Tag Archive for: after effects

Dr. Strange VFX Tutorial in After Effects

Watch this tutorial and learn how you can become Doctor Strange with VFX!

We have some downloadable content to help you on your VFX journey. Check out these links

Magic Circle VFX

Magic Circle Vector

AE Shield Template

Magic Cloak VFX

Magic Cloak 3D Model


Create Fog for CGI Renders in After Effects!

Fog and atmosphere always look awesome, but rendering them is still a pain. Noise, trouble with lights and lack of control (and of course slow rendering speeds) make us dread rendering fog scenes. Our approach is to add fog in post-production as often as possible using a depth pass.

This trick is cheap and easy! You can customize and make any adjustments without being stuck with rendered fog. Check out our tutorial here

Want to create this scene yourself? Find our Assets below!

3D Rigged Werewolf

3D Trees

Forest Ground Material

Werewolf Howl Sound Effects


Download Crate’s Face Relighter for After Effects

Download Crate’s Face Relighter for Pro users here Windows Compatible Only

When compositing VFX into live-action footage, one thing is absolutely essential to get right – lighting.

This is the most powerful and crucial aspect of blending visual effects into video. When done correctly, replicating the real-world behaviour of light helps convince your viewers that what they’re seeing is real. Because light bounces, scatters and casts shadows in a specific predictable manner, it’s very easy for anyone to identify lighting that doesn’t follow the properties of reality. This is especially the case on human faces, which almost always becomes the focal point of any shot. That is why it’s so important to get it right.

Crate’s Face Relighter aims to revolutionize the face-relighting workflow. We’re offering a powerful AI-assisted After Effects tool that provides a creative new way to illuminate your actor’s faces. This can assist VFX artists to create better muzzle flashes, magic, fire, explosions, holograms, lightsabers and more.

How to relight faces in After Effects

Element3D, a powerful 3D rendering plugin for After Effects, is required for this to work. By leveraging Element3D’s extensive range of creative controls, such as materials, fully-adjustable lighting and pixel-perfect camera integration, we’re able to offer a user experience that you’re already familiar with. You can purchase and install Element3D from VideoCopilot here.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use Crate’s Face Relighter in After Effects.

Lightsaber VFX

The much-loved iconic plasma blades have always presented the challenge of casting illumination on the hero or villain’s face. Without LED lights lining the length of the laser using an expensive prop, it is notoriously difficult to fake the bright light shining on an actor; a task typically requiring many hours of tedious keyframes and masking.

By using Crate’s Face Relighter, we’re able to represent the laser with a simple After Effects light. You can adjust the properties so that it matches the brightness and color of your desired effect perfectly. From there, our tool will handle the complex illumination of your actor’s face, automatically tracking both the position, orientation and facial structure with near-perfection.

Lightsaber Lighting in After Effects

Magic VFX

Magic VFX are some of the most visually spectacular effects that can be produced. Not only is it fun, but it’s as easy as adding our magic stock footage from FootageCrate over your background using a screen blending mode. Combining particles, flames, smoke and plasma can let you produce any imaginable sequence of magic powers: telekinesis, portals, superpowers, teleportation and spells. Once you’re happy with the special effects, you’ll usually need to perform some final compositing corrections, one of these being simulating realistic lighting in your environment.

A great example is if your wizard is summoning a ball of fire. We want this to be an emissive effect, and so it’s imperative that we help improve our compositing by creating fake lighting in the footage. This After Effects extension provides an effortless solution; delivering a responsive and realistic facial light that interacts with the shape of the actor’s face. You can combine lights and color them differently to produce multi-angled illumination for more complex scenes – we aim to avoid any restrictions on your creativity in any way.

Green Magic VFX in After Effects

Fire VFX

As the VFX industry has grown, using digitally composited fire has become the mainstream choice for most producers in their video projects. Not only is it safer to keep actors away from pyrotechnics, but it is also less expensive and provides the VFX artist with the ability to control the look and behaviour of their fire in post-production. These are highly important benefits to filmmakers, and so you’ll need to be prepared and know how best to create convincing fire. We recommend taking a look at our extensive collection of professional fire stock footage to help you achieve any scene, ranging from small embers to raging infernos.

Ensuring that your digital flames illuminate your footage environment helps elevate your VFX closer to reality. Being able to utilize Crate’s Face Relighter means that the complex shadows from the nose, eyes and lips are correctly produced on an actors face. You can even use After Effects expressions, such as “wiggle(5,30)”, to cause your After Effects lights to flicker, delivering a dynamic lighting setup that can’t be replicated with standard LED lights.

Fire Relighting in After Effects

Muzzle Flashes

Muzzle flashes are some of the first steps any VFX artist takes when compositing with live-action footage; and are deceptively difficult to do correctly. While quick muzzle flashes can often be achieved by simply layering some muzzle flash assets in the correct position, a realistic effect fit for a film would typically require the additional effort of illuminating the face of who is firing the gun. By using this tool, you’ll be able to do this quickly – simply animating the opacity of the illumination layer from 0% to 100% every time the muzzle flash is visible. This provides an effective way to speed up your workflow, especially when considering that some muzzle flashes may require hundreds of frames to be relit. You’ll be emphasising the impact and power of the muzzle flash with the light that it emits.

How to relight a face in After Effects for VFX?

To get started, you must have Element3D installed into After Effects, as well as a Pro ProductionCrate membership. Please be aware that this tool is highly experimental, and we cannot guarantee that it will work on your system. We are in no way affiliated with Element3D, and will not be able to provide support for Video Copilot’s product, our face-relighting tool simply uses it for the rendering process.

Once you’ve run our installer, simply open the tool by navigating to Window -> Extensions -> Crate’s Face Relight. We’ve done as much as we can to simplify the workflow using this After Effects extension, and so you’ll only need to perform a few steps!

How to relight a face in After Effects

Input Video – First, select your input video. You’ll require an MP4, MOV or ProRes4444 file.

Output Folder – The tool works by converting an input video file into a 3D OBJ sequence. This contains a 3D mesh of the actor’s face, including their position, orientation and posture, each stored in an individual file for each frame. As you can expect hundreds of files depending on the length of your project, we recommend you create an empty folder to deposit the sequence of files.

Launch App – Once you’re ready, hit “Launch app”. The tool will begin processing your footage frame-by-frame. A black console window may appear, but that’s expected due to how the tool works. You can even look at the files being generated in real-time by visiting your Output folder! If the conversion process gets stuck, it’s likely that no face was detected in a particular frame, in which case you simply click “Force Quit” on the interface.

Element3D – In most cases, this should remain checked. This will simply optimize the output mesh in a way that best works with Element3D.

Cinema4D – Checking this will enable a unique mesh generation mode that keeps each vertex-index consistent on the face. This means that in 3D packages such as Cinema4D, 3ds Max and Blender, it’s easier to attach objects to vertices in the face mesh. To retain the index consistency, the polygons are un-welded. To optimize in C4D simply merge your OBJ sequence, set proper frame-rate, select OBJ mesh and enter Polygon Mode, and with all your polygons selected right click and select Optimize. Download the C4D Template here to have your camera pre-calibrated.

Setup Scene – Once the files have been generated, clicking “Setup Scene” will produce a new composition with several layers included, kickstarting your relighting adjustments.

How to relight footage in After Effects

Before we relight the face, we must first open Element3D. Select layer 7 of your composition, and hit “Scene Setup”.

Once the Element3D interface has opened, hit File -> Import -> 3D Sequence.

How to relight a face in After Effects

A file dialogue will open, navigate to your chosen Output folder, and select the first frame of your sequence (for example, “0000.obj”).

An import preferences panel will appear. Here, you must change “Force Alignment” to “From Model”. This helps the face mesh align itself with the footage. You’re now safe to hit “Ok” and close the Element3D scene editor.

How to relight a face in After Effects

You should now be seeing results!

Relight Faces in After Effects

If your face mesh doesn’t line up quite perfectly, we recommend adjusting the “Zoom” parameter in the composition camera.

Camera Adjustment in After Effects

We know that artists don’t like being restricted, which is why we’ve ensured that the default preset is as open to interpretation as possible. By clicking the Shy switch above the timeline, you’ll be displayed additional layers which can be adjusted to fine-tune the blending of the light with the face. This includes the luma matte (which sharpens the details of the light), and the feathering system (which gradually blurs the edges of the face illumination layer). Feel free to adjust these however you feel works best for your project!

We’re looking forward to seeing you make use of this face relighting tool in your After Effects VFX project! If you’re interested in our other plugins, scripts and extensions, check them out here.

How to adjust the lighting of your actors with VFX

Texture Flow – Free AE Script

Sign in to your account and download our free TextureFlow Script here!

Projection mapping to flat, non animated objects is pretty easy. It’s even easier if you use our Projection Mapping Script (also free!) But what do you do if you want to map on to an animated surface? This is something we’ve struggled with in the past. For compositing pre-rendered VFX assets, the ability to do this would be extremely powerful.

Luckily, we have some pretty smart people working here at ProductionCrate. David came up with this clever technique using the Content Aware Fill tool in AE.

To simplify things even further, Nate built us a script! This script will save you time while approaching this technique. I suggest watching David’s video above to have more control over the script’s results. The entire process will take you less than a minute to set up.

Here is how you can use our Free Texture Flow Script


Download Crate’s Toobox – After Effects Extension

We have amazing scripts, many of them completely free, for After Effects. Crate’s Camera Shake, the Hologram Generator, Crate’s Chromatic Aberration and tons of other useful tools are available for download on ProductionCrate.

Accessing these amazing products is now easier than ever before. With our free Crate’s Toolbox, you can download and install our After Effects scripts from inside of After Effects!

Remember, you don’t have to Log-in every time, you just need to log-in to download the scripts. Click the Offline Button if you don’t want to log in but still want to use the AE scripts you have already downloaded.

Watch the video below to see how it works.

First, if you have any ProductionCrate Scripts already installed, delete them! This will ensure Toolbox can launch the most recent versions and locate the files without issue.

If you are on a Mac, run the .DMG installer, if you are on Windows, run the .EXE

Restart After Effects if you have it open

To locate the Extension if After Effects, go to Window > Extension > Crate’s Toolbox

You’ll need to select 2 Download folders:

  • The first folder is likely your default Downloads folder. This is just where all of your downloaded items go to when you download from Chrome, Firefox, Safari or any web browser.
  • The second folder is for storing your Crate Scripts. This can be anywhere on your computer. Don’t delete it, this will be where all the script files will be referenced! You can create a new folder and call it anything, ProductionCrate Scripts, for example.

You will only have to do that step once!

After that, log in to ProductionCrate using Toolbox and download any Scripts and tools you want to use. Hitting Install will launch your browser to install the script, make sure it downloads to your Downloads Folder, or whatever folder you chose as your first folder (see above)

The scripts will be automatically copied over to your store folder, the second folder mentioned above!





Texture Mapping Trick for AE

David came up with this fantastic trick for texture-mapping in After Effects! This is a powerful technique which will allow you to utilize the power of our high intensity simulations and renders in your composites at a whole new level.


Check out his quick tutorial showing you can pull off this technique.

3D Scale Lock – Matte Painting Script for After Effects

If you’ve ever done matte painting in AE, you may have come across this annoying issue.

All your layers are looking great, your matte painting is some of your best work ever, and now all you have to do is position your layers in 3D space to add a little camera movement. Then comes the tedious, annoying, laborious process of moving layers in Z space, scaling them to fit the correct framing, moving, scaling, moving, scaling…

No more of that. With our latest free AE script, we’ve come up with a technique so you can get your matte painting layers set in 3D space faster, without having to re-scale! Make sure you are logged in with your Basic or Pro account then click to Download the Crate’s 3D Lock Script Here

Learn how to use the script in detail in this tutorial! This script would be useful for 2D to 3D painting as well, working perfectly with our Free Projection/Camera Mapping Script

Free Camera Projection Script for AE

Projection mapping is a powerful and extremely useful trick for motion design and visual effects. While the concept is relatively simple, the execution can be extremely difficult with native After Effects tools. That is why we built the Crate’s Camera Projection Script. This Free Adobe AE script allows you to easily follow the guided steps to creating your camera mapping and projection mapping scenes.

To download, just sign in to your Free or Pro ProductionCrate account and click here

This technique is useful for tracking a clean plate into your scene and animating 2d stills to appear 3d.

Check out our step by step tutorial here


If you’re looking to use it for 2D to 3D images, check out this tutorial

HUD Generator Extension for After Effects + Premiere

We’re happy to release our latest extension, the HUD Generator from ProductionCrate! Make sure to log in to your Pro Account to download this tool.

Our HUD Extension has received an important update! This includes UI improvements, an option to reset where your HUD elements are located, 20 new HUD Assets, and a plethora of bug fixes that will make your experience smoother than ever! If you have already installed this extension, simply run the installer file again to overwrite the previous version (.exe on Windows, .dmg on Mac). To include the new HUD Assets, simply merge the “HUD Graphics” folder with your currently used one.

Check out this video to learn how to quickly and easily install and use the HUD tool in After Effects and Adobe Premiere.


Updates 4-13-2021

Light Sampler – Powerful AE Script

Practical lights have always made visual effects far more believable. We use them all the time. As fantastic as they are, we’ve never been able to use them like this before.

Our latest After Effects Script will let you measure color and luminance values in your shots. Whether it’s the sun, scene lights or effects you can use luminance values to drive reactions in your project. If you have a strobe light going off, you can have automatic muzzle flashes, if you have the sun flashing by a fence, you can add in lens flares that will automatically go off, if you have a practical light that changes color over time, you can drive color to any other effect. All of these shots were built with the Free Light Sampler Script.

Needless to say, this script is packed with potential. We look forward to seeing how you use it. Download it here


Here’s how you use it