Chapter 21: How to Add Effects to a Scene

Once your animation is completed, you can add effects such as blurs and glows to make your project look even better! Harmony provides you with a series of essential effects that you can add to your layers.

About Effects

An effect always needs a drawing connection and sometimes a matte or shape connection. A matte provides drawing information that determines the area on which the effect will be applied on the drawing. The details and colours within the matte drawing do not matter, as the system will only use the shape and transparencies in it. A matte is also known as mask.

The matte principle can be demonstrated with the Tone effect.

The drawing layer is connected to the right port of the effect and the matte (mask) on the left. The Tone effect then applies darker colours where the matte overlaps the image, blurs the tone edge, and finally clips out the extra tone zone outside the drawing before outputting a final drawing with a tone.

You can adjust the tone's parameters in the Layer Properties view and link any of them to a function column to be animated over time. This means that all of the effects can be customized.

Adding Effects

If you need to add new effects and other modules to the Network view, you will need to get them from the Module Library.

When you create a new project in Harmony, the default network that appears in the Network view looks similar to the one below.

Module Library View Toolbar

In the Module Library View toolbar, you can change how the effects are displayed.

View as Icons
View as List
View as Icons with Names

Module Tabs

The Module Library is conveniently broken up into several sections or tabs:

3D: Includes the modules related to working with 3D models within Harmony.
Deformation: Includes the modules needed for building a deformation chain, as well as advanced effects such as Fold and Auto Muscle.
Favorites: Includes the most common modules. To add extra modules to the Favorites tab, select any module from any other section and drag it onto the Favorites tab.

Filter: Effect modules, such as blurs.
Group: Modules for grouping, like Group modules and Multi-Port modules.
IO: Includes Display, Drawing, Write and Note modules.
Move: Modules for changing elements over time, like Peg modules, as well as certain transformations.
Particle: Includes all the modules necessary to construct complex particle systems.
Particle-Examples: Includes a series of examples of particle effects.
Plug-ins: Includes plug-in modules.
All Modules: Lists all of the modules available.

To bring a module into the Network view, drag it from the Module Library and drop it in the Network view. Once in the Network view, you can click on the input or output port of a module and drag out a cable. You can then connect this cable to the output port or input port of another module.

If you want to connect a module between two connected modules, you can use the Alt key as you drag the new module over the existing cable connection. Using the same Alt key, you can also disconnect a module.

If you want to remove a module, select and press Delete to remove it from the Network view.

Tone Effect

The Tone effect lets you add a dark-coloured region to your drawing and simulate the shaded area away from a light source. To produce the tone effect, create a drawing to control where the tone will appear. The Tone effect uses a matte to determine the shape and position of the tone on your drawing and can be blurred at the edges to create a softer effect.

Use the Tone editor to control the type and amount of blur, as well as the colour of the tone.

Tone Effect Properties

Parameter Description
Truck Factor

Activated by default, this option readjusts the blur when the elements undergo a change of depth or scale. When disabled, the effect's values will remain unchanged regardless of depth or scale changes. It is recommended that this option be disabled when multiple drawings are composited and attached this effect.

Blur Type

Radial: The edges of the matte are blurred evenly around points that make up the edge of the matte.

Directional: The matte is blurred in the direction you select.

Radius Enter a value for the size of the blur. The larger the value, the greater the blur effect. The blur radius is affected by the drawing scale and camera position.
Directional Angle

If you selected the Directional Blur type, you can set the direction of the blur by entering a value from 0 to 360 in this field.

0: Blurs the image to the west.

90: Blurs the image to the south.

180: Blurs the image to the east.

270: Blurs the image to the north.

Directional Falloff Rate

The distance where the blur fades from the edge of the image. Select a value between 0 and 1.

0: Makes the blur fade out slowly, distributing the blur evenly from the edge of the character to the farthest edge of the blur.

1: Makes the blur fade out quickly. The blur is heaviest closer to the edge of the image.

Invert Matte Inverts the matte used to create the tone.
Use Matte Colour Uses the matte shape colour to create the tone.
Multiplicative Multiplies the tone colours with the background.
Red Red values of the image.
Green Green values of the image.
Blue Blue values of the image.
Alpha Alpha values of the image.
Colour Swatch Opens the Colour Picker where you can specify the colour of the main flare.

Animating an Effect Over Time

In Harmony, to animate an effect over time, create a function curve by adding keyframes to the parameters you want to animate. To do this, you will use the Layer Properties view and the Timeline view. You can fine tune your animation using the Function view.