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Adjustment Layers - basic order of operations question

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Hillary Knox
Adjustment Layers - basic order of operations question
on May 1, 2011 at 5:56:14 pm

Basic, basic question: Is there an order of operations difference between having 5 effects on a single adjustment layer vs having the first 3 effects (in the same order) on the first adjustment layer and the last 2 effects (in the same order) on a 2nd adjustment layer? I'm finding that the practical answer is "yes, maybe, sometimes" but I can't articulate why or how.


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Dave Johnson
Re: Adjustment Layers - basic order of operations question
on May 2, 2011 at 6:04:08 pm

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at so I'm, therefore, not sure this is telling you anything you don't already know, but the answer is yes since adjustment layers affect every layer beneath them ... so, the top adjustment layer is effectively adjusting the bottom adjustment layer (along with every other layer beneath it).


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Hillary Knox
Re: Adjustment Layers - basic order of operations question
on May 3, 2011 at 5:33:52 pm

Ok, maybe this will clarify...

If I have the exact same clip in 2 separate comps. In Comp 1 I have 5 effects on a single adjustment layer, and in Comp 2 I have 5 adjustment layers with the same effects, 1 effect each spread over the 5 adjustment layers (in the same order). Should I theoretically expect to get the exact same image in both comps?

Here's the reason I'm asking. I'm doing color correction that occasionally involves a lot of keying (which I'm doing in Colorista II). I'm finding that in order for the Colorista II keyer to work based on previous effects (i.e. Levels, Hue/Sat, or other Colorista instances) I'm having to put it on another Adjustment Layer for the keyer to take the earlier adjustments into account. Otherwise, if it's on the same adjustment layer, the keyer disregards the previous effects & uses the un-effected clip as the source for the key.

I'm wondering if this is just the way the Colorista II keyer works, or if this is a global After Effects-wide order-of-operations thing that I don't fully have a handle on. I understand orders of operations, and that Adjustment Layers affect all layers below it, that's not really my question. I guess my question is, what is the difference in behavior between stacked effects on a single adjustment layer vs the same effects spread out over multiple adjustment layers? And is it predictable & consistent? Or is it just common knowledge that sometimes you have to use multiple adjustment layers based on the specific effect combinations that you're using?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Adjustment Layers - basic order of operations question
on May 3, 2011 at 5:42:32 pm

I didn't even KNOW there was a keyer in Colorista; I use Keylight in AE. But that's neither here nor there.

It certainly sounds like you're going about things the wrong way. Forget about using adjustment layers in the example you give. That's not a good application for them. Just apply the effects to the layer in question. Key first, then color correct. Color correction prior to keying won't help the keyer very much.

And if you need to tweak the levels and colors of a chroma key shot before you use the keyer, you really ought to re-shoot. And you also ought to google terms like "lighting for Green Screen", "lighting for chroma key", "lighting for blue screen", etc.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Hillary Knox
Re: Adjustment Layers - basic order of operations question
on May 3, 2011 at 6:08:23 pm

I'm not keying blue- or green screen. I'm keying stuff in the scene like fleshtones, clothing, backgrounds, and overblown highlights. Regardless of whether or not I'm going about things in the right way or whether I need to re-shoot, both of which could very well be true, my original question remains unanswered and could potentially apply to many other situations that may or may not involve keying.

Is there some kind of order of operations difference between stacking effects on a single adjustment layer (or on the clip layer itself) vs spreading them out over several adjustment layers but still in the same order?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Adjustment Layers - basic order of operations question
on May 3, 2011 at 9:19:49 pm

[Hillary Knox] "Is there some kind of order of operations difference between stacking effects on a single adjustment layer (or on the clip layer itself) vs spreading them out over several adjustment layers but still in the same order?"

My gut says the answer is no. But since I've never encountered a situation where I'd need five adjustment layers to apply five different effects to every layer below them in the timeline, I can't be double-dog sure. If you want a more definitive answer, you could always pay a visit to Adobe's own After Effects forum to pose your question where guys from Adobe hang out, and may have an answer for such exotic situations.

http://forums.adobe.com/community/aftereffects_general_discussion

In the meantime, you might find your answer here:
http://www.peachpit.com/podcasts/episode.aspx?e=182cf214-5f05-4b61-863d-32e...

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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