For a simple 20 second sequence of a plane flying through clouds there is a lot involved.
Firstly the plane is a 3d model composited in using the colour difference plugin.
Then the fun began the plane just looked silly. Just bad
This is the plane composited without effects
To make the plane sit into its environment , I first worked on its lighting I set up an ambient light to reflect of the hull at certain times in the sequence. As you can see I have also colour corrected the hull of the 747 to reflect the colours of the environment around.
Next I added the shadow the aircraft throws and made it more see through. I animated some smoke utilising a particle generator , I then key framed it and manipulated it so it was going in the rite direction. Then to help the effect I smudged it using a heavy blur and lowered the opacity. I also have a camera move key framed into the animation to give it more of a dynamic feel.
So how did I come to use these techniques?
For weeks I have been mocking up scenes for my project. I have used tutorials , books and forums for answers to problems that have arisen. One such site has been a major help .
Basically the point I am trying to make is to learn After Effects I have had to understand conceptually how things fit whether it be light and how it moves , to colour casts and real world object behaviours. Then I have gone forward researched and sampled different techniques for the same scene. There are so many techniques that I have thrown many attempts away until I have found something that works for me.