Here are 5 unique ways to use the screen transfer mode in After Effects, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro.
One of the best transfer modes to utilize in After Effects, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro is the screen transfer mode. Screen essentially leaves light elements while removing dark elements based on their opacity. For example, a layer that is 50% grey will be 50% opaque.
In the following post we’ll take a look at five ways to use the screen transfer mode to produce awesome results. Let’s dive in!
1. Compositing Weather Elements
One of the best ways to use the screen transfer mode is to composite weather elements like rain, snow, and fog into your scene. Simply place your video plate over your footage and set the transfer mode to screen. You may want to adjust color values or opacity as needed.
Step 1: Get a background plate.
Step 2: Put the weather element on top.
Step 3: Set the transfer mode of the weather element to screen and adjust color and opacity as needed.
2. Light Leaks
If you make a lot of hipster-inspired videos, then you’re probably very familiar with light leaks. Typically when you are trying to composite lighting elements you have two options: the screen transfer mode or the add transfer mode. I prefer screen because it’s a bit more subtle, but it just depends on the shot. On the other hand, when I am compositing lens flares I almost always use the add transfer mode.
Step 1: Get your background plate.
Step 2: Set your light elements on top.
Step 2: Set the transfer modes of the light elements to screen or add as needed.
If you have a white logo on a black background, you can quickly composite it into your scene using the screen transfer mode. In the example below, we simply took a black RocketStock logo and composited it over the image of a mountain. This is great if you are sending clients rough cuts and don’t want your video to be stolen. I’ve found that dropping the opacity value down to 50% makes for perfect watermarks.
Step 1: Get Background Plate.
Step 2: Put Logo Element on Top.
Step 3: Set Transfer Mode to Screen and adjust opacity as needed.
4. Screen Reflections
My favorite way to use the screen transfer mode is to simulate screen reflections. Simply composite your fake screen into your shot and set the background plate to screen on top of the fake monitor only. This method typically always works well, as areas on a digital screen that are covered in shadow tend to be easily readable, whereas areas with screen reflection are typically obscured by the reflection. In the example below, I had to turn down the opacity of the screen plate because it was way too bright on its own.
Step 1: Find a good background plate. Fingers and obstructions make compositing very difficult. If you can, have the screen be solid green on set so you can easily key it out in post.
Step 2: Composite your simulated screen onto the device. Rotoscope fingers and other elements out. You also will want to match the screen color values using levels and curves.
Step 3: Set a background plate on top and set the transfer mode to screen. In this example I had to drop the screen opacity down to about 50% to make the screen more visible.
5. Keying Out Black Quickly
If you simply need to key out some black footage fast, the screen transfer mode is a great way to go. Simply put your element over your background and set it to screen. Pixels that are grey will be set to 50% opacity and pixels that are white will be 100% visible.
Step 1: Find a good background plate.
Step 2: Place your element on top.
Step 3: Set the transfer mode to screen.
Want to learn more about using transfer modes in After Effects? Check out a few of the following posts:
- 6 Useful Blending Modes in After Effects – PremiumBeat
- Blending Modes and Layer Styles – Adobe
- Photoshop Blend Modes Explained – Photo Blog Shop
How do you use the screen transfer mode? Share your thoughts in the comments below.