Most of the time it is the best practice to manually control the lights in your After Effects scenes. There are situations however, when you may want to automate the dynamic changes in light color and intensity while maintaining high level of control over the look of your composition. That’s what the Automated Light Rig is all about.

In this tutorial I will show you how to link your lights with automated samplers on an image map, creating an ever-changing, yet unified, light rig. While the tutorial explains the expressions in depth, I am also providing you with presets simplifying the entire process into just few clicks.

As a little extra, I will also show you how to create a 3D light-aware smoke using Trapcode Particular (my method is a bit more involved than the standard Particular setup, but produces results that are much more true to life).

Music used in the trailer comes from Mr. Oizo’s Fiat 55 from the album Analog Worms Attack.

Running time: 45min
Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Required tools: After Effects
Optional plug-ins: Trapcode Particular

Preview video:




Download the files associated with this tutorial below:

You may also download the tutorial from its Vimeo page. The preview video can also be watched on YouTube.

I have to apologize for a rather flat and non-energetic narration in this tutorial. I’ve had an absolutely nightmarish week and until the very last moment, wasn’t even sure if I will be recording any tutorials this weekend. If your attention span has a low threshold for monotonous voice-overs, here’s a little game you can play: count how many times in the entire tutorial have I used the word basically and post your answer in the comments (just a little habit of mine I noticed while editing this video). Enjoy!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.