Robert Hranitzky | Design Portfolio

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Adobe After Effects CS5.5

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 AT 2:55PM

Yesterday Adobe announced Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 and with it also a pretty nice update to After Effects. It has a few very nice new features, like the Warp Stabilizer and improvements for stereoscopic 3D workflow, but what I like most is the new Camera Lens Blur. I am especially proud of this new feature as I remember requesting this feature from the After Effects developer team a while ago and also elaborately explained on why I would like this feature.

People who know me, know that I am pretty much into using a crazy shallow depth of field (DOF) and just play with the beautiful bokeh that a proper optical blur creates – no matter if it is in animation using Frischluft’s fantastic Lenscare plugin or when photographing or filming with my 5D MKII. For me it is a beautiful way of directing and guiding the attention of the viewer and at what she or he should look at.

Creating a depth channel (for example in Cinema 4D) and using it in After Effects to do this effect in post was always possible (and now is even better with an additional Camera Lens Blur effect that comes with After Effects CS5.5).

But with the camera in After Effects it was always a different story – until now. It sure had it’s depth of field blur and you could play with proper focus in AE’s 3D space but the blur was not based on an actual iris shape so it would always be round and frankly not that nice. In the latest release however you can finally set many more parameters including Iris Shape, Roundness and Aspect Ratio as well as Highlight Gain to boost up those highlights. All this allows you to achieve a much nicer bokeh, that not only looks sexy but also will help you to match shots in compositing much better, mimicking natural DOF.

Here you can see an image simply rotated in After Effects 3D space, with no DOF active.

This picture shows how it looks with the standard DOF blur. Ok, but certainly not great.

And now with the new Camera Lens Blur set and a Hexagonal Iris Shape creating a beautiful bokeh. Nice!

Here you can see some of the new Camera Lens Blur settings that I have applied for this picture.