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ENERGY BALL 2.0

I get a lot of questions about how I did this clip. Unfortunately, this is the kind of effect I made one day on the fly without any set method and just got lucky that it came out cool looking. Much like a drawing, this particular one looks good, but even my own emulations of the effect after the fact have not been as impressive. It's extremely difficult to try to recreate it, and so when I was asked about it, I did the next best thing to explaining every detail: I made my project file public. It's online for anybody to download, unzip, load into After Effects and dissect to their heart's content, or even just use in their own projects (though I'd appreciate a credit if it's in a real flick).

You can download my zipped After Effects Project file of Energy Ball 2.0 right here. For those who are much more intimate with After Effects, here's a rundown of what I did to create the effect:

Okay, first we start in Photoshop. I made a square canvas and rendered clouds with black and white. I then used a radial gradient tool so that there was only cloud in the middle, tapering off to black in a somewhat circular fashion. I made a couple other versions and ended up with 3 little cloud images.

Then I went into After Effects, made a comp and keyframed one of the clouds to simply grow and dissapear. Then I did the same to the others, giving a couple frames between the "births" of the clouds, setting all the cloud layers to Add mode. Then, so it didn't look repetitious, the next time I used the same cloud image, I rotated it a certain ammount. Finally, I added a black solid in Normal mode to the bottom of the composition.

Next I made a new composition suited for my footage and imported the composition with the energy ball effect. Then I set the energy ball to add mode, color balanced it blue and voila. Ryan_W Energy ball 2.0.

For added effect, I duplicated the energy ball layer, set it's scale to 300% wide and 25% tall, blurred it 15, set it's levels to a nice shade of blue and set the layer mode to color. This achieves the fake glare effect I've come to love for energy balls.

For even more added effect, I duplicated the energy ball layer once again, set it's levels to make it extremely bright, gave it a blur of 300, adjusted the levels to be a nice deep shade of blue, and set it's layer mode to color. This gives the fake light casting effect and helps mesh the edges of the energy ball "aura" with the background.