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4.2 Adding Beams of Light

Hello. I'm Christopher Kemmedy and welcome to the Visual Effects Compositing Course. Well the shot's really coming along now, but we need to add some light coming through the ceiling space up there. So as usual I'm going to turn off a lot of these elements. I might leave the rain on for now. But I'll turn off just about everything. Leave the trapdoor there and although I want to leave the rain there I'm going to turn off its effects here so that it renders a little faster. Okay to new black solid and apply fractal noise. I'll leave the basic settings for now, see how that works. And then the smoke light and drag it down to just above the rain there. And change the blending mode to add. And then I'm going to draw a very quick mask roughly the shape that I want this beam to come down from the trapdoor. I'll just drag the bottom of the mask down like that. And I'll hit F and feather the mask a little and now I'll try a different blending mode. I think that's way too bright. I think we'll try Screen. We'll hit T, and bring the opacity of that right down, and I think we also want to blur this very heavily. We're not trying to make this like billowing smoke. When people light a set, they often put a very even smoke in there. So that when they cast light down from above, you get this look of beams of light. So, a fast blur works quite well, but I think I'll try a directional blur, which just might keep some of that detail in there. Change the blur length, push that up. Now I'm just gonna try the add again. In fact, I like add. At the moment, and this is all subject to change, you can change everything as you go, and part of the art of compositing is seeing how things look when they're mixed together. So, once I've put this background back in, I might say, Add is too strong. But I'll just leave that for now, and I want to tint it. So, I drop a tint filter on to that, click the Map to White box, and make this sort of yellowy orangey color, like that. I'm just gonna change the color of that mask to a red, pinky red, a little easier to see, and key frame the mask path. So, you'll need to go through the whole shot, adjusting this mask. It's fairly easy work because you're just dragging this up to that line every half second or so. And as you get closer, you'll probably want to expand this out so that it looks as though you're getting closer. Now, this is just one look. I've had this slanting down directly. You could, if you wanted have the beam of light coming in across like this. And that's a very acceptable look as well. In fact I'm just gonna try that with the tunnel texture behind it. And in some ways I think I prefer that. I'll probably add in some points to the mask, so that it's disappearing behind the wall, like that. And then I'm gonna select these key frames, and then just delete those because I want to remask this, having seen how good that looks. As mentioned before, as you get closer, you're probably going to want to expand this out to the right, like that, so that it feels as though we're getting closer. So if you watch this through now it feels like those beams of light are really up there. Perhaps just bring the mask in at these points, because the blurring is making the light extend there over the top and I don't really want it to go out over the top. So now it looks like those beams of light are coming down from the space. For the light to be coming through like this, there would really need to be a light source up there. So once your masking is done, you're gonna need to put a light source in behind. To do that, just create a new solid, but instead of making it blank, make this some sort of a light whitey yellow. Click OK, drag this down below the ceiling layer, change the blending mode to screen, hit T, drag the opacity down. And now we'll just draw a mask at this point over the blank area of the trap door. Hit F and feather it. Now I'm gonna switch on the metal bars just so you can see how this works. And you can see that because this is sort of silhouetted them up there that worked really well. It does feel as though there's a light source back there that's now shining through. So, we'll rename our pale yellow solid back light. Hit M, key frame its mask path, and you'll need to do that all the way through. In some shots, masking in this way would be absolutely fine, but if you look here you can see that even though I've tried to mask fairly accurately there, the mask seems to be dancing around behind the grid. And that's because there's so much hand held motion in here that it's very difficult to get an accurate mask on something so small. So the solution to this is to get our backlight layer, and drop it below the trap door here, then go to the trap door, select the Luma Key filter, and drop that onto the trap door. With it set to Key Out Darker, just turn the threshold up until you can see that light showing through. You don't wanna go so far that the whole, trap door starts to disappear. So just very gently I'm setting that to bet seven and then I'll feather the edges and now we've got a really good look. You will still need to mask the backlight layer all the way through and the other thing that I sometimes like to do is add fractal noise to the backlight layer so that takes its color away, the color that we created in the first place. But it gains color from the light that's in front of it. That just adds a little more texture to that background, a little more depth. You don't have to do it this way. It's one way of doing it. An alternative is to leave the original backlight there, and then add a duplicate layer that has the fractal noise and mix the two. But I'm quite happy with how that's looking. So I'll mask that completely and then move on to the next step.

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