Refraction fx in AE

One of the things I demonstrated in at the LA presentation was the use of normal maps in After Effects to simulate realistic refraction and reflections. The technique is very fast and very powerful using a free plug-in called Normality.

Stefan, the developer even worked in a few solutions based on some feedback I sent over. He really built a great tool, in fact there are so many possibilities that I have been working very hard developing this new tutorial to demonstrate several examples of what is possible.

SIDE NOTE: I Just finished the new build of QuickMatte for Windows and Mac so I’m going to try and get that out shortly.

POSTED:
5 years ago
RECENT POSTS
One Week!
Element 3D V2 is almost here and we have been holding back on a few cool features!  Be sure to check back on Monday as we reveal several new features! Be sure to Follow us on Twitter for additional updates! Updates from twitter:  New for C4D Users: Element 3D V2 let’s you import most materials and textures […]
Announcing Element 3D V2!
It has been a little over 2 years since the release of Element 3D V1 and I still remember it quite vividly. I recall staying up all night before the launch, trying to get everything done. I was nervous and excited.  My son Josh had just been born a week earlier and I was working from home at the time. […]
Sporting a New Design!
I’m not really sure how long it has been since we have redesigned the website but we thought it was time! The new design is focused on content so we finally made the page wider. We’ve also updated the tutorial section so that you can watch the tutorial you click on with few clicks. The project file and related […]
Element 3D V2 Update 2.0.2
Element 3D V2 just came out this week and we’ve already been working with customers to make the plug-in better with this latest patch! Big Shout out to our development team for the fast turnaround! Check out Element 3D V2: Visit Online Store! Customers who have purchased V2: Login and download V2.0.2 Patch! PATCH DETAILS: Mac firePro GPU […]
62 Comments

ShaunnD
3 years ago
HAAAY Andrew!!!! Where's the tutorial??? I wanna know how to do this without the hours of fiddling around. Please at least show a screenshot of your settings. I've been messing around for hours on a 3d scene and i'm not even close. :(
SAI
5 years ago
I Think it may be done in 3d softwares and composited in ae...
5 years ago
Cool. I am the kind of guy that wastes a lot of time re-rendering until I get the lights where I want, very useful stuff here. You can save time with this plug in and like this you can be a little bit 'normal' and don't spent all the day in your computer. haha...
ShoeToad
5 years ago
Another giant leap from VC. You guys should have been on the moon.

- ShoeToad
5 years ago
Flight of the Navigator used to play on repeat at my house about 20 years ago! haha.
Mishig
5 years ago
Andrew, which is the best one: After Effects or Motion?
5 years ago
@Luarasi: Youveelizer is used for texturing, Normality does lighting. Quite different.
Luarasi
5 years ago
Maltaannon introduced similar plugin called Youveelizer. I think it does the same thing. I prefer the free one.
S. Brandt
5 years ago
Dang!
Between Andrew and Stefan, I wish I knew a quarter of what you guys know put together.
It's like Disneyland for technoids.
5 years ago
HAHAHA oh wow, Flight of the Navigator! that is so weird you posted that, just last week I was trying to remember the name of that movie!

Can't wait for the tutorial
Kai
5 years ago
awesome!
I'm downloading the plugin right now.

It's great when you post about free resources and tools, for those of us who don't have any money to spend on software.
Keep up the good work!

Kai
5 years ago
Normality is I think a good plugin.
I hope that Andrew could make a tutorial about it so I can understand what the function of it is?
PS: Do you need to make 3d models in 3d max to use the normality plugin?
Michal Piatek
5 years ago
I remember that effect in The Matrix applied to the mirror which causes Neo to be offline... now its so simple to make... its not even made in real 3d application.
Lindsay
5 years ago
I am a recent convert to the world of After Effects and I'd have never made the leap without the brilliant tutorials and community here. Kudos to you Andrew. Adobe should buy you a new car every year for the work you do supporting their wares. Just curious, since my budget is pretty much a page full of mocking laughter, how do you rate Blender as a 3D program? Free is the only thing I can afford, after seeing how much 3D Max and similar programs cost that won't be changing very soon either. Thanks for everything!
5 years ago
I've been using normality for years now. I actually expected it to show up here sooner.

Great plug-in!

--
Kevin
zin_onos
5 years ago
Also can't wait for the tutorial about stefan's great plug-in. Keep up the good work Andrew & Stefan!
Daniel
5 years ago
I would just ask Andrew Kramer on a Issue that could be super cool, compared to Normality plugin. if he could make a tutorials about Render Pass for compositing (normal, difuss, spec, bump) example 3dmax ---> AE.
5 years ago
wuw !...
5 years ago
@Eric: Oh yeah, I remember that! Color cycling animation was the best!

Hmmm... sounds like a good idea for a new AE plug-in!

(Just kidding... :)
Gulliver
5 years ago
BTW Everyone!!! You can render a "Normals" pass on a photoshop 3D model(CS4). Now finally you can use the After Effects lights to actually light the interactive 3D models from Photoshop and animate the models as well!!!!

This solves SOOOOOOO many problems and solves, what I believe to be, the biggest hindrance for using Photoshop 3D models in AE.

Hmmm. Photoshop 3D Integration...interesting idea for a tutorial...

Thanks AK
5 years ago
The Silver bubble in the image is from fringe, isn't it?
Lee
5 years ago
Andrew, this kind of looks more like reflection than refraction. I think having a moving car in the bubble (just like behind it) would help make it look more transparent.
Eric
5 years ago
Did anyone ever design on Deluxe Paint IV for Amiga?

This reminds me (although vastly superior) of the gradient fill option that was availabe in DPIV. It performed a linear gradient based on the shape and contour of an object that was more natural than Photoshop's has ever been. I remember using that effect to make a mountain range as well as natural metallic surfaces. Ahhh, color cycling animation... those were the days: OF HEADACHES AND FRUSTRATION!!!!!

Thanks for sharing this info!
5 years ago
My God, great effect!!!!

awesome!!!!!!!!
Jonathan Johansson
5 years ago
Hi Andrew! I love your site! You have learn me very much! Please can you do a tutorial about CROWD REPLICATION? How to do a army of 50 extras?

http://www.cvfx.co.uk/crowRep_bgExt.html
leef
5 years ago
Whoa man! My inefficient & archaic methods of bouncing items between AE & Modo for scene-refraction may finally be upgraded!
ali
5 years ago
time with us is short and the life is not too long so keep visiting videocopilot.net to get more out of your life............hows that andrew.
5 years ago
Cheers Andrew! If there's anything I can do to help with tutorial, just let me know!
Qw3rtium
5 years ago
He's keeping eye on us ;D
5 years ago
Hey Stefan Minning! Welcome buddy.
Awesome! Flight of the Navigator I was like 8 years old when that came out! I've been wondering how to create refracting light in AE for a minute. I need to generate a force push refraction ripple effect for something I'm working on right now, and that plug-in might just do the trick!
5 years ago
Andrew I was and after I went home I downloaded the Plug-in and let me tell you everybody who is reading this comment. This is the Best free plug-in I have ever used! Andrew thanks for the mentioning it! :D
5 years ago
@Fadiisber: Obviously, yes.

But the point of Normality is that it is much faster and more interactive... no waiting for rendering means you can be more creative.
Zin_onos
5 years ago
Looking forward for quickmatte!
Fadiisber
5 years ago
hi i think this thing can be made in 3d applecation with more control ..... ??
5 years ago
@P1stolK1ng

People use the software they feel comfortable with.

Just give the various packages a try and find out which one satisfys your needs.
andrew lee
5 years ago
Thanks Andrew, looking forward to that
5 years ago
Pretty cool. Nice example too :p I have that movie on VHS still. One of my favorite 80's sci fi movies, along with The Last Starfighter.
P1stolK1ng
5 years ago
Andrew, may I ask you why you use 3DsMax so often? I thought the industry standard for CGI in "normal movies" and animation films was Maya? (Or atleast software made by the company itself, based on Maya) Or is that not true? Im getting more and more in to 3d work, and at my school they teach Maya because it is by far the most used 3D package out there.

Regards, PK
5 years ago
Sweet, I've been trying to figure out how to implement something like this into an energy orb like the one it 3d light casting. Awesome stuff as always man, thanks for all you do for the video community.
mr next
5 years ago
Its pretty cool ; awesome work man
5 years ago
Cool, looks like the blob from the intro you made from Fringe.
5 years ago
@ Elliot: This wouldn't replace good 3D work at all, instead it is a relighting solution for enhancing 3D renders. But when you combine the near-real time speed with the live-updating of a compositor, you get instant results that might otherwise cost a lot of test rendering in 3D.

@ Andrew Lee: I'll be providing info on creating normal maps with the standard 3D max renderer. I'll also provides some tips on exporting from other 3D apps too.

@TwentyFourBecks: I haven't watched his demo yet, but his preset seems to be based on the revisionsfx.com RE:Map plug-in which is specifically for changing image textures 2-dimensionally. (Which is a pretty cool feat!). However, Normality is designed for re-lighting using AE lights and adding reflections/refractions.
5 years ago
Wow, looks great! looking forward again and again :)
andrew lee
5 years ago
Interesting, however I still cannot figure out how you do a normal pass in Max. I've discovered that is I used VRay it would be possible but strange as it may seem I don't have Vray. Hoping your future tutorial for this will demonstrate how to generate normal passes in Max and a few other 3D programs of course.

Keep up the great work and yes, can't wait to see this QuickMatte plugin.
5 years ago
Well, I tried the plugin out a couple of months ago. The most exciting feature is definitely the instant shading - lighting in AE.

Malta Annons demonstrates quite good what you can achieve with his Youveelizer plugin - which almost has the same features as Normality, in exception of the lighting compability.

Take a look at the videotutorial on his page. Ironicly i find the original composite - that came out of his 3D-software - still better looking than his post-processed final result in AE. His 'light-matching' feature is nice though.

Looking forward for Andrews results.
5 years ago
not very Good...!
Elliott Montello
5 years ago
Its pretty cool, i just cant really see a good use for it because anyone with any sence would do their 3D work in a 3D program...but never the less its still good to have the option i suppose, if you wanted to composite water. Anyway cant wait to see what this QuickMatt is like :) thanks again AK
Qw3rtium
5 years ago
A free plug-in? Definitely gonna check it out right away. I hope you blew their minds in LA.
And I can't wait for the tutorial and the QuickMatte!
5 years ago
can't wait to see the plug-in!
5 years ago
i needed this like 2 days ago. man this is awesome. wow.
ShellReDux
5 years ago
that's totally awesome. We love you Andrew!
Fonzie Productions
5 years ago
I love Flight of the Navigator. It's the first thing that came to my mind when I saw that screenshot you posted above
Joshua Rodrigues
5 years ago
Very Cool
The Rover
5 years ago
OMG HE DID IT!!!!!

so you can put the reflections on the car now!! amazing mr kramer.. amazing.

and is this same scene you always put on here in New York?
5 years ago
awesome ...
M.h
5 years ago
Graet Andrew !
Ray
5 years ago
Andrew,
you are pumping out some really cool stuff!! even my camels are getting excited!
Gareth
5 years ago
If it wasn't for the lack of people screaming WTBacon I'd swear that was real, amazing what can be achieved in after effects kudos to Stefan on a truly jawdropping plugin
5 years ago
Cool, Nice effect as always.

..repeat comment edited.
Daniel
5 years ago
Really cool!
Waiting for QuickMatte!
Sounds really cool

Regards from The Netherlands
5 years ago
Looks great. Is there anything you cant do with AE!?
Tutorials
136. Metro City
Use the new Metropolitan with Element 3D to create a realistic city title
149. Solar Atmosphere
Create a powerful sun effect in After Effects
Plugins
Stock Footage