In another test using Action Essentials 2, I combined two wispy smoke clips to create a fluid transition for this title. After building this comp I realized there were some key tips for randomizing the particles so that the viewer would not know that only 2 clips were used. So I recorded a quick 20-minute tutorial that should be online this week.
Now remember if you see green smoke, ABORT!
Here is a test video that uses pre-keyed elements from our stock footage collection: Action Essentials 2 for machine gun hits. I used 3 random clips with Trapcode Particular’s custom sprite option. Using a particle system allows you do build complex effects without duplicating the clip hundreds of times, while maintaining precise control.
You could potentially duplicate the particle system and make dirt marks or holes underneath the main particles. I’m sure you guys and gals will think of really creative ways of using real footage elements as particles.
Using the Audio Waveform plug-in I’ve built several comps with interesting looks, including many with 3D space. I linked some of the waveform settings to a control layer to offset multiple copies. You can swap out your own audio and make changes to the control layer.
If you want to make some more serious changes, delete all of the copies except for one. Then make changes to the settings and then duplicate it a dozen times or so.
Most of the concepts used to offset multiple copies can be found in this tutorial. You can also extract keyframes from audio with this animation tutorial. And, if you are new to audio in After Effects check this blog post too.
In a recent tutorial Animating a Still, we used tracking data from a real hand-held camera to give our still image a natural look, as opposed to using a mathematical expression like the wiggle. This gave our footage a natural organic look that would be difficult to achieve with expressions.
Then I thought I would try a similar experiment utilizing a real optical rack focus.
So I filmed a dark square while performing a real rack focus to see if I could extract the information inside of after effects to use with a 3D camera.
And since I’m actually posting this, you can assume it worked, unlike my perpetual motion machine that you will never hear about again.