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REQUEST: Cinematic Lens Flare Tutorial

Posted: Wed, 21st Oct 2009, 3:40pm

Post 1 of 3


Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Hey there,

I don't own VisionLab (although I do use EffectsLab for muzzle flashes decently frequently) and I think it would be a really good idea if anyone, particularly the staff (or just Axeman!) to demonstrate how to create dynamic, near-obtrusive lens flares akin to Star Trek, et al using the Lab products optics engine.

I've had a look into this multiple times (mainly in trying to add them to a music video) and I can't get it to look right. I can place the optics well within the frame, but animation and dynamics of keyframing become an issue. I know mmmprod used VisionLab's lens flares to great effect in a commercial he did, and I feel that if FXHome could crank out a tutorial illustrating something to that extent, that it would really help to sell that functionality in particular.

The reason I bring this up now (I've wanted this for a long time) is because Andrew Kramer is unveiling an Optics engine for AE soon and having worked with EffectsLab and VisionLab I feel that their optics engines are more feature-rich and can compete - if only a good tutorial for use can be cranked out.

Kramer, in particular, so often gives people specific ways of replicating specific effects, in this case the ostentatious flares in J.J. Abrams' work (Star Trek, M:I:3, Fringe) and I while the Lab products have power above and beyond the ability to create flares in the optics engine, I think that power is going largely unnoticed (people use it more for muzzle flashes, sabers, explosions).

Anyhow, I know getting effects to look right and professional takes time and talent that's often hard to find. Just saying: if we were to see a solid, good-looking, result-producing tutorial (which I know people here are more than capable of producing) then I think that would be something to heavily (and aptly) publicize in lieu of Kramer's upcoming release.

Just my thoughts.

Regards, Ben
Posted: Wed, 21st Oct 2009, 10:14pm

Post 2 of 3


Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker MacOS User


An interesting idea, which I will look into.

Incidentally, I've yet to create a lens flare that I thought was half-decent. If you look through all the presets I've made, you won't find a single lens flare. That isn't because I haven't tried, or even because I haven't submitted any. Its 'cause they all sucked. However, I've also never bothered to learn anything about real lens flares, or studied them with a view to re-creating them digitally.

And that research, as everyone knows, is the key to creating quality effects of any kind. Making sure they are grounded in real-world physics and mechanics, so the audience will accept them. So maybe I'll take some time and see what I can learn. As soon as I can find some time to take.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Oct 2009, 7:46am

Post 3 of 3

Simon K Jones

Force: 27955 | Joined: 1st Jan 2002 | Posts: 11683

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User

FXhome Team Member

I recommend taking a look at 'The Art and Science of Digital Compositing', by Ron Brinkmann. It's an utterly awesome book in general and essential reading for anybody interested in compositing, but it also has some interesting information about lens flares and the real world physics behind them.

It's a great book because it's very secular - it doesn't talk specifically about any one camera, editing system or compositing product. It means that the information in it is invaluable regardless of your particular setup.

It'd definitely be good to put together an advanced lens flares tutorial of some sort, as Ben suggests. I may well look into that once we're past the Xmas rush.