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Strange issue with Brightness in After Effects

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Chris Evans
Strange issue with Brightness in After Effects
on Dec 4, 2013 at 10:26:43 pm

I am trying to create a background using what is on the left side of the above image. I used a mask, fractal noise and a directional blur to create it. I liked what I had, but I wanted to boost the brightness, however, when I tried to do so, it just smoothed out what I had and the result was the middle portion above. I used curves (my favorite color correction tool), levels, and Brightness & Contrast (All separately). I used all of those on the layer itself, an adjustment layer above it, and I even applied the effects to a pre comp of the layer. The result was the same. I can achieve the effect I want by duplicating the layer a couple times, but I can't figure out what is happening. The right section of the picture above is a white solid with a feathered mask to show that I can get brighter whites in my comp, but I can't get them on the layer I need them on.

The original layer is plenty bright, it only decreases because of the amount of directional blur on it. But, why can't I just increase the brightness after the blur?

(Also, this is my first post on creative cow. I joined so I could ask this question because I am baffled.)

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John Cuevas
Re: Strange issue with Brightness in After Effects
on Dec 5, 2013 at 3:11:46 pm

Instead of using directional blur(or as much), on the fractal noise, open up transform property, uncheck "Uniform Scaling" and just crank up the scale height. Also you can adjust the brightness/contrast with fractal noise, that might help too.

I made an example project to that I think is what you are trying to achieve.

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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Chris Evans
Re: Strange issue with Brightness in After Effects
on Dec 5, 2013 at 4:11:54 pm

Thanks John,

The project you posted was exactly what I was looking for and I will use it for my project. I hadn't thought of feathering the mask.

I wrote the above portion and decided to use your suggestion in my project before I posted it, but I found that if I feathered the mask too much (which I did while I was just fiddling it with it to get exactly what I needed, I wasn't going to use it that way) I got the same result as with the directional blur. When that happened, I increased the brightness with curves and hovered my mouse over different parts and I noticed that in the black regions at the edge of my white the info panel said that the RGB values were all 225, but it was showing black on my screen. Then it hit me, it was the Alpha channel! Increasing the brightness doesn't change the alpha channel, but I can modify the Alpha channel with curves and it works exactly like I want it to.

I guess it just took some more playing around. Thanks for your help though.

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