7 Replies Latest reply on Dec 15, 2014 4:16 AM by CrackDown

    Layered smoke problems

    CrackDown

      Hello,

       

      I have a panning shot of a field that I want to fill with layers of smoke, almost fog, to give the effect of depth. I've managed to create the smoke effect fine using CC Particle World, and I've used a 3D camera tracker to track the panning movements, and I can create the desired effect, sort of. The problem is I want to duplicate the smoke effect, so I can create layers, and I'm having trouble to do so. Here's the breakdown of problems, and bear with me I'm still kind of new to After Effects.

       

      1) If I create separate compositions of the video, bring them all into a master composition and add the effects there for each one, this seems to work, but I need to add a time-remap to each one to slow the smoke down, but it appears the time remap doesn't apply to the effect unless the effect is in the individual composition itself.

       

      2) If i create the smoke effect in the single compositions (say Smoke1, Smoke2 etc), then the time remapping seems to just 'turn off' the smoke effect for some reason. I can't figure out why, but the smoke disappears when I create a time remap.

       

      3) I can't seem to just duplicate a smoke effect for 1 composition and have say 7 or 8 variations of the CC particle world, so I can dot them about the shot on varying Z-axis depths. (to create the depth of field I want)

       

      4) Do I need a 3D tracker for each composition, or can they run off the same one?

       

      It's all a bit confusing at the moment, I'm not sure if I'm meant to be referencing individual compositions in a master, or what. Is it a simple case of creating a new comp, add a solid, add the smoke effect to that solid, then load the comp into a master comp. It doesn't seem to do what I want it to do if I try that.

       

      Thanks in advance, I'm sorry if this doesn't come across very clear.

       

      SM01

        • 1. Re: Layered smoke problems
          bogiesan Level 4

          It's not a 3D scene so you can stop trying to do it that way.

          You can only use one copy of Particle World at a time in a comp. A new one turns off the others. Just how it is with some effects.

          Not looking over your shoulder, I can only tell you how I'd approach the project.

          1. New comp, call it Field. Apply your stabilization or time remapping to the scene. Render that movie and reimport it.

          2. New comp, call it FogMaker. Make this comp about twice as wide as your movie. Apply your smoke effect. Render it out, import it.

          3. New comp, call it Field with Fog. Put in your base move and put a copy of Fog on top of it. Rename the layer to Fog Close. Scale this up and make it move faster since it's closest to the camera.

          4. Add another copy of Fog, rename to Fog Middle. Scale it back a bit, make it move more slowly. You might create a mask for the lower edge to make it appear to be behind some of the foreground elements in your movie.

          5. Add another copy of Fog, call it Fog Far. Sclae it way back and have it move quite slowly.

           

          The tricks in creating the illusion of depth come in how you mask, scale, move, and time the layers. You also must figure out a way to combine the layers without the whiteness becoming dominant. Most atmospheric effects should be subtle and help set the scene. They should to draw attention to themselves. Most beginners tend to create fog and smoke that is way too dense and moving way too fast.

          • 2. Re: Layered smoke problems
            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I do not understand the problem that you're having.

             

            CrackDown wrote:

             

            1) If I create separate compositions of the video, bring them all into a master composition and add the effects there for each one, this seems to work, but I need to add a time-remap to each one to slow the smoke down, but it appears the time remap doesn't apply to the effect unless the effect is in the individual composition itself.

            What do you mean separate compositions of the video? Are you applying CC Particle World to the video layer itself? I'd suggest applying it to a solid instead.

            Why are you using time-remapping? Why not slow the smoke down using the controls in CC Particle World?

            Yes, if you want to apply time-remapping, you can't apply it to the layer with CC Particle World. Time-remapping works on the source of the layer and then the effects render on top of that. So, if you really wanted to use time-remapping on CC Particle World, you would have to have the effect inside a composition and then apply time-remapping to the precomp.

             

            CrackDown wrote:

             

              2) If i create the smoke effect in the single compositions (say Smoke1, Smoke2 etc), then the time remapping seems to just 'turn off' the smoke effect for some reason. I can't figure out why, but the smoke disappears when I create a time remap.

            As explained before, time-remapping a layer with effects on it doesn't work well. Again, why are you using time-remapping?

             

            CrackDown wrote:

             

            3) I can't seem to just duplicate a smoke effect for 1 composition and have say 7 or 8 variations of the CC particle world, so I can dot them about the shot on varying Z-axis depths. (to create the depth of field I want)  

            You should be able to have several layers. Although, CC Particle World is a 3d-aware effects, so I'm not sure why you would need multiple copies of it. You haven't explained that part very well. Are you planning to put other layers between the various particle layers or something?

            Anyway, you shouldn't move the layers around on their z-axis at all! The layer should be a non-moving, 2d layer. The effect is 3d, so move the emitter's position in z.

             

            CrackDown wrote:

             

            4) Do I need a 3D tracker for each composition, or can they run off the same one?

            If you copy the camera into each composition, it should work just fine.

             

            CrackDown wrote:

             

            Thanks in advance, I'm sorry if this doesn't come across very clear.

            It's okay. It was a bit confusing. How long have you worked with After Effects? If you measure your time in months, weeks, or days, I'd highly recommend going through these resources: Getting started with After Effects The resources there would help explain things like compositions, why time-remapping wouldn't work on a layer's effects, and many other things.

            • 3. Re: Layered smoke problems
              CrackDown Level 1

              Thanks for your reply bogiesan,


              Only once I'd posted this had I thought about creating one render, them importing and doing it again and again to add layers. The issue is the footage is ungraded 10-bit prores, and working on a windows machine I'll have to export as uncompressed or some other 10-bit codec, which will be very large and slow to import and edit again. Not out of the question though, and I suppose this is how I need to do it.


              The time remapping only needs to occur for the smoke, not the shot itself, so I'll need to have a comp with the smoke already in and apply it to that, won't I?


              I agree with making it subtle. The scene is a war battlefield and I just wanted thin smoke to linger in the air, but get thicker and thicker the further out it goes. It's a shame you can't add multiple effects in the same comp and do it that way, as I'm going to need to make multiple renders and might get to a point where I don't like it and will need to go back to the first render and start again to build it up.

              • 4. Re: Layered smoke problems
                Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                bogiesan wrote:

                 

                You can only use one copy of Particle World at a time in a comp. A new one turns off the others. Just how it is with some effects.

                What? You can have more than one in a comp. You just have to have them on different layers.

                • 5. Re: Layered smoke problems
                  bogiesan Level 4

                  Szalam wrote:

                  bogiesan wrote:

                  You can only use one copy of Particle World at a time in a comp. A new one turns off the others. Just how it is with some effects.

                  What? You can have more than one in a comp. You just have to have them on different layers.

                  Thanks for catching that, I knew what I meant. Too bad I can't run my posts by you first.

                  I didn't have any trouble understanding the project, though, like you did, so may you could run yours by me, too.

                  • 6. Re: Layered smoke problems
                    Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    bogiesan wrote:

                     

                    Thanks for catching that, I knew what I meant. Too bad I can't run my posts by you first.

                    I didn't have any trouble understanding the project, though, like you did, so may you could run yours by me, too.

                    This is why a forum is much better than people sending us direct messages!

                    • 7. Re: Layered smoke problems
                      CrackDown Level 1

                      Thanks both of you. I've managed to do it by creating seperate comps with the 3D tracker in each, but instead of using time-remap on each of them (which would also slow down the tracker) I just increased the velocity and resistance. I also made the smoke more like a fog/mist, and had 3 of them for close, mid and far. Seems to have done what I wanted.

                       

                      Thanks