T354 Week 4 - Spring 2014
- Note: Be sure to read the assignment criteria carefully. Be sure to also fill out "What did you create?"and "Objective/Purpose". This is very important. Please consider if you put CRAP to work. Think of the TV images you examined and captured during week 1. Strive
to make yours well-composed and strong.
- Look at artwork
- Photoshop tidbits
- Review/ take quiz (Tuesday)
- Tour of After Effects
- In-class exercise
NOTE: Please Place your homework in a folder, named
after your login in the "Resources" section of our Oncourse class. Make sure your graphcis are titled as outlined in the instructions.
Photoshop odds & ends -----------------------
Blending images - Transfer modes
Transfer modes determine how an image blends with those beneath it.
It is an amazingly simple way to get interesting image effects.
Adjustment layers are special layers that affect how the layers beneath them appear. This is a nice way to create effects or carry out processes such as exposure adjustments. One great feature about them is that the layers below that are being affected are not actually modified. It's like a special efects layers off sorts.
Students: You'll need to start bringing your portable hard
drive in order to transport your project and media files.
After Effects is an animation and compositing program that supports
a broad range of formats and resolutions. After Effects can
a wide range of animations, from small web banners
to large film and 4K video projects.
After Effects is format and
work in square or non-square pixels.
Some have characterized it as Photoshop on wheels. It works with layers, just like Photoshop, but you can animate and move them.
Getting Started - Organizing projects and files
You can import a wide variety of different media into After Effects,
which you can then animate or process with effects. It's best if the source
media files aren't compressed (MP3s, MPEG-2 video etc). This can cause
Make sure all audio is PCM (uncompressed): AIFF or WAV files.
Using Flash files: Export
them first as Quicktime using Flash, *then* bring them into After Effects.
Stop and think before you import! Move your media into your media folder before importing. It's important to understand that
when you import footage files into AE, it uses pointers that reference
storage, internet, Zip disk etc). Importing a file into your
project doesnt move it- it just sets up the initial relationship
with the file.
It's crucial that your media source files retain the same physical
relationship with your project files. A good way to guarantee
this is to create a master media folder for a project. (If you'd
like you can
create sub folders within your master folder for your video, graphics
& audio media.) Keep your project files (.aep files) and your media
within your master folder. If you need to move or backup your project,
move the entire master folder as a whole.
So if you want to work with a graphic or an audio clip, first
copy it into your master folder (and maybe into its appropriate sub folder),
then import it into your project.
Question: Say someone gave you a file on a CD that
you wanted to include in your project. What would you do?
Answer: Copy it into your media folder, *then* import it.
Once again, for your sanity make sure you keep all your files in one
master directory and maintain the relationship of your AEP project files
and media files.
Speed & Safety
To play back animations in After Effects in real-time,
you'll need a relatively decent CPU, as much RAM as possible, and a fast hard drive. Otherwise you likely encounter hiccups or stutters when playing back movies. CDs, DVDs, and network connections
aren't usually fast enough to play back media in real-time. Internal
hard drives, RAIDs, and
external firewire or USBII drives are the best way to go. Because
of this, it's best to work off of a portable firewire drive, or off
of the internal scratch drive on the lab computers.
Create your master folder on your portable hard drive if you have one,
or on the internal scratch drive of the lab computer you'll be working
on. Give it an appropriate name (like T354_"your
login name"). Assuming you have a portable firewire drive, you can
simply take it with you when you leave the lab. However, it's wise to
back up your projects onto CD or onto the lab server occasionally, as
every hard drive is destined for the junkyard sooner or later.
Back up your work - To back up your work,
make a practice of routinely copying the entire master folder (which contains all of your projects and
media) onto another hard drive. In the Production
lab, you can use the temporary network storage, but be sure to follow
conventions outlined on the wall. It's a good idea to asume that
your hard drive will crash, so
keep backup copies of your work. (I like my media in three places.)
Tour of the Interface
- Project window
- Composition Window
AE tour - Making a new project
The project window is a file that references other footage, files and
layout info- similar to Avid's or Premiere's windows.
You can customize the view in the Project window (drag headers around)
Hold the control button down & see what happens.
You can also create new folders within the Project window.
Importing Photoshop layers individually verses importing as a comp. When
you import individual layers from Photoshop you lose the positioning information.
Compare that with importing a Photoshop file as a comp. It retains all
the layers and positioning.
Interpret imported alpha channels
(You can guess, choose straight, or pre-multiplied)
Create compositions (Command/Apple N creates a new comp. Command/Apple
K brings up the comp settings)
Add layers to comps can be done easily by dragging items into either
the composition window or the timeline.
Warning: Wherever your time indicator is becomes the in point for your
Change background color. The background layer can be set to any color
you want. When you render/make a movie and choose RGB + Alpha
and Millions of Colors +, it renders the background as transparent,
making an alpha channel in the movie.
The basic changes you can make to a layer.
- A - Anchor point
- P - Position
- S - Scale
- R - Rotation
- T - OpaciTy.
Change position keyframes by dragging
For any animation to happen you need at least two keyframes.
You can set an initial keyframe for a layer by clicking on the stopwatch
icon. Anytime you change the parameter you've clicked the stopwatch icon
for, a new keyframe is automatically created wherever your position indicator
is. An X will appear in the keyframe box.
You can navigate from keyframe to keyframe by the arrow icons. You can
remove a keyframe by highlighting it and pressing delete or by unchecking
the check box to the left.
Keyframe interpolation - You can set how keyframes react
temporally and spatially (time and space). Temporal keyframes
effect how the keyframe is applied over time (slow down, speed up, stop)
Spatial keyframes effect how the keyframe effects the
layer within the space of the composition.
You can set keyframes to be linear, auto bezier, or continous bezier.
Linear keyframes mean the change will occor at a constant
rate. Spatially, objects would move in a straight line. Temporally, objects
effects will take place at a steady rate of speed.
adjust velocity graphs - again this can be done temporally or spatially
Replace footage layers highlight the footage you want to replace. Option-drag
the new footage into the timeline window.
To play your compositions: Pressing the spacebar does NOT always do the trick.
Use RAM previews to play back sections smoothly: Press the 0 key on the numeric keypad.
Rename layers (Highlight the layer and press return. Then you can rename
Duplicate layers. (Apple-D does the trick)
precompose multiple layers
Find the button to turn on the safe text grid in your comp window. Use
You can create and use guides in the comp window.
It works just like Photoshop: Show rulers, then drag the guides in from
Set the work area (B and N keys) This effects RAM previews and rendering.
Command - / adds footage to the center of a comp
Command - Option - F fits layer to comp size
Command D duplicates a layer
Command - shift - \ resize window to fill screen
Command B: sends layer to back
Command F: sends layer to front
Command Up Arrow: send layer up one level
Command Down Arrow: send layer down one level
Press tab key to hide or display all open palettes & toolbox
Command - G displays "Go to ________"
Pressing the period key zooms in (in Comp window)
Pressing the comma key zooms out (in Comp window)
Pressing Command apostrophe key shows grid (in Comp window)
Work area: b for beginning, n for ending
Type 0 (on numeric keypad) for real time wire frame preview
For layer windows:
u = Show any keyframes
m = Mask
f = Feather
e = Effect
a = Anchor point
p = Position
s = Scale
r = Rotation
t = Opacity (transparency)
l = Audio levels (levels)
By holding down the shift key you can add or subtract properties. So S
+ (shift + p) = scale and position
Making a Movie:
To make a movie, select your composition, then press Control-Command-M or choose
"Add to Render Queue" from the drop-down Composition menu at the top
of the screen.
The first things it asks is for the name and where to save it.
You should then get the render window, with your composition at the bottom
of the list of items to render. Click on the Render settings: Current
Settings to open up quality and resolution settings. You can select "best"
for quality and pick a size for resolution (full, half etc). Be sure to
think about if you want to render your entire comp or just the work area.
This selection is near bottom of the left hand side of the window.
Once you OK this, back at the render window click on "Output module:
Lossless" to open up the format settings. I'd go with Quicktime,
under the format drop down menu. Under format options, simply select the codec you want to use (DV, HDV, etc.). If you have audio, you need to check the "audio output"
box or you won't get a soundtrack. Once you "ok" this you should be back at the render window.
Select render and it will start making your movie.
Do some basic animation with one of your TV graphics. You'll first have
to import your Photoshop file as a composition (not as footage). Then make sure the composition
length is set to something meangingful, like 15 seconds or so.
Animate your graphic fading up from black at the beginning and fading
out to black at the end. You can easily do this by adding a black solid
as the topmost layer in your AE compostion. Then simply add some opacity
keyframes. On the black solid layer put a keyframe at frame 0- then make
it 100, add another keyframe 15 frames in and make it 0. Get the idea?
Do the reverse at the end of your timeline.
After you master the fade up from black and fade down at the end,
try animating some of the layers. For example you can make the main
title slide in using position keyframes.
Output an HD H.264 (1920x1080) movie saved as your username. Place it in your week 4 folder.
(Start in-class if time allows) Work through
two of Trish Meyers tutorials.
They will provide an
excellent start to AE.
- Read and work through the first 3 chapters of Creating Motion Graphics with
- Animate a 15 second 16x9 animated promo or title. It should start and end in black. This could be one of your Photoshop titles or promo graphics.
Think about your graphic's message and the order and timing you want
to bring in the information.
- Render out a full-sized, H.264 version called your username for viewing in
class (1920 x 1080).
- Use the T354 critique form.
- Bring in a Photoshop graphic (promo or title, etc.) that you would
like to animate. It can be one of your existing works.
- Bring in a portable USB hard drive.
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