for years, but that's one of the reasons I don't use this glow effect anymore. So let me now show you the way that I usually make glows. And hopefully you guys will, will start to get some cool ideas about how you could use this technique to create new glows and get cool effects that, um, you know, wouldn't be possible any other way. So first I want you to understand what a glow is and the way I think about it, all a glow really is. And I just duplicated this layer just so I can, uh, show you guys, um, all the glow is, is a blurred version. So I'm going to add a fast blur to this layer. It's a blurred version of a layer added over it.
All right. Um, now when you make something glow, um, and, and generally when I use, when I make gloves, I use the add mode on the glow layer. Um, cause you get that nice, bright poppy popping effect. All right, I'm going to undo that. Um, so when you add something, if, uh, if your glow layer has any black areas in it, um, that part of your glow layer will not show up only the bright areas show up. So I use that to my advantage by using the levels effects, to crush the blacks, to make everything disappear that I don't want to show up. All right. And when I say crush, the blacks, that's what this arrow does on the levels effect. It brings everything to black, to the left of that arrow. Okay. Now you might think that I want to crush those blacks all the way till only the red showing up.
So it brightens everything. Okay. Um, and I want to try a different blur on this pyramid. Um, so if I turn this fast blur off and we saw this layer, so this is the part of the blue pyramid that we have isolated to glow. Um, and we did that by using the levels. Here's the raw image, actually, here's the raw image. And remember we use levels to crush these blacks. So we only have this part that's going to glow. Um, and then we used human saturation to bring the color saturation down. So the glow doesn't blow out the color. Well, we have all these other blurs and after effects that we can use, and they all do different things, um, and you can play with them. And I would suggest you do that because you can get really cool effects. Um, you actually can recreate a lot of very expensive plugins that you can spend hundreds of dollars on by doing this technique and combining a few different blurs.
Okay. Until we have just these, these parts of the image, we're going to add the fast blur. Okay. And now we need to crush the blacks a little bit, just like before. Okay. Now at this point, oh, we also need to make sure we have this set clip to output black needs to be on. Now at this point, if we had a copy of this layer, um, and that was what we were working on. We would just set that to add mode. Um, the problem is if you have a dozen layers that need this glow, you don't want to have to have a copy of every layer making 24 layers. Now, um, that's one of the things about after effects that I don't like is that a lot of things require you to duplicate layers that you really don't need to duplicate in like a node based composite or, um, luckily after effects has this cool effect that a lot of people don't know about.
Um, but it's incredibly useful. And I'm going to show it to you. If you go to effect channel CC composite, all right. Now, when you apply this by default, all it does is take the original image before any of these effects before the levels. And before the fast blur have been applied and it puts it back over itself. So you're basically back to zero, um, which is not what we want. All you need to change is this composite original. So what this effect does is it takes your layer, applies levels, then fast blur to it. Then it, this CC composite effect takes the original unaffected layer and composites it with itself after you've put the effects on. All right. I don't know if that made any sense, but if I, essentially, if I changed this from, in front to add, we are now basically adding the result of levels and fast blur to the original image.
That's not what we want. If this effect comes after the CC composite, it will affect the entire layer if it comes before the CC composite. So we just drag it above this effect. Now it's only affecting the image, you know, sort of the effected image before this effect. So if we turn this fact off again, you can see that this is now the result that is being added because we're an add mode to the original. All right. So this is great because if you had five other layers now that you wanted this glow with, um, you could just copy this effect stack here and paste it and have that exact look on each layer. Um, this is useful for a lot of other things, but for glows, um, it's, it's incredibly useful because you can, you can stack a whole bunch of effects and you can, you don't have to use a fast blur.
You could use the cross blur if you wanted. Um, but as long as you end your chain with CC composite set to add, and it doesn't have to be at, it could also be screen if you wanted a little bit less intensive, a glow. Um, but as long as it ends with the CC composite effect, you get your glow. Um, and it's all in one layer and you don't have to mess with all those other layers and masking and all that stuff. Um, so anyway, I hope this was really useful. Um, there's a lot you can do with this. It really takes a lot of playing around with different effects to find what, what effects you can combine to make cool glows. Um, uh, another thing I like to do is to add noise to glow so that it kind of breaks them up. And you can do that.
I'm using this method and that's also until next time, thank you guys for watching and I'll see you soon. Thanks for watching. I hope you learned a lot from this lesson on building your own custom glow effect in after effects. And I hope that you can use this technique in your own projects. If you learn something valuable from this video, please share it around. It really helps us spread the word about school of motion. And we truly appreciate it. Don't forget to sign up for a free student account so you can access the project files from the lesson you just watched, plus a whole bunch of other goodies. Thanks again. And I'll see you next time.
We have looked at how the Twitch plugin can be used in After Effects to achieve the desired effects using the operators efficiently in conjunction with the available presets to create a master class effect.
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SliceX lets you create instant Shape Masks to cut out layers or isolate effects directly in Final Cut Pro X without having to go into Motion or create the masks with an external program. SliceX includes ten effects motion templates for common tasks and you can also use the Shape Masks with built in effects, the built in color corrector or with third party plugins. SliceX powered by mocha takes the pain out of following complex motion, just draw a shape and hit track. After tracking the shape mask you can then do final adjustments with manual keyframes as needed. FCP X keyframing can be painful and tedious, with SliceX powered by mocha we do all the hard work for you.
Now you can add more capability to After Effects and can make your projects more exciting and interesting with some of the greatest plugins available. These are software modules for enhancing the productivity and creativity. Horizon is one plugin which is an image mapping tool and camera aware color gradient. This plugin will generate background which will correspond to camera viewing direction. It has got Shine which is a fast light effect plugin. It has got special controls for shimmering lights. This effect can be experienced on TV and in many movies. Starglow is another plugin which is a fast rendering glow effect which can create star shaped glow around the source. There are many other plug-ins included in this suite which will enhance the visual experience of your videos. You may also like to download Adobe After Effects CC 2014. 2b1af7f3a8