cool tools for cool artists  Hollywood-style special effect
Animated(!) Lens Flares
new with PD Pro 4.1

more coolness...

 The new lens flare system has not only been extended with many new controls such as out-of-focus reflections but is now also available in the Timeline editor to create animated lens flares.

You can render these on top of any current animation, and use keyframes to track the position of a moving object in that clip, such as a bright light representing the Sun. Like in this simulated sun rise, done entirely in PD Pro:

press 'Play' to view animation

Here's a  basic overview of some of the new tools offered in the new lens flare engine since v4.1 of PD Pro:


If you work on a still image, you will find the Lens Flare tool as usual and as expected in the Linear tool on the general Tools panel. (same group that also has the Lightning, Linear Alpha fader and Linear or circular gradient tools)

If however you work on an animation, launch the Timeline editor from the Animation menu.

Scroll to the bottom of the filters list to locate the Animated group of filters and find the new Lens flare option there.

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You'll see a floating window with a preview of the current lensflare setting. There's also a number of great presets to choose from.

The 'More' tab shows additional options for random streaks, color of an optional outer glow, the speed of animating some of the components of the lens flare, anti-aliasing quality, etc...

The Edit tab shows the familiar table of parameters. Well, it's familiar to those who have used the prior version of the lens flare engine.

Notice the many additional features at the bottom, like the Tools menu. It opens a whole universe of additional features and options to accurately fine-tune your lens flare's apearance. And of course you can also save your new settings or load another preset from file, a DLF file (Dogwaffle Lens Flare), ending in .df

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In the Timeline editor portion, you'll see the position of the flare's hotspot, as well as a 'Level' parameter. It controls the size and intensity and other aspects. If it is too small a value, you may not see the flare's effect in the preview.

Remember therefore to increase the Level a notch.

Still in the Timeline editor, you can set the position of the flare's hotspot in the preview window directly. Here we're placing it in the upper-right quadrant.

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Here we're placing the flare near the lower right.

In order to make it move in an animation from one place to another, we'll use two or more keyframes.

Make sure that the first frame of the background animation is selected. Notice that this backgrund is simply a black background, but it could be whatever pre-existing animation, perhaps something loaded from a clip that you recorded on a cell phone or a digital video camera.

Click the "plus" key button to set the key at the position and level selected fro this first frame.
You can do this on a Mac too:

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Select a different frame on the timeline, change the position of the flare and set another key.

Repeat once more for a thrd key if you want that flare to move away again, perhaps back to the original position, or even outside of the frame.

Then click 'Render' to have the moving lensflare rendered into each frame of your animation.

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For Example, you might have wanted the size of the flare to change. You can select the 2nd keyframe, marked near the middle of the timeline with a small red tickmark along the top.

After rendering again, you can scrub through the Animation toolbar to view the sequence of frames it generated.

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Here's an example where we added the lens flare animation over the moving skies/clouds animation.

Click image for fullscreen view

Notice how the timeline has quite a number of keyframes set, to cause the flares to turn brighter or dimmer as the clouds move away or in front of the Sun. 

You can see the resulting changes in brightness and size of the reflections and flare in the animation:

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