In this tutorial we will create a reflective orb using only built-in After Effects plug-ins. The key to this tutorials is building a proper spherical map and utilizing the raytrace capabilities of the CC Sphere effect.

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Sample Video

7 years ago
Atmospheric Re-Entry!
Here is a preview of an animation i’m working on. Playing around with Element 3D and Saber to create the fiery streaks! This past week has been super productive, finishing VFX for Intercept, doing daily renders and preparing for another DMALA meeting in Los Angeles on October 18th. Going to be a blast! Circuit City #Element3D […]
Circuit City
Making circuits! After trying to create something large, I thought I should try to make something small! I started by taking a circuitry texture and placing it on a plane in Element 3D. I used the texture in the Glossiness channel and the reflection channel to give the pathways a metalic look. Next I built the […]
Cloud City
Continuing the Element 3D fun! This started as a desert scene and soon turned into a cloud city! Typical. Part of the fun of these render projects is just creating random stuff and designing without a specific goal. It’s actually been really challenging and exciting to try various techniques. In this scene, I used an aerial […]
My 10 Cloverfield Lane Contribution
Earlier this year I had the chance to work on 10 Cloverfield lane, on this horrifying matte painting and composite. Many image-searches for road kill have scarred my mind! As always it was a pleasure to work with Dan Trachtenberg.     My work on 10 Cloverfield Lane! #nightmares #mattepainting A photo posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) […]
Action Essentials 2 Spotted in Fox Promo

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I couldn’t find the exact video I saw on TV but here is one of the promos for a show called Human Target on FOX. The design has a slick scope effect with some well-composited explosions and smokey hits that melt right into the design. This graphics package is a great example of using stock elements transparently within the design. In fact I didn’t even recognize it until I combined curiosity with my DVR recorder and played it back in slow motion 🙂 There was a more elaborate 3D fly-through in the version I saw but I thought I would share this one anyways.

Action Essentials 2 is our HD stock footage collection with over 500 elements that is great for compositing AND motion graphics!
More Info

7 years ago
Holiday Title with Evolution

To help with your holiday graphics, Save 40% on our design collection Evolution all this week.
UPDATE: Sale ended Friday. Happy Holidays!

Evolution is 100% downloadable and available after purchase!

For those customers who own Evolution, please enjoy this free project file for After Effects CS3 and CS4. The title design uses only 1 of the 155 elements and all you need to do is relink the one missing file with your Evolution collection. You may also need this font and possibly a snowcone.

Be sure to check out our other great products and gifts from the Video Copilot online store at everyday low prices! Your support keeps this site going and might also keeps Sam Loya off the streets (Maybe).

Visit the Video Copilot Store.

7 years ago
Off the Chart Feedback

At Video Copilot, we do a lot of project-based tutorials but our goal is to provide useful techniques and tips that you can use on future projects as well.

I received a nice email from a customer regarding our Dynamic Bar Graphs Tutorial:

I found you guys by watching your tutorial about creating dynamic charts in After Effects. I did a set of animated charts last year for one of our clients without a slick method like yours. Instead I created a dozen different 3DS animations. It was so painful…

I am about to start on a new project which will be LOADED with charts. Your technique will come in VERY handy.

Thanks Again.


I know this technique is somewhat specific but after doing a fair amount of graphs in the past I’m glad it was appreciated by others as well.

7 years ago
An Important Day

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There are big changes happening at Video Copilot…

As we approach the release of our new Power Plug-in Optical Flares, we realized that it’s time we expand our team and hire a full-time lead programmer to help with future development and maintenence. This is an important move that is an essential step towards creating next-generation software & plug-ins at Video Copilot. Optical Flares is not only our most advanced plug-in but now we have the staff to develop and maintain it with features and compatibility.

So please Welcome Sergio to the Video Copilot community.

My goal is to focus on ideas and features and then work with Sergio to bring them to life. In the case of Sure Target 2, I had a few crazy ideas that I never would have attempted but with an actual programmer, we made it happen. It also helps that he is a genius 🙂

As you know, Video Copilot is a business and I believe our success is an opportunity to develop new tools and amazing technologies that will benefit the visual effects community and lead to greater possibilities.

Today is an important day…

7 years ago