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An Explosion To Remember

Using After Effects plug-ins to create an explosion By Stephen Schleicher
The last time we left our heroes they had just discovered a bomb ticking away to destruction. As we join in this installment, we find them running full sprint, seeking shelter behind a car in the parking lot. Moments later, a large section of the building explodes in a fiery rain of debris. Whew! Safe...for now...

In a recent tutorial I demonstrated how you could use Adobe After Effects 5.5 to track a countdown to a prop bomb. This time well follow-up that tutorial with a way to use the Production Bundle and the free plug-in Shatter that you get when registering your version of After Effects to create a believable explosion.

In addition to using the out of the box After Effects program, Ill also be using a couple clips from the Artbeats library. If you havent seen what Artbeats has to offer, check out their site, they have a great selection of stock and special effect footage.

Ill be using my Mac for this tutorial, but you can do this on either platform. I digitized the raw footage using Final Cut Pro 3, which uses QuickTime as its format, which is nice because you can move the footage between the PC and the Mac without having to use any proprietary codecs. Ill talk more about PC and Mac with After Effects later on.

If you would like to follow along, you can download a full size still frame by clicking on the image to the right.

Click here to view larger image.

Import the footage into After Effects and make a new composition by dragging the clip to the new composition icon.

If I were to apply the Effects/Stylize/Shatter now, I would be blowing up the entire frame. A limitation of Shatter is that it applies the effect to a flat area (the entire frame), and you cannot limit the effect to a specific region and angle easily. However, you can use the very cool Corner Pinning option of Shatter to create a nice perspective and match the effect to a live plate. To do this, it is a simple matter of grabbing a frame from this clip, and opening it Photoshop.

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Related Keywords:adobe, adobe after effects, explosion, artbeats, stock footage, animation, compositing, fireball, stephen schleicher

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