Fractal Noise: The Wonder Filter

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For the last 5 years, After Effects has been my go to compositing and motion graphics application whenever I need something beyond the depth of my NLEs. AE has the ability to do a lot of amazing things that would probably take pages just to list. With the filters and options that come bundled with it, the user can take on common to complex post production needs. One filter that I believe stands out above the rest is the Fractal Noise filter. This filter has been the basis of many creative and complex effects. On its own, you can create a myriad of assets such as backgrounds, overlays, textures and more. Of the many templates I’ve used, Fractal Noise has been used in about 80% of them. Within its parameters, a user can manipulate its parameters and create something unique. Used with other filters such as glow, blur and more, the possibilities are expanded. I’m going to show you 3 breakdowns of Fractal Noise designs you can use on your next project.

Background

In this example from author Chad Perkins‘s book Cheat in After Effects 2, I have a fractal noise background which looks like bars of light. The solid is set to 1920 x1080. Within Fractal Noise parameters, the fractal type is basic, the noise type is set to block, the contrast and brightness are modified, the transform settings are modified drastically, complexity is between 2-4 and the evolution is animated over 5 seconds. Combined with the Tint and Corner Pin filter as well as an adjustment layer containing the glow and curves filters, you get this cool animated bar background you can use for a high action title sequence.

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Streaks Overlay

This mograph element is relatively easy to accomplish using the Fractal Noise filter. From this example of Harry Frank‘s Form Backgrounds, he accomplished this by manipulating these fractal noise settings. With composition set to 3000 x 1080, he set the fractal type to basic, noise type to soft linear, modified the contrast and brightness between -100 to 200, transform settings to get the streak look and animated the evolution over 9-10 seconds. He also set an expression for offset turbulence that would affect its position over time. When combined with the Tritone and Glow filters, you get a streaks overlay you can composite into your footage or animations.

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Texture

One of the best ways to use Fractal Noise is when you need an animated texture. With this text layer in my composition, I will place an animated fractal noise solid into my text. Here is my settings and result of my fractal noise below.

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With my text layer above it, I will set my fractal noise beneath to Alpha Matte. Now, my text will inherit the fractal noise as a texture and with some further tweaking, I can get a unique text design that looks something like this.

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As you can see from these breakdowns, Fractal Noise is a versatile filter. On its own, it can create a lot of items. Grouped with other filters, it becomes an enigma of creative awesomeness. Next time you are in After Effects, play around with the Fractal Noise filters and see what you can create. You might create something quite amazing.

I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

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Digital Rebellion Tools Review

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When I started my journey to becoming an editor, I wanted to know all the tools I would need to get the job done. I believed all I needed was a good computer, some software and footage to work with to do it. As I progressed in my journey, I was introduced to tools that not only made my job as an editor easier but also helped me troubleshoot issues that I may run into. One particular developer of editing tools I’m thankful for discovering is Digital Rebellion. Founded in 2007, Digital Rebellion has developed maintenance and workflow tools for Final Cut Pro 6/7/X, After Effects, Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer. My first exposure to them was when I used the FCS Remover to remove Final Cut Studio 2 and reinstall it cleanly. Since then, I have purchased Pro Maintenance and Pro Media Tools and never looked back. These tools have helped me troubleshoot issues that I would have had to spend hours looking through forums to get the answers to. I can’t imagine editing without them. I’ll give a brief overview of some of the applications from Pro Maintenance and Pro Media Tools. Hopefully, you’ll either trial or purchase them after you know some of their capabilities.

Pro Maintenance Tools

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These set of tools were originally available for Final Cut Studio but have since expanded to include Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer/Symphony and Adobe Premiere Pro. Within these tools are applications that can trash/store your preferences, analyze why your NLE crashed, repair your NLE, manage your plugins and more. Some of my commonly used applications are Preference Manager, Crash Analyzer, and Plugin Manager.

Preference Manager allows the user to save, backup and trash preferences from the aforementioned programs. This application is really helpful when you run into an issue that was potentially caused by your current preferences. Instead of going through the many Finder folders to locate your preference files, Preference Manager is able to do it at the press of a button. If you want to import preferences from another machine to yours, you can do it relatively easy by importing them.

Crash Analyzer looks at your editing application crash logs and attempts to diagnose why it crashed. In the application window, it will provide suggestions to help alleviate the problem so you can get back to editing. This application is a godsend for editors who have dealt with their editing applications crashing without knowing how to fix it. I can’t count how many times this app has helped me troubleshoot the crashes I get. The best part is that a widget at the upper right part of your screen will appear as soon as your editing application crashes giving you the opportunity to investigate further. If you get Pro Maintenance Tools, Crash Analyzer is an additional must have.

Plugin Manager allows you to easily and quickly organize your editing system plugins. With this application, you can install new plugins and enable/disable current plugins without having to worry about locating them on your computer. I’ve used this app to help troubleshoot some plugins I have that may be causing issues with Final Cut Pro that are hindering my ability to finish an edit. It’s useful if you just want to disable a plugin as oppose to completely uninstalling it. I haven’t had a chance to explore its further capabilities but I plan to in the near future.

Pro Media Tools

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This set of tools helps with the efficiency side of your workflow. There are tools to offload your media to multiple drives, set project folders, detect gamma shifts, handle QuickTime files, notify you of renders and more. Not all the tools in this set work across every editing application so if you are a single editing application user you’ll be limited by that. Some of the tools I find myself using often are Auto Transfer, Post Haste and Edit Detector.

Edit Detector is an application that can detect edits and scene changes in QuickTime movies. This application is helpful for when you have to take pre-edited video and break it up for things like color correction, visual effects and motion graphics. It also comes with a sensitivity slider that determines how in depth you want the application to detect cuts and scene changes. The user has the ability to manipulate edit points if needed as well as export into multiple formats such as individual QuickTime movies, FCP marker lists, EDLs and more.

Auto Transfer is a handy application that allows the user to transfer media from camera memory cards to your computer. You can set it up to transfer to multiple drives so you can ensure backups in case of technical mishaps. I use this application often when I deal with AVCHD media and DSLR media. It’s much more efficient than doing a copy and paste from folder to folder in my opinion. With the metadata options, I can tag relevant info to clips to aid in the logging process.

PostHaste has been my go to application for project organization since its inception. This application allows you to use and create project folder templates, which you can use to organize footage, project files, mograph assets and more. You can also import previously used project folders to create a brand new template if you want. I firmly believe that every editor should have PostHaste in their arsenal.

Overall, Digital Rebellion’s two toolkits are a must have for editors. They help in troubleshooting and helping editors keep things moving. Although it’s most available for Mac at the moment, the developers have plans to have these toolkits available for PC users in future updates. Digital Rebellion also has other great product offerings such as Pro Admin, Pro Versioner, Cut Notes, Edit Mote and CinePlay.

I’m the NLE Ninja with Audio Micro asking you to stay creative.

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Multi-Cam In Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3

In today’s tutorial we bring you the magic of Multi-Cam in Final Cut Pro X. In this Final Cut Pro tutorial, Dan Allen of Dan Allen Films demonstrates and explains what Multi-Cam is and how it’s utilized in Final Cut Pro X. Keep in mind that this tutorial is for the newer 10.0.3+ updates so if you’re unable to do Multi-Cam you may want to update your Final Cut Pro X.

In the beginning Dan explains the basics of Multi-Cam, how to sync up the audio, and begin a Multi-Cam project in Final Cut Pro X. Multi-Cam in Final Cut Pro X can be easily accomplished using Final Cut Pro’s non-destructive flexible timeline as well as on the fly cutting as seen throughout the video.

Dan Allen ends the project with a short sample of how a quick Multi-Cam edit can turn out, literally within 10 minutes. With all these Multi-Cam talk, I’m sure you’re wondering what Multi-Cam is.

What is Multi Cam?

Multi-Cam is what it sounds like, a multi-camera set up at its core, with much more scalability in post production then a single camera edit. Multi-Cam is neither proprietary nor is it a standard meaning support for Multi-Cam is not available on every NLE but it comes with most professional NLE software.

Multi-Cam is also both a production technique as well as an editing technique so the lines are highly blurred.

The basis is that as long as you have one single audio track that is either synced up from a recorder or directly into the video, you can achieve Multi-Cam editing.

Videomaker.com has a great article about Multi-Cam editing and explains the entire production process from start to finish.

Multi-Cam essentially allows you to live cut multiple camera angles from different cameras just as if you were cutting a live show with a production switcher. There really is not a difference in technique for Multi-Cam editing in Final Cut Pro X and many other applications as the idea behind the technique is becoming more standard. Though most NLEs allow you to live cut and create multiple sequences with the cuts, Final Cut Pro X is unique in being the only true non-destructive editor as Dan Allen points out in his video.

So next time you’re shooting an event, music video, or interview consider the Multi-Cam approach to make things much easier in post production.

Having a good visual and audio cue is key in the process of shooting for a multi-cam edit as this aids the editor in cutting and syncing the pieces together.

Have any more tips on Multi-Cam or other multi-camera editing techniques in your favorite NLE? Are you a fan of Multi-Cam in Final Cut Pro X? Let us know in the comments below!

Be sure to follow Christian Hermida on Twitter and HermidaTech!

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