Believe it or not, there’s a lot that goes into a good glow effect! I’m overly passionate about this particular topic, and would happily spend hours fine-tuning each little pixel of my glow to make sure it makes my VFX absolutely perfect – and ProductionCrate wants to help you do the same.
Except it won’t take you hours… Instead, just a few seconds!
We have built out a powerful glow extension for After Effects, capable of producing the most stunning optical effects for your compositing projects with a single click. We’ve tested this tool to its limits, and are insanely proud of what this can do for VFX artists like you. Additionally, we’ve made this free to download for everyone!
So why did we make something that After Effects can already do? Those who have already used After Effects built-in glow effect already know the answer – it’s pretty ugly.
That leads us to our next question; what makes Crate’s Glow any better? Our script has been carefully designed to follow the natural physical properties of light, allowing the final result to imitate the realistic gradient-based falloff that we see in the real world. This eliminates the artificial look that After Effect’s built-in glow generates and instead gives us an incredibly aesthetic result.
Each parameter has been fine-tuned to create the best result with one click. You can easily make further adjustments with user-friendly parameters. These can be changed even after the glow has been created by using the sliders in the “Glow Controls” null layer.
Threshold – Minimum brightness for an area of the image to begin to glow
Intensity – Brightness of the glow
Spread – How far out the glow reaches
Flicker Intensity – Increase this to have the intensity shift over time
Flickers Per Second – How often the flicker fluctuates in a second
Tint Strength – When increased, the glow will match the chosen color more
Tint Colour – The color used for the tint
Vibrance – If you’re losing color in your glow, you can use this to boost the saturation
Usually, the glow effect will work without any extra squabble, but I’ll quickly go through how you can take full advantage of the features available.
Here’s an example of an explosion VFX shot that needs an exciting glow effect to give the fire some further intensity.
Since we’re organised (most of the time), we have the robot-explosion VFX layer separated from the background. Using keying tools, we can isolate the orange flames in a new layer.
Selecting this layer, and clicking “Generate” on our glow script will have the glow effect only applied to these flames, adding an extraordinarily epic glow to our fire VFX.
And it’s as simple as that!
To download and install the script, open up After Effects and navigate through File -> Scripts -> Run Script File. Find a folder you wish to keep the script stored, and extract “Crate’s Glow.jsx” to the new location. Double click the .jsx file and the script window will open.
If you’re looking for even more scripts to add to your workflow, check out our incredible Hologram extension!