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Distortion Effects

With a few exceptions, these effects all do just about the same thing. They twist and contort your clip into funhouse mirror shapes. To use them well takes some experimentation on your part. Rather than explain them in detail, I'll lump similar effects together and use figure captions to identify them.

I will give brief explanations of the non-funhouse distortion effects at the end of this section.

Pinch, Shear, Spherize, and ZigZag

You may have checked these effects out in Hour 11. They all use a similar interface, as shown in Figures 12.24–12.27.

Figure 12.24 Pinch draws in or expands an image in the middle.

Figure 12.25 Shear creates a curve along a user-defined wavy line.

Figure 12.26 Spherize pushes out or pulls in the image using a ball shape.

Figure 12.27 ZigZag creates several nice wave effects emanating from a user-selected point.

Lens Distortion, Wave, Bend, and Ripple

The four effects shown in Figures 12.28–12.31 all create undulating, twisting effects:

Figure 12.28 Lens Distortion lets you fill any gaps you create with a color selected from the clip or from the color spectrum window. Alternatively, you can turn that gap into a transparent alpha channel.

Figure 12.29 Wave looks a lot like the following Bend effect.

Figure 12.30 Bend most closely re-creates a funhouse mirror effect. It fills the screen with the distorted image.

Figure 12.31 Ripple is like Bend but leaves gaps around the curves that you can fill with color.

Mirror, Polar Coordinates, and Twirl

These three effects, shown in Figures 12.32–12.34, are all After Effects effects, which means they do not have separate Settings dialog boxes. Note that Mirror and Twirl have a crosshair you place onscreen to set the focal point of the effect.

Figure 12.32 Mirror perfectly reflects the scene at the crosshair using the angle selected, where 90 degrees creates a reflection along a horizontal line, and 0 degrees creates a reflection along a vertical line.

Figure 12.33 Polar Coordinates converts the clip's x/y coordinates into polar coordinates (or vice versa) to create this odd little lens distortion. The slider intensifies the effect.

Figure 12.34 Twirl rotates a clip around the crosshair. The greater the radius and angle, the more intense the twirl. Animate this using keyframes to create a real cool effect.

Horizontal Hold and Vertical Hold

The effects shown in Figures 12.35 and 12.36 give the impression that something is dreadfully wrong with the viewer's TV. You can use them both on the same clip to really make things go haywire.

Figure 12.35 Horizontal Hold has a slider control to set its severity.

Figure 12.36 Vertical Hold has no controls. Your image just rolls and rolls and rolls.

Bevel Alpha and Bevel Edges

These effects deviate from the funhouse mirror tack. They create 3D beveled frame-like edges for your clips. Bevel Alpha, illustrated in Figure 12.37, uses graphics with alpha channels. Bevel Edges, illustrated in Figure 12.38, is for regular video clips. These are great tools to use when you're using motion settings to fly clips over another image. Either effect gives those flying clips extra depth.

Figure 12.37 Bevel Alpha gives graphics with alpha channels a real nice 3D look.

Figure 12.38 Bevel Edges creates a frame-like finish to video clips, but the corner lines could be more sharply defined.

Camera View

This effect warrants special mention. As shown in Figure 12.39, Camera View gives the impression of a camera looking at your clip from different angles. In fact, it works a lot like the After Effects Basic 3D effect, which I'll cover in Hour 13, in that it rotates, flips, and zooms a clip. What makes it stand out from the Basic 3D effect is that it gives immediate feedback in its Settings dialog box.

Figure 12.39 Camera View lets you twist, flip, and zoom your clip, simulating a camera viewing the clip from varying angles.

Duplicate Distortion Effects

Feel free to place the following four effects in your Duplicates folder: Horizontal Flip and Vertical Flip (Camera View is better), Image Pan (use Motion Settings instead), and Roll. Note that Roll is not a duplicate. It's simply useless. It "rolls" one edge of the screen around to the other side. This would be very cool if you could set the amount of the roll or animate it across the entire clip. Unfortunately, you can't.

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