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AE (light painting)

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Alex Lam
AE (light painting)
on Jan 15, 2015 at 7:35:34 am

Hi AE experts,

I have a quick question about how the effect in this link is achieved.

Light painting in photography, I get. Even in video, I understand stop motion animation etc. But this one isn't stop motion, it's live action, real time...

The director made this comment about how he did it:

"Real lights, fixed camera, duplicated layers in After Effects (keyed light on top, the original video at the bottom), leaving the trail of light on the screen (frame by frame)."

Sorry I'm obviously not great at AE, so I need some help from you guys explaining in a bit more detail how to achieve this. Thanks in advance!

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John Cuevas
Re: AE (light painting)
on Jan 15, 2015 at 12:57:34 pm

First thing, he does this frame by frame, so you need to freeze frame every single instance of the light.

For achieving the light paint he just keys it. Number of different methods could be used to key. First probably a quick mask around the freeze frame of the light. Then for pure bright white lightes, the effect Key > Luma Matte. He sets that to "key out darker" then sets the threshold to a high number like 250. After that I think he adds a glow effect.

Where he had the light bulb on the posts, that's achieved by adjusting the opacity and just adding a color effect to it.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

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