User Guide > About Effects

About Effects


When creating a scene, rigging a character or once your animation is finished, you can add effects such as blurs, glows, shadows, colour filters and transparency filters and to enhance your project's quality. Effects change the way layers or groups of layers are rendered in your scene.

Harmony supports OpenFX plugins, and has its own integrated particle systems as well as light shading (normal map)—see About OpenFX, About the Light Shading Effect, and About Particles.

Effects are special types of nodes that you can add to your scene's structure. For an effect node to work, it must be connected to a drawing or a composite. Effects only alter the drawing or composite they are connected to, which gives you flexibility in deciding precisely which parts of your scene is affected.

Some effects need to be linked to another layer referred to as the matte layer, which is used to define the area they should affect. The most basic example of this is the Cutter effect. Alone, a cutter effect does not have any effect on your drawing. Once combined with a matte layer, the Cutter effect cuts the shape of the matte out of the drawing.

A matte layer is simply a drawing layer that is connected to an effect as its matte. The effect takes the shape of the drawing in the matte layer, ignoring its colours and details.

In the Node view, an effect must be connected to the drawing or composite it is meant to affect by its input (top) port, and its output (bottom) port must be connected to the composite. Most effects that require a matte must be connected to their drawing layer by their right input port, and to their matte layer by their left input port, like this:

Once your effect is connected, you can adjust its parameters using the Layer Properties view. If desired, you can even animate the parameters of your effect by converting their values to functions.

NOTE: If you need to use the uncut version of your drawing layer anywhere else in your scene, you can bypass the effect it is connected to by connecting the drawing layer's output port to other input ports of your composite, or to other effects or composite, as needed. This will create new cables, leaving your layer's connection to its effect unaffected.