New Canon Patent Describes a Hybrid Speedlight with a Built-In Cooling Fan

We’re not sure if adding airflow to various photography gear counts as “innovation,” but yet another Canon patent has been unearthed that shows just that. This time it’s not a DSLR or a lens, but a hybrid speedlight that Canon is planning to upgrade with on-board cooling.

In case you missed it, we recently reported on a Canon patent showing an eye-piece fan for a 1D X-like camera, which would add active cooling to a DSLR without increasing the camera’s size. Then, 24-hours later, it looked like Canon was developing a lens with a “vacuum” mechanism for sensor dust removal.

Now, another fan-based patent has surfaced, this time showing a hybrid speedlight that uses an integrated a fan below the flash head.

The Japanese patent application was unearthed by Canon News, and as you can see from the illustrations above, the fan is built into the underside of the flash head, where it can circulate air and keep both the flash tube and LEDs (probably more the LEDs) cool.

The patent doesn’t specify exactly why this fan is being added, but DPReview notes that it’s probably there to cool the flash when the LEDs—which are probably used for continuous light or as a modeling lamp—have been running for an extended period of time. Nothing like a little fan noise to spice up a portrait session…

Adobe Updates Lightroom with Multi-Batch Export, ‘Panorama Fill Edges,’ and More

Photoshop for iPad and Adobe’s new camera app stole the show today at Adobe MAX, but photographers will be glad to hear that Adobe hasn’t forgotten about Lightroom. All of Adobe’s Lightroom apps (CC, Classic, and Mobile) got some useful updates today.

Today’s “2019 Photography Releases” include a slew of minor updates for all of Adobe’s apps, and you can read about them in detail on the Adobe Blog. For our purposes, we’ll call out some of the most interesting.

Panorama Fill Edges

This Content Aware technology makes its way to Lightroom, Lightroom Classic Camera RAW, and it does exactly what you think: when you stitch together a panorama, the photo editor will now use Content-Aware Fill technology to fill in the edges that remain, so you don’t have to crop them out.

The option shows up as a check box in the Panorama Merge menu alongside options like Boundary Warp and Auto Crop.

Multi-Batch Export

Another useful feature just added to Lightroom Classic is Multi-Batch Export, and like Panorama Fill Edges, it’s pretty self-explanatory. If you need to export the same batch multiple times with multiple settings—say: one for web, one for client, and one for print—the export dialog now allows you to do this.

Simply select a series of photos, go to File > Export, and check as many different export presets as you’d like. You can use the default export presets or create your own custom presets to make this process as seamless as possible.

Interactive Tutorials

For beginners who are just starting out with Lightroom CC, Adobe has brought over in-app tutorials from the Elements products.

“First made available on Android, ChromeOS, and iOS, guided tutorials and interactive edits are two new ways to learn how to edit photos and get inspired by professional photographers from around the world,” writes Adobe on their blog. “You can find the tutorials by tapping on the home icon on the left side of the Lightroom interface.”

Once you’re there, you’ll find “interesting content” that Adobe will be updating daily.

Batch Editing for iOS

Batch Editing has finally made it to Lightroom Mobile for iOS.

To use the feature, activate the “select mode” by either long-tapping on a photo in the grid or tapping on the three-dot menu at the top-right and choosing Select. From there, you can copy a set of edits from a single photograph and paste them onto the rest of the selection.

If you do any sort of Lightroom editing on your iPhone—either by choice or by necessity in a pinch—this could save you a lot of time.

… and More

This isn’t everything Adobe added to Lightroom. Other updates include “Advanced Export” for Lightroom Mobile and Lightroom CC on the desktop, a tool that helps people migrate over to Lightroom CC from Photoshop Elements, and the ability to export your presets and preset groups in Lightroom Classic.

To read up on all of the updates that went live in Lightroom today, head over to the Adobe blog, then update to the latest versions and take the new features for a spin.

Dell Unveils Pro 4K Monitor with 100% AdobeRGB, Thunderbolt 3, and Built-In Calibrator

Dell just announced a new monitor built specifically for creative professionals who demand accurate color reproduction. The 27-inch UP2720Q joins the big boys from companies like HP and Eizo by integrating 4K resolution, 100% Adobe RGB coverage, and a built-in color calibrator—a first for Dell.

The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor (UP2720Q) is “the world’s first 27-inch 4K monitor with a built-in colorimeter and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.” That last part is important, because there are 27-inch 4K monitors with built-in color calibration hardware, but none of them feature Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.

The monitor was announced at Adobe MAX, and it’s all about “Ultimate Screen Performance.” The specs, for the most part, back up this goal. Not only does the monitor have a built-in calibrator—so you can schedule your calibrations for off-hours and keep the monitor looking its best—its IPS panel offers 100% Adobe RGB, 98% DCI-P3 and 80% BT2020 coverage, and the display features not one, but two Thunderbolt 3 ports that can pump out up to 90W of power, allowing you to charge your computer and daisy chain up to two 4K monitors.

Here’s a quick introduction and a closer look at the monitor:

The one major hit against this monitor is that “typical” brightness is just 250 nits, putting HDR far out of reach and leaving it far behind the most impressive monitors out there, like Apple’s Pro Display XDR, which promise sustained brightness of 1,000 nits and peak brightness of a whopping 1,600. Still, the Dell monitor is no slouch, and for an appropriately dim studio setting, it’s more than bright enough for high-end photo and video editing.

The Dell UP2720Q UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor will be available to the general public on January 15th, 2020 for a suggested retail price of $2,000. It’s not cheap but, frankly, no 4K monitor with 100% Adobe RGB coverage and a built-in calibrator will be. To learn more, head over to the Dell website or stop by booth #901 at Adobe MAX to see the monitor in person.

(via Engadget)

The Exposure Triangle: A Good Beer and a Good Photograph Are Basically the Same

The Exposure Triangle: A Good Beer and a Good Photograph Are Basically the Same

If you’re a fan of a good photograph and a good beer, understanding how one is made may help you understand the other. Beer and photographs are comprised of three active ingredients and one passive ingredient.

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Adobe fulfills its promise: Photoshop on iPad is officially here

In keeping its promise, Adobe has announced Photoshop on iPad is officially here.

It’s been over a year since Photoshop on iPad was officially confirmed by Adobe, but the Creative Cloud giant fulfilled its promise to deliver the program before the end of 2019.

As noted in the initial announcement, Photoshop on iPad relies largely on the same underlying code, but tweaks a few things to account for the more touch-based input method the iPad offers. Like the desktop version of Photoshop, Photoshop on iPad offers full PSD support so working on projects between multiple devices shouldn’t be a problem and new projects created on Photoshop on iPad will automatically be saved to Adobe Creative Cloud so you can pick back up on your computer if need be.

As previous reports from beta testers noted, not all of Photoshop’s features are present in the current version of Photoshop on iPad. In Adobe’s own words, it focused on bringing ‘common tasks and workflows that we know will be useful for most Photoshop users.’ Specifically, Adobe has included basic adjustments, brushes, cloning, spot healing, cropping, eyedropper, masking, layers and a few other features.

More powerful features, such as Select Subject, Refine Edge, canvas rotation and improved brush options will be added over time as Adobe learns ‘more about how customers use Photoshop on a mobile device.’

Photoshop on iPad will run on iPadOS 13.1 or newer on the following devices:

• iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi and Cellular)
• iPad Pro (12.9-inch) and 2nd generation
• iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
• iPad Pro (9.7-inch)
• iPad 5th Generation
• iPad Mini 4
• iPad Air 2

Adobe is offering a free 30-day trial for Photoshop on iPad. After that, pricing gets a little confusing. If you currently have Adobe’s 20GB Photography Creative Cloud plan (or purchase it before January 31, 2020), iPad on Photoshop will be included alongside Lightroom, Lightroom Classic and Photoshop on desktop.

If you wait until after the cutoff date, you will have four more expensive options: subscribe to the Photoshop single app subscription (which includes Photoshop on desktop and iPad) for $20.99 per month, subscribe to the 100GB Photography plan for $20.99 per month, subscribe to the Adobe All Apps plan for $52.99 per month or make an in-app purchase on your iPad for a recurring $9.99 per month subscription to use just Photoshop on iPad.

Below is a little hands-on The Verge did with Photoshop on iPad a month back.

Photoshop on iPad is currently available to download on compatible devices in the iOS App Store. You can find out more about Photoshop on iPad on Adobe’s product page.

What Is a Texas Switch and How Can You Use It In Movies?

What’s a Texas Switch? And how does this VFX cheat make action movies feel more real and true to life? Find out below.

I hate watching a movie where they replace humans with CGI during action scenes. I like my stunts to be practical.

Have you ever been watching a movie and astounded at how the lead actor does their own stunts? Well if you’re not watching Tom Cruise of Jackie Chan, there’s a really good chance that these highly paid movie stars actually have trained stuntmen and women taking their place.

But what about in scenes that seem to have a seamless transition between actor and stunt person? Or scenes specifically blocked to create these transitions? Like the ones from this tweet below.

The Texas Switch has to be the coolest filmmaking trick around, right? Here’s where it was used in Aquaman, Cast Away and – YES – in Speed!

— Ian Failes (@vfxblog) April 16, 2019

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Adobe Announces Photoshop for iPad and New Camera App

Happy Max Day! Here is what’s new in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

Before the keynotes kicked off Monday morning, Adobe announced new additions to the Creative Cloud suite, including the long-anticipated Adobe Photoshop on iPad (teased at MAX 2018) and Adobe Photoshop Camera, a mobile app that combines Photoshop capabilities with your phone’s camera.

The new additions highlight the ability to edit in Creative Cloud across devices. Adobe also announced the release of its first augmented reality software, Adobe Aero.

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Get Your Work Seen by RED and Atomos With Aputure’s Help

The deadline is fast approaching for your chance to win an 8K RED and more prizes.

Back in September 2019, which is a billion years ago in internet time, we let you know about a contest put together by Aputure with an interesting angle: Lighting diagrams. The “Light This Location” contest is about not just creating cool stuff, it’s also about documenting how you make that cool stuff, specifically with a diagram of how you lit it.

This makes it a contest that is not just cool for you (if you win, you could potentially take home a full 8K RED package or hundreds of thousands of dollars of other prizes), but also good for the filmmaking community as a whole.

Whenever we see something executed in a way that makes us go “how did they do that?”, it can be discouraging to not know how they pulled it off. This contest should help us all get more in the habit of making, and sharing, lighting diagrams. It lets others know what we did. It gives us a useful reference if we want to recreate it later, for pickup shots or for another job.

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Is the 120 Fps Version of ‘Gemini Man’ That Bad Compared to the 24 Fps One?

Is the 120 Fps Version of 'Gemini Man' That Bad Compared to the 24 Fps One?

In this video by John Hess from Filmmaker IQ, you will see how 120 fps affects the experience of watching a film in a way you probably haven’t thought before.

[ Read More ]

Photoshop on iPad Isn’t Complete, But Adobe Promises it Will Be — Do You Believe Them?

Adobe has launched Photoshop on the iPad, a fully rebuilt application on the real base of Photoshop that purportedly runs smoothly and efficiently despite being on the pseudo computer that is the Apple tablet. Normally, this achievement would be seen as a gigantic accomplishment, but multiple stories over the past year have put a damper on what would otherwise be a celebrated announcement.

Note: We have not independently tested Photoshop for iPad as of the publication of this article.

When it was first revealed in 2018, the words “full Photoshop” led many to believe the entire application would be available at launch, when in reality the word “full” was referring to the fact the application would be harnessing the power of the desktop Photoshop, building upon that code base, unlike prior apps that were built without using the full professional application as a starting point — apps such as Photoshop Mix, or the maligned and now-defunct Premiere Clip.

“I take some responsibility that everyone is expecting to compare feature lists.”

“We started to navigate the line of making it clear this is real Photoshop, the real base of Photoshop, and therefore you get the full functionality of the PSD. That was really important to us,” Scott Belsky, Adobe’s Chief Product Officer for Creative Cloud tells PetaPixel. “The Version One promise that we had to deliver on, which is why we are so confident in launching now, is two-fold. It is that professionals can have an augmented workflow with the desktop experience that gives them superior results so they can do some things as well or better on the iPad than they could on the desktop.

“And number two, we asked, is this a more inviting, intuitive, yet just as powerful experience for the person who doesn’t want to take years to master the product? And the answer to that is a resounding yes as well.”

When asked about the expectation of full Photoshop meaning the entire application, Belsky explained that internally, they firmly believed to do so would have been a bad idea.

“Thirty years of features dropped on our customers on day one is a recipe for failure,” he said.

“I like to say to my teams, we should only be shipping something that has a story only we can tell,” he went on. “What does that mean? Adobe has a legacy of file format compatibility, of certain level of performance. When you look at Photoshop, it’s supposed to be the world’s creativity application. You can just get so deep and geeky into any specific area you want to achieve, and it will let you do that.

“We spend a lot of time getting those foundations right. Now, did we ship every every single feature that will ever come onto that foundation on day one? No, I mean we couldn’t and it would take years to do so. But the foundation is there. So the sky is the limit on the modern Photoshop. You can built it into anything because it is the code base that has evolved over thirty years to enable anything.”

“Thirty years of features dropped on our customers on day one is a recipe for failure.”

Belsky explained that his team looked at the prospective use cases for the application on each surface, between desktop and iPad in this case, and did their best to look at the basic customer needs between the two. For Belsky, the iPad brings with it the challenge of balance.

“There will be a ton of people who always found Photoshop way too hard and complicated to learn,” he said.

Belsky believes that the entirely reimagined interface and simpler starting point will attract users who were initially overwhelmed by the full program on desktop. In that regard, he believes that in addition to serving existing users, it was important for Photoshop for iPad to attract new ones.

“I think there will be a lot of excitement, and people will have an easier time with this Photoshop,” he said.

Obviously, breaking focus away from existing users is bound to upset some. Belsky agreed, and said he was prepared to face two possible outcomes from professionals and seasoned Photoshop users. On one hand, he believes some will look at the application and see that it is perfect for certain tasks they need to complete, and that they’ll do a lot of work on the iPad and finish it on desktop.

“It opens a lot of possibilities,” he said optimistically. “And then there will be some pros who will say ‘well it’s missing this feature, and that feature’ and compare it feature by feature and those customers will hopefully recognize that it wasn’t our strategy for day one.”

As technologically impressive as Photoshop for iPad is, and it should be noted that it is indeed extremely impressive, the application will underserve photographers’ needs.

While it will launch with a robust list of features like layers, masks, blend modes, the Clone Stamp and Spot Healing Brush and Crop tools, it won’t include the Pen Tool, color spaces, or RAW photo editing. And while it will have gradients, saturation, black and white controls, the Paint Bucket, Eyedropper, and Color Picker, it won’t have smart objects or layer styles.

What’s more, Photoshop for iPad will not work in tandem with Lightroom CC, an app that has been available for the iPad for quite some time. So while it is possible to get a photo shot in RAW onto the iPad, actually editing that photo in a mix of Lightroom and Photoshop will be a roundabout and indirect process, and likely will involve a computer to act as a go-between the apps on the iPad.

Such a workaround almost defeats the purpose of having both Lightroom and Photoshop on the iPad at all, at least from the perspective of the working photographer.

“There are a few things we actually have to do on the Lightroom side to make that happen,” Belsky said, referencing the communication between the two applications. “This is stuff the team is actively working on. The team really wants to make this have all the interoperability that you expect on the desktop, and so that’s coming.

“But recognize these are not just limitations we are working through at Adobe. This is also something that’s part of iOS. We are pushing the boundaries of what these operating systems can do, and what the hardware can do on mobile. So this is a joint effort to make these devices professional-grade devices.”

What exactly is coming next for Photoshop for iPad directly after launch? Belsky assured that updates will be impactful, and frequent.

“We’re going to be very transparent with our roadmap,” he said. “This is a journey, we are on this together. And if there is a feature that is absolutely essential… that would be prioritized, frankly it probably already is. Because we have a good group of people who have been testing and playing with this product.”

Belsky and Adobe were a bit more vague in terms of specifics on what to expect, and when, from that roadmap. Though they were able to tell us that the features coming to the application first would be Refine Edge, Select Subject and Rotate Canvas in order to round out the compositing flow and also said that they would be adding workflows “over time” such as interoperability with Lightroom, they stopped short of giving exact timelines, or even going beyond those features and sharing precisely what we could expect, and gave no actual timelines for updates in the next three, six or even twelve months.

For those who tie their horse continually to promises from Adobe, these latest set may seem all too familiar, most recently with Premiere Rush. Rush launched with considerable fanfare in June of 2018, bringing with it expectations of expanded functionality.

Those expectations never materialized.

Over a year later, Rush has only seen one major feature update, speed ramping, while this year’s only Adobe MAX update was a button to allow users to directly share to the social network Tik Tok, and nothing else.

“Shame on us that we had to spend six to eight months on really nailing a lot of performance issues [with Adobe Rush].”

Though Adobe never made any firm promises to update Rush to the level they are today with Photoshop for iPad, they did give customers that impression. Belsky admitted that Rush hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves with regards to true feature updates.

“Shame on us that we had to spend six to eight months on really nailing a lot of performance issues that we learned about on cross platform issues,” he told us frankly.

Through its first year on the app store, Rush struggled with performance issues as users expected more out of the app than it was prepared to fulfill.

“Video products are a lot more performance intensive,” Belsky explained. “There were limitations on how people wanted to use it that we had to overcome. Bugs and a lot of these things were addressed, and then Speed was added in there. There is a robust roadmap for Rush, but I will say that we were careful not to promise much during the year about features coming to Rush until we got these things done.”

These struggles explain Rush’s situation, but do they forgive it? Further, it has to be asked whether the problems with Rush at launch a thing of the past, isolated to that application? Or are they indicative of Adobe’s future with Photoshop on the iPad?

“We are promising these things on Photoshop, because we actually are already well along the way and we are doing such performance testing on this product because of what we learned to some extent with Rush,” Belsky told us.

Since the release of Rush, Adobe has shifted the way they build applications.

“Rush was shipped on a date – it was a date-driven release. We now have a ship-when-ready mentality,” Belsky says. “Now the whole product organization talks about what ship-when-ready means.”

Belsky says that Adobe is setting a bar for its products, a bar that they have to hit before the product goes public. “I think it’s a very important thing to not ship on a date, but when we pass a bar. And with Photoshop on iPad, we a number of times said ‘What’s the bar, and we are not going to ship until we are there.’”

Belsky admits that there was a part of him that wanted to get Photoshop on iPad out earlier in the year, “But it wasn’t ready yet.” He went on to explain the there is an evolution in how they are building their products at Adobe that will hopefully address the feedback that customers have shared with the tech giant.

“I am confident,” Belsky said, referring to the launch of Photoshop on iPad and the promise to continue to update it over time. “What I hope some people can discern from this is why we stuck to our guns. Why we didn’t just want to port the existing interface with the existing feature set onto this new surface.”

Belsky was passionate when explaining the changes they made to the platform for iPad, and why they mattered.

“There are entirely new gestures, there is progressive disclosure of menus. They are context-specific menus that are very empowering as opposed to navigating long menus with every single feature you have to comb through all the time to find what you need. This is such a better place to start this next generation of Photoshop.

“But I understand that some customers are going to be like, ‘Alright, where is this feature?’ And you know, that’s a partnership we will have to figure out.”

Speaking to the team’s goals, and the product they released, Belsky understands it was his words that painted the current landscape.

“I take some responsibility that everyone is expecting to compare feature lists and they’re not going to take the time to understand the strategy of what this product was. But I just couldn’t be more confident and excited as to where we are going now, and what we are going to do with people’s workflows.”

Hive Has Rewritten Their SHOT App (and That’s a Good Thing)

Hive Lighting, known for their popular RWB Wasp units, has completely re-written their app from scratch.

Lighting with apps is increasingly becoming more relevant to filmmakers. While “app control” felt like a marketing gimmick when it first came out, we’re starting to see real applications from a variety of companies. To that end, the Los Angeles-based company, Hive, has completely redesigned their app from scratch to be more intuitive and powerful than before.

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Dramatic Portraits with An Optical Snoot

A snoot is a hard modifier that pushes light into a focused, narrow beam. An optical snoot includes a lens. That lens allows you to further control where light falls on your subject. It also allows you to define how sharp the line is between where the light falls and where it does not.

When a light source is large relative to a subject, that light is considered “soft.” Soft light casts a shadow with a less defined, soft edge. Skin and other kinds of texture will be minimized. When a light source is small relative to a subject, that light is considered hard. Since the light comes from a smaller area relative to the subject, the shadow cast by hard light will have defined edges and the appearance of skin texture will be maximized.

Many optical snoots include a slot where you can place a film slide or metal insert ( also known as a “gobo”). The film slide allows you to project an image onto a surface. The gobo allows you to further shape the snoot’s beam of light.

An Andoer SN-29 optical snoot and 50mm lens were used to make the portraits above. This snoot acts as the key light. In the first image, a circular gobo was used to restrict the light to only the upper right side of the subject’s face. The snoot’s 50mm lens was defocused. This made the edges of light less pronounced.

In the second image, a rectangular gobo was used to restrict light to the subject’s eyes. The beam was also defocused.

In the third image, the same square gobo was used. This time the beam was focused. This created a sharp light beam that starts at the bottom of the frame, frames the subject’s right eye, and then fades into darkness near the subject’s forehead. This light was covered with a full CTO gel (actually, two Half CTO gels). This reduced the color temperature of the daylight strobe to 3200 kelvin (more on this later).

A 47” Godox stripbox soft modifier was positioned beneath the subject. This fills the large shadow area created by the snoot. It also creates an attention-grabbing reflection in the subject’s eyes. This fill light pumps out un-gelled 5600k strobe light. It’s 3 or so stops below the key light. A 5600k 35” stripbox with a grid was placed camera right to create a rimlight.

All three lights are 600ws Orlit RT 610 TTLs. For this kind of image, a fairly powerful strobe with a modeling light is key. An optical snoot eats a lot of light. A gel further reduces light output. The 600ws strobe allowed me to light the subject while shooting at a narrow f-stop. The narrow f-stop allowed me to maximize sharpness and depth-of-field. This ensured both eyes were in focus. The strobe’s modeling light allowed me to precisely place where the narrow beam of light fell.

A Canon 6D and Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 (f/8.0, 160th, ISO 100) lens were used. The 6D was released in 2012. For all the advances made in recent years with mirrorless and DSLR cameras, I continue to be impressed by the 6D’s image quality. The 85mm is also no slouch. It’s sharp at f/1.8 and absolutely brilliant at f/8.0. Oh yea. The camera’s white balance was set to a cool 3200k. This made the orange-gelled light from the snoot appear near-neutral while the daylight-balanced fill and rim light fell to a lovely cobalt blue.

Finally, the most important part of the picture: Ronald. Interesting people make interesting photos. Ron works at my local Whole Foods. He is 65-years-old and far more fit than most people half his age. He has blue-grey eyes. He grew up on the Southside of Chicago and used to box. His hands are made of granite. When he first bumps me, my hand hurts.

For more than a year, we’d see each other at WholeFoods and promise to get together to make photos. We finally did.

Here’s a more conventional portrait of Ron using a regular snoot:

I told Ron I wanted to pay tribute to his epic beard by creating a portrait inspired by one of my favorite photographers, Yousuf Karsh. “The one of Hemingway?,” Ron asked.


About the author: Noah Stephens is a Detroit-based portrait photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Stephens founded The People of Detroit in 2011 as a counterpoint to Detroit-focused ruin porn. That led to commercial assignments for McDonald’s, Ford, General Motors, Ally Financial, and “Detroit” by Oscar award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow. He enjoys science and philosophy podcasts, cycling, and considering our position in the infinite cosmic void. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

HIS DARK MATERIALS: Main Title by Elastic

Don’t miss this really nice main title created by the team of Elastic for HIS DARK MATERIALS:

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2019

The post HIS DARK MATERIALS: Main Title by Elastic appeared first on The Art of VFX.

Level Up Your Landscapes With Long Exposures

Level Up Your Landscapes With Long Exposures

Maximum detail and sharpness in an image are often goals for landscape photographers, but introducing the blurry, smoothing effect of a long exposure can take an otherwise tame landscape and turn it into something more epic.

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After Effects Classic Course: Extended Vignette Techniques (part 1)

In both video editing and motion graphics, the goal is to focus the viewer’s attention in a certain place – on an actor’s face, on a company’s logo, etc. It is known that we notice and “read” bright areas in an image before the dark areas. A classy, subtle but effective way to darken the areas that are less important and make the more important areas of the frame brighter by comparison is to overlay a “vignette” on the image.

Back in 2010 we created an online course that shared a number of ways to accomplish this. That course is no longer available, but the fundamental concepts are just as important now as they were back then – so we’re going to share the movies in that course over the next few weeks, one “chapter” at a time. In this post, we’re going to focus on several different ways to create vignettes:


A quick overview of the technique and how this course is arranged.

1.1: Masking

The most common approach to creating a vignette – which can be executed in many different software packages – is to draw a mask around the area you wish to highlight, invert it, feather it, and apply it to a black layer to darken the remaining areas of the frame.

1.2: Shape Layers & Gradients

After Effects’ Shape Layers are more sophisticated than simple colored solids, allowing you to create gradients of color or darkness to fine-tune what areas are to be bright and how the rest of the frame is to be darkened. (Remember that you can use an After Effects composition as a layer inside Premiere Pro.)

1.3: Painting Vignettes

Some users are more comfortable “painting” the exact areas of the frame they wish to highlight, compared to drawing masks or shapes around them. This movie outlines that alternate approach inside After Effects.

1.4: Using the Circle Effect

Others prefer using effects plug-ins, especially since it is easy to save their settings as an animation preset to apply to new layers later on. This movie outlines that approach in After Effects.

1.5 Using 3D Lights for Vignettes

A favorite alternate approach of ours is to use 3D lighting in After Effects to re-illuminate footage, as if we were the lighting director on the original shoot. Basic 3D isn’t that hard to use in After Effects, and this approach may make more sense for those with traditional production experience.

Those are the basic approaches. In the next installment (to be posted two weeks after this one, to give you time to practice), we’ll show how to extend these techniques, such as using color instead of just black & white for the highlights and shadows, and how to process an entire stack of layers instead of one footage item at a time.

These movies previously appeared on Learning. They’ve retired this course from their library, so we’re making the movies from it available publicly for free. You can either scan our page on ProVideo Coalition to see the other free movies, or check out the Crish Design channel on YouTube.

The post After Effects Classic Course: Extended Vignette Techniques (part 1) appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.