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Multiple Laser Beams

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Gill VaneMultiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 3:10:02 pm

I just need a little bit of help adding multiple laser beams in After Effects, CS4.

There is a stock "beam" effect that comes with after effects, and I'm using that.

I can ad key frames, and move the laser beam around. Kind of tricky to set the beginning and end points so the beam moves correctly, but I'm getting the hang of it.

However, I'm having trouble adding more than one beam (doing a simple laser gun effect, shooting multiple beams).

When I hit "beam" again, I do get beam 2, but the screen just goes white, and I can't maneuver it on my footage like the first beam.

Any suggestions or tips would be helpful. Yes, I'm an AE newb, but you have to start somewhere.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 3:41:51 pm

[Gill Vane] "Yes, I'm an AE newb, but you have to start somewhere."

If you're trying to use AE intuitively, that's a bad place to start: it's not very intuitive. I'd go here:
http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/01/getting-started-with-after-eff.h...

Read EVERYTHING. Check out all the links. There is good stuff aplenty.

But to answer your immediate question, I'd play around with the "paint on original" and "paint on transparent" settings in the various instances of the effects. I'm not at My AE machine, so I may have the lingo wrong... but you'll find it.

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


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 4:12:42 pm

If you're going to use the Beam effect for this, you will want a separate layer for each beam. See if this tutorial helps you.

Although, I must agree with Dave; you absolutely must have a firm foundation in the basics before you start off into doing "cool" things. You are going way too deep, way too fast. Click on the link Dave gave and read through it and all of the links it has. You will need to take time to learn AE before you try to use it or you will be frustrated. And when I say "time" I mean days, if not weeks (depending on how fast you learn).

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Gill VaneRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 4:55:08 pm

I do understand the advice to learn after effects inside and out. I have been working with it for months, but havent' made any real progress.

But we all learn differently. I don't mind being frustrated. Often times people can help answer a simple question, and then you can get things to work. I'll try adding more layers.

And I'll try the tutorial you suggested, thanks a lot.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 6:19:33 pm

[Gill Vane] "...I have been working with it for months, but haven't made any real progress... I don't mind being frustrated."

I can understand the lack of progress. That's precisely why I pointed you to the link. You see, there are so many minute, seemingly trivial things in AE -- not widely spoken about, I might add -- that you would never, EVER find them, because you never would have had a reason to even think about them.

I'll give you an example. You've just created some text in a text layer, but you're unhappy with the typeface you chose. Were you aware that by highlighting the layer, then clicking in the typeface name window in the character pane, you can change typefaces by using the up & down arrow keys?

Do you think you would have learned that little tidbit all on your own? Okay, if you play with AE intuitively for five years with no time off, you might. But wouldn't it be better to learn it a little sooner?

Go look at the information in those links. Save yourself some grief.

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


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Gill VaneRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 6:59:53 pm

I do understand that your advice is well meant, but I'm not going to spend 5 years learning After Effects to put some laser beams in a piece of footage. I need to do that now.

I just want some laser beams in this one piece of footage, adn i feel confident with the help of some tutorials, and the help of those gracious enough to give it, I will accomplish it.

What would really be helpful is an answer to my question if you know it.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 7:17:08 pm

[Gill Vane] "What would really be helpful is an answer to my question if you know it."

Go watch the tutorial Michael directed you to. It's got all the information you need: it uses the Beam effect, it covers motion tracking -- which you might need, we don't know what the shot looks like -- and it even shows you how to put some finishing touches on the shot.

Helpful enough? Now go do your homework.

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


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Kevin CampRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 9:19:28 pm

[Gill Vane] "When I hit "beam" again, I do get beam 2, but the screen just goes white, and I can't maneuver it on my footage like the first beam. "

well, the screen shouldn't go white....

how are you applying the beam effect? is it directly to the footage layer, on an adjustment layer or on a solid....?

and are there any other effects on that layer, or on adjustment layers in that comp?



Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Gill VaneRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 7, 2010 at 1:02:32 pm

Yes Sir! Off to do my homework. That was very helpful, and I'll spend some time on this tutorial.


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Walter SoykaRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 9:31:28 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "I'll give you an example. You've just created some text in a text layer, but you're unhappy with the typeface you chose. Were you aware that by highlighting the layer, then clicking in the typeface name window in the character pane, you can change typefaces by using the up & down arrow keys?"

I learned something new today, too. Thanks, Dave!

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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Dave LaRondeRe: Multiple Laser Beams
by on Jul 6, 2010 at 9:38:44 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I learned something new today, too."

Anyone who claims to know all the keyboard shortcuts and little mitzvahs Adobe has put into AE like little Easter Eggs probably memorized the collected works of Shakespeare, too.

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


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