Knoll Light Factory and Optical Flares are great plugins to create stunning and amazing lens flares, but only if you can afford it. For those who are amateurs and don’t necessarily want to shell out some extra cash for lens flares or you’re hesitant because you hardly use lens flares, you can actually achieve some pretty decent results using the default Lens Flare effect in After Effects.
I’ve been tweaking and messing with the default Lens Flare in After Effects to get some decent results as we all know the 3 default flares look kind of ’90′s retro’. A lot of the techniques involved are from Harry Frank’s ‘Reviving AE Lens Flare‘ tutorial, but I’ve added a few additional parameters and elements. The techniques involves quite a bit of basic expressions so if you’re uncomfortable with expressions, this should give you a better understanding and prep you to get your foot wet.