1. 3D & Motion Graphics

Add A Vignette With Ease - Custom Effect

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Read Time: 4 min

One great tool used to "Have it Your Way" is Custom Effects. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Custom Effects you can check out this article. Momcilo is going to walk us through the basics of creating your very own Vignette Custom Effect. Enjoy!


Step 1

First we need to create a small custom effect for this Vinetter preset. For that we will need to modify PresetEffects.xml file that is located on PC here %SystemRoot%//Program Files//Adobe//Adobe After Effects CS4//Support Files//PresetEffects.xml

Step 2

Since this file is Read Only we need to change that. Right click on the file and click properties. Uncheck the Read Only option and click Apply.

Step 3

In next few steps i will teach you how to create expression controls via XML, and because of that I will in this step explain you how After Effects loads a control and how can we create our own.
When creating a control we need to tell AE what type of control to make, what will be it's search name, display name, default value and for some attributes. Here is the template picture:

Step 4

Open PresetEffects.xml and go to the end of the file and make some space just before < / Effects >

Step 5

Ok lets create the effect! Write the following to create a simple effect:

Step 6

our Vinneter preset will have the following controls1. Expansion Slider, to make our vinette bigger or smaller. Write text from the image to create it:

Step 7

2. Thickness Slider, to control featherness of edge. Write text from the image to create it:

Step 8

3. Blurriness Slider, to control amount of blur on our vinette. Write text from the image to create it:

Step 9

4. Vinette Color, to control color of vinette. Write text from the image to create it:

Step 10

5. Opacity Slider, to control opacity of our colored area of vinnete. Write text from the image to create it:

Step 11

OK now save that document and open up After Effects. Now we need to write a script that will import our custom effect.Make a new composition with settings as you like.Import some test image and create new adjustment layer named Vinetter.

Step 12

Now we need to tell AE to add that effect to our adjustment layer. We will need to create custom script that will import our effect.Open up Script Editor, File->Scripts->Open Script Editor.Now type text from the image and press F5 to run the script.This script goes inside of PresetEffects.xml file and when it finds Vinetter effect it imports it on our first layer in composition, our adjustment layer.

Step 13

Go back to AE and close script editor. Select vinetter layer and you will see our effect on it!

Step 14

What now you say? Now we must figure out how are we going to make vinette. We will be using Circle effect to create alpha map, fast blur to blur vinette, CC Composite to blend Circle effect with Fast blur and we will use Circle againt to color our vinette.Add circle by going to Effects->Generate->Circle and rename it to Aplha Map

Step 15

Since our circle needs to be in center of our comp we need to write a small expression. Alt + Click on the stopwatch for Center in Alpha Map.Write [thisComp.width/2, thisComp.height/2]

Step 16

Vinette must touch left and right edge and will also create expression for that. Alt + Click on the stopwatch for Radius in Alpha Map.Write thisComp.width/2

Step 17

We must now connect Thickness value from Vinetter to Feather Outer Edge in Alpha Map. Alt + Click on the stopwatch for Feather Outer Edge in Alpha Map.Using pick whip select Thickness from Vinetter. Ok this is now looking like a vinette!

Step 18

Now we need to convert this ti real alpha map. In Alpha Map Circle check Invert Circle and put Blending mode to Stencil Alpha.You will get some strange result but trust me it is ok.Also Add Fast Blur effect.

Step 19

Using the same technique from Step 17 connect Fast Blur value to Vinetter Blurriness.

Step 20

OK lets blend fast blur with alpha map. Add CC Composite effect. Effects->Channel->CC CompositePut Composite Original to Behind and unckeck RGB Only. You can't really see blur but he is there we just need to connect Expansion so we can make our Vinette bigger.

Step 21

To connect expansion slider to size of vinetter we must go back to Alpha Map circle and go into the Radius expression and add simple code.Onto the thisComp.width/2 add + effect("Vinetter")("Expansion") and now put expansion value to -240 to test our vinette. Now we can see that the blur is really working!

Step 22

Now to color our vinette. Copy Alpha Map Circle and put it after all effects, call it Color Vinette

Step 23

Change Blending mode of Color Circle to Normal and using technique from Step 17. connect Vinette Color to Color Circle Color and Vinette Opacity to Color Circle Opacity. Change Opacity to 50 percent and there you go a VINETTE PRESET!

Step 24

This is the final step. Select all effects on Vinetter Adjustment Layer and go to Animatation->Save Animation Preset and save it to%SystemRoot%//Program Files//Adobe//Adobe After Effects CS4//Support Files//Presets//Ae Tuts//

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