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Harmony 11 - How to Add Effects to your Scene
Return to the Network view, you’ll see how to connect an effect node to your animated scene. Plus, you'll learn how to access the effects library and navigate it, add a blur effect to the network and modify parameters to make it appropriate to the scene.
- 1. Interface — 21m
- 2. How To Draw and Animate — 27m
- 3. How To Paint — 22m
- 4. How To Import Bitmap Images — 25m
- 5. How To Build a Cut-out Character — 43m
- 6. How To Use Bone Deformer — 49m
- 7. How to Animate a Cut-out Character — 18m
- 8. How to Create Templates — 19m
- 9. How to Setup a Scene and Animate Objects and the Camera — 18m
- 10. How to Create a Multiplane — 10m
- 11. How to Import Sound and Add Lip-Sync — 12m
- 12. How to Add Effects to your Scene — 38m
- 13. How to Export a Movie — 27m
Welcome to the tutorial How to Add Effects to your Scene. In this tutorial, I'm going to go over the effects in general and then touch upon some specific effects, namely the Cutter, the Tone and the Colour Override effects. But before we begin, I'd like to let you know about some corrections that I made in the Scene Set-up video tutorial. I staggered all the elements in the background, so all of the elements are still staggered along the Z-axis, but they all now exist behind our central character. To begin, let's start with looking at the Module Library and this tab is, by default, located behind the Timeline tab. If we click on that, we bring up the Module Library and right here on the far left side of the Module Library is what's known as the Module Library View Toolbar and there are three tools in that toolbar, three icons in that toolbar. The first one is what allows you to view all the effects as icons in the various tabs. If we click on these little grey rectangles with white titles on them, you can see that there are various tabs that house different types of modules and they're grouped in certain ways. Obviously the 3D and the Deformation relate to those processes, the Group relates to the modules that are involved in grouping, Particles with particle effects. In the Move tab, you would see things like the Peg, the Quadmap, things like that that you would use to move elements, etc. and the two most important being the All Modules, which lists all of the effects in alphabetical order, as well as the Favourites. Let's go back and look at the Module Library Toolbar here. I didn't finish with that. The second button is to View As List. If you click on this, you can view all the items of a given tab in alphabetical order by name and then with a small description of what it does, which can be useful if you're wondering what a specific effect does. The last one is to View As Icon with Names. You get the icon, you get the name and then you get the description as well. But let's go back to the default to view as icons.
As I was saying, the Favourites tab is a good one because it houses the most often used modules, so the Composites, the Peg, the Right Module, the Camera, adding a Colour-Card, which adds a solid background, etc. But what you can also do is any other effect module from a different tab to the Favourites tab and the easiest way to do this is to go into one of the other sections of the interface to add a second version of the Module Library, then to go to a place where you can select a different module. Say, for example, you use the Multi Port-Out all the time. What you can do is select the Multi Port-Out module from the Groups tab and then drag it over the Favourites tab and you'll see that that green circle with the white plus sign appears, which lets you know that you're then able to release your mouse in order to drop that effect into the Favourites tab. Now the Multi Port-Out is in the Favourites tab and if you decide later on that your Favourites tab is too cluttered, you simply need to select any effects module that you no longer want in this tab and then hit the Delete button. Let's just close that.
Something to know about the effects modules is that they always need a drawing connection. For example, I can't just drop a blur effect into my Network View or into my scene. The software will wonder what it is that I want to be blurred, so if I want to blur, say, these rocks for example, I would have to attach this rock drawing layer to the effects module in order for these rocks to be blurred. If I want everything in this scene to be a blur, that's fine. But then I would need to plug all those different elements into the blur module. The other thing that affects modules, sometimes need are matte layers as well. A matte is something that will define the area where the affect will be applied. When you create matte, the software doesn't consider the colour or the details of that matte. What it's really looking for is the outer shape, as well as the transparency of the matte. This will become more clear as we go through a few examples. Let's do that. Let's start with the Cutter effect. What I'm going to cut out, in fact, are the character's eyes. Let's click somewhere here in the Camera View and then zoom in and really close in on the character's eyes so we can see what we're doing. Then in the Network View let's go into our Hero Master group and in fact, I'm going to expand the Network View so that we can manoeuvre it a little bit more easily. Let's look for the head group again and then the facial features group, and here we have our two eyes. Let's start with the left eye. I'm going to enter that group and we can see here that we have the eye, which, if you remember, and I can select the Transform Tool and then select the peg to make it obvious, the eye is actually the white of the eye, not the iris and the pupil, but the white along with the black outline of the white of the eye. If we select the pupil, you'll see it really is the iris and the pupil. Of course, the peg for the eye moves both the pupil and the eye because we want them to be moved together. The reason that I would like to apply a Cutter effect to the eyes is that when I move the iris and the pupil, say, upwards, to make the character look like he's looking up, or downwards to make him look like he's looking down, all the entire pupil and iris is exposed, which of course looks, anatomically speaking, unrealistic. For example, if I grab the pupil peg and I pull it upwards, you'll see that the eye is outside of the white, but into the skin of the face, so that doesn't look real. What would look more realistic is if all of this part was hidden, the top part of the iris and the pupil.
We're going to use the Cutter effect to make that happen. The first thing I'm going to do is, from the Favourites tab, I'm going to grab a composite, and drag and drop that into the left eye group in the Network View. Then I'm going to do the same with this Cutter. I'm going to plug both the left pupil and the left eye into the composite and then plug the composite into the multi port-out, then click on this little yellow box here on the composite to bring up the Layer Properties of the composite. I'm going to change the mode from Bitmap to Pass-Through and once again, that's so we can manipulate the different composited elements still as unflattened vector elements. Then what I'm going to do is I'm going to exit the group and go up one group level. That's back inside the facial features and you can see that there's a new out port that's been created. What I'm going to do is unplug what used to be the ports for the eye, the whites of the eye, and the pupil and iris that was coming out, and now we just have the one for the composite, which composites both those elements. I'm going to plug that into the composite for the facial features and then I'm going to go back into the left eye group. As I was mentioning before, some effect modules need mattes, as well as drawing layers, attached to them. The element that we would like cut out, so to speak, is the pupil because as it looks up or down, part of it's going to disappear. Part of it will be cut out. But the matte that we want to create, so in other words, the area that will define where it's visible and where it will suddenly become partially not visible is the white of the eye. In fact, it's not all of the white of the eye because it doesn't include this black line. It really is just the white of the eye. I'll show you what I mean.
I'm just going to move the pupil up. I'm going to the [Option] button if you're using Mac or the [Alt] button if you're using Windows to pass the Cutter module through. The drawing we would like to get cut by the module goes into the right port of the Cutter effect, whereas the matte goes into the left. Now what we need to do is create the matte. If we select the hero left eye module and we go to the Drawing View, you'll see that it looks like this. That's almost pretty much what we need. The reason that we don't copy and paste in the Network View is because then you create a clone of the module and not a copy. What a clone is, if we actually do that, we copy and then we paste, means that if I do something to one, it'll happen in the other. For example, if I suddenly make this my matte and I go to the Colour View and I decide that I want my matte to be this fluorescent green, I can create a new colour, double-click on it to rename it, and let's make the alpha 255 to make it 100% solid. Then I paint my entire element green. If I then go back to the Camera View, you'll see that the eye is green. What happened is that both these elements, both the left eye and this other left eye, we could rename this Matte just so it's clear, so both the matte and the hero eye are now green because they're clones. If I make a change on one, a change will occur on the other one. That's why we don't copy and paste in the Network View.
What's the other way that we can do this? Let's just undo those changes, so our eye is, as we can see, white again. Let's delete this matte layer that we created. What we want to do instead is go to the View Menu for the Network View and select Insert > Element or you can use the keyboard shortcut [Command] + [R] on Mac or [Ctrl] + [R] on Windows. Let's name this one Eye_Matte. You can plug it in here. Let's go back to our hero eye layer, go back to the Drawing View, use the Select Tool to select the entire element, use [Command] + [C] or [Ctrl] + [C] if you're using Windows to copy it, go to our Eye_Matte layer and paste. Now what we can do is paint the matte green again, so we can make the whole thing green. I'll show you what we don't want. I'm just going to make this whole thing green to show you another wrong example. Now if we go to the Network View, the last thing we want to do is we want to connect the Eye_Matte to the eye peg and we want to go into the Cutter module and use Inverted. Let me explain both of those things. Let's move this down so it all becomes a little bit easier to see. The reason that we want the Eye_Matte connected to the eye peg is because we want it to move around with every else. We want it to have the same position information as everything else. If it wasn't connected this peg, then if we move the entire character in a certain direction or we move the eye in a certain direction, this matte will be left behind. We need to connect it to something that controls position information and ideally, that's the same thing that controls the position information to what it's covering as the matte. This eye is exactly identical to this eye, so they should move together. They should define that space together. The second thing I did is I went into the Cutter Layer Properties and I selected Inverted because if we didn't do that, then what the matte is defining is this shape, so the pupil will always be invisible or cut out in this shape. But what we want is the opposite. We want it to be cut out or disappear as it exits this shape. That's why we selected Inverted.
Now if I select the pupil peg with the Transform Tool and I drag it upwards in the Camera View, you'll see that it's starting to look a little bit like what we want. We want part of it to disappear. The same thing goes for if we want it to move downwards. We want it to disappear as it exits the white of the eye or as it nears the edge of the white of the eye. But of course, what's happening here is that it's disappearing when it hits the border of the entire shape, so that includes the black line as well as the white of the eye. But we don't want that. We just want it to disappear when it hits the white of the eye. What we need to do is select our Eye_Matte layer again in the Network View, go back to the Drawing View, select the Select Tool, get rid of these lines, and now if we go to the Camera View and we do the test one last time, now you can see it's doing what we want. It's hitting the black line and it's disappearing like that. The only issue that we have here now is kind of a picky thing, but if we zoom in even closer, you'll notice that the eye's disappearing when it hits the centre of the black line and not when it hits the edge of the black line. That's because the black line outlining the whites of the eye is a pencil stroke and not a brush stroke. Let me just undo that for a minute. The only way to really resolve this is if we go into the hero eye layer. Let's go to the Drawing View, let's zoom in and as you can see here, when it hits the central vector line, that's when it starts to disappear. What we could do is select these lines, go to the Top Menu, select Drawing > Convert > Pencil Lines to Brush Strokes. Now if we click off, you'll see what we're seeing as what looks like the central vector line is actually the white of the eye, is this. That's what we're seeing. But if you just select the outline, you'll see that now it's a solid shape. If we then delete the white of the eye and then go back to the Colour View and select Eyelid which is what the eye colour was, select the Fill Tool and we now fill in the eye once more, then we go back to the Select Tool. You'll see that the fill hits the edge of the black outline and the black outline has its own contour outline. Now we have a brush stroke and a fill that only comes up to the contour of the brush stroke. Let's select the white of the eye, let's copy it. Now if we go back to the Network View, let's click on the Eye_Matte layer, let's click somewhere in the Camera View, let's delete the Eye_Matte, then let's paste the new one in. Let's go to the Colour View and select the matte colour. We see that it changes to green. Let's go back to the Camera View and let's select the pupil with the Transform Tool and now finally, as we move the eye up, it disappears at the right spot and we can do the same thing if the character's looking down. It disappears when it hits the black line. I hope that wasn't overly complicated and I just realized that we didn't really need to do all of that for the hero's left eye. We could have converted the pencil lines to brush strokes just for the Eye_Matte and then used that fill. It's something to think about when you do it on your own.
In addition to that, obviously we only created a single Eye_Matte drawing for the three-quarter profile view. However, if you create a front view and a profile, you also have to create a drawing #2 and #3 of different eye mattes that match the front and profile view of the left eye. Just like any other drawing in the Timeline, you can just call it up in the X-sheet or through the Data View and bring up eye matte #2 or eye matte #3 where appropriate when the character changes its head position. Speaking of the Timeline View, let's go there, because one thing that we didn't do is extend our matte, which means that if we grab the pupil and move it up like that, it'll only last for one frame because if you notice, as soon as we move off frame #1, our eye disappears because the matte hasn't been extended past one frame. Let's undo that. I'm going to select the Eye_Matte in the Network View and then click somewhere in the Timeline View, and then click on the Center on Selection button, and then do it again. Then I believe I need to click on it one more time. If we drag this bar towards the right, we can see that the Eye_Matte layer is here and that yes of course, it only exists for one frame. I'm also going to use the keyboard shortcut  to zoom in a bit on the Timeline, so that you can see the cells a little bit more clearly. I'm going to go to cell #75, right-click on it and then click Extend Exposure or once again, you can use the keyboard shortcut [F5].
Now let's take a look at another effect, that being the Tone effect. I'm going to click in the Timeline and use [Shift] + [M] to reset the view. What we're going to take a look at is adding a tone to the torso of the character. Right now, there's a tone that's been added through painting the torso in two colours or two tones, but you can actually use an effect to add the tones all over the character and in that way, they can be modified and even animated. A reason that you might want to animate the tone is if, say, the sun is rising or a light suddenly turns on, then the tone can go from being very narrow or very pale to moving across the body like a shadow, and become darker. There are several different reasons why you might want to animate the tone. What we're going to do is exit the group in the Network View. Actually, let's go straight to the Hero Master group and let's look for the torso, which is right here. Then let's go to the Drawing View and let's reset the view to see it. Then what we're going to do is go to the Module Library and look for the tone, which will be in the All Modules tab. Let's scroll down toward the letter "T", grab it from the All Modules Library and drop it into the Network View. Once again, you can see that there are two imports on the tone, which lets us know that there is a matte that is required. In order to create the matte, let's do what we did before. Let's create another drawing module. This time, let's use the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl] + [R] on Windows or [Command] + [R] on Mac. Let's name this Torso_ToneMatte and say OK. Obviously our torso disappeared from the Drawing View because now we have the blank torso matte selected. What we're going to do is go to the hero torso layer, use the Select Tool to grab just this tone part, copy it and then go to the Torso_ToneMatte module and paste it. Then what we're going to do is use the Light Table, so that we can see the entire character and then use the Contour Editor to select just the outside points, and then use the arrow key to pull the matte out a little bit, and then maybe get rid of some of these points just to give it a rounder shape.
Obviously if you don't already have a tone matte from a character that was previously painted with tone, you're just going to have to draw this yourself using the Light Table and the Drawing Tools. You know, something like that. You can always adjust it later or at any time. Let's go to the Colour View, select our matte colour again, select the Paint Tool, colour it green, go back to the Network View, select our actual torso layer. Let's turn off the Light Table. Let's select the Colour Picker, select the lighter blue colour and if we go to the Colour View, we can see that and then use the Paint Tool to paint that in, so that the torso is now filled with the same uniform colour. Now let's go back to the Network View and let's use the keyboard shortcut [Option] on Mac or [Alt] on Windows to pass the Tone effect through the wire that connects the torso to the composite for the character. Then let's attach the tone matte on the other side. Of course, we also need to plug in the Torso_ToneMatte to the deformation group, so that they both have the same position information and therefore move together. Now let's go back to the Camera View and zoom in a bit. As you can see, a tone has appeared. This was the old colour. It was a dark two tone, and this has obviously been painted in, but here on our torso, we actually have what the effect is producing. It looks lighter right now. Let's go into the properties of the Tone effect to take a look at what can be modified. Of course, you can always change the blur type. With this situation, we want to keep it as Radial. The other blur type is Directional. Directional is usually used when a character is moving or we want it to look like the blur is coming from a certain direction. If it's an all around blur, you would keep it as Radial. To be able to see the difference between the blur radius, you actually have to go to the Render View. I'm going to click on that. There you go. You can see the soft blurred edge. Once again, in case you don't remember, the difference between the Open GL View and the Render View is that we work in the Open GL View, which doesn't show us all of the effects, like blurring for example, because it is vector and not bitmap, and it therefore makes it faster for us to work. When we do a render, we're seeing the bitmap version with all of the effects of what our scene will look like when it's been composited and rendered. Let's change the radius of the blur to something like 5 and we can see immediately that the edge got even softer. You can invert the matte to make the front of the character darker and leave that section untouched. You can use the matte colour, which in this case we don't really want because it's kind of that green colour. But obviously, that can also be useful. If you use the Multiplicative, it just makes it even darker because it's multiplying the colour. You can change the alpha as well as the colour that you want produced. This doesn't have to be the colour of the matte. This is the colour that you want the matte to represent and you can do that by clicking on the alpha and for example, we can make it very dark, we can take it down again. Right now it's a grey but we could change the colour. See, now it looks kind of purple. Clearly, all of those things are possible. I'm going to close that.
Let's also go back to the Open GL View from the Render View and one thing I forgot to mention, although it may have been obvious from what we see in the Camera View, is that even though the torso matte takes on a shape that's larger than the torso, so it comes out past the torso, obviously the drawing that goes into the right port defines the main area where the effect is seen. Then the matte controls where the effect is applied on this drawing. All this to say is that the effect will appear on the overlap section and if there's any part of the matte that hangs off the edges of the drawing, then that portion is clipped out. That's what we see because we know the matte is bigger than the torso and extends beyond this line, but that we don't see a dark patch here beside the torso. The reason you usually make the matte bigger than the area that it's going to effect is because you don't want there to be a thin line between the edge of your drawing and the matte that appears because the matte isn't large enough. I'm just going to collapse the little thumbnail views.
Now let's talk about how to animate an effect over time. To do this, let's go to the Timeline View and let's try to find our torso matte. It's selected here in the Network View. We'll click once again on the Timeline View and then Center on Selection. Here it is right here. Of course, we didn't extend it, so we should do that as well. There we go. In order to be able to animate an effect over time, you have to create a function column for that effect. We can do that by selecting the tone effect in the Timeline View and in fact, I'm just going to bring the playhead back to frame #1. Then what I'm going to do is create a key frame on frame #1 and the moment I've created a key frame, all of a sudden I've created function columns for this effect. Let's go to the white plus sign beside the effect name and click on it. We can see that some of the parameters that we saw in the effect's layer properties appear, such as the blur radius, the direction angle, the fall-off rate, etc. What I'm going to do is drag the playhead across to, say, frame #50 and then create another key frame there. Then what I'm going to do is double-click on the tone to open up the layer properties and I'm going to click on this button beside the alpha. It's actually a curve, so it brings up the Bezier Editor. From here, I'm going to play a bit with the curve. This will affect the easing for the way that the effect is animated from frame #0 to frame #50, but not only that, I actually want to change the alpha value. On frame #50, it's going to be around 110, but on frame #1, I'm going to drag it all the way down here and make it 0. Or actually, a faster way, I just realized, is to just type in the value 0. There we go. That's a lot easier and of course, the Bezier Editor scales properly so that you're able to see your first key frame and your second key frame. We're going to do that and then we're going to close the Bezier Editor. Now if we look in the Timeline View, we'll notice that there is no shadow tone and that's because our alpha is 0. However, if we drag the playhead across, you'll see as it nears frame #50, the shadow suddenly appears. Because I changed that curve from being a completely straight diagonal line to a curve, there's a bit of easing, so it's not mechanical. The shadow doesn't appear at a constant rate. It quickly becomes darker and then sort of plateaus and tapers off in terms of the intensity of the darkness. Let's close the Layer Properties.
Now let's take a look at one last effect and that's the Colour Override. In the Network View, let's go back to the top. Then, in the Module Library, let's look for the Colour Override, and let's drag and drop it in the Network View. I'm just going to raise my Hero Master group up a bit and then I'm going to use [Alt] or [Option] to connect the module between the Hero Master group and the scene composite. Let's go back to the Timeline View. I'm going to drag the playhead back to frame #0. Let's reset the view so we can see our entire character. Then let's go into the properties of the Colour Override by clicking on the yellow square on the module. The Colour Override is a pretty powerful effect. You can do many, many things with it. I'm only going to touch upon a few of the things you can do with this effect, but I would strongly urge you to refer to the User Guide to look at what else you can do. First, let's look at the parts of the Colour Override. Here in the top left corner, we have a list of all the palettes in our scene. We have, once again, that Interface Palette that's been there since the beginning, we have the Pen Cell Opacities that are the textured swatches for the Pencil Tool, we have our Superhero Palette and I actually made a second palette called Superhero Palette Dark. It's a darker version of all the colours of our superhero. If there's a palette here that you don't see, you can always click on this button here to add a palette to the database and it will let you browse for another PTL file. For example, if you had another Harmony scene with a different colour palette, you could import that colour palette in. The palettes, once again, are in the root folder of your Harmony scene. Then below is the Colour List. If you choose a different palette, you can see that the colours are listed below. Of course, both of these two windows are collapsible if you'd like to do that. Let's take a look at the first section on the right side and that's the Palette Override. The Superhero Palette is the dominant palette for our scene because it was the first one created for our superhero character. However, what if we wanted the darker palette that was modelled off the original palette to be the dominant palette for this scene? In other words, for the superhero character to be rendered in this scene with those darker colours. What we could do to make this happen is to grab the Superhero Palette Dark from the Palette section, and drag and drop it into the Colour Override section. Now as you can see, it takes precedence over the Superhero Palette, which is why all of a sudden our character turned dark in the Camera View. I'm just going to click that and delete it.
Then if we take a look at the Colour Override section, what we could do with this section is drag in a specific colour and then manipulate it in a different way. Let's go back to the Superhero Palette. Then from the Superhero Palette, let's grab the gloves' colour, which is also the colour of the torso here, and drag it into the Colour Override section. Then under the Mode section, let's click where it says New RGBA to bring up the menu and let's select Colour Not Visible. Immediately you can see in the Camera View that anything that was painted with this gloves' colour then becomes transparent or not visible. That, for example, is something you can do with the Colour Override effect. Let's delete that and this time, let's select the pant colour, and drag and drop it into the Colour Override section. This time, from the Texture File Name, let's click just beneath on the words "Not Used" and that brings up the Texture File browser window. From that browser window, I'm going to select the Galaxy TGA file and you can once again select either TGA or PSD files, and then I'm going to click on the Open button. The reason that we can't see anything is two-fold. First of all, we need to change the mode. I'm going to click, once again, on the New RGB to bring up the Mode Menu and this time I'm going to select something like Texture Original Matrix or one of the texture options. Then what I'm going to do is click on the Render mode. Now as you can see, that galaxy texture fills in any place where the pant swatch had filled in colour. Once again, I'm just going to click on this and delete it. Let's go back to the Open GL View and actually, I'm also going to close the Layer Properties, because to show you the next section, Selected Colours, I want to navigate somewhere different in the Network View. Let's go into the master group. Then let's go back into the head group and then once again, into the facial features and once again, into the left eye. If you remember, we had a network system here to make the eye cutter effect work. Let's zoom in on the face again so we can see how this effect will work.
You may have wondered why we didn't just use the original eye drawing as the matte in the cutter, which is very possible. Maybe you didn't want to do this because one of the obvious reasons is that then we would have to modify the original white of the eye as having no black outline. But with the Colour Override, we can actually eliminate the black outline for the matte, so that the matte really is only the white part. What I'm going to do here is go back into the Module Library, find the Colour Override one more time. Just for now, I'm going to get rid of this eye matte. I'm going to disable by clicking on the keyboard shortcut [D]. Then I'm going to take a wire from the eye layer, put it into the Colour Override, connect the Colour Override to the Cutter, and as well, connect the green port of the Colour Override to the eye peg. Then I'm going to click on the little yellow box to bring up its Tool Properties. I'm going to go back to the Superhero Palette, I'm going to scroll down and select the Eyelid, which I know is what we used to fill in the whites of the eye, I'm going to drag and drop it into the Selected Colour section and then I'm going to click on the Render Selected Colours option. Then let's close. Now if we select the Transform Tool, we can select the pupil again and move it upwards. You can see that it functions just as well as having an eye matte. It disappears when you move it upwards, as well as downwards to make the character look like he's either looking up or down. That, once again, is another option that you have to combine the Cutter effect with the Colour Override effect. That's it for the tutorial How to Add Effects. Stay tuned for the next tutorial How to Export a Movie.