Light Layer

As you know, the first layer of any show is dedicated to the camera, next comes the light layer. You may well ask yourself, “What is it and what is it used for?” An answer to this question will be considered here…

NOTE: if you want objects in your show to have form then you must have at least one (Point) light.



First Things First...

It is assumed that you have looked at some if not all of the light shows that come pre-installed with BuffTitler in the BluffTitler\Media\Shows\Light folder. If not, NOW is really a good time to do so. Not all the shows can be emulated with the EASY version, but should be of particular interest to you.

The use of the Light layer can help you create mood and drama. It can emphasise the form and shape of objects in your scene as well as pick out important detail. In the EASY version you are limited to one Light layer only, so you will need to use it well.

Perhaps at this point, and having created nine shows thus far, it would be advantageous for you to have a look at the section 10 Tips to make your intro video templates more effective.

Light Layer PART ONE
(Point light positioning; Making the light source visible)

Now that you’ve had a look at some of the shows that come installed with BluffTitler, you will want to have a look at the Light Layer in a bit more detail. For your convenience, above is an image of the EASY version Tools Window.

Open a new show and using the table below, create the following requisite Keys and choose ‘Bouncer’ as the Physics property.

Time Position Rotation Field of View
00:00.000 0 340 0 0 0 0 60
00:00.600 0 0 0 0 0 0 60
00:02.200 0 0 0 0 0 0 60
00:03.000 0 0 -2000 0 0 720 180

Make your own decision on Fade Stage and Fade Colour to add interest. Switch to the second layer (Ctrl+2), the Point Light layer and dolly the light in (move third Position slider to the right), whilst observing what happens to the modelling of the text.

The Point light can be thought of as a bare light bulb which shines light all around it in every direction. By moving it very far away (4000+) from an object (the text) it can be used to emulate sunlight or moonlight, alternatively by moving it very close it can give the impression of a spotlight.

Set a Position slider 3 value of between 450 – 494 ALL Keys and a choose your own contrasting Colour (ALL Keys.) When choosing a contrasting colour, choose a pastel shade as opposed to a bright strong colour (HINT: No slider should be less than 100). Next select the Flare.cfx effect file and choose a texture for the COLOUR MAP by clicking on the Select texture… button. Choose Flare5.jpg as found in the Media\Textures folder.

It is at this point that you should familiarise yourself with the ‘+’ and ‘-’ indicators that appear to the right of the selected layer and selected property. To this end, have a read of the relevant section in the User’s Manual. These symbols give visual clues as to the state of the current layer and current property chosen, you might find it useful to have both of these options set. To get to the Options dialogue, you can go to SETTINGS -> Options... or use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+K).

Still with Layer 2 selected (Point light), set an FX Highlight colour which is the same as the colour you set earlier for the Camera layer’s Fade Colour property, but make it a strong bright tone. Now set the light’s FX Highlight size somewhere between 0.475–0.925 to see your newly chosen colour and set an FX Flicker rate somewhere in the region of 1–2. You should have created something similar to the video shown.

As you have done previously, you are going to ‘emulate’ the Bouncer effect using judiciously placed Keys… Scroll along the Timeline (Remember: the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard will assit in this) and observe where the change in Position occurs and make a note of it. You will have something similar to the following:

  1. 00:00.300 – 0.000031 (0.0)
  2. 00:00.335 – 74.671997 (75)
  3. 00:00.375 – 0.000031 (0.0)
  4. 00:00.410 – 53.538452 (54)
  5. 00:00.450 – 0.0
  6. 00:00.483 – 32.562805 (33)
  7. 00:00.525 – 0.000031 (0.0)
  8. 00:00.552 – 12.305664 (12)

Change the Physics property ‘Bouncer’ to ‘Constant Speed’ and create the new Keys you’ve just observed above. Play your animation and make sure that you have an emulation of the ‘Bouncer’ effect.

The last section of the show you might wish to accelerate and to do this it is suggested that you do the following:

  1. Create a new Key at 00:02.100
  2. Create a second Key at 00:02.050
  3. Create a third Key at 00:02.025
  4. Move the first Key to 00:02.600
  5. Move the second Key to 00:02.400
  6. Move the third Key to 00:02.300

Play your animation you should have something akin to that shown. Do like the effect? There’s plenty more to try in the ‘TRY IT YOURSELF’ section.

With the Light layer still selected, add a change of Position (0, 0, 185) at 00:00.990 and select a different Physics property – ‘Accelerate’ or ‘Pumping’ for a completely different feel and set the FX Flicker property to around a quarter of the speed you set earlier to match the change in Physics.

Changing the position of the Point light will adjust the size of the roundel. If you wish to hide the effect, you can set the FX Highlight size to 1 and the FX Highlight colour to black (0, 0, 0).

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

You have looked at BluffTitler’s Options Dialogue and seen the value of setting ‘+’ and ‘-’ as a visual prompt to indicate that a layer/property is animated or set at a non-default value respectively.

You have also seen that it is possible to add an effect to a Point light to make it visible.

Where would you place the light to add drama?

Where would you place it to emulate sunlight?

Light Layer PART TWO
(Picking out detail; Enhancing object modelling with negative light)

Create a new show, add the CameraBloom.cfx effect as found in the Effects\Camera subfolder to the Camera layer and set the following Keys using the table below.

Time Position FX Wipe Smooth
00:00.100 -400 -56 400 0.47
00:00.208 -219.999985 -56 400 0.1224
00:02.893 221.666687 -56 400 0.1224
00:03.000 400 -56 400 0.47

Next set the following properties for ALL KEYS:

You are now going to use the Point light to emphasise the text. Choose a suitable place on the timeline where you can observe the text and dolly the Point light in (third slider) closer to it anywhere between 350–400 will suffice. You can tint the colour of the light to further pick out detail; try reducing the green value (second slider) to circa 100.

Congratulations, that concludes this PART. Don't forget the ‘TRY IT YOURSELF’ section for some really fun stuff to experiment with!

Turn the Light layer’s visibility off by clicking on the Visible checkbox to the right of the Tools Window and play your animation. Do you like the effect? The text seems to have lost its modelling.

Now change all the values for the light's colour to negative ones (just place a ‘-’ sign before each value) and dolly in behind the text (circa 630). Pedestal down between -150 and -180 (second slider) to observe the effect of a negative light.

Add the Flare.cfx effect (Media\Effects) and choose the same texture (Flare3.jpg) as for the Camera layer and position the Light to keep the flare centred in the frame. Choose negative values for the FX Highlight colour and alter the FX Highlight size over time to create the impression of a pulsating eye!

NOTE: Make sure FX Rotate towards camera is set at 1 for a circular flare!

Finally, if you want, try experimenting with different Camera Colour intensity settings to alter the mood.

You have been introduced to negative light (think of it as coloured shadow if you will), but do you remember how to make a light negative?

By turning the light layer visibility off, what observation can you make with regard to form?

How would YOU further improve this animation?

Light Layer PART THREE
(Ambient light; Background colour; Merging shows)

Create a new show and change the style of the Light layer to ‘Ambient’ and change the light’s colour to black (0, 0, 0) – you remember how to change all three sliders at the same time by holding the Ctrl Key on your keyboard down and using your mouse to move the first slider. You will observe that this is the same effect as turning the Light layer’s visibility off.

As you can see, ambient light illuminates everything everywhere; your whole scene is bathed in the same flat light. However, you’re going to learn how to use this to your advantage. Now set negative values for the colour circa -128. Delete the text layer using the Delete Active Layer button as found on the Tools Window. Do the same for the Camera layer (so the only layer remaining is the Ambient Light layer) and save this show with an appropriate name ( on your desktop for ease of access later.

Using the table below create a new show and add to the Camera layer the CameraDepthOfField.cfx effect as found in the Effects\Camera folder:

Time Field Of View FX Fog FX Fog Colour FX Fog Intensity FX Size
00:00.000 33.64 0.24 0.548 - 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
00:00.300 33.64 0.12 0.548 - 72 34 18 1 0 0 0
00:02.340 33.64 0.12 0.548 - 72 34 18 1 0 0 0
00:02.700 60 0.36 0.548 - 72 34 18 0.9 0 0 0
00:03.000 60 0.36 0.548 - 0 0 0 0.9 0 1 0

Set the following properties for ALL KEYS:

Add an effect to the Point Light layer called Oscillator.cfx as found in the Effects\Special folder and choose Media\Textures\Circle.png for the COLOUR MAP (this image has an integrated alpha map which will afford you a particular advantage as no effect is applied in the transparent areas.)

Use the following table to set Keys for the Point Light layer:

Time Position Colour FX Size
00:00.000 0 0 -200 128 128 128 0 0 0
00:02.200 0 0 350 128 128 128 0 0 0
00:02.568 0 0 450 319 319 255 0 0 0
00:02.800 0 0 450 319 319 255 0 0 0
00:03.000 2000 0 450 319 319 255 0 0 1

Set the following properties for ALL KEYS:

  1. FX Period – 0.2
  2. FX Lighting factor – 0

Play your animation. To improve the dramatic aspect of your show you will need to do two things; First: at position 00:02.200 reduce the colour of the light to around half, and Second: reduce the ambient light…

As it is not possible to select a second light layer from any of the Menus in the EASY version, the only option open to you is to merge the show you created earlier using the keyboard shortcut combination Ctrl+M. Now is a good time to read more about keyboard shortcuts in the User’s Manual. When you're ready, press Ctrl+M on your keyboard and select the show you created earlier and saved on your desktop ( from the dialogue box that is displayed. Click ‘OK’ to proceed.

Once you've merged the two shows, select the Ambient Light layer (Ctrl+3) and at position 00:02.300 set its colour to a negative grey (-128, -128, -128). Delete any other keys that may be on the timeline and set a second Key at 00:02.568 to a negative light-grey (-64, -64, -64). You will observe that ambient light also affects the background colour of your show, but in this instance this is not desirable. To override the default setting, you will need to go to MENU –> Set Background Colour… and choose your own dark colour by clicking the Choose colour… button and ensuring that the Use ambient light colour as background colour checkbox is not ticked.

Although this is quite a simple show, you covered quite a lot of ground – well done!

The camera layer in this show uses a DOF (Depth of Field) effect which also incorporates fog. No mention was made in this tutorial about FX Fog colour, except a setting as given in the first table.

Now is your opportunity to experiment with this setting and its ‘sibling’ FX Fog intensity. Choose a suitable point on the timeline (00:00.300) and change these two properties to observe their effect. By matching the background colour you chose for the show it is possible to give the impression that the text emerges out of the darkness.

Don’t forget to try values outside those set for the sliders.

Do you remember how to merge one show with another?

Where in the user’s manual is a list of all keyboard shortcuts?

What is the ‘point’ of the Ambient Light layer and how can you use this to your advantage?

How can you set your own background colour if you don’t like the colour offered by the Ambient Light layer?

Camera Layer PART FOUR
(Negative Point lights to enhance shadowed areas; Using Playlists to extend your show)

Create a new show and add the PixelBeams.cfx as found in the Media\Effects subfolder to the Camera layer.

Time Position Fade Colour Fade Stage FX Radiation
00:00.000 -375 10 400 205 235 255 0.05 0
00:01.210 -133.44 10 400 205 235 255 0.05 0
00:01.320 -63.178 10 400 72 182 255 0.15 0.82
00:02.880 189.896 10 400 190 229 255 0.15 0.82
00:03.000 375 10 400 205 235 255 0.05 0

Set the following properties for ALL KEYS:

Switch to the Point Light layer and add the following Keys as shown in the table below:

Time Position Colour
00:01.210 0 0 370 255 255 255
00:01.320 0 0 490 255 255 64
00:02.880 0 0 490 255 255 64
00:03.000 0 0 370 255 255 255

Make sure you are at the beginning of the timeline (00:00.000) and merge (Ctrl+M) the show you created for the previous tutorial. Select this new layer (Ctrl +3) and change the style from ‘Ambient light’ to ‘Point light’.

You are going to use this layer to enhance the shadowed areas of the text (you will only be making adjustments to this layer) where the pixel beams appear. Using the camera layer, identify the point at which the pixel beams first appear (00:0 1.320) and set a colour value of -192, -192, -192. Dolly the negative light out to circa 340 whilst watching the effect on the text. Once you’re happy, turn the visibility of this layer on and off to see if any further adjustments to position are necessary to obtain a better effect.

Next, using the previous light layer (layer 2) select the Key previous to this (00:01.210) and set the colour to 0, 0, 0 – this effectively turns the negative light off.

Save your show with an appropriate name but do not close it or quit BluffTitler. Instead, this time go to MENU -> Save as... to save a new show with a different name. You’re going to use this second show as an extension to the first. Change the tilt rotation of the camera to -28.5 for ALL KEYS and save your new show.

Using the SETTINGS menu select Playlist Window. On the new window that appears, right mouse click to add a new ‘slide’ (show) and choose the first show you saved. Repeat this process and select the second show you currently have open.

Using the PLAYLIST menu you can save your playlist with an appropriate name.

Make sure your first video is highlighted in the Playlist Window and play your animation. You should see that both shows are played one after the other.

Close the Playlist Window and your show.

The colour of the negative Point light has been set with equal values for red, green and blue, but you should experiment with a complimentary colour to the scene to further enhance the negative lights impact on the text. What is meant by this is that, if the scene has a blue cast then an orange tint to the light would produce a deeper blue shadow effect. Try changing the cameras fade colour and using a complimentary colour for the negative point light.

In the Playlist Window right click one of the shows you have already added and read the options given in the pop-up menu.

You have been introduced to the Playlist Window as a means to concatenate several shows into one longer spectacle. Which menu item was used to first open the Playlist Window? Which MENU item is used to save your playlist?

Which Camera property would you alter to have the text appear into frame not at an angle but straight (right to left horizontally)?

How do you add shows to the Playlist Window? Would you use this method to add the same show twice or is there a way to do duplicate an existing listed show?