Introduction to Pixel Bender

Introduction to Pixel Bender

Posted on 25. Aug, 2009 by in After Effects

Check this tutorial out and learn more about Adobe Pixel Bender technology and start making your own plugins.


This tutorial is a bit different from all the others here, however I’m placing it in the After Effects category, because it’s very closely related to After Effects. In this tutorial I’ll show you what a Pixel Bender plugin is, how it works, and we’ll finish off by creating our own, very simple cropping plugin for After Effects CS4.

Sure we can crop any layer with a Mask tool, but on the other hand animating mask points might be painful sometimes, especially when you try to animate it using expressions or some tracking data for example, so having a nice and simple cropping plugin in After Effects is not a bad idea after all.

If you’ll find this tutorial interesting make sure to visit Adobe Labs for the latest version of Pixel Bender Toolkit. You’ll get a full documentation and a few examples with your download to get you started. Good luck!

Side note
If you like the article graphics (click on the thumbnail to view full size) then know that it was created with my [intlink id="369" type="post"]CE Screenify[/intlink] and [intlink id="1099" type="post"]ChromAberration[/intlink] plugins. Make sure to check them out.

Update
If you got interested with Pixel Bender then you probably would like to read [intlink id="1202" type="post"]Pixel Bender and aeUIControls[/intlink] post.

Download: Simple cropping Pixel Bender plugin (After Effects CS4)

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25 Responses to “Introduction to Pixel Bender”

  1. Tom Hauville

    25. Aug, 2009

    (can’t watch atm as my audio isn’t working for some reason)

    just wanted to point out that it would be easy enough to make a cropping preset using 4 linear wipes and some fairly simple expressions… but of course, that’s not the point of the tutorial :)

    will watch and give a real comment after render is completed and I can reset the machine!

  2. Tom Hauville

    25. Aug, 2009

    awesome stuff! I’ve always been interested in what PB can do, just needed a simple introduction as to how it functions…

    my first thought was that a ‘crop’ preset would be easy to do using linear wipe (although, of course, the goal of the tutorial is to use PB, not perform a simple crop), but there it is, first thing you say in the video :)

    once again, very cool stuff!

  3. Map

    25. Aug, 2009

    Really cool and detailed tutorial! Thanks a lot!

  4. peter

    25. Aug, 2009

    great stuff man ! thnx for sharing your knowledge

  5. Ashley maman

    25. Aug, 2009

    thanks for this it really helped =)…just one thing thou how would you change the control to make it as a slider? would you put in –aeUIControl: “aeSlider”; because it doesnt seem to work. cheers anyway

    • AndrewYY

      25. Aug, 2009

      Sliders don’t need an aeUIControl because they are the default.

      The rest of them are covered in the developer guide (included with pixel bender) in the After Effects section

    • Ashley maman

      26. Aug, 2009

      oh ok cheers for that =)

  6. AndrewYY

    25. Aug, 2009

    Hey maltaannon, why would you advocated using graphs even for very simple plugins? Is there a benefit in doing so?

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      26. Aug, 2009

      Simply because, if your kernel evolves into something more complex (requireing multiple kernesl) you’ll already have it set up.

  7. WuzzysBrand

    27. Aug, 2009

    Wow you did it again! :)
    Awesome tutorial.
    You should make a “Programming” category for this kind of tutorials :)

  8. brian

    30. Aug, 2009

    awesome i never knew about this, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities thanks, what is the licensing like can you make plugins to sell in this?

  9. Miki

    01. Sep, 2009

    Hey Maltaannon!
    Good to have you back.
    This is great video tutorial and you can be sure it’s helped me a lot.
    Please make more of those tuts!
    Ho! one more thing, this cropping don’t works on Adjustment layer. way is that? (I mean it’s cropping the whole composition..)
    Miki.

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      02. Sep, 2009

      I haven’t tried it on the adjistment layer, but thats exactly how I’d expect it to behave. After all… applying something to the adjustment layer changes all the layers below.

  10. Miki

    03. Sep, 2009

    Hey Maltaannon, thank you for the quick replay :)
    I have some other questionsnow and I’m hope that you could replay them too:

    How can I create a simple Slider Control with just one field and not two (float2) because float(1.0) didn’t work :)
    maybe it’s something with the parameter? because it’s set too to float2.

    How can I create CheckBox? I’ve tried to write something like this:
    aeUIControl: “aeCheckBox”;
    But it didn’t work. Acually I would like, if you can, that you’ll write the whole list of controllers.

    And of course, it will be really awsome if you’ll continue creating Pixel Bender’s tuts.

    Thank you very much,
    Miki.

  11. Tony

    08. Sep, 2009

    Jerzy, you’ve made it again!

    don’t know how many feature request i’ve sent to adobe since years just to have a litle crop plugin implemented, and you explained/made it within a few minutes!?

    weird an beautiful at the same time…

    Thank you.

  12. John Stanowski

    12. Sep, 2009

    Amazing! I hope we see even more Pixel Bender stuff from you. This is great stuff!

  13. PIOTR K

    17. Sep, 2009

    Hej, milo widziec ze Polak potrafi;) dzieki za fajne tuoriale, bardzo pomagaja mi w pracy. Pozdrowienia i oby tak dalej
    ekipa SWF

  14. brian

    30. Sep, 2009

    very nice, thanks for sharing tutorial and cool plugin

  15. dunflee

    17. Oct, 2009

    hey !

    this is not on relation with the product, buy I’m gonna ask anyway, what plugin do you use for the FLV player?
    looks really cool , I couldn’t help asking =D

  16. Rozczarowany

    23. Mar, 2010

    Szkoda, wielka szkoda – nie dosc ze najwiecej tutoriali jest po angielsku to jeszcze Polacy zamiast ułatwiać Polakom i robic tutki w rodzimym jezyku, robią po angielsku :/

  17. maximumrfan

    15. Sep, 2010

    I still wish there was a way to make simple plug-ins WITHOUT the chance of having my work stolen. :(

  18. Alex

    19. Feb, 2011

    The rest of them are covered in the developer guide (included with pixel bender) in the After Effects section

  19. Ajeet

    03. Oct, 2011

    since last few months i have been waiting for such stuffs….it’s indeed helped me on the way to creation….thanks a lot…may GOD bless you..

  20. beats

    12. Jan, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your article; it’s very nice, thanks. I hope can read more good articles