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Tutorial: Creating a Lens Flare in Adobe After Effects

This tutorial will show you a quick way to create an animated lens flare effect that can enhance your transitions, lower-thirds, and more using Adobe After Effects CC 2014.

Lens flares are very popular effects than can be used in transitions, lower-thirds, logos, and several other places. The flash effects they produce are good attention-getters that you can include in your videos. This tutorial will show you a quick way to create one using Adobe After Effects CC 2014.

For this project, I will create a full-screen lens flare that can be used as a transition effect to switch from one piece of video to another. Starting with After Effects open, we can create a new composition by selecting the Create New Composition button within the Project panel.

Here we will see the options for creating a composition. We can name our composition and then set project parameters. For this example, we’ll choose the 1920x1080 preset. You can also adjust the framerate, duration, and some other options in this window.

Choosing the Lens Flare Effect

Next, we’ll add a solid black layer by navigating to Layer, expanding the options under New, and then selecting Solid. Here we want to make sure the color of the solid is black. By default, After Effects will use the same color you previously used for these settings. We can change this by clicking the color square and choosing black.

The great thing with this technique is that we will be modifying a Lens Flare effect that is prebuilt in After Effects. This is a nice timesaver as it does a lot of the work for us.

We’ll access this effect by navigating over to the Effects and Presets window and searching for Lens Flare. The Lens Flare option under the Generate folder is the effect we’ll want to use. We can drag this over to our solid layer in our timeline and let go. This has now applied the effect to our solid layer.

Customizing the Effect

Now, we can make some adjustments to the lens flare in the Effects Control panel. Here, you can reposition the flare, adjust the Brightness, change the Lens Type, and blend this with any footage that would be underneath this layer.

For this project, we are going to adjust the Flare Center and the Brightness and then animate these from left to right on screen.

We’ll start by animating the center. We’ll move the Center properties of the flare so that it starts to the left. Once we have our beginning spot, we can click on the watch icon, which creates a keyframe for our starting point. Now, anything that we do to the Flare Center properties will animate over time since we have activated the keyframe options. We will now move ahead in time to about 1 second. Next, we will navigate back to the Effect Controls panel and readjust the flare’s position parameters.

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