The original image. Click image to download the AE project file (stuffed, 92 K).

The final effect. Click image to view the QuickTime. (Web compression doesn't handle noise well. If you'd like to render the comp uncompressed, download the AE project file by clicking the top image.)

Color Balance adjustments in After Effects (Layer Window). Click image to see full view.



Creative Mac

Simulating a Video Look with After Effects

Creating the look and controlling the parameters

by Márcio Oliveira
[email protected]

This tutorial is intended to use only the plugins that ship with the Standard version of Adobe After Effects. Our primary goal is to simulate a video look image, grainy, with a lot of TV interference and color shifting. Our secondary objective is to have full control over these parameters. You'll need Adobe After Effects 3.1 Standard or later and Adobe Photoshop (or another image editing tool). Here we go:

Step 1: Create a new comp and name it "Video Look comp." Import your footage. Let's now apply some noise to our image. Remember, we can vary the amout of noise in time, if we want a more organic look. Choose Stylize/Noise and set a few keyframes. You can even "break" the interpolation between keyframes to achieve abrupt changes. To do this select all keyframes and choose Layer/Toggle Hold Keyframe or press COMMAND + OPTION + H. You can also create an adjustment layer and adjust the layer's brightness and contrast. Create a new solid and name it "brightness and contrast." Click on the adujstment layer switch. Apply the Brightness and Contrast filter. If you're using AE 4, apply Levels instead. Make sure the adjustment layer is the uppermost layer. Select both layers and pre-compose them. Name the new pre-comp "01 - Levels/noise comp."

Step 2: To create the color shifting we have to duplicate our layer two times. Now we have three layers. Name them "red," "green" and "blue." Now apply Channel/Shift Channels to each one of them. Here's the trick! For the "red" layer, set "take green from" and "take blue from" to Full Off" (Effect > Adjust > Color balance). Do the same with the other layers. For "green," leave alpha and green unchanged, and, for "blue," leave blue and alpha unchanged. Set the other options to Full Off. Change the modes of all layers to lighten. Now all we need to do is change the position of the layers. Sometimes, changing the "red" layer is enough. Set a few position keyframes for it. Don't forget to convert them to hold keyframes. (we don't want keyframe interpolation). Pre-compose these layers into a new one. Name it "02 - Color Shifting comp" (csc).


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