Using Google SketchUp models in After Effects CS4

A really cool new feature in After Effects CS4 is the ability to now take advantage of Photoshop CS4‘s new 3d capabilities. Another new feature of Photoshop CS4 is the ability to open .kmz or .3ds files. If we take a look at the extensive free models we have on Google’s 3d warehouse we find a ton of models to choose from. If you can find the model you want on the 3d warehouse as a kmz you are in luck. Open the kmz in Photoshop CS4 and save it as a psd. Import that psd into After Effects CS4 as a composition (making sure to check the box that says “Live Photoshop 3D”). Now you have a new composition in After Effects with a 3D model as well as a null to control it and a camera to pan around it. If you can only find a skp of the model you want on the 3d warehouse, you will need Google Sketchup Pro to export that model out as a 3ds or kmz. Open the 3ds or kmz in photoshop save it as a psd, import that psd in After Effects and you are set.

After Effects Lens Flare with Transparent Background

Question from a student I had in my After Effects training class in Hartford, Connecticut:
“Hey Damon,
You showed me how to get a lens flare with nothing else (no backgrounds/alpha keyed) on the screen using a luma matte…I think! Do you remember the actions necessary to produce such an effect? I keep ending up with a black lens flare! Help!
Thanks again,

Duplicating the solid with the lens flare and using the top one as a track matte can accomplish this. Here are the steps; you can download an example of this as well.

Step one: Create a solid and add the lens Flare filter to it, get the lens flare just how you would like it and duplicate the solid.
Step two: on the top solid added the Hue/Saturation filter and take the master saturation down to -100, Also add the Levels filter and slide the white point slider till it just touches the beginning of the levels histogram.
Step three: Set the bottom solid to use the top solid as a track matte (Luma Matte)

That’s it transparent lens flare.

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