After Effects – Camera Lens Blur effect

After Effects CC 2019


Adobe After Effects has a very effective Camera Lens Blur effect that is capable of efficiently faking DOF (Depth Of Field) and Bokeh visual effects for 3D rendered images and animations, and also animate a fake “Focus-Pull”.

The effect will work best on 32 bit float EXR files, and requires a Z depth render element (pass/AOV) to be rendered with the main RGB image, and supplied as the Blur Map layer.

If necessary, color correct the Z depth image so that the Black to White range will reflect the wanted focus range, and that the closest depth will be Black, blending into White at the furthest depth.

Example of a Z Depth image:Buddha_Z0.jpg


Controls the blurriness

Choose the lens iris shape (number of blades) to design the Bokeh effect

Blur Map:
Defines a black & White Depth Layer (Z Depth) where black is the closes point to the camera and white is the furthest.

Blur Focal Distance:
Values of 0.0 to 1.0 will have the black through grey to white areas of the Blur Map remain at focus (sharp)

Highlight > Gain:
Intensify the highlights to create a more dominant Bokeh effect




DOF in Arnold for Maya


Extracting image layers from a multi-channel EXR file sequence in After Effects

After Effects CC 2018

  1. Apply an EXtractoR effect on the layer.
    * Effects > 3D Channel > EXtractoR
  2. In the EXtractoR effect parameters, Click the RGB Channels to open the EXtractoR dialog box.
  3. Choose the wanted layer from the Layers drop-down, or select individual channels from the B, G, B, Alpha drop-downs.

The Layer will be displayed darker than the original EXR main layer display because it will not be Gamma corrected (linear display).
A Gamma correction should be applied on the result of the composite via an adjustment layer or ‘pre-comping’ the layers and applying it on the containing composition.
* A Gamma correction can be applied using a Levels effect.
* In most cases the Gamma correction need to be with a value of 2.2 (sRGB).