Sometimes you just need to create a plain old layer to apply effects to. Solids are just right for this purpose, and for lots of other uses in After Effects. This video shows you how to create solid-color layers and walks you through some of their uses.
Missing effects alerts can happen when moving work from one machine to another, or if somebody gives you a project that they built on another machine. In this video you'll find out exactly what this all means and how to deal with it.
New users often get confused when they can't access menu items or when the software behaves in an odd way. This video teaches you how to think your way through the problems you may encounter so that you can gain confidence and understanding.
Before diving in to the details, you'll want to get a big-picture view of After Effects. In this video, you'll see how the pieces fit together and learn the basic terms that will be used throughout this training.
Before you start following along with the instructions in this training, it will help to learn what the controls are called and where things are located. You'll learn about the basic controls and the most commonly used panels in this section.
In this video, you'll learn the basic controls in the Project panel for managing footage items and see how the Flowchart panel can be used to get an overview of connections between compositions and footage items.
The Composition panel provides many controls for viewing and assembling compositions, and the Layer panel provides similar controls for working with one layer at a time. In this lesson, you'll learn what each of these controls does and how each can be used to get the right view of your work. You'll alsp earn the controls for using masks, effects, and paint tools in the Layer panel.
In this video you'll learn the basic controls in the Timeline panel for managing, viewing, and modifying layers and their properties. You'll also see how to show and hide columns in the Timeline panel and enable layer and composition switches.
There are many ways to play and preview portions of your movies as you work. In this lesson, you'll learn the basic controls in the Preview panel for playing and previewing compositions, as well as the difference between RAM previews and standard (Spacebar) previews.
After Effects comes with hundreds of effects and animation presets. In this video, you'll learn how to use the Effects & Presets panel and Adobe Bridge to browse, apply, and preview effects and animation presets. You'll also see how to view and save animation presets and effects in the Effect Controls panel.
Colors are represented as red, green, and blue channels, and there's an additional channel that defines transparency – the alpha channel. In this video, you'll see how to control how you view the information about these channels. You'll also learn how to pick a color in various contexts and change the color bit depth to remove banding and increase precision.
This section contains some examples of animations made in After Effects along with explanations of how they were made. This will give you an idea of what is possible before we start exploring After Effects in detail.
After Effects Jumpstart
In this example you'll see how easy it is to create graphics from absolutely nothing, directly within After Effects. You'll also see how to create 3D environments and build scenes for your animations.
This project was a test project for a job for the BBC. They needed a minute of lip-synced animation and I needed to complete the project in a day. This is the project I put together as a test to see if the technique would work. Luckily, it did and I got the job done on time! Audio used by permission. "Memories Of Your Own" - Words and Music by Jason A. Levine
After Effects has great tools for character animation called the Puppet tools. The Puppet Pin tool places a mesh over your footage using the alpha channel. You can add points to this mesh that allow to distort it and animate it, providing some really natural movement for your animations and motion graphics projects. You'll see an example of what can be done with the Puppet tools in this video.
The paint tools in After Effects are usually used for cloning or filling in mattes, but they can also be used to create stop-motion-style animation. In this movie you'll see how they can be used to create a stop-motion style without the need for painful frame-by-frame tweaking of keyframes or drawings.
In this example you'll see how to desaturate an entire movie, leaving only one color, using the Leave Color effect. You'll also see how to change only one color in an image using the Change To Color effect.
Every person, project, and computer system are different. In this chapter you'll learn how to configure After Effects to match your needs, the capabilities of your computer system, and the needs of your projects.
Setup: Memory, Hardware, and Preferences
Getting After Effects set up to suit your working style, computer system, and project needs is crucial. In this lesson you'll learn how to change preference settings, including keyboard shortcuts, and reset preferences to return to the default state of the application.
You can configure the After Effects interface to suit your needs. In this video you'll see how to change the arrangement, size, and visibility of panels; choose a preset workspace; create a workspace of your own and save it with a custom name; and reset a workspace to its default state.
After Effects CS5 is a 64-bit application that can take full advantage of large amounts of RAM and multiple processors (CPUs), but setting the appropriate preferences is crucial. In this lesson you'll learn how to configure After Effects to use RAM and CPUs (processors) as appropriate for your computer system, your footage, and your project needs. You'll also see what hardware factors affect performance and what improvements can be made to increase performance.
After Effects allows you to create vector shape layers right inside the application without having to use other software to prepare the files. This video takes you through the basics and shows you how to use the extensive controls in the Composition panel and the Timeline panel to create organic shapes and patterns for your creations.
Sometimes you just need to create a plain old layer to apply effects to. Solids are just right for this purpose, and for lots of other uses in After Effects. This video shows you how to create solid-color layers and walks you through some of their uses.
In this chapter you'll learn how to bring various types of files into After Effects. You'll also see how to make sure After Effects interprets these files correctly and how to manage them once you get them in.
Importing, Interpreting, and Managing Footage
In this section you'll learn how to import files and determine what kind of information is in those files.
Before you can do anything with your source files, you need to get them into After Effects. In this lesson you'll learn how to import files, create a folder, and import footage items into a folder. We'll also look at using Adobe Bridge to browse, preview, and import movies.
Most high-end visual effects work is done using image sequences rather than movie files, and most motion graphics projects require the use of still images as sources. In this video you'll learn how to import a numbered series of still images as a still-image sequence and use it as a single footage item. You'll also see how to hange footage interpretation settings so that the still-image sequence has the desired frame rate and learn best practices for preparing still images before importing them.
You can import layered image files from Photoshop and Illustrator and preserve the layers for individual animation. In this lesson you'll learn how to preserve layers and how to prepare images before importing them to make animation most efficient. We'll also look at importing Photoshop files and Illustrator files as footage items, with layers merged into a single image.
Reusing elements from other After Effects projects or collaborating with other artists is easy when you import one project into another. In this video you'll learn how to import one project into another and how to only keep the parts that you need.
Sometimes, you need to tell After Effects how to use source files. This sections shows you how to set various parameters for how files are interpreted and used.
Interpreting and Managing Footage
When files are imported into After Effects, After Effects makes informed guesses about some characteristics of those files. Sometimes it gets things wrong. In this video, you'll learn how to change how a single footage item is interpreted using the Interpret Footage dialog box; copy and paste footage interpretation settings from one footage item to several others; and modify the rules used for interpretation so that a particular type of footage is always interpreted as you specify.
If After Effects misinterprets field order, or if you don't tell it to separate fields, the result can look rather bad. In this video you'll learn about fields in interlaced video and see how to separate fields before working with a footage item in a composition.
Different video devices record and play video with different pixel aspect ratios. In this lesson, you'll learn how to change the interpretation settings to assign the correct pixel aspect ratio to a footage item and change the composition settings to determine the pixel aspect ratio for a movie.
You often only need a piece of a footage item in a given composition. In this video you'll learn how to trim footage items so that layers based on them contain only specified frames, and how to trim, extend, and slip-edit layers in a composition.
The most important aspect of learning to fully understand After Effects is getting to grips with how After Effects handles animation. Once you have mastered the topics covered in this chapter, you can really do anything in this powerful application.
Each layer in After Effects has five basic properties, which you'll learn to understand in this section.
Animating the Transform Properties
Many of the terms used in After Effects come from traditional animation. Terms like keyframe and tweening are explained here. You'll also discover how these terms relate and compare to the work you do in After Effects.
In this video, you'll learn about the five basic transform properties and how to animate them. We'll start by creating keyframed animation of individual layers, then apply keyframe assistants like Easy Ease to fine-tune the animation.
The paths that your layers travel are determined by Bezier-style motion paths. In this lesson you'll learn how you can change the shape of this path, move it, and even copy and paste it to other layers. Selecting and moving keyframes will also be covered here.
The Motion Sketch panel is every animator's best friend. Here you'll get some familiarity with it and learn about possible pitfalls before they happen to you! You'll also see how you can use the Smoother to smooth out complicated motion paths and the Wiggler to add randomness to an existing animation.
Panning and zooming around still image files is a cheap way of creating moving footage, so it's bread and butter for motion graphic designers. In this section you'll learn the best approach to panning and zooming using After Effects.
Panning and Zooming
Panning and zooming may seem like a straightforward idea but there are a few gotchas to avoid. This video shows you how to set up After Effects to make this kind of animation a breeze.
In this lesson you'll see how to avoid the gotchas involved with panning and zooming, learning how to animate properties and control motion paths using the Layer panel to control a layer's anchor point property.
The Graph Editor may seem intimidating but really it's a designer's best friend, allowing you to get a visual understanding of motion. In this video you'll also learn about the different keyframe types available in After Effects.
If you spend a lot of time setting up complex animations, you may want to save them so you can use them again in later projects. In this tutorial you'll see how to save your animations as motion presets that can be re-applied to other layers and other projects.
The Align panel may have humble origins but can be a powerful animation tool if combined with a little imagination and know-how. This video takes the Align panel to the limits and shows you how you can really push even the most apparently basic of features to be a powerful creative tool.
You can animate effect properties in a variety of different ways using keyframes or expressions.This section explores the basics of animating effect and layer style properties.
Animating Effect Properties
After Effects not only allows you to animate an effect, but also allows you to animate practically any property from an effect. The plus side of this is a vast amount of creative flexibility; the downside is that it can be overwhelming. In this tutorial you'll get comfortable with animating individual effect properties.
Layer styles provide a quick, flexible way of adding design elements like shadows, bevels, and glows to layers. These can be imported live from Photoshop or applied within After Effects. In this video you'll learn how to make the most of them.
Text layers and shape layers are similar in the ways they can be animated. This chapter will explain the idiosyncrasies involved in animating these wonderfully flexible design elements.
Text and Shape Animation
Text layers can be animated in a variety of different ways to create exciting and compelling motion graphics. In this section you'll learn about the properties and methods used to control these layers.
Animating Text Layers
Text animators offer a powerful and unique method for character animation in After Effects. In this tutorial you'll learn how you can create complex character animation with just a couple of keyframes.
It's not hard to import text from other Adobe applications into After Effects and edit it, but this video offers a few tips and tricks that will help you figure this feature out and make the most of it.
Often the supplied animation presets need tweaking here and there but it can be difficult to work out exactly what needs changing. This video shows you some of the different ways you can modify values and properties giving you a much better understanding and a sense of control.
Once you've modified and created your own text animations, you can build up a library of them by saving them as text animation presets. This video shows you how to do this and advises you on best practices.
Compositing is about stacking layers on top of one another and making parts of each show through others in specific ways. You'll learn about many of the ways to composite layers together in this chapter.
There are many ways to make all or part of a layer transparent and get one layer to show through another. In this video you'll learn about color channels and the invisible fourth channel that holds transparency information, the alpha channel.
Masks are a crucial part of almost any compositing workflow. In this lesson you'll learn how to draw a rough mask using the Ellipse tool, use mask feathering to create a vignette, and use a mask as a path for an effect.
Often, it's easier and more useful to define the transparency of a layer with another layer. In this video, you'll see how to use a text layer as a track matte, animate the position of the track matte layer to move the transparent area relative to the underlying layer, and more.
When someone has had the foresight to film a subject in front of a solid-color background, compositing work gets a lot easier. This video shows you how to use the Keylight effect to key out (make transparent) a solid-color background and use a garbage matte to isolate the area to be keyed.
Rather than using conventional, tedious rotoscoping, you can apply Roto Brush strokes to a layer to make a background transparent and isolate a foreground subject. You'll also see how to use the Refine Matte properties to improve the result, place the isolated foreground subject over a copy of the original layer, and apply an effect to only the foreground layer to obscure a face with the Mosaic effect.
Rotoscoping and motion tracking go very well together. In this lesson you'll learn how to apply motion tracking data to an adjustment layer and use rotoscoping on that adjustment layer to selectively perform color correction on a moving object. We'll also look at using the free-transform feature to modify an animated mask.
With the Clone Stamp tool, you can copy pixels from one place and time to another place and time. In this video you'll learn to remove a moving object from a scene by painting replacement pixels from another portion of the scene, and how to link the position of the Clone Stamp brush to motion tracking data to automatically follow the moving object.
You can combine color and transparency information between a layer and the composite of layers beneath it using blending modes. In this video you'll learn how easy it is to experiment creatively with blending modes, using semitransparent copies of a layer.
After Effects provides you with scores of effects that you can apply to your layers, allowing you to create virtually any look or effect you like. Imagine being able to animate all of these over time and you get a real sense of the creative flexibility that After Effects can offer you. This chapter tells you everything you need to know to create amazing effects.
To really get the most from effects you need to understand exactly how they are presented to you and how to take advantage of all the properties they offer. This video helps break affects down into more manageable chunks for you.
A compound effect is an effect that refers to, or takes values from, another layer in your comp. In this video we'll look at how this works by examining the Displacement Map effect, which can be used to add textures to your layers.
Color correction is another bread and butter job for designers and visual effects artists. After Effects offers tools ranging from easy, drag-and-drop color correction tools like Auto-levels, to more complex tools like Curves and Color Finesse. In this tutorial we'll look at Levels, Selective Color, Leave Color, and Vibrance effects.
After Effects provides several effects that add a 3D perspective to your layers. In this tutorial we'll use 3D particles to create three-dimensional fire and the Shatter effect to explode a layer into custom-shaped pieces.
Layer styles are not really effects as such but behave in some similar ways. In this video you'll find out what their similarities and differences are. You'll also learn when to use one rather than the other.
Adjustment layers allow you to add effects to multiple layers without using multiple copies of the effects. This not only saves on rendering time but also offers some creative inspiration to users. In this movie you'll learn how to use Adjustment layers to apply effects and to selectively apply effects using masks.
A movie is a series of images that plays in time, and After Effects provides many powerful controls for controlling exactly how images are played in time. This chapter will teach you about tools like frame blending, slow motion, freeze-frame, and more.
In this video you'll learn about frame rates for footage items, compositions, and rendered movies, and how to modify each kind of frame rate to achieve the desired result.
This lesson shows you how to use three kinds of frame blending – none, Frame Mix, and Pixel Motion – to create image information for times in a composition that don't align with frames in footage items.
There are times when it makes sense to group layers together into a single item, either to simplify complicated comps or to make editing, moving, or applying effects a whole lot easier. In this chapter we'll look at several methods for grouping layers together.
Grouping and Linking
This video looks at nesting, which is the process of dragging one composition into another so it is treated as a single layer. It's important to understand nesting in order to achieve an effective and efficient After Effects workflow.
Nesting relies on thinking ahead, but there are always times when your planning isn't quite what it should be. In these situations After Effects allows you to "pre-compose," which is, in effect, nesting backwards. Simply select the files you want to group and let After Effects pre-compose them into a separate composition, as shown in this video.
After Effects renders properties and layers in a particular order. If you need to change the render order, there are a few tricks that you'll need to be aware of. Here you'll learn how to do this by nesting or pre-composing layers.
Collapsing the transformations within nested compositions will accelerate rendering and can also help ensure that your layers are rendered at their optimum resolution. This video will help you avoid problems with quality or rendering speeds.
Parenting allows you to create hierarchical linking between layers. It can be used simply to link layers together or to create quite complex inverse-kinematic-style animation. This movie will explain the basics and will warn you about some pitfalls that you're likely to encounter when using this feature.
Nulls are invisible layers that can be used in conjunction with parenting to control layers in your compositions. This video will show you situations where they can be useful, including transforming multiple layers with a single control layer.
After Effects allows you to transform and animate your layers within a 3D environment. This adds some complexity to your compositions. In this chapter you'll discover how After Effects deals with mixing 2D and 3D in the same composition.
Introduction to 3D
In this video you'll learn how to control layers using multiple views, the camera tools, and the axis modes.
In this lesson you'll learn how you can manipulate your layers, cameras, and lights in 3D space. You'll also be taught how to avoid certain gotchas that can occur when working with 3D layers and cameras.
Animating cameras can be tricky, as you have to think about both position and point of interest properties. In this video you'll be shown how to use nulls to enable much easier animation of cameras and lights.
Adding lights and shadows to your 3D scene can really set your work apart from the rest. In this tutorial you'll discover how to adjust the light properties and the 3D layer's material options to create a sense of depth and realism.
After Effects allows you to animate your text within 3D space, which makes for some interesting and dynamic animation. In this tutorial you will see how to use expressions and the 3D features to create a convincing gravity effect.
Layers and their components are processed in a specific order. In this chapter you'll learn about that order and how to use special features to control it.
Render Order and Troubleshooting
When you know the default order of operations, troubleshooting problems gets much easier, because you can determine what features to use to modify the order. In this video you'll learn about the order in which operations are performed within After Effects and how to apply a transformation within an effect to work around the default rendering order.
You can collapse transformations to prevent a layer from becoming pixelated when scaled up in a nested composition and scaled down in the containing composition. In this lesson you'll learn about the changes in render order that occur when transformations are collapsed.
3D layers are processed together to cast shadows and intersect with one another, but some kinds of intervening layers can break these interactions. Watch this video to learn what breaks 3D layer interactions and how to fix them.
When you composite two layers together, anti-aliasing can cause seams to appear between them. This video shows you how to apply the Alpha Add blending mode to fix seams between composited layers or 3D layers assembled into a 3D object such as a cube.
When you're finished with your project, you need to get your data out of After Effects, usually as a finished movie. In this chapter, you'll learn the basics of rendering and exporting movies.
You can create output in several formats simultaneously using the render queue. This video shows you how to set render settings and output module settings to suit various requirements, from lossless encoding for intermediate files to highly compressed encoding for delivery and playback on the Web.
After Effects can create files for playback in Flash Player or for additional work in Flash Professional. In this video, you'll see how to create SWF files containing vector graphics or FLV or F4V files containing raster images for playback in Flash Player. You'll also learn how to create an XFL file from a composition and then import that file into Flash Professional for further animation or the addition of interactivity.
Use the built-in Adobe Media Encoder to render and export many kinds of files within After Effects, or use the standalone Adobe Media Encoder application to render and encode movies outside of After Effects. Batch encoding and using a watch folder in Adobe Media Encoder can save time and free After Effects for other tasks.
You can save time and get consistent results by saving and applying output module templates. Output module templates include output module settings and can be customized, saved, and transferred from one computer to another, as you'll see in this video.
By using color management on import, you can ensure that colors in imported files match what their creator intended. By using color management on output, you can ensure that the colors in your movies will match your intent when they are displayed on various devices. This video shows you how to use color management to ensure consistent color throughout a project.