HBO Behind-the-Scenes 1983

One year before I was born HBO made a very ambitious intro that was said to be the most expensive and innovative concepts at the time (for the medium).

I love the idea of incorporating techniques from the real world inside of After Effects for even more unique results. In fact the whole idea of mattes for compositing come from the early days of film-making…

Watch the final intro above then be sure to check out the making of video below, especially the part towards around 5:30 that talks about the burst of light…

Watch the Behind the Scenes

I’ve also created a project file using that similar technique that mixes 2 images into a subtle animation. Download the Project

Object Descriptions

Our new plug-in Optical Flares includes 12 powerful Core Objects that are the building blocks for making intricate lens flares with this tool. I’ve put together a basic breakdown of the the 12 objects in a handy PDF.

Download PDF

You can also watch a video demonstration in the Feature Videos.
Watch Core Object Feature Video

Optical Flares Now Available!

Our new Plug-in for creating lens flares and lighting effects is now available! As always this product includes 5 advanced video tutorials plus access to the Video Copilot Preset Network for sharing lens flare presets.

Check it out now!


2 Packages Available:

OPTICAL FLARES PLUG-IN: only $124.95
Includes the Optical Flares Plug-in, 60 Presets and 5 Video Tutorials.

OPTICAL FLARES BUNDLE: only $139.95 (save $10)
Includes all the above, plus the Pro Preset Pack with 50 high-end presets with a crazy amount of detail in each flare.

Order Now


PRESET NETWORK NOTE:
Upload and share your Optical Flare presets with our new network. Your access information will be sent with your order confirmation.

GPU SUPPORT:
Yes Optical Flares has accelerated rendering with supported video cards. Be sure to install the latest driver from your card manufacturer for best performance. Of course, a video card is NOT required at all and Optical Flares renders beautifully in standard mode. In fact, Optical Flares even checks for GPU support and automatically reverts to the best option so you don’t need to do anything.

Feature Spotlight: Optical Flares

Our new plug-in Optical Flares will be available Monday morning (around 9AM PST) but we wanted to highlight some key features that you may have missed.

Be sure to check out the product page and watch the feature videos:
Go to the Optical Flares Page

Some Key Features include:

This Eclipse image is a tutorial available with Optical Flares along with 4 other advanced tutorials including a concert scene and building a wall of lights.

Optical Flares includes 12 HD textures of real lens surfaces.

Keep your eyes open for the Missile Strike tutorial at the end of the week as we combine Optical Flares with particle smoke trails!

Watch all of the feature videos.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Optical Flares Page Online!

Video Copilot presents the all new 3D lens flare studio: Optical Flares!

Key Features include:

  • 3D Position & Light Tracking
  • Real Texture Mapping
  • Includes 60 Presets (Pro Preset Pack Available)
  • Realistic On-Lens Simulations
  • Automatic Luminance Tracking
  • Dynamic Triggering (Animation without Keyframes!)
  • Creative Tutorials
  • and much more!

Check out the product right now:
Optical Flares Product Page

Be sure to watch the feature videos for an exciting, in-depth look at using Optical Flares. With such a powerful plug-in, we separated the videos into individual sections so you can check out the features you want to see!

Optical Flares will be available Monday, Jan 25 in our online store.
Optical Flares is available for download only.

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Select your package:

OPTICAL FLARES PLUG-IN: only $124.95
Includes the Optical Flares Plug-in, 60 Presets and 5 Video Tutorials.

OPTICAL FLARES BUNDLE: only $139.95 (save $10)
Includes all the above, plus the Pro Preset Pack with 50 high-end flare presets.

The Pro Presets are available separately for $25.

QuickTime & AE CS5: The 64 bit Question

After Effects CS5 will to be a 64 bit application only. At the moment QuickTime is only a 32 bit application and users of other 64 bit applications like (3D max 64 bit, Nuke 64 bit, etc.) do not have the ability to import or export any QuickTime files.  So seeing how QuickTime is one of most popular formats that has been supported by After Effects since the beginning, what will happen with AE CS5?

I received direct word from the Adobe After Effects product manager himself: Michael Coleman
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He said this:

“QuickTime is very important and we will continue to have QuickTime support in the next After Effects. It involved extra effort on our part to work around the QuickTime issues, but it’s looking good now.”

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It seems you can count on QuickTime support in After Effects CS5. And in a few years, a robot in every home.

Optical Flares & Twitch: 64 Bit?

As some of you may know, the new version of After Effects CS5 will be native 64 bit, which offers major speed and memory enhancements (among other things) but 3rd party plug-in developers like Video Copilot, will need to update their code before they will work in 64 bit. But worry not…

When After Effects CS5 ships, (some speculate later this year) Video Copilot is committed to offering free product upgrades to customers on all of our plug-ins. All… TWO of them Twitch & Optical Flares.

I think the move to 64 bit is essential for the future and we want to support it as best we can. Of course we are dedicated to make our products compatible with 32 and 64 bit systems as far back as After Effects 7.

Also, our stock footage and audio products will continue to be compatible with no upgrading required and we will even be updating our free plug-ins like VC Reflect and the new Sure Target 2 when the time comes.

Optical Flares In Action

Video Link

As we get closer to the release of Optical Flares, our new lens flare creation studio, I wanted to show you some cool examples of Optical Flares in action. This reel includes actual productions by some of our beta testers and some tests I did internally. I think this reel has a nice variety of how lens flares can be used but I’m sure you could think of many more!

Motion graphics or visual effects… be ready for Optical Flares: January 25, 2010.

NEW TUTORIAL: Sure Target 2 UPDATE*

UPDATE 2: We uploaded the newest version in the project to 2.0.10 Be sure to have the latest version. Thanks!

In this tutorial we will take a look at the new version of Sure Target 2 featuring advanced control over the After Effects camera. Sure Target 2 is a Free plug-in that automatically executes expressions for easy setup and use.This version features inertia, auto-focus, camera Roll and more. Must see!

Read about new Features

Watch Tutorial

Here is one of the examples we will create in the tutorial with Sure Target 2.

Illuminating Particles

I was playing around with Particular 2 and came up with this particle swirl using a couple of smoke images as particles. I love that Particular 2 reacts to the lighting as well as fake shading to make the particle seem more volumetric.

Here is what I did, in Particular 2 custom particles are called Sprites, so once you select this as your particle type, the texture slot becomes available to use my smoke video that is included with the project download. I stretched the particle area and rotated the world transform to make it look like a twister. I added a couple of lights to give it coloring and a BG gradient.

Check out the screen shot for particle settings and my timeline. You may want to see this tutorial using Particular 1.5 to get started with the smoke element.

Download Project CS4
(Sorry but I sometimes forget to use CS3 so more people can open it but the smoke element is inside the Footage folder for you to experiment. )

Safe Action in the Cut

I recently worked on a graphic card for a Star Trek DVD commercial and I thought it would be boring fun to talk about the Action Safe Area! Many graphics are broadcast in HD but there must also be an alternate version for people watching in standard definition.

One solution is to design for the 4:3 Center Cut. This is where you use the title and action safe area is based on a 4:3 frame in your HD 16:9 comp. You’ll notice that After Effects CS4 has 2 extra lines for the interior Center Cut to help you practice safe action (for your designs).

Some people have a tighter recommendation for the safe area so please check with your format specialist.

UPDATE: This also applies to widescreen DVD menus as well…

Optical Flares Release Date

Happy New Year to everyone! Let’s kick this year off with some exciting news about Optical Flares. Our new lens flare plug-in will be available January 25 2010. That’s going to be one bright Monday and you can be sure to see some in-depth demonstration of the amazing features very soon.

This going to be a big Year at Video Copilot!