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How to wash footage with a metallic sheen and glow with Digital Anarchy's PlasmaFX

For DMN, Digital Anarchy is giving away 3 filters in a free ?Lite? set, and offering a discounted upgrade By Marco Salsiccia

The PlasmaFX Quicksilver is a beefed-up Solarize filter that makes your footage look washed in shiny silver. The filter removes contrast and limits the value range slightly, which creates an effect of posterizing and solarizing with a slight bloom added in. Get it here for free!

Digital Anarchys new PlasmaFX filter suite are powerful, fast effects for Mac users on Final Cut Pro, Motion, and After Effects. The 26 filters use new Apple technology like FxPlug architecture and OS Xs Core Image system. This base system provides a big boost in speed, making the effects real time in some cases. Creative F/X at Lightning Speed!
This is the final tutorial in a series about PlasmaFX.LE, or ?Lite. Especially for DMN, Digital Anarchy is giving away three of the filters in a free ?Lite set, and offering a discounted upgrade for the full suite (given at the end of this tutorial).

Get the free stuff
Get the three FREE filters from here: 

To follow along this tutorial, download the source footage and sample movies here: 

This short tutorial from Digital Anarchy will show you how to wash your footage with a metallic sheen and glow. With Quicksilver, its a simple and speedy effect. Here is what we will create: 

Our final Quicksilver footage

Technical info
This tutorial covers the use of PlasmaFX in Final Cut Pro. You must have FCP 5.1.2 or higher to use our plugin, which takes advantage of Apples new FxPlug and Image Core technology. You will also need Mac OS 10.4 to run the filters.
To follow along, download the source footage and a copy of the final movie from here: 


Step 1: load in your footage

Import the source footage ?original-footage.mov or ?finished-effect.mov from the folder you just downloaded. Make sure your sequence matches the footage you will be working with.


Ctrl-Click/Right-Click on the sequence in the Project Bin and go to Sequence Settings. Verify that the Sequences Size preset is the same as your footage. Once done, drag your imported clip into the Timeline.

Our source footage of ocean rocks.

Step 2: apply quicksilver
Double-click on your footage in the Timeline to load it into the Viewer Slug window. This will give you direct access to the Effect controls once you apply PlasmaFX Quicksilver.

Click on the Effects tab in the Browser window and open up the Video Filters bin in the resulting list of folders. Select ?P: Quicksilver out of the Digital Anarchy section. Drag this item onto the footage clip in your Timeline.

Default appearance of PlasmaFX Quicksilver.

Step 3: observe the defaults
Depending on your footage, the default Quicksilver might not be much to look at. In our case, the default washes everything out due to the initial luminance of the footage. So... lets have some fun and turn this footage into an animated gold plate.

Default parameters of PlasmaFX Quicksilver.

Step 4: cross the threshold
Threshold determines the balance of the High and Low colors mapped onto the footage. At a higher setting, the Low color will wash over the footage. At a lower setting, the High color will dominate the footage.
Lets set Threshold around 700. That value will give us a healthy balance between the Low and High colors for this footage.
Your project should look like the movie below. This movie is ?plasma_quick_Step4.mov from the folder you downloaded at the beginning of this tutorial. 

Your project after Step 4, once Threshold has been increased.

Step 5: choose your metal
The plugin defaults to a white-silver gradient. Play around with the High and Low colors until you get a color balance you like.

For this tutorial, set the High color to a goldenrod and the Low color to a deep sienna or dark golden brown. The combination will turn our footage a golden color with a healthy balance to sell the upcoming effects.

New gold and brown colors are added to our silver image.

Step 6: add silver amount
The Silver Amount parameter will determine how much your image is affected by the coloring gradient. For this footage, well use a value of about 640. The higher this value is, the more definition youll be able to affect with the Specularity parameter.

Step 7: animate the specularity
The Specularity parameter will wrap the High and Low colors around the most luminous parts of our footage, causing a metallic refraction. In order to fully sell the metallic effect, this Specularity can be animated for a ?spinning gold coin in the light effect.

For this clip, weve animated the Specularity parameter to go from 0 to 1000 in about 5.0 seconds. This animation will cause light and dark bands of gold to smoothly wave over the clip, with the luminance values determining the displacement of the bands.

Your project should look like the movie below. This movie is ?plasma_quick_Step7.mov from the folder you downloaded at the beginning of this tutorial. 

Your project after Step 7. Note the dark bands across the water created by the Specularity parameter.

Step 8: got glint?
The Glint parameters allow you to add a blooming glow to the final effect. By ?bloom, we mean a ghosted glowy edge.
Set the Glint Radius to about 4 and the Glint Intensity to 40. This will give a soft glow around the edges of the High parts in the image.

Step 9: final export
This clip is ready to be exported! Tweak any animation you need based on the length of your clip and render it out with your final output settings.

You can also play the movie ?plasma_quick_final.mov to see what your final project should look like.

Your final project's colors with a slight Glint.

Discount details
Digital Anarchy has a great offer for DMN readers! You can upgrade for only $69.00 to the full 26 filter set ($129.00 value). To do so, go to the Digital Anarchy website at http://www.digitalanarchy.com/plasma/plasmaFX-le_DMN.php. Fill out their simple registration form, and Digital Anarchy will send you the discount information to make your PlasmaFX purchase. 

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As the 'Engineer of Insurrection' at Digital Anarchy, Marco Salsiccia leads Quality Assurance with bug testing, tech support, and new media like tutorials and demo artwork. Outside of D.A., Marco is a motion graphics freelancer who specializes in compositing, DVD authoring, and effect animation.

He can also be found watching movies, playing billiards at the local hall, and moderating video game websites. Have questions about this tutorial? Email him at marco@digitalanarchy.com

Related Keywords:PlasmaFX, effects, special effects plugins,


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