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true cross dissolves between two layers - is Blend still the only option?

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Steve Bentley
true cross dissolves between two layers - is Blend still the only option?
on Jul 24, 2018 at 5:33:49 pm

I check on this every few rev's to see if there are any new and better ways. And a recent post on the Blend effect caused the question to bubble up again.

Using opacity to cross dissolve only works if the lower layer doesn't have an alpha and is at 100% opacity and there are no other layers below that. What I'm after is something that takes into account the alphas and opacity of both layers involved the cross fade.
Blend does work but its messy because you have to split the footage at the effect keyframe, the effect goes on one layer only and the other layer gets turned off, but only during the dissolve, so in most cases you end up with 2 copies of each clip in the timeline. And then there's the seemingly reverse psychology of the intensity controller of the effect. "Inelegant" is an understatement.

There must be a better way by now.



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Mark Whitney
Re: true cross dissolves between two layers - is Blend still the only option?
on Jul 25, 2018 at 12:24:29 am

Hey Steve,

Wasn't finding what I thought i was looking for, but have you looked at what is probably quite outdated but Red Giant's Shooter Suite and in that the Opticals effect for doing dissolves? Not specifically what your were asking but it does give you several film response options.


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Steve Bentley
Re: true cross dissolves between two layers - is Blend still the only option?
on Jul 25, 2018 at 1:40:33 am

Thanks Mark,
I haven't found it yet - the description of all the RG suites isn't very robust and with everything being a "Suite" now there's not much differentiation. I'll have to download a bunch of user manuals just to see what all the tools are within each package. It might be buried in Image Lounge (I didn't know they were still making that; what's next, Kai's Power Tools?).😄



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Andrew Somers
Re: true cross dissolves between two layers - is Blend still the only option?
on Jul 25, 2018 at 7:30:14 pm

Personally I never use blend.

More typically I Precomp the two layers, and then do opacity keyframe dissolve.

Or to get tricky, instead of opacity use LEVELS (Individual Controls) on BOTH of the layers. Then keyframe the ALPHA channel. This allow using the gamma control on the alpha to adjust and compensate for density shifts in the alphas of the layers during the dissolve.

There's a more complicated method that involves separating the alpha channels of the layers, but I don't consider it practical for frequent use.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://GeneralTitles.com


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Steve Bentley
Re: true cross dissolves between two layers - is Blend still the only option?
on Jul 25, 2018 at 8:10:04 pm

Thanks for the input Andrew.
I can think of a few situations (but just a few) where the precomp won't even work (based on masked and multi density footage). More issues erupt if the layers you are trying to cross dissolve have blend functions on them like Screen.

I was just looking for a simpler solution than Blend (I mean its just a cross dissolve for pity's sake). Blend does the trick but you end up hacking your sources into snippets to keep the effect on one of the snippets and not the other. And it becomes a spot where missing frames (gaps) can creep in, especially if the footage has been reversed. "Inelegant" sums it up.

I know AE is a not a NLE but still, next to a cut, a proper film dissolve is the next most basic of techniques. (but come to think of it, Nuke's got one, Fusion's got one, Flame's got one, not too sure about Shake; but its been a while. And none of those are NLE's either)
I guess I should stop my complaining - I used to be a printer op back in the day and a dissolve on the stand was harder than the blend function these days (and no scratches!).



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Andrew Somers
Re: true cross dissolves between two layers - is Blend still the only option?
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:19:20 am

Well there is this plug in, but it is only for Windows unfortunately:

http://www.pixelan.com/dissolvemaster/help-adobe-after-effects.htm


Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://GeneralTitles.com


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Thomas Leong
Re: true cross dissolves between two layers - is Blend still the only option?
on Jul 26, 2018 at 4:51:05 pm
Last Edited By Thomas Leong on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:16:57 pm

Not sure if this is what you are after -
Apply a Layer > Blending Mode > Difference to each media item > then Opacity to crossfade
The lower layer's brighter parts will visible first during the dissolve. Seems quite similar to the dissolves when I was doing 35mm Transparency shows between slide projectors.

Edited:
"Difference to each layer" changed to "Difference to each media item"


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