Effects Without Borders
By Erik Holsinger
Digital Media Online


You can literally hit the wall when you use a plug-in effect on smaller than frame size objects in Adobe After Effects.

The problem is the plug-in effect is applied to only the total area of the layer object (shown here as the blue Square around the the DMN logo).

Here I've applied the ICE Studio Effects LightBurst plug-in to the logo. Unfortunately, the effect now only fills the object size, instead of filling the entire frame.

What to do? Why, pre-compose the layer, of course! This allows you to apply the effect to the layer object in a much larger area. Here's what you do:

First, remove the effect that you want to apply from the layer. Then select the layer you want to apply the effect to by clicking on it.

Now from the pull-down menu select Layer, and then pull down to select Pre-Compose.

Now the Pre-compose dialog box comes up, giving you two choices. The first one "Leave all attributes.." selection will send only the selected layer to a separate composition, while the second option would move all the layers into a separate composition.

For this solution we'll use the first option. Before you click okay, it's a good idea to rename the new composition so you can differentiate it from the original object.

Next, from the Composition pulldown menu select Composition Settings. Here's where you give your object some breathing room. The size of our finished piece is 240 X 180 pixels, so I've set my size to be 600 X 600 pixels.

This is larger than you need (you only need to fill a 240 X 180 image), but I like the larger image in case I want to move the layer within the composition.

The logo now appears to be surrounded by lots of screen area.

Be sure to center your object in the middle of the screen so your effect will have plenty of room to grow (or explode - whatever you're into).

Finally, place your new Pre-composed composition inside your original composition by dragging it onto the timeline. Add your effect and Voila! The effect moves past the original borders of the object to fill the whole frame.

Click on the image to see a movie of the final effect!

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