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Reflective and Refractive Glass Block Tutorial Part 2 – After Effects 136 Comments



In part 2 of this glass block tutorial I show you how I use After Effects, Trapcode Starglow, Curves, Compound Blur and Colorama to finish and composite the scene.

Final Animation

Watch Part 1 of This Tutorial

City Kit
Light Kit Pro

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136 Comments

  1. yes I will watch it now , thank you so much for your efforts to help us Nick :D I’m really love your work please keep it up .. God Bless you man
    Mohamed Zakzouk
    From Egypt

    Reply
  2. Another great tutorial! I actually just rendered out an experiment with flicker and thinking particles but forgot to add DOF, your compound blur technique should definitely do the trick.

    As for the black border, instead of precomping and cropping, because the adjustment layer with the blur applied to it is a 2d layer, you can just scale it up slightly.

    Reply
  3. Hey man, i really like your work, I am always learning from you…and i want to be grateful with you…people like you push the tech to next level…Thank You so much

    From SudAmerica…

    Reply
  4. Daniel

    My solution to the compound blur causing black to bleed into the edges would be recreating the repeat edge pixels tickbox by precomping, enlarging the comp and mirroring all the edges. I try to avoid upsampling stuff.

    Fantastic tutorial. Your stuff is constantly inspiring.

    Reply
  5. Galen

    Awesome tutorial! Here is a quick render (based on part 1)…I added some VC Lens Flare and some film grain, fading, fake DOF in AE.

    http://imgur.com/KY9Bo.jpg

    Rendering a short 120 frame motion piece now…my computer is begging for mercy.

    Reply
  6. Aaron

    As always a great tutorial. Thanks!

    To get rid of the messed up edges try to put the “cc repe tile” effect with about 20px expansion and tiling set to “repeat” above the compound blur. It might work :-)

    Reply
  7. Nick, buddy, third times a charm on this question I hope. Where are you posting your 5 second info these days?

    Cheers on this tutorial btw.

    Hamilton

    Reply
  8. nick, i love this tutorial but i was wondering
    if you can use a logo or non mograph text object to achieve the same effect? or does it have to be a mograph text object thats used?
    thanks
    zach

    Reply
    • Any element you put into the scene will work and reflect/refract into the glass, just make sure to use the tag so that that it isn’t seen by camera.

      Reply
    • julio

      Textured objects in the scene as well as any modeled object will be reflected

      Check this if you like Zack. http://www.vimeo.com/11203166

      I used a textured object, I also let be seen some previously reflected elements. I like how it works

      Reply
  9. Nigel

    Great tutorial Nick. Don’t forget to press capslock to speed up your renders. Capslock prevents screen refreshing in your comp window, thus rendering slightly faster. But I’m sure you knew that one ; )

    Keep up the great work!!!

    Reply
  10. Brett Perry

    Hey Nick,
    How about applying the rarely used utility filter “Grow Bounds” to the compound blur layer to get rid of those nasty black edges. I think it would act like the check box for expanding edges in some of the other blurs (ie. fast blur). Just a thought.
    Brett

    Reply
  11. sherman

    you mentioned about using a depth pass (not verbatim) with the tiff sequence. Just wondering if there’s any info you or anyone can point me to for help? I’m struggling to figure it out and since you brought it up…

    Thank you

    sherman thomas

    ps. saw you for about 10 seconds at NAB, but i had too much on my plate to hang around. Everything DSLR was suuuuper crazy this year!

    Reply
    • zymos

      In case someone more knowledgeable doesn’t chime in, a depth pass is a separate layer from C4D that just gives depth information, IOW how far each object is from the camera.
      This info can then be used in AE (or whatever) to determine DOF effects.

      There is a great tutorial over at amateurmedia.net
      http://www.amateurmedia.net/landscape-in-cinema-4d-tutorial/

      that deals with this

      Reply
    • sherman

      Thank you zymos.

      That helps a ton! Using the lens blur seems like a really nice way to control the focus.

      Reply
  12. Michael

    Hey Nick,

    When I fake the DOF effect, I use the Lens Blur effect. It has the option to “repeat edge pixels” which will get rid of the black edges.

    Works great with depth maps too

    Reply
  13. Motion Tile Effect will get rid of your black edges when you scale your tiling size up, maybe %5.

    Reply
    • Steven_LS5

      Yeah, that’s what I would have said, but I already tried it and it doesn’t works :(

      Anyway, I prefer the lensblur, too :D

      Reply
  14. Stefan

    To remove the black edges add Simple Choker effect. And go to a negativ value for Choke Matte.

    Reply
  15. Bobby

    Nice Nick.

    Though it’s really a buzz-kill to watch what others have done to the cool animation and turn it into a very commercial piece by putting in a logo of some sort or marketing phrases.

    I think it totally kills the spirit of what this is all about.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
    • zymos

      ?
      That’s pretty much what mograph is about though, isn’t it…?

      Reply
    • Bobby

      Motion graphics is about creating awesome pieces of moving graphics.

      Reply
    • Bobby is right – some of the clips look like a copy-paste job. People – get creative and try something different. Nick is showing us how to use those tools in different ways all the time.

      Thanks Gorilla!

      Reply
  16. Fucking awesome tutorial Nick!!

    You talk about the H.264 render, what is the issue with using H.264 renders in after effects? so far i have used H.264 compression in AE, i guess i was wrong… :/

    And witch program do you then use for H.264 compression, if not Ae?

    /Martin from Denmark… lol

    Reply
    • Hi Martin,
      You should have the H.264 compression on your QT presets in AE… f you don’t, try to export from AE in non compressed QT then use Mpeg Streamclip to get your H.264 video.
      A+

      Reply
    • Thanks Fabrice, but what i tried to say is; that i always use H.264 compression in my Qt preset. i just want to know whats better?

      Reply
    • Don’t do H264 From AE. Render out something like Apple Intermediate or Photo JPG and do your H264 in Quicktime.

      Reply
  17. Hey Nick ! Another great tut’, man ! Thank’s…
    Do you remember the “bounce” effect I told you about (sorry to insist about it…) ?
    Cheers !

    Reply
    • :) )) Ok, I send you an email about the Maxon site web video, when a little pink/white ball hurt the ground, all the elements on the ground react, they bounce… I’d love to know how ti make it. I hope my description is clear enough…
      Cheers

      Reply
      • There is no “Automatic” way to pull that off. The best way is to animate an invisible ground plane to have the balls react when you want them to.

        Reply
  18. I know not the right place for this maybe but I want to spread the word Polk county does an awsome job with the ITV program, Watch the video award ceromony live online or broadcast later. Watch what our elementary middle and high school students are doing

    Polk county school Boar Instructional television Video Awards live online

    http://www.polk-fl.net/news/video/042010.htm for more info! Please help spread the word!

    Reply
  19. Hi Nick,

    many thank for those usefull tips and tricks around C4D & AE. Very interesting techniques, really handy food-for-thought, I really appreciate your video blog, your style and how things get easier with your point of view.
    Anyway, I don’t know if it’s useful that I’m going to write now, but 2 things :
    1) you can have great results and faster render (especially on GI) if you’re set the value of REFLECTIONS (into render’s preferences) around 3 rather than 5. I took this on an another tutorial about Mental ray…
    2) You can use a LENS Blur into AE, inverted it, if you’ll set up a Z-length pass in your render engine. Then, make a layer into AE with this Z-length pass and select it in the LENS BLUR plugin. Sometimes, you’ll have to adjust the greyscale (oh ! Nice one, indeed…) opacity with B/W plugin for a nice & smooth adjustment of the bluriness… Try it.
    Have a nice day & I’m waiting for the next tutorial. Bye.

    Reply
    • Awesome. Thanks for the tips. I’ll have to try out that reflections thing. It may shorten renders for some of you that were asking how to do that as well. Thanks again, ZEF! We will all learn by sharing our knowledge. ROCK!

      Reply
    • Thank you,

      I’m really glad that my few tips can be usefull !
      I’m sorry for the “Z-length” parameter ! I’d talked about “Z-Depth”… Bad english from a Frenchie !
      Have a nice day.

      Reply
    • Great, Zef, thanks for your tips ! :-)
      About your reflection tip, I gave it a try on this tutorial. To render 1 image with the same settings, excepted this one :
      - reflection max = 3 >> 3mn39
      - reflection max = 5 >> 5mn10
      Is there any differences ? The second one is somewhat brighter, but a tiny little bit, I can’t see any reason to keep the 5 setting

      Btw, to avoid the black edges from the compound blur : Transform fx after the blur >> scale 101%. Verified. ;-)

      Reply
  20. Great lesson! I just create a 3D animation with his group of people! And that lesson is just right for my project! Thanks The Gorilla!

    Reply
  21. Tiffer

    Thanks Nick i love it when u show how to make it look great in AE great tut thank you………………

    Reply
  22. It’s cool to see unexpected techniques like the colorama layer.

    About the Depth pass. I rendered one out but didn’t use it since the blocks were opaque. I figured shouldn’t they be transparent as well?
    I mean, if you were to focus on a partly obstructed block in the back, it’s depth info will be hidden by the layer in the front.
    Silly me deleted the pass before testing unfortunately..

    Reply
    • Depth passes are tough to pull off with transparency. Try making a depth pass with transparency turned off. That may work a bit better.

      Reply
  23. Ramzes

    Great stuff, a lot of technics to use and learn, Thank you very much Nick, God Bless you! Take care yourself, we need you man!

    Reply
  24. Zerogravity

    hey man nice effect and tutorial overall. i saw you mentioned something about the conversion with x264 straight out of AE and that it can not be done. it can be achieved but you have to set up a multipass render out of AE. just select x264 as compresion method and then click on configure.

    Then under the main tab there is a little box with an arrow which if you click more options appear. Simply select for the first render: multipass – 1st pass. Under this option there is another setting which says target bitrate and that should be adjusted according to the resolution your comp has. I usually set it to 4500 for most renders. After the render is complete the resulting file is not accesible as what the codec renderd is data needed for the second pass.

    Then re-render the same comp or just duplicate it in the render queue (ctrl+d) and overwrite the initial rendered file; it will ask you if you want to overwrite it and press ok. Only thing you have to change here in the configure menu is multipass – Nth pass and you are ready to go with the x264 render. Really good method for converting to x264 in AE. Note that this applies only to video for windows ( .avi )

    Reply
    • Zerogravity

      the codec i am talking about is x264vfw – H.264/MPEG-4 AVC available for free across the web. just google it

      Reply
    • Zerogravity

      render times and compression is really amazing btw :)

      Reply
  25. Nick your tutorials are always great! I had a client that needed a simple landing page up ASAP while we work on the final site and this animation was perfect for the concept. Added some trapcode particular to the end result. It’s still a little dirty, I want tweak the details but here is the result:

    http://narcisselounge.com

    Reply
  26. HEY GSG COMUNITY, FIRST THAN ALL I WOULD LIKE 2 THANKS NICK AND ALL OF YOU GUYS FOR THE DIGING AND INFO SHARING.
    MY VERY EFECTIVE TRICK TO MAKE A FAKE D.O.F.IS: MAKE AN NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER, APPLY EFFECTS, BLUR, BOX BLUR(I´M USING IT A LOT RIGHT NOW BUT YOU CAN GO WITH FAST BLUR OR LENS BLUR THIS ONE IS A BIT RENDER HOG),CHECK THE REPEAT EDGE PIXEL OPTION, THEN MAKE A RECTANGULAR, ELLIPTICALL OR CUSTOM MASK, THEN HIT MM TO SEE THE MASK ATRIBUTES CHANGE THE APPLY MODE TO SUBSTRACT, AND ADJUST THE FEATHER (100 TO 300 SHOULD BE FINE), THE MASK SHAPE, THE MASK EXPANTION, ETC.
    I LOVE THIS WAY CAUSE IS FASTER AND YOU DON´T HAVE TO COME BACK TO A PRECOMP.
    IN THE OTHER HAND THE BOX BLUR I RECOMEND IT CAUSE IS VERY FAST AND GIVES A COOL VERSION OF THE LENS BLUR IN A SQUARE IRIS SETUP, VERY CINEMATIC, TRY FOR EXAMPLE IN PARTICLES, COMBINED WITH STAR GLOW, SWEET!
    HOPE GIVE BACK A LITTLE HELP WITH DIS.

    Reply
    • In the General tab, set your GI Mode to “Camera Animation” to get rid of the flicker. If you animate anything in the scene other than the camera, make sure you select “Full Animation”.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  27. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for yet another great tutorial.

    Here’s my interpretation … a little different and I should have taken a bit more time lining up the text .. but my Mac is old and slow and I couldn’t be arsed waiting for another 3.5 hour render ;)

    http://bit.ly/9Hinjf

    Cheers

    Mark

    Reply
  28. Fernando Sucre

    Thank for great tutorial and thank to nick for cool c4d tutorials

    Look at my work:Color World-Green Bursa
    Nicks Cascading text effect and Robert Legers Beam efect

    http://vimeo.com/11376586

    Reply
  29. Hey Nick,

    thank you for this great and very useful tutorial. With you advise it was very easy to take my first steps in AE, thank you for that.

    I really like the way you present your Tutorials. Keep on rockin like that.

    Greetings from Germany, if you ever want to make Holidays in Germany just let me know…

    by the way my result: http://www.youtube.com/user/loucipher#p/a/u/0/NiddVkISJlQ

    Sincerly

    Tino from Germany

    Reply
  30. georges

    Great job, i had a problem adjusting the text to the glass but i managed and came out right, thx man really appreciate you taking ur time for this. Just

    Reply
  31. georges

    Great job, i had problems adjusting the text to the glass but i managed and it looked awesome. I really appreciate u taking ur time for this.

    Reply
  32. Hugo Bernal

    Hi Nick, very nice tutorial, I gave it an adjustment layer with a 4 color gradient, and it gives also some very nice results in color correction

    Reply
  33. Hammaad Mahboob

    love your tuts mate
    here my version http://vimeo.com/11401310
    i cant get it in HD for some reason can someone help me, its looks great on quicktime but the colours aren’t coming as deep as i would like it if i use it any where else

    Reply
  34. Hey I just thought about this — I think in AE the tutorial was in 8 bit mode the whole time — does anyone know if switching to 32 would make a significantly better in this case? (Nick, anyone?)

    Reply
  35. Denver Barr

    Hey can any one help when ever i got to animate the camera/ null object i do everything he sais but it doesn’t move please help i really need this to work

    Reply
  36. Denver Barr

    Hey can any one help when ever i got to animate the camera/ null object i do everything he sais but it doesn’t move please help i really need this to work

    Reply
  37. Nick,
    Thanks for the awesome tuts and insight. Im a newbie, but you inspire me to get my a&$ in gear…dig your site. This was my first real lesson in AE too…anyway here is my version ( a bit late in the game)…

    Cheers,
    Jacob

    http://www.vimeo.com/13846198

    Reply
  38. ElanVital

    Hi all,i’m totally new both AE CS5 and C4D,i have a problem;i render my scene in CD4 as Tiff with alpha,straight alpha channel.When i try to import my tiff files as tiff sequence to AE,i see my footage with alpha pictures,AE didn’t display “Ignore”, “Straight Alpha – Unmatted”, “Premultiplied – Matte with Color” options at the start,does anybody know this issue? Thanks guys!

    Reply
  39. Thomas

    This is one of my favorite final renders of your tutorials. I like it! :) Thanks!

    Reply
  40. Nick Shorty

    Fantastic!!!!!!!!! just finished it too! Thanks tons Nick!

    Reply
  41. http://vimeo.com/15807449

    mine.. very similar to tut, so now i’m gonna try adapting the technique to a new idea =]

    the biggest thing I took out of this was how to make realistic glass materials… something I always struggled with! THANKS

    Reply
  42. DefiantScaledDesigns

    Hey Nick Thanks for the tut, I know you probz get like 100 of these comments but could you check out my outcome :D decided to play with the specular so i didnt get the same effect you got i just got see through glass :D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZpKa3SI_Wg

    Reply
  43. Silver Dance

    hi my techer.
    thank to your time to for us this advanced tutorials..keep doing that and God will be bless you….thank

    from juba-sudan

    Reply
  44. Liram

    Awesome Tut ..
    i like this!

    in future i’ll upload my video ..

    I love your training, you are an excellent guide! I say this as one not yet so familiar with the software ..

    Reply
  45. Mo'men

    Hello there … this is the best tutorial i’ve never seen before
    thankx alot ….
    I’m using 3D Max and ask about the ( FRACTURE OBJECT and SEEN BY CAMERA options ) .. is there any thing similar in 3DS MAX . (How could i do Random Effect)!!
    If you know pleas help me cause i need it too much .. Thank you any time about all great tutorials .. Realy awesome
    sorry about my English

    Reply
  46. Hello Nick,
    I’am french, and i do love your tutorials(and your style^^).
    Thank you for your wonderful job man, you help us so much!

    Keep going like that man, you are the gorilla!!!

    Reply
  47. assasinosilenzioso

    gave this project a try and i did a 160 frame 3 seconds,animation.how to extend the animation to 10 secs without increasing the frames?????

    Reply
  48. Hey Nick, quick question: you mentioned that the H.264 compression does not work correct out of AE. This tutorial is 3 years old by now, so does that rule still apply on CS 6? I like to render as a Quicktime with the H.264 compression and so far im happy with the results

    Greetings

    Reply
  49. This looks amazing!! But part one doesnt work :(
    Please please fix this… It looks sooooo cool!

    Reply
  50. Thanks so much for this tutorial. The page for Part 1 isn’t working though. Just FYI!

    Reply
  51. Fantazo

    Nice ideas with this template, but it would be better if also the 1st part of the template would work. Could you try fixing it?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules

This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.