Week 6 - Spring 2006


  • Review Artwork & Final Project Ideas
  • Finish up After Effects (time stretching & tidbits)
  • Tour of Motion
  • Motion tutorial


  • Timing seems to be a challenge for some. Create a work area and use the RAM preview to work on a section at a time. Think about the order you bring elements in on the screen and the timing it takes to process (read) the words. Many are bringing on elements to slowly and then not leaving other words up long enough to read.
  • Most of the text created in AE was extremely simple- no stroking of the edge, no filters, no parameters (tracking, size, leading) were changed. Strive not just for good animation, but for good design. You ought to be able to take a still image out of your animation and have solid graphic design.
  • Use high contrast to make your text stand out from the background. You can also apply any number of filters to make it look more interesting or organic.

Setting up your compositions

If you are working with a particular kind of video (DV for instance), start off with a comp that matches your target codec. But if you need to, you can always place one comp inside another comp to re-size it. For example you can place a 720 x 540 comp inside of a 720 x 480 comp to output it for DV.


Clips can be trimmed in the Timeline or in the Layer Window. Import a video clip into the Timeline. Slide the layer to the right a little so it doesn't start at 0. Double click the clip in the Timeline to open the layer window. The display shows 3 sets of counter numbers: in point, out point and duration.

Position the Layer window so you can see the Timeline. Note the in and out points in the Timeline. Move the time indicator somewhere near the beginning of the clip and press the in-point button. The duration value in the Layer window updates accordingly and the clip slides forward in the Timeline.

Now try dragging the triangulur handle in the Timeline. This is another way you can move in and out points.

As you may know, pressing the left bracket [ button re-positions the layer to begin at wherever the time indicator is. With video clips, it will reposition the layer's in point to the current time indicator.

Slip Edits

Once you have a video clip (or any other layer that changes over time) in your Timeline, you may want to slide the video around without messing up your in and out points relative to the Timeline. In other words you want to do a slip edit.

Position the video clip so you can see the in and out points. Select the Pan Behind tool from the Tools palette and position the pointer over the video clips. It changes into a left-right arrow. You're now in Slip mode. Try dragging the pointer to the left and right with your video clip layer selected. It slides the clip around while retaining the in and out points relative to the Timeline.

Time Stretching

Time Stretching is easy in After Effects. As with most effects, there are a number of ways you can access it.

  • With the layer highlighted in the Timeline, select: Layer -> Time Stretch to open the Time Stretch window.
  • Control click or right-click on the headings in the TImeline and turn on Stretch (If it's not already on). Stretch values will appear in the Timeline. Click on one to open the Time Stretch window.

In the Time Stretch window you can either enter a value other than 100% or make a new duration.

Note that you can also select a different item to hold in place other than the Layer in point, (which is the default as it's what we usually expect when we enable slow motion or fast motion).

Note: Time stretching is NOT a good way to change the duration of still images.

Time re-mapping

Time remapping is a bit more interesting than simple time stretching. You can use it to vary time and the rate in which motion changes occur.

To use it first import a comp or a video clip. (something with movement)

The, highlight the layer and select Layer -> Enable Time Remapping.

Expand the layer's arrows to show the time remapping controls. You'll see two keyframes. One at the start of the clip, the other at the end.

What the numbers mean:

The number next to Time remap shows what frame is being displayed.

Value Time: The max is the length of the movie file. The value line is a visual cue as to what parts are playing and if they are playing forward or backward

Velocity time: The middle number is the important one. It shows how fast the movie is playing and if it’s going forward or backward (uses a minus sign for backward) The numbers at the top & bottom simply show the maximum time change used.

Try adding a couple keyframes in the middle. Then you can slide the time values p and down, or the keyframes left and right.

Gradient Wipes

You can duplicate many popular wipe transitions with the transition tools. To use these you'll need to set two keyframes, one at the beginning of the transtion and one at the end.

In-class Exercise:

Resize and incorporate at least two of the provided video clips in any way you desire. Apply a time-remap to one clip and a time stretch to another. Render out a movie no longer than 15 seconds and place it in your week 6 folder. Make sure your movie is small (320 x 240) and in the animation codec!

Motion Tour & Overview

Motion is a new tool from Apple that simplifies the process of creating complex motion graphics.

Motion is format and resolution independent. You can work in a variety of formats from small multimedia movies to DV and HD.


Motion tour

View Apple's Motion Quicktours

Getting Started with Motion

Project Properties (under the edit menu) - This allows you to setup the dimensions of your project, the timing, background color, etc.

Good Motion Shortcuts:

  • F5 - Show project pane / layers
  • F6 - Show timing
  • F7 - Toggle dashboard on and off
  • F8 - Full screen mode
  • C - Circle tool
  • R - Rectangle tool
  • T - Text tool
  • B - Bezier tool

In-class Exercise:

Work through the getting started with motion tutorial (The one with the dolphins)

Make a folder (give it your login name) in the T454 week6 folder on the Scratch drive. Place your completed tutorial in your folder along with a critique. The critique should be a paragraph or two describing your initial impressions of Motion. What was easy or difficult?



  • Go to motionsmarts.com and work through David Nagel's Replicator flow tutorial. Create a DV-sized movie of your work and bring in to Tuesday's lab.
  • If you are having fun try another Motion tutorial, this time on using filters.
  • View & analyze a commercially-produced DVD:
    • Write a 2-page analysis of the interface. What insight can you provide as to the aesthetics and usability of the interface? What did you like or dislike about it?
    • Bring in the DVD to show in class next week. Prepare a 5-minute oral presentation to give in lab.
  • Study for the Quiz for next week (Will cover AE and a little Motion. Weeks 4-6)


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Last Updated: August 24, 2005