Visual Effects for Educators Robert Faust

Final Thoughts

This was a very rewarding class. I not only became more comfortable with After Effects, but I see the possibilites. I think the best use of After Effects with students would be in adding short clips to their Premiere projects. Perhaps adding mountains or a surreal sky to an establishing shot. Adding motion to text and graphics in a clip is a great way to start.

To this point I've only done a single, simple project in After Effects with my students. Next year I may have a special challenge to include some more involved effects.

I was most impressed by the fly through project. Creating such powerful effects from still images really was mind blowing. I'll be using that effect lots in the future.

Thanks again to all the instructors and support staff for making this another awesome EdEx experience!

Final Project - SciFi Scene

This project brought together many of the things we learned in the class by producing a truly impressive project. Having the footage made this a fairly straightforward process. If we had to produce each of these elements ourselves, it would have been an overwhelming task.

I pretty much followed the tutorial video, but chose more of a greenish tint for the holographic player, and added some chickens. It seems like this project would appeal to the hard-driving students who are really into media production. I fear it would leave the casual student in the dust. But skills like this can be game changers for interested students.

Week 4 – Fly Through Clouds

This was a cool project. I never would have thought that a handful of still images could turn into such a powerful effect. I used a still photo of my school that I took with a drone. The photo size is 4000 x 3000 px...hence the odd video size. Being pressed for time, I didn't add as many layers of clouds as I would have liked, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

We generally don't have lots of clouds in our area, so this is an effect that would be difficult to film in reality. Can't wait to show this one to the kids. I think it might light a few fires.

Week 3 – Sky Replacement

This project was challenging. I understood the basics of what we were doing. Creating a mask then inserting a more interesting sky that made use of some motion tracking. From a technical standpoint, however, it was a bit difficult to wrap my brain around the individual steps in the process. Thanks to a number of crashes and mix-ups, I had the opportunity to redo things a number of times.

I added the chickens just to make a bit of difference from the sample project. I did apply motion tracking, but the chickens drift a bit in the foreground. Their lack of shadows is also problematic. The sky replacement did come off pretty well I think. This is a project that could be quite useful in improving student projects.

Week 2 – Motion Tracking Effect

For this week's project, I decided to use some original video. That's me tooling around the track in the maintenance department's Gator. The deer and chickens were added to keep me fresh on last week's skills. I added some short audio from our school fight song. I used Audition to edit the clip to length and soften the volume.

I added the 'CLHS' letters and tracked them to the gator's headlights. There are a few video jumps in the middle, and towards the end—when the headlights are most visible—the tracking inexplicably went awry. I retried several times with the same result. I decided I actually liked the effect of the letters "jumping off" right near the end. I'm sure there is a way to edit the motion tracking anchor points, but I left that for another day.

I did learn the importance of processing power when using After Effects. My home computer dates to the Nixon administration, so to say the process was a bit bumpy is an understatement. With some patience however, everything rendered as planned. Amazing what can be done with the proper tools. Looking forward to learning even more!

Week 1 – Green Screen Basics

In the past year or two, I've explored After Effects enough to get a feel for its power and possibilities. I'm looking forward to digging in a bit deeper. I've done some chromakey in Premiere Pro, so the concept was not new to me. I was very impressed with how easy it was to re-create the class video. I was hoping to create something original, but the crunch for time won out.

Adobe CC software is a deep ocean. Every time I get into another piece of software, I'm humbled by the the sheer number of features and nuances of the interface. It's exciting that our students have access to the creative power in tools like After Effects.


Photography is mine. Yeah...I like the ocean (and pelicans).

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