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lens blur headache

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xavier loebllens blur headache
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 5:59:57 pm

Hi all
This is my first post here, I'm new to the after effects thing so I hope my question is neither too silly nor in the wrong place.... I also hope my english will be accurate enough :)

That being said, here we go :

I'm trying to simulate a de-focused water plane in AEcs4, therefore I pre-composed an animated fractal noise and then turned this comp into a 3d layer and rotated it on the x axis in order to have it laid down...
Now the tricky part, I want it to look like as if it was out of focus, but when I apply a lens blur effect to this 3D composition the "lens artifacts" are affected by perspective.
I don't want to use an adjustment layer to de-focus my water as there are other layers beneath it that i do not want to blur.

Doas anyone have a tip please ?


I hope I made it clear.....


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Kevin CampRe: lens blur headache
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 6:26:01 pm

you might try adding a camera (layer>new>camera) and enable depth of field. since the water layer is a 3d layer, it has depth, so adjusting/animating the focal distance of the camera and the blur amount will give you a similar effect. plus, a camera will only effect other 3d layers, so if the layers you don't want blurred are 2d, they won't be effected.

another way would be to precomp the water layer (layer>pre-compose, choose to move all attributes) then apply lens blur to the precomp'ed water in the main comp.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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xavier loeblRe: lens blur headache
by on Oct 28, 2009 at 10:17:03 am

Thanks for your help kevin, but i've tried these 2 options already and none seems to work, perhaps I'm doing something wrong ?

I cant't use camera dof as, unfortunately, I do have other 3d layers that I don't want to be dof-ed.
I can't neither pre-compose again my 3d water which is already pre-comped just in order to add a les blur to it because, when I do so, it..... how can I explain... it moves in the wrong place with the wrong scale, it goes in the center of the comp fitting the comp size.


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Kevin CampRe: lens blur headache
by on Oct 28, 2009 at 3:09:29 pm

you may be able to fake it with compound blur. you can apply compound blur on the 3d water layer, but you sill need to create a gradient to use as the 'blur layer' (it's looking for a grayscale layer map like lens blur's depth map).

you won't get the lens artifacts, but you can fake a dof effect.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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xavier loeblRe: lens blur headache
by on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:41:27 am

Thanks for the hint, I eventually managed to achieve what i wanted by re-precomposing tha water layer but compound blur sure will be of some help one day.... by the way, what if you want to apply it to a 3D layer that you have moved and rotated ? Right now i don't get it, can you apply it through a 2D blur layer that fits the main comp or do you need to apply it through a 3D layer with the same "geometry" as the 3D layer you want to get blurred ?

And more generally, is there a means to apply any effect through a grayscale map, where black means effect off and white 100% effect on ? I strangelydidn't come across such a thing in the tutorials I've watched/read till now.


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Kevin CampRe: lens blur headache
by on Oct 29, 2009 at 3:55:49 pm

[xavier loebl] "what if you want to apply it to a 3D layer that you have moved and rotated ? Right now i don't get it, can you apply it through a 2D blur layer that fits the main comp or do you need to apply it through a 3D layer with the same "geometry" as the 3D layer you want to get blurred ?"

i assume that you are asking about compound blur... you would apply compound blur directly to the 3d layer. it will use a gradient map that is a 2d layer (actually it can be a 3d layer, but it will only look at it as a 2d plane and map that to the plane of the 3d layer).

in ae, every layer is really a 2d object, but those objects can be placed in 3d space. all effects are 2d and are applied to 2d layers. some take a 2d layer and make it 3d, like cc cylinder, but that cylinder is only 3d within that plugin's space... meaning it won't be in ae's 3d space, so if you have other 3d layers that should be behind or in front of the cylinder, they will need to be bellow or above the cc cylinder layer because the cylinder is contained (or 'trapped') in a 2d layer.

it's a little confusing, just remember, ae is really a 2d system that can put 2d elements in 3d space, but any effect on those 2d layers are 2d effects even if the 2d layer is in 3d space.

[xavier loebl] "is there a means to apply any effect through a grayscale map, where black means effect off and white 100% effect on ?"

not any effect... only a few effects are 'compound' effects, meaning they can use data from one layer and apply it to another in some way. some simple ones are compound blur and displacement map, but others, like card dance, particle playground, foam and time displacement can use layer maps to create complicated animations.

to demonstrate, create a new comp, then new layer and add the wave world effect and set it's view property to height map. this just creates a grayscale wave animation, like a water drop, we'll use that to drive position of a bunch a tiles.

now, take that comp into a new comp and hide it. add a new layer and add card dance. set the rows and columns to about 50, set gradient layer 1 to the wave world comp you created earlier and set the z-position source to 'intensity 1'. add a comp camera and use the orbit tool to rotate around the scene to see the card dance layer as plane in 3d space. then ram preview....

it's a pretty complex animation for about 1-2 minute's worth of work and you can see how powerful compound effects can be.

there are a few tutorials on ayatoweb.com (examples 21, 26, 49, 50, maybe a few others) that use compound effects to create animations if you want to learn more about them.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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