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Compositing Fog or Mist

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Compositing fog elements seems like a pretty straightforward thing to do in After Effects. Shoot or render your fog element against black, and then Add or Screen it on top of your footage, right? Wrong. This method is incorrect. Let's go over why.
After Effects CS3
Useful things
How to

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A better alternative, is to create a new soild layer, and use the color eyedropper tool to select an appropriate gray color to use for our fog. I generally try to use a color near the horizon.
Now all we have to do, is use the fog footage's luminance as a mask on the new gray solid we just created. To do this, simply layer the fog element footage over the solid, and set the solid's track matte to "Luma Matte." That's all their is to it. Your composite will now look much more natural.
Finally, we can add one more last touch to this composite. Select your background plate layer and add a Compound Blur. Set to Blur layer in the Compound Blur controls menu to be the fog footage element. This will use the fog element's luminance as a mask for blurring the background plate. Set the blur to be around 0.5-1.0.

by Daniel Broadway

Effects & Plugins

Compound Blur

(Min. Version: After Effects CS3, Category: Useful things, Type: How to)
posted by MaxX on Sep 11, 2010


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