Uses of the Circle

Uses of the Circle

Posted on 20. Jun, 2008 by in After Effects

If you’re one of those people who think of the Circle effect as a useless plugin than I hope this tutorial will help you change your mind. Tea Cups With Lids Amber Rings Wholesale Tea Trays Toddler Sleeping Bags

Everything originates from a Circle. With that in mind I’ll do my best to show you how useful this tiny little effect can be. You’ll learn how to create vignetting, shade objects so they look more 3d, and also create some cool looking graphics elements, all withing as little amount of layers and masking as possible.

I use the Circle effect very often. I could even risk saying that it is the second effect that I use after Fractal Noise. Having all the controllers on the effects palette accessible at all times saves me a lot of time. I mostly use the Circle effect to do some masking, but it can also be used for different tasks.

If you find some other cool ways to use the Circle effect share them with me and the rest of us. Post a comment.

Now sit back and enjoy the tutorial.


I made a mini follow-up tutorial available on my YouTube Channel. Subscribe, rate and comment. Most of the videos are just trailers of my tutorials found on this site, but sometimes theres something extra, so stay tuned.


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51 Responses to “Uses of the Circle”

  1. patorikku

    21. Jun, 2008

    hey maltaannon
    to be honest, I never used that effect, but with this little short tip tutorial you changed my mind :) it’s lot easier than masking out everything and animating the paths and stuff

    thanks a lot
    patrick from switzerland

  2. illd

    21. Jun, 2008

    Nice one!

    I actually never used the circle effect, obviously a big mistake…

    One thing im wondering about. How the Hell you got water in your
    ear during work? Do you own a swiming pool? Are you the polish Hugh Heffner? If its so, pleeeaaase invite me!

  3. bigjoe

    21. Jun, 2008

    hey… Maltaanon this is nice again…

    having a good knowledge and teaching the whole world 4 free …
    u r gr8… God bless

  4. UmairVFX

    21. Jun, 2008

    Hey George How are you buddy?

    Amazing and i am wonder about it that yesterday i was watching you previous tutorials in which your were saying that you will make an whole tutorial on circle effect and when i come to office today and i just open your site i finally see it…

    Wonder full effects amazing thank you very much my best friend! ;)

    Take Care buddy and enjoy your vacations ;)


  5. Cary

    21. Jun, 2008

    At the end I thought you were going to create a halo to go above his head. Not too bad.

    See, my creativity is already spurring. Nice stuff.

  6. vianz

    21. Jun, 2008

    Nice tutorial bro..thank for introduce me with this plugin.

  7. MortallicA

    21. Jun, 2008

    Hey maltaaanon
    You defenately changed my mind XD circle will be my best friend :)
    I was wondering something, I don’t know if I should ask this here…
    What type of video are you uploading?
    I mean it is bufferung so fast and I can fullscreen it with all the detail!!!

    thnx again for your help

  8. cwws

    21. Jun, 2008

    Really great tutorial! Cool! Thanks a lot Maltaanon!

  9. Noone

    21. Jun, 2008

    Awesome tutorial, I was wondering if there is any way to use the circle effect for sort of a spot focus, that you could move around. I’m trying to figure it out, but I can’t think of a way to get the blur to work only on the inverted circle, and preferably be all on one layer. Any ideas?!

  10. Maltaannon

    21. Jun, 2008

    Sure. Take a look at the part when I use the Circle behind the actor. Using Circle along with CC Composite may be the answer. I’ll take a look at this on Monday, or maybe sooner.

  11. Noone

    21. Jun, 2008

    hey, thanks for the responce so fast!

    I’ve tried several different combos of the circle, fast blur, and CC composite. I was able to get the effect using two extra layers, one with the circle for a matte, then the original footage below that, with the Track Matte set to Luma inverted (the circle is black) then the original footage again under that blurred out. It’s getting to be boggling to make it all be on one layer, but I’d like it like that so I can make a simple preset. I think this would be something good for people who want that nice low depth of field, but can’t spend all that cash on something like an adaptor.

    Well, I’ll keep working at it, I’d be very interested to see what you could come up with. Thanks again.

  12. Marcus Rhoads

    21. Jun, 2008

    Hey George, thanks for the tutorial. A can’t wait to start using the circle tool more often! And by the way, the traffic noise in the background didn’t bother me at all.

  13. Valentin

    21. Jun, 2008

    Wow! I so never could think up independently. Thanks for really very useful lesson and I in delight! Yes, yes, yes Jerzy, you simply super! Thanks again.

  14. cameron

    21. Jun, 2008

    Wow how easy is that. Thanks for the tutorial.

  15. adam

    21. Jun, 2008

    Your tutorials are good, but damn, you ramble on and on and on and on and on and on before you finally get to it.

    It’s difficult to criticise you because the tutorials are free, but man oh man, your tutorials could be half the time if you cut out all the rambling that you may find amusing, but annoys the hell out of your users.

  16. PhSn

    22. Jun, 2008

    @the man above
    don’t you understand the sense of the live-tutorials? No cutting, only spontanious recording!

    great tutorial again, dude! I didn’t know, that there’s so much power in this tiny effect^^ I think I’m going to use it more often in the future ;-)

  17. Antonyb

    22. Jun, 2008

    Hey M
    Great stuff as usual – here’s another use of the circle you may have missed:

  18. apollo

    24. Jun, 2008

    projects no add projects please :))

  19. Maltaannon

    24. Jun, 2008

    Sorry. No project file for this one. At lest not yet. I’m a bit sick right now, I have a fever and I’m not feeling very well. But I think I’ll provide some kind of a project file when I’ll get well again. In the meanwhile check this link out:

  20. raj from india

    24. Jun, 2008

    Great tutorial… I have used circle effect couple of times but never like this…. this is just amazing………….. I like live tutorials.

    One suggestion is just delete some comments. Visitors should understand that this tutorials are for one group or community of same interest. This are not for those individuals who cant even understand depth of the tutorial.

    take care…..

  21. raj from india

    24. Jun, 2008

    One more thing …. forget to mention…..

    Forget about work some time and have rest…. we want you back with same humor.

    Our best wishes are with you………

    take care

  22. Noone

    24. Jun, 2008

    Thanks so much, it ws that RGB only button that I over looked. damn you made it so simple, haha, thanks again for making a whole video to answer my (now) simple request.

  23. Noone

    24. Jun, 2008

    and get well soon.

  24. JD

    25. Jun, 2008

    Hey M. those flare elements are disks, rings and circle spreads.

  25. eric

    25. Jun, 2008

    hey jerzy,

    another great tut. there’s so many default plugins that i haven’t even taken the time to try. keep it up man. it looks like you’re starting to get coverage everywhere…even video copilot. I even saw your link at the bottom of


    eric from Oklahoma, USA.

  26. Bogdan Bucur

    27. Jun, 2008

    THE MALTAANNON MODE: is a new generation affx mental trauma – to not be confused with the romanian word: motaann (male cat)

    Please be advised: Recent studies indicate that in some cases this can be fatal due to a high level of mental processing involved only in direct contact with Maltaannon’s skype hotline.

    Symptoms such as insomnia, inability to think of anything else but After Effects and many other not yet determined mental instabilities will soon determine the world governments to take strict measures to prevent population of this new infestation.

    Direct contact with this individual disguised under the name of Jerzy Drozda it appears to be fatal.

    A cure was not yet discovered and it is recommended to seek medical care in at 1st sign of such symptoms.

    Good help us.

    Bogdan Bucur International After Effects Committee Free AFFX Plug ins Division CEO and Founder

  27. Daniel

    28. Jun, 2008

    Hy my frend!
    I have a problem with the nativ HD image (M2T) I can’t import in After Effects and I see in your last tutorial “Uses Of The Circle” you use this kind of movie. You can help me to find how it’s possible to import? Thanks for the help!

  28. Janus

    02. Jul, 2008

    Great tutorial, and just so you know, the outside noise isn’t that bad on recording :)


  29. gari

    17. Jul, 2008

    hey dats really cool man

  30. bliuska

    17. Jul, 2008

    are you start to smoking at 16:50 ? xD

  31. Aldie

    18. Jul, 2008

    I really like your tutorials bro!!!! It is useful and an enlightening idea….It made me say, Oh….I didn’t know that this effect is so useful!!!! Thanks Bro….

  32. Enrique

    21. Jul, 2008

    Excellent tutorial. It is funny when you start talking about “water in the ear”! I intend to send some $$ your way.

  33. Dhji

    09. Aug, 2008

    Nice tutorial. And quit saying that you are boring! we wouldnt watch your stuff if you were! Thanks!

  34. CristalCube

    30. Aug, 2008

    Thanks for those circles tip George, and like Dhji says, stop saying you are boring, all those tip you are teaching us are pretty useful, every little thing.

    So thamks again, keep it going and cheers!!… CC³.

  35. Anon

    01. Sep, 2008

    I hate these stupid blog sites!! Where do I click to access the tutorial??!

  36. wob

    30. Sep, 2008

    Awsome tutorial Jerzy. Its a quick and easy way to create great looking backgrounds and frames. This tutorial is a great help!
    Thanks alot!

  37. debjit

    30. Oct, 2008

    the website is too bad to see & is useless

  38. branko

    17. Dec, 2008

    man…you suck so bad!!!

  39. sachin

    25. Dec, 2008

    really thanks to you dear….
    you improov my knowledge…..its work

  40. emannoname

    04. Jan, 2009

    Great work, thanks for sharing the knowledge. And to all of you bitches out there that are complaining about this or that, I’d like to see you put your money where your mouth is and do a better job than this at putting together tutorials in a foreign language, if yours happens to be English. Try Polish for example, you jackasses. Again, awesome work and keep it up. One useful thing would be to show people how to save animation presets and apply them as part of a workflow.

  41. Pinkhair

    16. Jan, 2009

    Nice tutorial! I like to use circle and ellipse inside precomps to create displacement maps for Displace, Wave World, and the like. It also can make a handy quick shadow for a composited element when it doesn’t need to be detailed.
    Oh, and those extra circles and things in the lens flare are usually referred to as elements or reflections, depending on the software.

  42. habeeb

    09. Oct, 2009


  43. hyea

    11. Oct, 2009

    hey maltaaannon,

    how did u make the background of the person to just be plain and just focus on the person itself

    i’m really trying to figure it out but always failed
    can u please tell me that..


  44. kusu

    18. Oct, 2009

    Hey, thanks!
    really change my perspectives on the effects. haha.
    Great tutorial!

    • dhwaja

      01. Nov, 2009

      u copied….copy cat :P:P

      • dhwaja

        01. Nov, 2009

        bull shit!!!!

  45. theep

    11. Dec, 2009

    I believe U may receive some award or sort of Gift from Adobe corp( for promoting their product more than they do). what do u think? (haha..)
    [##@$$ probably they might even think to remove circle on their coming release?@?!!?@)]

  46. tian heng

    11. Mar, 2010

    a good stuff

  47. yash mathur

    03. Jun, 2010

    circle ke baare mein btata h ki nhiiiiiiiii :p

  48. youhua

    23. Jul, 2011

    Thank you for your sharing.I’m very interested in art painting.There are so many famouse mlb stars jerseys,we have abstract painting.So I an fascinated to the landscape painting,flower painting

  49. Jason

    01. May, 2012

    I gave this tutorial 5 cirlces. Awesome work.