Light Layer II

Having considered the Point and Ambient light layers, in the third EASY Light Layer tutorial. You may now be wondering, “What more is there to learn?” A quick answer to this question would be “Lots and lots!”, but consolidation of material already covered is what awaits you here…

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



First Things First...

In this section, the following set of tutorials will assist you to consolidate what you’ve learned to date and further your artistic expression at the same time. The pace will be somewhat quicker and there will be less text than in previous tutorials, except where new material is introduced. The shows you produce in this section will hopefully not only build your confidence in using BluffTitler, but deepen your understanding.

Light Layer PART FIVE
(Using Colour and perspective to create mood; More on the Timeline)

We have looked at the Timeline and the Keyframes Bar, but we have not covered everything there is to know. For example, if you left mouse click on the Timeline the Timeline Slider will jump one fifth (20%) of the total show duration – try it yourself. If you left mouse click on the Keyframes Bar, however, the Timeline Slider will move to that position within a tenth (0.100) of a second. If you need to select a Key you can left mouse click near it within three tenths (0.300) of a second.

Your first instruction… Ctrl+N; Ctrl+1; Alt+1; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow – Truck to the left -1200, Pedestal down -10 and Dolly in 490.

As was stated in “First Things First…”, the style of these tutorials will assist you to recall and consolidate what you’ve learned earlier. It is expected that you understood your first instruction (above) and interpreted it to mean: Open a new show; Select the first layer (Camera); Select the first property (Position) and Insert a new Key at 00:00.000 with the property values of -1200, -10, 490. Instructions given in the remainder of this tutorial will be in this manner…

Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow, Truck to the right (350), Move to 00.02.900, Truck to the left (250) and Move to 00:00.250 Truck to the left (-250).

Select ALL KEYS for the following: Alt+2 Pan to the left (7), Tilt down (-7); Alt+5, F3 – Choose a light bright blue colour and Alt+6 (0.085).

F9 Choose Media\Effects\Filters\TiltShift.cfx; Alt+7 (20); Alt+9 (0.375).

NOTE: You can only select the first 10 properties in this manner, where 1 is the first property and 0 is the tenth.

How you doing so far? You should still be on the Camera layer and have four Keys on the Keyframes Bar and the only property with a ‘+’ to the right of it being Position. Furthermore, the only change to this property is in the first slider (-1200, -250, 250 and 350) the second and third sliders remain unaltered at -10 and 490 respectively. You should also have ‘-’ next to Rotation, Fade Colour, Fade Stage, FX Max blur factor, FX DOF (Depth of Field) to show that these properties are not set at default values and they do not change from one Key to the next.

If all is well and you are happy to proceed… FX Radial (1); FX Lighting factor (0.7) – ALL KEYS as before.

Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow; Ctrl+Alt+LeftArrow; Ctrl+2; Alt+1 (-250, -10, 490); Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow Create Key; Ctrl+1 Ctrl+Alt+LeftArrow; Ctrl+2; Alt+1 (250, -10, 490).

Alt+2 (255, 0, 64) – ALL KEYS; F9 Media\Effects\picture\SpotlightCone.cfx; Media\Textures\VerticalLines3.png. You should now be modifying the Point Light layer and have three Keys on the Keyframes Bar (their positions set by switching to the Camera layer and moving to various keys and switching back again) and only the Position property animated (‘+’) with a ‘-’ to the right of the Colour property.

Finally, Alt+3 (360, 0); Alt+4 (100, 0) and Alt+7 (75)… If you have something similar to the video shown you have done extremely well !!!

Ctrl+1; Alt+2 try various Roll settings [third slider] (-75 to 75) – play your animation and ponder the question, “How does the change affect the mood of your show?”

Ctrl+2; Alt+2 increase the amount of Green – how does the change in colour affect the mood of the show? Which colour would you use for soften the bizarre feel of the strange camera angle and FOV (Field of View)?

Alt+1 Dolly out (290) – do you like the way the Light layer effect is altered?

You have been thrown in at the deep end and made to rapidly review quite a few keyboard shortcut key combinations as well as a few function keys, do you recall which function key will play your animation?

Which function key will show or hide the Tools Window?

Finally, which function key will display a grid to assist you with aligning elements?

If you do not recall much of what has been expected of you; do not panic, you can either read the relevant section in the User’s Manual or, alternatively you can review the first four tutorials that dealt with the camera layer.

Light Layer PART SIX
(Using Colour Intensity as an effect)

Ctrl+N; Ctrl+1; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow; Alt+1, Truck left (-440), Pedestal up (60), Dolly in (480); Alt+2 Tilt down (60), Roll clockwise (25); Alt+3 (95).

Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow Truck right (440); F4 - What do you think? How could you improve the simple animation?

Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow; F2 Scroll along Timeline to where first letter “B” is centre frame and create a new Key; Ctrl+Alt+LeftArrow; Scroll back along the Timeline to where last letter “r” is centre frame and create a new Key; Drag these two new Keys apart towards the start and end of Keyframes Bar respectively circa; F4 better?

Alt+2 Tilt up (40) for last two Keys only; Alt+3 (70) for last two Keys only; Alt+1 adjust Pedestal and Dolly to compensate for last two Keys only. You have reduced the angle and height of camera towards the end of the animation to increase legibility of the text as well as moved the camera in to ensure that the text moves off screen at the end of the animation.

F9 Media\Effects\Filters\ColourInvert.cfx; Select texture... second ‘slot’ COLOUR MAP Media\Textures\Alphamap_Foam1.png.

REMEMBER: Reading the description of the effect file is a good habit to have.

In this instance you’ve loaded a greyscale image which will be used as a ‘mask’ to show (white areas) / hide (black areas) parts of the effect.

The following affect ALL KEYS: Alt+4 (0.6); Alt+5 (0, 255, 0); Alt+6 (0.2), Alt+7 (5, 0, 0); Alt+8 (0.35); Alt+9 (2); Alt+0 (1).

F4 - What’s missing?

Scroll along Timeline to where “T” is almost centre stage and create new Key; Scroll further to where “i” is centre stage and create new Key; Scroll to centre of these two new Keys and Alt+4 (1.3); F2; F4 - better? You should now have 7 Keys on the Keyframes Bar...

Ctrl+2; Scroll along Timeline to where “T” is less centre stage than before; Alt+1 Dolly in (475), Truck right (-200), Pedestal up (45) - careful! These property settings are not in the order 1, 2, 3.; Alt+2 (255, 90, 255); Alt+1; Scroll further along to where the “i” is passed centre stage Truck left (200).

There’s just one last setting remaining. Can you see which one? HINT: Is the background colour black in the video shown?

Ctrl+2; Alt+2 Adjust the colour values for ALL KEYS and observe the effect - Don’t be afraid to turn the light negative!

Ctrl+1; Alt+4 select fourth Key and adjust the intensity - Don’t be afraid to go well beyond the preset slider values (-5 to 5+)!

The animation is smooth from start to finish; how would you stop the motion of the camera and allow time to animate the light for an interesting spectacle?

How did you make the text appear on screen quickly, then suddenly slow down to scroll the length of it before disappearing off screen quickly again?

How did you control the colour of the in-camera texturing?

How could you enhance the in-camera texturing contrast?

Light Layer PART SEVEN
(Using Toon.cfx as a means to create mood and style)

Ctrl+N; Ctrl+1; Alt+1; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow Truck left (-1200), Dolly in (492.89); Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow Truck right (1200)

Alt+3; Click Keyframes Bar (00:01.500); F2 Adjust selected property to view text “BluffTitler” stretching between left and right ALL KEYS; Drag new Key to circa (00:00.300), copy and move to circa (00:02.700) and paste; F2

F9 “Media\Effects\Filters\Toon.cfx”; Alt+9; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow; Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow (white [255,255,255]); Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow (white)

FX Black, white levels ALL KEYS (0.51,1); Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow (1,1); Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow (1,1); FX Lighting factor (1) ALL KEYS

FX Lighting factor (1) ALL KEYS; Alt+5 (green-black [0,64,0]) ALL KEYS; Alt+6 (0.2) ALL KEYS

Ctrl+2; Click Keyframes Bar (00:01.000); Alt+2 (medium blue [64,128,255]); Alt+1 Truck right (600), Pedestal down (-830); Click Keyframes Bar (00:02.000); Truck left (-600); Physics (Pingpong)

Ctrl+1; Alt+4 (0.2 - 1.5) ALL KEYS – what do you observe of the change in feel (mood)?

Ctrl+M “” you saved for PART FIVE earlier; Ctrl+4 Style 1 (Point Light); F9 Media\Effects\Flare.cfx, create your own flare with two spots side by side or use the image opposite (right mouse click and choose “Save image as…”).


  1. 00:00.000 (-1200, 0, 500)
  2. 00:00.300 (0, -500, 500)
  3. 00:00.600 (0, -1000, 500)
  4. 00:00.999 (0, -1000, 500)
  5. 00:01.000 (0, 0, 500)
  6. 00:01.600 (0, -1000, 500)
  7. 00:01.999 (0, -1000, 500)
  8. 00:02.000 (0, 0, 500)
  9. 00:02.600 (0, -1000, 500)

Alt+2 (black) ALL KEYS; Alt+4 (0.75); Alt+7 (1) – does this added layer enhance the effect or detract from it?

How accurate can you be by clicking on the Keyframes Bar; within 0.500, 0.100 or 0.050 of a second?

How would you change the colour of the show from dark green / blue to dark blue / orange?

Light Layer PART EIGHT
(Getting more familiar with Windows Colourpicker)

Ctrl+N; Ctrl+L (4)

Ctrl+1; F9 “Media\Effects\Filters\LaughingMirror.cfx”; Alt+1; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow Truck left (-9), Dolly in (430), Pedestal down (-90); Alt+2 Tilt down (-40); Alt+3 (120); Alt+5 F3 (yellow); Alt+6 (0.05); Alt+7 (0.5, 0.15); Alt+8 (-0.5); Alt+9 (-0.01); Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow Create Key; Click Keyframes Bar (00:02.000) Create Key; Click Keyframes Bar (00:01.000); Alt+1 Pedestal up (-88); Alt+8 (-0.56); Copy Key; Click Keyframes Bar (00:03.000) Paste Key

Ctrl+2; F9 “Media\Effects\Flare.cfx”, “Media\Textures\flare0.jpg”; Alt+1 Dolly in (427); Alt+2 (255, 255, 512); Alt+3 F3 (yellow); Alt+4 (0.6); Alt+5 (2, 0)

MENU -> Set background colour... -> Choose colour (dark blue) When you click on this last button the Windows Colourpicker will pop up. Now is a good time for you to get even more familiar with it...

So far you have used the Basic colors: colour palet to choose colours by clicking on the individual colour pots, you also had a breif encounter with the Custom colors: when you Add[ed] to [the] Custom Colors in a previous tutorial. Microsoft obviously feels that this is such an intuitive and easy tool to use that there is virtually nothing written about it. So, here's a quick video to acquaint you with the various sections, followed by a list of simple details:

  1. Basic colours: 48 in total as set by Windows
  2. Luminance Slider: up for tints and down for shades this corresponds to the Lum: input box - a value of 120 is the colour itself with higher values for tints up to 240 (white) and lower values for shades down to 0 (black)
  3. Large Hue / Saturation Area: left mouse click to choose colour (hue) and tone (amount of grey added). Horizontal movement changes the hue or colour (red-yellow-green-cyan-blue-magenta-red) and vertical the saturation or tone (how much grey is added). These directions correspond to the Hue: and Sat: input boxes respectively. Hue ranges from 0 (red) to 139 (red) and saturation 0 (grey) to 240 (the colour itself)
  4. Custom colours: 16 available wells for you to fill with your own mixes. For ideas on what colours to create, have a read of’s Basic Colour Theory.

Having read about the colour wheel and how it is used to create a set of beautiful colours that will work together for differing effects, think of the wheel as a clock face with the number 1 to 12 on it, double these numbers and multiply by 10 (ie 12 o’clock (x 2 = 24), (x 10 = 240) the colour hue red) where is the complimentary colour? directly opposite ie 6 o’clock (x 2 x 10 = 120 [cyan]). Where are the analogous colours at 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock, ie 11 x 2 x 10 = 220 and 1 x 2 x 10 = 20...

Starting with 2 o’clock (yellow) what would be the three remaining tetradic colours clockwise? and counter-clockwise?

Using Windows Colourpicker, how can you mix a sage tone of green? A light tint of it’s complimentary colour and a shade of one of the triadic colours (you choose which)?

In Windows Colourpicker - how useful do you think the Lum: Sat: Hue: input boxes are and their corresponding colour areas? Will you be using them more often now to create and mix your own colours?

Which .cfx file was used for the Camera layer and did its effect remind you of an effect you have used previously? If so, which one?

In the EASY version you are limited to one light, but how did you get round that limitation?

Light Layer PART NINE
(Simple alterations to cfx files, More on negative lighting, Saving presets)

Ctrl+N; Ctrl+1; F9 “Media\Effects\Camera\CameraBloom.cfx”; Alt+1; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow Dolly out (-1200), Pedestal down (-160); Alt+2 Tilt down (-12.5), Roll anti-clockwise (-180); Alt+3 (45); Alt+8 (0.04); Alt+9 (4); Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow; Alt+1 Pedestal up (212); Alt+2 RESET roll clockwise (180)

Click Keyframes Bar (00:00.100); Alt+1 RESET; Alt+2 RESET Tilt down (-12.5); Alt+3 (33.3333); Copy Key; Click Keyframes Bar (00:01.970) Paste

Click Keyframes Bar (00:01.030); Alt+1 Pedestal up (110), Dolly in (347); Alt+2 RESET; Alt+3 (90); Copy Key; Click Keyframes Bar (00:02.900) Paste

Ctrl+M “” you created earlier. The merged Light layer is added to the show at layer position 3, but you want to move it to layer position 2. Do you recall where to find a list of Keyboard shortcuts? There you will find that Alt+[ will move the layer as required. However, there is a limitation - layers can be moved like this only in their respective categories: you cannot change the fact that Camera layers are displayed first followed by Light layers then other layers. If you try to press Alt+[ again the Light layer will not move to layer position 1 as this is occupied by a Camera Layer. Conversly is you press Alt+] several times you will only be able to move to layer position 3 not 4 as this is occupied by a different layer type.

Ctrl+M “” for a second time and change to Point light. You should now have: Layer 2 - Ambient Light, Layers 3 & 4 Point lights.

Ctrl+2; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow ALL LAYERS Create Key; Click Keybrames Bar (00:01.030) Create Key and the same for (00:01.970); Select No animation as physics

Uncheck ALL LAYERS; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow (-55,-255,-255); Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow (-255,-55,-255), Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow(-255,-255,-55)

Ctrl+3; Alt+1 ALL KEYS (0, -1000, -500); Alt+2; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow (-155, -255, -255); Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow (-255, -155, -255), Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow (-255, -255, -155)

Previous versions of BluffTitler (up to version 12) used a different file format for effects which could be created in a text editor if you knew what you were doing. They were simple lines of code that incuded instructions to build a ‘shader’. With the advent to version 12 and later that has all changed and effect files are now cfx files which contain mostly compiled instructions in HLSL.

Navigate to the “Media\Effects\Special” folder and open the file Filmstrip.cfx in a text editor. If you have Notepad++ installed this will prove ideal. You will note that the start of the file contained text that you can read then there is a lot of strange characters (this is the compiled code). What you are about to learn is a very simple way to change the behaviour of this effect, but first you should read about cfx file passes.

Save the .cfx file under a new name “FilmstripAdditive.cfx” in the same folder and add the following line directly under PASS on a new line “BLENDING ADDITIVE”. You should have:

    COMPILED VS 0 3492

Close all open .cfx files saving any changes to your new file ONLY!

Ctrl+4; F9 “Media\Effects\Special\FilmstripAdditive.cfx” you’ve just created, “Media\Textures\Explosion01_8x8.png” There isn’t a thumbnail and it is suggested that you do not create one to distinguish this from the .cfx files that ship with BluffTitler - when upgrading you may wish to save your own .cfx files safely for future use and to preserve your older shows that used them; Ctrl+Alt+UpArrow Alt+1 ALL KEYS (0, 100, 400); Alt+4 ALL KEYS (32); Alt+2 (0, 512, 512); Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow (512, 0, 512); Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow (512, 512, 0)

Set show background to black and you should have something very similar to that shown here; Ctrl+S choose a suitable name

Well done! You covered a lot and there's more to discover in ‘TRY IT YOURSELF’

Using Shift+RESET together with ALL LAYERS, revert all layers to their default settings, delete all Keys and remove all effects (F9); Change Layer 2 to Point Light

Ctrl+1 (0,0,238); Ctrl+2 Alt+1 (-200,200,200) Alt+2 (295, 305, 319) Ctrl+Q and name this layer “FILL”; Ctrl+3 Alt+1 (400, 0, 400) Alt+2 (60, 60, 45) Ctrl+Q “SIDE”; Ctrl+3 Alt+1 (200, 500, 700) Alt+2 (75, 75, 65) Ctrl+Q “BACK”

Select each light layer in turn and save as a preset using the PRESET->Save preset as... menu, give each an appropriate name.

Presets are useful in that you can set up your favourite camera position, light colour, etc but they are somewhat limited in that only the current layer and key is written as a preset. If you want to save a sequence of changes or include more than the current layer, then you will have to save a reduced show as follows...

Finally, Save as “Stage lighting” in your templates folder “..\Documents\BluffTitler\Templates”; Delete the Camera and Text layers and press Ctrl+S; choose ‘Yes’ when prompted to save changes. This will not overwrite the existing .png thumbnail that was saved earlier. This behaviour may change with versions post Then you will need to navigate to the Templates folder and copy the original thumbnail created; save your ‘template’ changes; delete the new thumbnail and paste back the old. When you create many many templates you will be glad of this thumbnail as a visual clue to what your template includes / does!

You covered a lot in this last tutorial on the Light layer...

How would you make the Filmstip.cfx SUBTRACTIVE as opposed to ADDITIVE as show here?

What is saved as a preset? What is not - how would you tackle the problem of saving more than one layer at a time or a whole host of Keys?

What was the effect you used on the camer layer giving a soft focus appearance to the show?

How could you use the knowledge you’ve gained thus far to create useful presets and templates from previous tutorials?

What does Ctrl+Q do and how useful might it be?