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Tutorial: Adding an Infrared Effect in Adobe After Effects

This tutorial demonstrates how to create the dreamlike infrared effect commonly used in horror films, science and military shows, thermal imaging, and even medical videos by following a few simple steps in Adobe After Effects.

Back in the Effect Controls panel we can continue adjusting our levels. We'll keep the channel at RGB so we can get an overall level view. The histogram option shown in Figure 4 (below) works like any other histogram where you can increase or decrease shadows and highlights and tonality. I'll make the red stand out a little more by adjusting the fader in the top section. This is also starting to bring out some more of the greens in the shot.

Figure 4. Adjusting shadows, highlights, and tonality in the histogram view.

Moving down, you can adjust these options manually by entering values for your blacks, whites, and gamma, although I prefer to use the histogram. Finally, you have the option to adjust some of the hues and saturation of the effect. Traditionally, the infrared look is in the reddish color tone, so I'll stick with that, but you can choose another color by adjusting the hues and saturation here.

The overall effect is obviously a very stylized look but you do see this come up in a lot of places. I encourage you to give it a try when you need something like this in your next creative project.

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