After Effects – Camera Lens Blur effect

Software:
After Effects CC 2019

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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.

Tip:
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

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Radius:
Controls the blurriness

Shape:
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

 

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Related:
DOF in Arnold for Maya

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Media Encoder – 8K video & 8K 360 VR video for YouTube

Software:
Adobe Media Encoder CC 2018

Recently YouTube added support for uploading HEVC H.265 video encoding.
That’s great news for anyone wanting to upload 8K video from Adobe Premiere Pro CC, or After Effects CC, because there’s no need to use inconvenient third party workarounds and plugins like WebM, DNxHD etc.
Abobe Media Encoder doesn’t allow encoding H.264 at higher than 4K resolutions*, but has native support for HEVC H.265 that does allow 8K encoding.
* There’s a commercial plugin that encodes H.264 at 8K.

Another convenient & time saving feature in the Adobe Media Encoder H.265 output module is the option to add panoramic VR video meta-data to the file eliminating the need to use meta-data “injection” utilities,
So uploading 8K stereo 360 VR video to YouTube became completely hassle-free 🙂

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Exporting 3D camera data from After Effects to 3ds max

Software:
After Effects CC 2018

  1. Download the AE3D_Export script here:
    http://www.urbanspaceman.net/shared/AEscripts/AE3Dexport/AE3D_Export.jsx
  2. Perform 3D tracking on the footage if necessary.
  3. Select the 3D Camera layer and also Null layers if available.
  4. Choose File > Scripts > Run Script File and locate the AE3D_Export script.
  5. In the Script parameters highlight 3ds max.
  6. Click Options and set the scale.
    * you might need to try and see the scale in 3ds max to set it right.
  7. Set a name for the exported ms (MaxScript) file.
  8. Click Export.
    The resulting ms file will appear on the Desktop.
  9. Drag the ms file into 3ds max Viewport.
    The script will run and create an animated Camera and Dummies.
  10. Group the Camera and the Dummies, and link them to a new Point Helper.
    This will allow for easy orientation and scaling.
  11. Display the Original video sequence as Viewport Background to check the camera motion.

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

Software:
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.

Note:
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).

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After Effects Keylight with garbage masks

Software:
After Effects CC 2018

Creating Inside and Outside garbage masks allows better and easier keying because the keying parameters can be focused for the best result at the contours areas.

  1. Apply the Keylight effect and, sample the screen color and adjust Screen Gain optimize it for the contours area.
  2. Create an ‘Inside’ garbage mask, name it, and set its mode to ‘None’.
  3. Create an ‘Outside’ garbage mask, name it, and set its mode to ‘None’.
  4. In the Keylight effect properties, under ‘Inside Mask’, select the inside mask you created.
  5. In the Keylight effect properties, under ‘Outside Mask’, select the outside mask you created, and also check Invert if needed.

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