14 Replies Latest reply on Oct 11, 2012 11:16 PM by Pierre Devereux

    Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)

    Pierre Devereux Level 2

      Hi,

       

      So, I am now happy with time manipulartion (using Twixtor), workflow for my project (http://forums.adobe.com/message/4728201#4728201) and the new PC hardware that we have. I am now coming to the point where the few actual special effects we want for out project need to be investigated. Most of the project will be Green screen compositing work of our characters in their sets, and I am pretty comfortable with creating space scenes in AE - there are hundreds, if not thousands of tutorials on that one - and some of the scenes will have them walking around "real life" environments. The bulk of the effects I forsee now, will be Fire, Smoke, Clouds and rocks.

       

      Fire and smoke, I am busy looking towards either recodring our own footage, or purchasing footage from Video CoPilot or someone - my actual qustion is, can I create realistic looking rocks in AE without any third party plug ins? Say for instance, a volcano erupts, and I want rocks blowing and falling around - can this be done believable without a dedicated 3D program? If so, does anyone have a link to some tutorials on it, or even just an idea of where I can start?

       

      Thanks guys,

       

      Pierre

        • 1. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Without plug-ins - probably not, but you could always use Particular or VC's Element. Might also be a good idea to get FreeForm Pro, Trapcode MIR or AtomKraft. There's a ton of things you can fake with displacement textures alone. Perfectly possible to get some very "real" stuff out of that. Of course if you feel like not doing anything else for the next several months you could use CC Particle World, Particle Playground and Card Dance and learn how to fake motion with animated layer maps and other geek techniques, but it may be quicker and less painful just to buy a few more plug-ins... Especially Element is a total no-brainer given the price and can come in handy in many scenarios that you may not even think of yet, including as a substitute for AE's native layers...

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
            Pierre Devereux Level 2

            Hi,

             

            Thanks man, I actually forgot that I donwloaded a bunch of demo packs a while back for some of these. Ill look into each one and see what we can use best. If I had my way, and an unlimited budget, I would buy the whole VC and RG range of plug ins and extras. Wether I use them or not - they just look so AWESOME!!

             

            Pity about the ZAR to $ exchange rate. Sigh - oh well, after season 1 of our product sells, Ill buy both VC and RG companies -

             

            Pierre

            • 3. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

              Well, no need to overdo. If you have Element, you already can do a lot, but I would consider it one of those "essentials" - if you really don't want to get into using 3D programs. Particular is of course a bit more pricey, but the AE world wouldn't be the same without it...

               

              Mylenium

              • 4. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                Pierre Devereux Level 2

                Hi,

                 

                I got the demo for Trapcode particular from Red Giant. I will play with some tutorials this week and see whats what.

                 

                Thanks again for the point in the right direction.

                 

                Pierre

                • 5. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  If you start pushing the boundaries inside AE and are on a limited budget I'd suggest you look at Blender for a 3D solution. It has good integration with AE, very good 3D tracking, and there are a ton or resources. I have a PC license for C4D so I use that fairly often, but I use Blender more often.  Blender is open source (free) well documented, and does a great job.

                   

                  www.blender.org

                  • 6. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                    Pierre Devereux Level 2

                    Hi Rick,

                     

                    Thanks for your input. I actually got myself a copy of blender a few weeks back, and started playing quite nicely. I must shamedly admit, that I did not want to get too involved on the 3D side, as the learning curve is rather steep, but in retrospect, AE is only 2.5D (is that the right terminology?) so I am going to have to get off my rear, and do some homework!

                     

                    I did start a few Blender manuals, and got around to create a rather cute penguin, a rather sloppy military vehicle (Rocket launcher included) and a start at a volcano. I will have to spend some more time on the forums and tutorials, as i must admit, my first attempt at the volcano looked shocking! Ill install Blender on my new PC, and spend some time on that too. In the meantime, I am on Red Giant TV, and will start at tutorial 1 and work my through to the end (over the next few weeks of course). I tend to agree with Mylenium at this point, we are going to have to invest in some plug ins, and Trapcode + Element 3D seem my best starting point. Now I am left to wonder if I should push for the entire Trapcode Suite, or just particular for now.

                     

                    Well, lets see where the tutorials will lead!

                     

                    Pierre

                    • 7. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                      Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      My plug for Trapcode.

                       

                      About 90% of my motion graphics (titles, show opens, text animations) use 3 or 4 different effects from Trapcode.

                      About 60% of my Logo Treatments use 2 or 3 Trapcode effects.

                      About 30% of my compositing work uses 1 or more Trapcode effects. Most of my compositing has to look like the composite is part of the shot. IOW, I try to completely hide the special effects most of the time.

                      Here's the real suprprise. I can't remember when I did a demonstrate a product, commercial, or anything with music as the driving story that didn't use 3 or 4 Trapcode effects.

                       

                      Most often used other plug-in suites are Composite Wizzard, The entire RE:Vision FX tool set, and for every project that contains any live video, the entire Magic Bullet Suite.

                      • 8. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                        Pierre Devereux Level 2

                        Hi Rick,

                         

                        A quick once over of the Re:Vision site - they dont sell a bundle product do they? I am about to buy the Twixtor license, but if they have bundles, it might make more sense...

                         

                        Pierre

                        • 9. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                          You can buy all Revision plug-ins in their "Effections" bundle which is about  one third of the cost of all separate plug-ins (especially Re:Flex and Twixtor Pro are pricey). In fact DE:Noise, SmoothKit and RE:Fill might help you with your keying work, too. Dunno about Trapcode. Haven't used them on any realworld project recently, but I love to toy with Particular/ Form for geek stuff and use Lux all the time to visualize the millions of lights in my expression setups. Soundkeys is also handy on occasion. Never been much of a 3D Stroke user and Shine and Starglow are, well, completely sucked dry in terms of creative uses. So on the best of days, contraryy to Rick, I'm using 1 Trapcode plug-in, but when I do with quite extreme projects...

                           

                          Mylenium

                          • 10. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                            Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                            My own experience is similar to that of Rick's.  After Effects and Trapcode Particular are inseperable, IMO.  A week doesn't go by that I don't use Particular for something.  The other Trapcode stuff, and the Magic Bullet Suite, are all used reasonably regularly too.  In years gone by I used Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator a fair bit, nowadays not so much.  I've played a bit with Element 3D but am yet to use it for any paid work.

                            • 11. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                              Pierre Devereux Level 2

                              Hi Guys,

                               

                              thanks for all the replies - once again (and I guess I knew this before I posted the question - but thought that squeezing my eyes shut and clipping my heels together might allow a different outcome) I see that the answer is completely dependant on what it is I want After Effects to do for me. I have been in the IT industry for many many years now, but never have I come accross a piece of software quite as versatile and far ranging as After Effects! I am learning every day, and enjoying every moment of it (although it starts getting a liitle overwhelming and scary at times). I am going to spend this week runnign through trapcode tutorials, so that I can figure out exactly what the products can do, and then I have arranged a team sit down next week to check through each and every script, make a list of effects required, and balance that out against what I have learned form the products. I will look at a few other products as well, not just Red Giant. I'll admit off the bat, I love Video CoPilots stuff, simply because the Andrew makes the demos and tutorials look so darn good and interresting - wether we would ever use a fresh apple element, with a mercury texture...who knows - but I still want it!

                               

                              Anyway, thanks again - you have all given me tons of places to go and look, and after a week or so, if my brain has not exploded form all the input, Ill add a small outcome to the thread - for interrest sake.

                               

                              Pierre

                              • 12. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                                Pierre Devereux Level 2

                                Hi Rick,

                                 

                                Well, I have scratched out my downloaded copy of Blender, and am taking the first steps down the Wiki-Manual road!

                                 

                                Thanks for the suggestion, I think it will be a very good idea to invest a good amount of time in getting to know the product. One question, (and please forgive me if this is a really dumb one...) - Does blender deliver realistic renders, or do they all have an "animated" feel and look to them? Does it all depend on the textures used?

                                 

                                Thank you

                                 

                                Pierre

                                 

                                Sorry, another quick one - Working between Blender and After Effects - am I correct in saying that the modeling and animation of the object must be completed in Blender, and rendered out as before importing into After Effects? So After Effects is only used for the compositing of the Blender output, or do I have it wrong, and the model can be imported and animated in After Effects itself?

                                 

                                Pierre

                                 

                                Message was edited by: Pierre Devereux

                                • 13. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  You model and render in your 3D app no matter what it is, then you composite in After Effects. Take a look at this Blender to AE tutorial:

                                   

                                  http://cg.bartekskorupa.com/b2ae/

                                   

                                  That should get you started

                                  • 14. Re: Special effects (without 3rd party plugins)
                                    Pierre Devereux Level 2

                                    Thanks Rick,

                                     

                                    I am slowly but surely going through a crash course in blender!

                                     

                                    Anyone here used Video CoPilot's "Elements 3D"? IS that working on the same principle? - that you can import a 3D object, but only change its texture and appearance, or does it allow full editing in the 3D space within After Effects - can you animate the object natively in After Effects?

                                     

                                    Pierre