T354 Week 6 - Spring 2013
Please keep your work original and make sure you showcase your design skills. Creative portfolio projects should highlight what you can do- not what others can do. Make sure you allot adequate time to design and execute your project. Please try different treatments and subjects and try a variety of different styles.
- Look at artwork
- After Effects (continue/review animating text, anchor points,
track mattes & audio)
After Effects (continued)
- Text - text layer tool
- Fading to black
- Nesting comps & Pre-composing
- Setting a work area
- Rendering out work area or length of comp
- Making small, half-sized movies
Review text layer tool, basic text and path text.
How can you get text into an After Effects composition? There are three
basic ways. Each has its merits.
Photoshop: You can use the text tools in Photoshop,
then import your work into After Effects. This is quick and easy if you
are working with pre-existing Photoshop files. Remember to import Photoshop
files as compositions to retain layer positioning. The down side with
using Photoshop text graphics is that you cant scale the text up
past 100 percent without getting jaggies, as it imports the text as bitmapped
graphics. You are also limited in the parameters you can animate and
I often create mockups in Photoshop which I import into AE and serve as guides. The text can then be replaced with text generated from within AE.
After Effects: There are several ways to generate text
in After Effects. In the tool palette, you can use the text tool to
create a new text layer. This is a good way to generate large layers
of text for applications like credit rolls, or paragraphs of text. Note
that the text layers you create with this tool can be re-shaped using
the drag points.
Note: A few favorite text effects: Basic & Path
Text have been moved to "Effects ->Obsolete", as they are now available through the text layer controls. If you want to use them you must first create a solid (make sure it's
big enough) - then choose "Basic text or Path text from
the "Effects ->Obsolete" menu. This gives you scalable, vector graphics with parameters
you can animate. The down side is that you are limited in the amount
of text you can make.
Follow a path - Make a few words with the text tool. Now make a curved line with the pen tool on the text layer. Toggle the arrow down to reveal "path options". Choose your mask as the path. Now animate the "first margin". Pretty cool, eh!
Illustrator: Adobe Illustrator provides very precise
control of stroke, fills, kerning, leading and other type-related parameters. Perhaps
the greatest benefit is that Illustrator lets you convert fonts
into vector artwork using the "create outlines" command. How many times have you been working on a document on one computer and opened it on another to find that the font is missing? When you convert the font to vector artwork using the "create outlines" command yo can take it with you wherever you go.
Creating outlines from text in Illustrator:
- Create a new document the size of your text block. Start with "Basic RGB and use
either points or pixels, as they are interchangeable. It doesn't have to match the proportions of a TV
screen, but should be sized to hold the entire block of text you'll
be working with. For instance if you were making a long credit roll for DV,
you might want to make document that is 720 x 7000 pixels in size.
- Use the text tool to define the text block and type or import your
text, paying attention to tracking, leading, kerning etc.
- To modify your text, you'll want the Character Tool (COMMAND T), which should also give you the Paragraph Tool (OPTION COMMAND T).
- You also might want to assign a stroke and fill. You can modify these colors later in After Effects.
- After you are satisfied, save your Illustrator file so that you can
go back and make changes later.
- Select your text with the selection (arrow) tool so that all the
text becomes highlighted. Then choose "make outlines" from
the drop down menu (SHIFT - COMMAND - O). This will turn your text from a font into vector
- You can make crop marks by using the rectangle tool to define the
area that contains the text. Then choose "make crop marks"
from the drop down menu. This will turn your rectangle corners into
crop marks and define the part of the image that will be imported into
- Save your new file (make sure you don't write over your first one)
- Import into AE. Since the text is imported as a vector graphic, it
will scale very nicely.
Making Scrolling Credits
After Effects is a perfect tool to make rolling credits. Here are a few pointers:
- Start out with a tall comp to place your text into. (If you were making this for broadcast 1080i, you might have a comp sized something like 1920 x 20000 29.97 30 seconds long.)
- Create an output comp (E.g. 1920 x 1080) and nest the tall comp inside it.
- Simply animate the position (Y value) as desired.
- When you output your movie, you'll need a codec with an alpha channel. I'd likely use the Animation codec with alpha channel. (RGB+).
Star Wars Opening - In-class Exercise:
- In this exercise you'll make rolling text similar to the opening of Star Wars. While you should feel free to take liberties with the text, you'll want to re-create the approximate size, speed and angle of the wall of text. Getting the right size and speed take a little finessing.
- Make this in 16x9 in an HD format (E.g. 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720)
- Put your completed, H.264 "star wars" movie into
your Week 6 folder. Please make sure it's called "starwars".
While After Effects is not ideally suited for manipulating sound, it
offers a handful of useful audio tools. Considering that sound is perhaps
the most important component in animation, it's important to understand
at least the basics.
First off remember to copy your audio into your local media folder *before*
you import it and try to work with it.
After Effects does not work well with compressed audio (eg. MP3s). Make
sure all of your audio is in PCM (digital audio) format (WAV or AIF) in the proper sample size.
NOTE: If you need some audio/video clips for today's exercise you can download some here (245 MB Zip file).
It's often necessary to time movements of visual elements to the rhythm
of music or to have explosions coincide with sound effects. If you've
worked in After Effects you've probably noticed that it won't necessarily
play your audio when you hit the spacebar or do a RAM preview.
For a real-time audio preview, press the period/decimal point key on
the numeric keypad. It will sacrifice visuals to provide an audio preview.
You can then set markers by tapping on the asterisk key. You can slide
them around to fine tune them. They can be deleted by right-clicking or
control clicking them.
If your audio doesn't play long enough, check your audio preview settings
Import some audio into your project and into your timeline. Then you
can click on the arrow putton to expand the view and show level. Note
you can set keyframes and adjust the volume. If you view the audio monitor
you can also set levels and keyframes there as well.
- Try previewing the audio.
- Tap the asterisk key while it's playing to set layer markers.
Audio Spectrum and Audio Waveform are two cool effects you can use with
sound. Note: Audio Spectrum and Audio Waveform effects must be
applied to a layer other than the audio. Solid layers work well
If you want to use Audio Spectrum or Audio Waveform:
First make sure you have an audio layer in your comp. Then create
a new solid layer. Apply the audio effect to the solid layer. (Effects
-> Render -> Audio Spectrum / Audio Waveform.) Make sure the "Audio
Layer" pull-down selector is pointing to the audio layer. Try
experimenting with the controls.
What is a matte? A matte is a layer or a channel that defines the transparency
of that layer or another layer. (Like an alpha channel in Photoshop) Some
like to think of it as a cookie cutter.
Track mattes need two layers to work. One layer acts as a matte or cookie
cutter, the other layer provides the filling.
Track mattes can be
used to insert an image into a defined shape. For example you can
insert moving video into some text or the shape of an oval.
About Alpha Channels in After Effects:
AE considers each image to be 32 bits RGB+Alpha. Thats 8 bits
per channel (4 x 8 = 32)
When the alpha channel is black, the corresponding pixels of the RGB
image are transparent.
When the alpha channel is white, the corresponding pixels are opaque,
or not transparent.
When you import an RGB image with no alpha channel into AE, it gives
it one anyway. Its all white, so the image is not transparent.
If the matte you want to use has or resides in the alpha channel, use
the Alpha Matte option. If it is a grayscale image, use the
Luma Matte option.
To use Track Mattes, follow these three simple rules:
- Make sure you see your modes in the timeline columns.
- If you can't see
the "mode - track matte" panel, then right click the top menu bar in the timeline. You will get
a pop-up window. Select Columns -> Modes and your mode - track matte
panel should appear in the timeline window.
Alternatively, you can click on the arrow in the top, right-hand corner of the timeline to get the same thing.
- Place the matte layer (cookie cutter) directly above the layer that
will serve as the fill.
- On the fill layer, set the track matte popup menu to use either alpha
or luma of the matte layer.
- Note that "inverted" is an option.
Use this if you want to reverse the fill (fill outside the cookie cutter
rather than inide it). Note that the matte (cookie cutter) layer will automatically have its visibility turned off.
Track Matte Exercise:
In this exercise well superimpose a picture onto some
text which will in turn move over another picture.
- Start a new D1 4 x 3 Comp: 720 x 486 29.97 fps, 15 seconds long
- Import two movies (from the Movies folder on your CMG CD)
- Place both pictures in your timeline window
- Use a text layer to type in MATTE or a word of your choice. Set the
point size to be big, about 225 or so.
- Make sure your solid/text layer is the top layer and that the movies
are at the bottom
- Select the switches/modes button at the bottom of the
time layout window to access the transfer modes.
- Experiment with the different track matte options for the movie layer.
For instance, try to matte a picture into the text.
- Once youve mastered this see if you can figure out how to add
drop shadow to the text.
- Fine tune your track matte
- Add some audio.
- Render it out
as an 720 x 486 H.264 movie
- Make sure it's called "trackmatte"
- Place it into your week 6 folder
- Read Meyer book chapters 9, 10 & 11
- Create a functioning and well-timed opening title sequence. It should last 10-15 seconds.
Remember to keep it original and showcase your design skills. Make sure your
comp is full size in a format you can use, (HD 1920 x 1080 for example), but render out a square pixel H.264 version to turn in.
- Must contain audio (don't forget to fade it out along with the video)
- Must have at least one track matte
- Must contain at least one animated mask
- Turn in a movie with an accompanying critique form, Be sure to identify how you used the track matte, and mask (along with the usual information)
- Turn in your proposal & script or storyboard for your your midterm
project. Be sure to think about its purpose, overall length, duration
of the various
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