I was recently hired to be the Green Rater on a LEED for Homes project that is already under construction. This particular project is a fraternity house and the delay was due to a late decision to pursue LEED certification.Apparently there was some confusion as to whether it was a commercial or residential building and if it should be considered a single family or multifamily structure. All these issues preceded my involvement – I am now involved and will work diligently to keep the project on track.We had our first meeting with the project team recently, and I am hopeful that the project will go smoothly. The contractor is large and experienced and should have no problem keeping up with the documentation required. The architect is involved in project administration as well, providing much needed services for both construction and certification.This is a refreshing change from the single-family projects I work on, many of which are never certified because the contractors have neither the staff nor the time to assemble all the necessary documentation through the process. They usually give up on certification, happy just to have the project done and get their money.Well documented and easy to manageThis fraternity house project, while not planned from the start as a green building, was reasonably well thought out, and the design included several high performance features that should make it fairly simple to certify. It is a typical college building with brick veneer, columns, portico, and dormers. No particular consideration was given to solar orientation — which is unfortunate, considering that the building is in a hot southern climate, but not unusual.Oh, how I would love to be involved in a project early enough to have some real impact on the performance of a building! Still, given the limitations of my involvement, this project should proceed smoothly with an involved architect and an organized contractor.A telling commentIn our design review meeting, during a discussion on HVAC systems, the contractor pointed out that while the windows were designed to be operable, the building was designed and engineered to be sealed all the time, with heating, cooling, or heat recovery operating 24/7.I understand the challenges of managing space heating and cooling in a large building and, from an engineering and management point of view, of not letting the occupants open windows. I’ve seen too many centrally heated buildings with half the windows are open to keep people from overheating during the winter from uncontrollable heating systems. But in a climate where the weather is comfortable and pleasant much of the year, in this day and age, to design a building that uses energy to condition air full time seems to me to be a losing proposition.They could have designed it with sensors that turned off the HVAC systems when windows are open, along with some training and an effort to engage the fraternity brothers in saving energy. It’s sad that first costs are so important, particularly to an organization that certainly intends to own and manage their building for many years and could benefit from lower operating costs.
Quickly improve the quality of your footage or create a stylized look with these 5 simple color effects inside Adobe After Effects.With each new Adobe release, there is more cross over of the same effects and features between Photoshop, Premiere Pro and After Effects. The following 5 effects originated in Photoshop, but are now useful image tools in After Effects.These effects all fall into the Color Correction category. You apply them to your footage by selecting the layer and going to Effect > Color Correction or by typing the name of the effect in the “Effects & Presets Panel”.When you need a quick color correction fix or want to add style to your footage, each of these After Effects tools can really come in handy.After Effects: Shadow/HighlightShadow/Highlight is an After Effects tool that can quickly bring out details in underexposed or overexposed footage. By default, when you use shadow/highlight, After Effects will apply an automatic setting. For more control uncheck “auto amounts” and manually drag the shadow and highlight sliders. Then click the twirly for “More Options” to tweak the radius and black/white point settings. You can also choose “Blend with Original” to dial in the look and keyframe if needed.See the example images below, demonstrating how Shadow/Highlight can make your footage more dynamic.Original: Got After Effects quick tips to share?What app do you use for color correction?Share your thoughts/experiences in the comments below! With Shadow/Highlight:After Effects Photo FilterThe After Effects Photo Filter mimics traditional warming and cooling filters that go on camera lenses. I used the default 85 Warming Filter and increased the density to 51% to get more of an end of day look.Leave “luminosity” checked to keep the brightness the same.Original:With Photo Filter: After Effects VibranceVibrance increases the saturation of the less saturated colors in an image, but it doesn’t make the already saturated colors garish. This generally gives you more natural looking results than only increasing saturation.After Effects Tip: When stacking effects, the order can give you different results. If I drag Vibrance before Photo Filter, it will be boosting the original colors and not the warm color of the Photo Filter. I’ve turned off Photo Filter so you can see the result better.After Effects LevelsAfter Effects Levels uses a histogram that shows you the blacks, mids, and whites of an image. In my example, the image is flat and needs more black.The triangles with the histogram adjust the input levels, and the sliders below that with the Black to White gradient adjust the output sliders.Drag the black triangle until it touches the edge of the histogram to correct the exposure of the clip. The middle gray slider is gamma or mid tones. Dragging this to the left brightens the mid tones.Dragging Input Black to the right increases black, while dragging Output Black to the right decreases black. Dragging Input White to the left increases brightness, while dragging Output White to the left decreases the white.Before Levels:After Levels:Image with Levels Applied:After Effects Black & WhiteThe After Effects Black & White filter gives you more control than the Hue/Saturation filter, when converting a color image to black & white.For a stylized look, we could put the Black & White effect on an adjustment layer and change the opacity of the layer or put it in a blending mode like Soft Light.