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Tutorial to create Bokeh Effect

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Andrea Stewart
Tutorial to create Bokeh Effect
on Aug 15, 2011 at 9:01:18 pm

Does anyone know where I might find a tutorial on creating a bokeh effect in AE? Its that look of floating balls or shapes of light that happens when a lens goes out of focus.

I have particular, and I figure that's a good place to start.

Andrea Stewart
Producer/Editor/Director - Owner
Germane Creative LLC


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Walter Soyka
Re: Tutorial to create Bokeh Effect
on Aug 15, 2011 at 9:16:21 pm

Bokeh -- the blur and bloom in out-of-focus areas of a picture -- is a lens artifact. You can use the Camera Lens Blur effect in AE CS5.5 [link] to get a nice bokeh effect from existing footage.

Previous versions of AE use the older Lens Blur effect [link], but Camera Lens Blur is a big improvement over this.

Particular could certainly give you the blurred, overlapping shapes you're looking for, but I don't think it will be easy to get the same organic feel as you'd get from a real lens or good lens simulation effect.

You can also find many stock video clips of defocused lights.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Andrea Stewart
Re: Tutorial to create Bokeh Effect
on Aug 15, 2011 at 9:26:07 pm

Thanks Walter.

I'd like to have the look of the stock footage, but with more control. Mostly, I want to add an obscuration layer (specifically a photo) in 3D so the lights can pass over and around it.

Andrea Stewart
Producer/Editor/Director - Owner
Germane Creative LLC


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Walter Soyka
Re: Tutorial to create Bokeh Effect
on Aug 15, 2011 at 9:43:23 pm

Makes sense -- in that case, I'd consider using Particular to create the shapes, then Camera Lens Blur to beautifully defocus them.

To get more of a depth-of-field effect, you could duplicate the particle system a few times and use the near and far vanish properties to slice it up, then apply Camera Lens Blur in varying amounts.

Alternately, you could create a couple dozen shape layers, position them in 3D space, and let AE CS5.5's improved DoF rendering create the bokeh for you.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Tutorial to create Bokeh Effect
on Aug 15, 2011 at 10:55:44 pm

Here's some more information about the features in After Effects CS5.5 that Walter mentioned for this kind of work:
"Camera Lens Blur effect and camera depth of field properties in After Effe...

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