New Tutorial: 3D Light Rays in AE!

In this new tutorial I’ll show you a cool technique to generate 3D Light Rays inside of After Effects without 3rd party plug-ins. I’ll also show you how to add volumetric light to a live action shot using 3D tracking. I’ll be posting project files and tutorial to the main site later today!

Watch on Youtube in HD

Watch on Vimeo in HD

Watch on Video Copilot in HD

Download Project File

We also created a blog show to demonstrate how to create light rays in real life!
Watch on Youtube in HD!

POSTED:
9 months ago
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161 Comments

4 weeks ago
Awesome tutorial!

Also used the techniques in a new film and it really helped me out!

Steven
2 months ago
I ran into a problem i don't have fast radial blur, what could i use in CS5.5 to create a similar light burst effect?
2 months ago
Best tutorial... thank you Andrew.
3 months ago
That moment when you are searcing youtube for help and you hear "Andrew Kramer here". Thank God!
5 months ago
Wow! Thanks for an amazing tutorial. I can't believe how much I still have to learn.
This is so great!
Thank you
I have download this Project file and created one of the promotional Video for one of my Client. Thanks a lot for sharing this tutorial. I just love this!
7 months ago
always loved Andrew, Thank you so much for sharing what you
7 months ago
I used this project to make a new intro to my channel, and it was really easy to follow and the final product came out great, but I do need a bit of help... when exporting to premier Pro CC, is said two things: 1)"the preset used by one or more sequences in this project requires thid party components that could not be located. these sequenses will be modified....quit the application withut saving the project, reinstall any third-party components that are required and reopen the project" but no third party add-ons where used I followed all of the built in presets of after affects. 2)video filters missing - and named three of which are all on after affects but cant open in premier? could you please help... thnak you
Lord VicK
8 months ago
It works like Trapcode Shine :D
8 months ago
Love this so much! I have two very important questions (Well, important to ME anyway):

1. Will this work in After Effect CS3 Professional? (Stop laughing, I can't afford a newer computer at the moment. LOL)

2. I use many of the visual effects techniques that I learn from you and transpose them into my photography. I noticed that you used the volumetric lighting on yourself in one image. How would I go about doing that?

I'm thinking that I would do my full edit and composite in Photo Shop CS3 Extended, and save as a .psd. Then, load that ,psd file into AE as editable layers. Apply my volumetric lighting effects, and then export back into PS as layers file. From there, I can open the layers file, flatten the image and apply any final cosmetic touches to the overall image. Does this workflow seem like it would work?

3. How do you use the volumetric effects for video to place it behind someone? (i.e. The way Admiral Kirk was backlit as he entered the bridge simulator at the beginning of in "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan")

Thanks again! Video Copilot rocks!
Arturo Chesi Visani
8 months ago
This is just soo super epic! Thanks a lot for this tutorial! Will surely come in handy!
9 months ago
i like too so much that tutorial and project flow work, it is very simple for me, but i love that.
    sethi
    9 months ago
    nice work andrew
Brian Bierig
9 months ago
Incredible tutorial but I have to questions.
A.) The words and the light were moving in #D together. Suddenly,around 15:18, you had the lights moving while the type remained in place. How did you do that?

B.)How do I add keyframes and animate this now that I've made it?

Thanks, sorry for the novice questions.

Brian
Jason
9 months ago
Wow Andrew! Thanks for this tutorial! The way I used to try and composite 3D VLM lighting was way harder and not as efficent as this! Thank you so much!
Andrew Notkramer
9 months ago
Hey Andrew
I was wondering if this effect can be done using Element 3D as the text layer? That would be more awesome than cheating a 3D effect using multiple layers.
Andrew
    9 months ago
    Try it out! As long as the E3D layer is in the right spot it should give you some awesome light rays!
Salman Ghafoor
9 months ago
wow! hey thanks you very much for this i just looking for what i got here.
God Bless you and your family

Thanks again Andrew Kramer
Salman Ghafoor
9 months ago
So, to make it even more "3D", you can make the direction of the bevel move relative to the position of the camera. Just add this expression to the "Light Angle" property of your "Bevel Alpha":

thisComp.layer("CameraName").transform.orientation[1]*-1;
nic fanciulli
9 months ago
hey! where's the project file?
Annie
9 months ago
Thanks a bunch! Love ya!!!
Dave Tunnell
9 months ago
This is so cool. AK amazes me all the time. Now I am trying to use this effect to create light streaks through BG like say a Monster ripped it with claws.
mahdi sp
9 months ago
Hi andrew this tut is very useful thank for u .... i waaant sport car pack riged like jet strike in element 3d PLZ
... how time i witing for this pack hoooow ??
Vadim
9 months ago
How can you did extremely amazing STUFF from simple plugs and tools?! I don't stop a wonder!
Simon
9 months ago
when i add curves to my volunelight i cant change the color .. what to do? :/
Alzemir
9 months ago
Hi, Andrew and VC Group. Below is my thanks for the excellent tutorial. Congratulations!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-Ovqi9_Ws0
9 months ago
If I wasn't a man and if I found you attractive, AND if you weren't taken and you were gay and a man could get pregnant, I'd want to have your babies. Thanks for the great tuts, who needs trapcode shine with the technique!!
David
9 months ago
This is stupidly clever. Love how you've rigged it so you can spot and flood the light. I've used toComp with trapcode shine a bunch but I didn't think to add these additional controls!
Abolfazl Jafari
9 months ago
Very Nice
tank you for every thing i am from IRAN
Nic
9 months ago
WoW... the fact that this project file can not be opened with perfectly good software, CS5, is horrible. How many people spent thousands of $$$$$ only to see it become obsolete even thought it still works? Think if they made computers like that or cars or whatever the case maybe. It becomes more about giving money to Adobe than learning a skill and using software that is still 90 percent relevant..well, it's not anymore. This is not the first time this has been brought up here. I know this is not your fault, AK. I paid thousands of $$$ for a suite that now does not work with your products.
Sajjad
9 months ago
Hi, Thank you very much, you can tell me with what program , you record this trainings very high Quality ، insomuch i'm recording too & i convert it to flv or mp4 and also with your training bitrates , but it's been very low quallity!!!? I give thanks for the answer . (excuse me for Wording because i'm from an asin country)
9 months ago
Wow, works great with Element 3D! Just make sure your E3D layer is in the right spot. Very useful for integration with a live action shot of the sun and a JetStrike aircraft.
Karly
9 months ago
Hi everyone. I need help, I want to know how the effect of smoke which is transformed text into the clip Rihanna You Da One https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3HeLs8Yosw from 00 : 08, 0:13, and 2:45. Sorry for English, I'm French. I hope you can help me please
Yuri
9 months ago
So the CC radial blur works with element pretty well, what doesnt work is the light casting shadows. Elementary will fix this but I am sure that's why AK didnt show this since it is not using element exclusively. Most likely E3d will incorporate this. Nonetheless this is very cool.
Shawn
9 months ago
Thanks Andrew! Nice technique and I appreciate you taking the time to show it to us. I love how you always seem to combine a few different ideas to come up with something incredible. Well done!
Dez
9 months ago
Anyone else having trouble with the Expression tying the light source to the Null?
    Dez
    9 months ago
    of course... Capital C on toComp... Sorry... My bad.
raffaele
9 months ago
From italy
You are the best teacher........always creative good ideas.Adobe should be proud of you !!
Mike
9 months ago
This is just simply absolutely (F@#$ing) amazing! What planet did you say you where from? Please transform me master :-)
9 months ago
awesome tutorial. will definitely use it on the next music video!:)
lukr
9 months ago
I am pretty new to AE and love the fantastic tutorials.
I just noticed that the rays of the volumetric light don't line up with the shadow lines. Would it make sense to pick-whip the radial blur to the original light instead?
    9 months ago
    Not exactly. Since shadows are 3D projects and the light rays are a 2D projection you will never get perfect alignment but by pushing the Null deeper you can get close to matching the perspective lines.
Jes
9 months ago
How can I use this technique on text from element 3D?
or is it even possible?

Andrew.... Would have been nice with a short example of how to use this technique with 3d element :)
    Payton
    9 months ago
    Hey, I haven't tried it yet.. But this should work with anything, because it just applies the blur to any light around edges.. If you place the text, then make the light the way he did in the video, and apply the blur it should always work, regardless of the object, if the transfer modes are correct.

    Hope this helps!
Probes
9 months ago
Yep, awesome. Been trying to achieve this effect without plugins myself and couldn't figure it out - your knowledge of after effects is second to none - thanks Andrew!!!
9 months ago
jst awesome. thnx for the great tut
9 months ago
Another great tutorial from Mr. Kramer!
Steve
9 months ago
Awesome!
dHoward
9 months ago
Andrew! You're killing me, dude! Can you PLEASE remember your devoted, dedicated (not to mention POOR from buying VCP products!) and loyal followers, and maybe save some (or all!) of these project files as CS5.5 projects? Or at least post them somewhere where we can download them?

I can't afford to upgrade to CS6 because I spend all my spare cash here...

Pretty please!?

Thanks for considering...

dHoward
Nersik
9 months ago
Thank you very much Andrew!
https://vimeo.com/86610641
Silver dance
9 months ago
cool (let the light be)
Federico
9 months ago
This is amazing as always!
Michael Tate Jones
9 months ago
Love this tut Andrew. Thanks! Quick question...will this technique work with Element 3D text also? I know in the tutorial you say its technically a 2D trick. Just curious.
9 months ago
Awesome! Literally just got a company who make blinds as a client so this technique is perfect for that! nice one Kramer!
M Steele
9 months ago
Am I the only one who face palms myself when I see how clever, yet how simple these magical techniques are? Brilliant! What will this year bring?
Element 2.0? I saw your hidden blending modes options in the texture menu of your element screen cap within the Star Trek titles vid...
Goldorachox
9 months ago
Work easy with Element thank's again

https://vimeo.com/86509370
dania
9 months ago
andrew you are amazing.
makenoise
9 months ago
Thanks Andrew!!!!In the window part, how to make a dust?any tutorial?
Rebecca
9 months ago
Your stuff is awesome and amazing - as if you didn't already know that. (when I found this site, I told my husband, "I need everything on this site. Everything.") But thank you so much for these wonderful tutorials. Have only been able to afford one of your products so far but saving up for the others. I learned so much through these - things I never thought I'd be able to do and wham - in a week, I've got a full promo video for a project that is stunning. Thank you for showing us tricks for those who are on a limited budget and can't buy all the plug ins just yet...
barkingrhinos
9 months ago
Brilliant. I've been trying to do this exact thing for the LONGEST time! Then you make a way that's so simple it almost makes me mad. Keep it up
Joel
9 months ago
Advance Old School VCP at its Best! Great stuff. Excited for 2014
9 months ago
Nice Andrew! You see my showreel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T28QthokF5Q
    9 months ago
    THAT is pretty impressive stuff there my friend. Good job!
    Ed
    9 months ago
    One of the few showreels posted to VCP that I wanted to watch multiple times. Nice work!
    R-CANE
    9 months ago
    Yeah great showreel!
    Vizual Alkemist
    9 months ago
    Great Job Damian
    9 months ago
    thanks! :)
sarp
9 months ago
Wow Ridley Scott will be pretty pissed of because of this late discovery!
Glad34
9 months ago
Andrew, HELP ME PLEASE!...
Y my last hope...=\
I did... Hmmm... "Something" in Blender3d and exported Element3D,
added materials and parts made ​​glow plug-in, but when you view appears strange and ugly flickering.
How to get rid of it???!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTCElItRnL8

Only you can help me! Nobody knows what it is! ...

I tried ...
9 months ago
I love this one! Especially the window part :)
9 months ago
Perfect It's force me to watch 20 minutes without moving !! such perfect effect
9 months ago
Haha, just what I needed for a short film!!! But I bet this is just a try out for you and that you're working on a plugin called optical flares 3 - volumetric lights! Am I right????
prathamesh
9 months ago
hye andrew sir Is It Working with Element 3d layer ???????
    Yuri
    9 months ago
    The CC radial fast blur works with E3d but lights wont cast shadows.
Aidil
9 months ago
You are a GOD!

This is such a practical but important tutorial that can be applied to countless scenarios :D

Keep 'em coming.
Joseph
9 months ago
Hello, fantastic tutorial as always, can you teach us how to find and choose expression like the one .toComp in you video, sometime without expression like that it too difficult to do it by hand. Sorry for my english. Thanks
Jorbin
9 months ago
Its a great tutorial. I was waiting for this. thank you andrew
Kamen
9 months ago
THANKS ANDREW FOR ALWAYS BEING SO CREATIVE AND INSPIRING.
RA Elliott
9 months ago
Hey Andrew, some cool work here. When you get to the fractal noise part you set your Solid Composite effect's blending mode to "None", but mine only has "normal" and the rest of the blending modes. Any ideas why the difference? I'm on CS6.
    rjscha
    9 months ago
    I'm having the same issue. I'm using After Effects CC. Anyone have an idea what's going on?
    Phil
    9 months ago
    It's the Fractal Noise blending mode that needs to be set to "none" - Solid Composite should be set to "Normal"
9 months ago
Andrew, I added a animated Fractal Noise so its look like a smoky room , in addition to the volumetric light and put it in Luma Matte
Bayu Rahmawan
9 months ago
well..
you made my day ..
INA - jogjakarta..
    9 months ago
    Great job, i love your work Andrew.
9 months ago
You're a genius! Andrew is ROCK!
9 months ago
Hi
You Are a constant source of inspiration to me
Thanks Alot MR Kramer
I Love You
PotatoClips
9 months ago
hey guys, little trick for realistic dust particles in this. trapcode form is easiest but any particle simulator will do if you can amp up the air resistance. make a big box emitter with 0 velocity and just a hint of fractal displacement (if no fractal options just use some velocity and a lot of resistance), then overlay it above the radial fast blur adjustment layer and bam, particles only show up in the light
    siec
    9 months ago
    Brilliant... thank you.
    Richtige Brett
    9 months ago
    Doesnt't work in my case and I don't know how. And I don't understand how it should work just because you say that it should ;)
Luciano
9 months ago
Andrew everything i know of AE , i learn watch yours video tutorials.thanks very much for share. Sorry my english. cheers from Argentina. Luciano.
9 months ago
I was looking for a practical way to do that.. like always; right on time Andrew.. thanks..
Christian
9 months ago
Very useful!
I like the Window part, it can be used in so different many projects.

Hmm...
Should I upgrade from CS5 to CC just to get this 3D tracker or get a Foundry tracker plug-in instead?
    PotatoClips
    9 months ago
    if you dont have either, try tracking a central area with the 2d tracker in cs5, but with scale and rotation selected. also, if you can stabilize while filming, do that then add shake virtually if you want, afterwards. another alternative is getting used to mocha, which should come with cs5. draw out a flat surface in the video to give yourself a reference point and check tutorials on it for more help
Tom
9 months ago
I am using CS5 and followed the steps exactly, yet there are no shadows cast. Everything is set up properly. Is this feature only in CS6?
    SJ
    9 months ago
    Precompose the text layer ...
    9 months ago
    Go to Light Options and turn on Casts Shadows.:)
Patrik
9 months ago
Amazing effect, very handy. Great job and thank you for this.
reza irani
9 months ago
thanks a lot!very nice and perfect tutorial!and Also you make me Laugh!thanks for that!can we do something like this in element 3D?
Alex
9 months ago
I'd be really interested in seeing this combined with E3D
IMRAN KHAN
9 months ago
Andrew Kramer! This is really cool Effect!
Thank you so much for sharing your Knowledge Again!
Where do you learn all this things?
Karan
9 months ago
hy.. andrew need some help in editing .. how to create a proper glitch tv effect like person of interest .. plz reply..
Nico
9 months ago
Missed your tuts sooo much !!! <3
Mike James
9 months ago
Excellent! I'd never thought of this, I've previously tracked a point and then scaled the tracking data (for the illusion of being far away) and linked the radial blur to that
9 months ago
im trying to recreate a flash light shining from behind and moving from the left to the right. the problem is, the shadow animation gets rough.

does any body know how to get the shadows move smoothly when you move both layers connected to each other, the light source and the null (point) ?
Ken
9 months ago
Thanks Andrew. Despite the fact that I own Element 3D, it's good to get back to some concepts that don't require it.
Goldorachox
9 months ago
Very useful, Thanks for sharing.
FH
9 months ago
Incredible tutorial !!

Please can you take a look on my first demoreel : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_LVvNyhAgQ
mike
9 months ago
That will come in handy ! Thanks
9 months ago
I have to say this was a super cool tutorial and we all are grateful for you taking the time :0)
9 months ago
"Mind... Blown..." !!

Thanks for sharing!
Rishi
9 months ago
Combination With E3D its not working in that ,i tried an Electric sparks Effect in E3D text by using Alpha luma mat effect and masking i just failed ,I hope this effect Andrew will figure out that..... Thanks Andrew
Sam
9 months ago
Back in place, and his all up in our face, with some tuts that we embrace, like a mother to her child, we kicking it Kramer style. :)
ibrahim
9 months ago
Andrew Kramer Thank you very much
Mister B
9 months ago
Fantastic! Setting that bar high for 2014. Thanks Andrew and crew. You never fail to inspire. Keep it up!!!
Marcus
9 months ago
Does this technique work with Element 3D layers?
    Sam
    9 months ago
    Try it and find out :)
PickleJones
9 months ago
Thanks! Nice technique. Layer space transforms are always a bit mysterious to me. I just try different ones till I get what I want or give up in despair.
Zasquatch
9 months ago
So usefull ! Just... thanks.
9 months ago
That made me kick myself - such an ingeniously simple solution to complex effect! You are brilliant, Mr Kramer! Wish I'd been able to do that for our Silent Night virtual choir.
LM
9 months ago
just what i needed! Thank You a lot Andrew!!!!
9 months ago
How would you set this up in combination with E3D?
    jared
    9 months ago
    Yes, will there be a better light control for E3D so that it responds to light in the same way? Shadows, etc.
Amit
9 months ago
Thank you Andrew :) You bring a smile to me. God bless you
Tobi
9 months ago
Pls Andrew, tell me that Element v2 is about to be announced recently, i can´t wait i am so excited !
    Tob
    9 months ago
    In "The Postshow" Podcast he say: Before Summer!
Ignacio
9 months ago
hahahah follow us on tweeter!!!
Great tut! Thanks!
John
9 months ago
A 1000 birth rate particle thanks to you Andrew :P . Your techniques are amazing, your presentation is very enjoyable and your effects are globally utilized.
Siec
9 months ago
In your face Trapcode Shine!! hahahahhahahaaaa
flo
9 months ago
Awesome work!! Looks like at least someone has watched my tutorial on volumetric light!! :-)

http://flomotion.eu/portfolio/mirror-ball-animation/
Knight
9 months ago
I think you are Jesus and this is second coming
9 months ago
Wow! This means I can put down the gasmask and turn off the smoke machine?
Ken
9 months ago
VERY COOL! The camera tracking/volumetric lighting bad-ass. I created some volumetric lighting to my e3d text by using the shine effect. Is there any possible way to have a more realistic effect with the Raytrace font, e3d or cineware 3d fonts? Possibly using a similar trick?
David
9 months ago
Top-notch tutorial Andrew. Really useful and very clever.

Alas I don't have a notepad with lots of precomposed formulae on, but thankfully we have you. \^^/
9 months ago
Really great effect of rays In after effects ...
Grant
9 months ago
i love watching funny tutorials
gaurav
9 months ago
it very cool and helpful to
thank u
9 months ago
awesome man ! thanks a lot
ShahabG
9 months ago
This is such an awesome TUT. I wish you also went into details about the light rays from the phone + tracking. Although i'm sure it's the same technique. And am sure excited for your upcoming helicopter pack.
Hassan dar
9 months ago
Plz Watch My short film and advise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXedDG0RKz8
Khalid Momani
9 months ago
Perfect tutorial Mr Andrew. Hope the new tutorial coming soon. Thank you :)
lex77
9 months ago
So cool man! How you find ideas for your tutorial?
Thanks!
9 months ago
Wow! That's an extremely helpful tutorial!! Thank you!!!
javad
9 months ago
Andrew Kramer thank you
Miguel
9 months ago
Mr. Andrew Kramer I love you!
    Chaba
    9 months ago
    (No homo)
Christiaan
9 months ago
Enjoyed watching. Good as ever...
9 months ago
Very useful ...many thanks for this!:)
9 months ago
wow man ! you are posting those days ! woho !
9 months ago
Yes, finally! Can't wait..

We're working on an awesome short thriller. Get the first insights here:

http://facebook.com/delusiveshortfilm
Badhan Ganesh
9 months ago
Brilliant!! Always coming up with coool ideas!! Rocker!!
    8 months ago
    Hi, I can follow the tutorial up until you add the 'solid composite'. i have AE CC but I do not have the option to select 'None' from the composite blending mode? AE CC is up to date
    8 months ago
    Ah... its in the Fractal noise effect. not the solid composite.... phew
    stefan
    8 months ago
    The Freakin' master!
    Pasindu Priyashan
    7 months ago
    How to download AE CC ? Help me..........
    7 months ago
    How to download AE CC ? Help me..........
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