As an Editor/Designer, I’m always looking for resources that help me make good looking stuff within ever shrinking deadlines
Rampant Design makes stock elements, presets, etc. for the working editor/motion designer , and to paraphrase them “we make it simple to look like a rock star”.
I previously looked at 3 of their products at screenlight.tv, and today I’ll take a hands on look at Cinematic Color FX for After Effects & Screen Damage. (Rampant provided a copy of Color FX and Screen Damage for this post.)
Cinematic Color FX for After Effects
Color FX are 101 Presets for Adobe After Effects (they also have a version for Premiere Pro). Color FX are presets you apply to a layer and you modify them in the “Effects Controls” panel. There are a variety of looks including “Instagram style”, black & white/bleach bypass, subtle film looks, and over the top gradient looks”. I personally can see using “Golden Vibrance” often, as it adds a nice pop to the image without being over the top, and the color can be easily changed.
They are compatible with After effects CS7 and later and are cross platform.
Applying a Preset
Select your layer, then double click on the Preset to apply it. You can apply them to individual layers, or to an adjustment layer to treat the Composition.
Most of the presets are a combination of 4 to 6 effects.
Let’s look a preset and break it down. (I picked “the U”). I had some really flat footage (shot with Canon 5D) of a indie record store window. (I wanted to give it a funky/hippy vibe)
The U Color FX
The Default is too over the top for this footage, so let’s tweak it.
The Color FX Presets may work for you out of the box, but it will depend on the footage. Also you may want to do a base color correction if applying the Color FX to multiple clips for a consistent look.
Also it helps to have a working knowledge of levels, curves, and calculations effects. (these will be familiar to Photoshop users)
I suggest turning off all but one effect when you adjust these, so you can see what effect is doing what. As I am finished with an effect then I turn on the next one and work my way down.
The U is a combination of 4 filters, and the top one is Ramp. The ramp is creating a gradient, and I tweaked the colors to get an warm/cool look.
Calculations is determining the Brightness and you can “Adjust “2nd Layer Opacity” and the Blending Mode to get very different looks. If you aren’t familiar with blending modes check out the Photoshop Help with visual examples.
I changed the mode to Add and dropped the Opacity to 65%.
Curves is adding the Contrast, and the Glow adds a brighter/diffused look. (I tweaked this a little bit).
Modified “The U” Color FX
I like using effects on adjustment layers, as it gives me more flexibility and I can easily mask part of the frame.
You can also combine Color FX for interesting looks.
In this example I applied a mask to the “The U preset”, inverted it, and feathered it so that it falls off from the edges.
I then added another adjustment layer below that, applied “Foreigner”, and dropped the opacity to 54%.
I like that Color FX offers a range of creative looks, but I wish the names were more practical so I quickly know what a preset does.
To modify the presets requires a solid knowledge of Photoshop/After Effects, so the Premiere Pro version may be a better starting point for those new to After Effects.
Color FX is $100 and they do offer sales often, and currently everything in the store is 60% off (Feb. 11-17)
Color FX is a a useful tool for editors/designers who quickly want a variety of looks at a reasonable price.
COLOR FX Promo Video
What it Is
Screen Damage is 110 1080P HD Quicktime Movies (Alpha Channels) of Damage Elements.
Because they are movies you can use them in any editing/composting app, which makes them very flexible to use. The elements range from thin lines that will will work well for text to full screen static/noise for an edgy overall treatment.
What it Does
Screen Damage gives you that static, distorted, bad technology look that is popular these days.
They quickly give you a modern look that reminds me of CNN Promos. They can also be used for more subtler treatments like distortion on a tv/monitor.
Since they have an Alpha channel, you can put them on a video track above your video, or use them as a track matte for text.
Alpha Channel in Premiere Pro
In my example I put a full screen clip in Multiply mode over the background video, and used another clip as a track matte for Text (Premiere Pro)
I suggest using Bridge to view the different elements, and organize them into folders based on type.
There are some visual interesting looks in here, and I audition them in the Bridge preview window and then rate the ones I like.
Screen Damage in Adobe Bridge
If you are trying to create that tv promo/techie look, Screen Damage offers you a lot of variety for $100.
It really depends on what type of work you do, and if you rarely do damaged tech looks then buy it on sale. It never hurts to have more tools in the toolbox for that day when the client says “let’s do something different”.
Personally I would like to see a “best of pack” where you got useful elements from a variety packs for those whose work varies and needs a range of looks.
I would also like to see an organization of the elements, as 110 elements named numerically doesn’t tell we what they look like. I prefer descriptions or categories so I don’t have to create them manually.