Archive for the 'After Effects' Category
There are several new features in After Effects CS5.5, but the most impressive and frankly jaw-dropping effect that I’ve seen is the Warp Stabilizer. It sounds like something Captain Picard would need, but in fact it’s a way to stabilize camera footage.
When shooting film or video, there are several options for how to achieve camera motion while keeping the camera stable. If you’re a professional filmmaker, you might have access to a Steadicam rig, which uses gyroscopes to allow a camera operator to move freely while the camera stays still. However, for an amateur, this isn’t really an option due to the expense of such rigs.
But now in After Effects CS5.5 Adobe has introduced the Warp Stabilizer, which can take handheld camera footage, and stabilize it to the degree that it appears as if it was shot with a Steadicam. Stabilizing features have been part of After Effects for a long time, but the degree to which you can stabilize motion with this new effect is absolutely amazing. Watch this video to see an example of the stabilization and how to use this new feature.
The next feature we will look at is the Camera Lens Blur effect. On a real camera, we can change the focal length of the lens as the shot is going on, which is a way to point the viewer at specific parts of the shot. This is called Rack Focus, and is quite complex to complete on an actual film set. It requires excellent timing and a second camera operator, called a Focus Puller in order to change the focus as the shot is happening.
Now we can do this in software with After Effects CS5.5. As long as the entire shot is in focus, we can use this effect to blur out specific parts of the image, and animate it so that it mimics the focus of an actual camera.
We also have a new effect for the people who work in 3D. After Effects CS5.5 has added some new light falloff features that more closely mimic real world lighting conditions. This can improve the look of your 3D effects in After Effects.
One of the more interesting Effects we can take advantage of in After Effects is the Write-On effect. It’s main purpose is to animate a brush as it’s moving. Many people use it to make it appear as if their signature is being drawn on screen.
However, by altering some settings, we can also make it reveal a drawing over time. This is a common effect used to make vines or trees appear as if they’re growing. In this video, we examine the different settings available in the Write-On Effect, and show how to make a drawing appear over time.
One of the most impressive new features of the entire Adobe Creative Suite 5 is the Roto Brush. The Roto Brush allows us to select an object in a video, and track it throughout the length of the video, separating it from the background. This allows us to replace backgrounds, or isolate sections of the video for effects.
The ‘Roto’ in Roto Brush refers to Rotoscoping,which is a process used to separate objects or characters in a video from the background. In the past, this process usually involved going frame by frame and creating a mask for each frame. At a video standard 30 frames per second, this could take a very long time for almost any video.
With the new Roto Brush feature though, we can simply select the area we want to isolate and then After Effects will track it through the video, while we make minor adjustments to keep it on track.
In this video presentation, we will show you how to use the new feature and give some examples of how you might use the technology to your advantage.
CS5 is now shipping, and it will be available to Indiana University students faculty and staff soon.
Miss the CS5 Production Premium presentation on Friday, April 16th? No worries, you can watch the entire presentation online at this URL:
This presentation covered the new features and interactivity of Adobe Story, OnLocation, Premiere, Encore and After Effects CS5.
And don’t forget, on April 30th, we’ll be back discussing the Design and Web apps. Keep an eye on the Web Community page for details.
After Effects is a complex program. It often takes many layers to accomplish the animation you have envisioned, and while the After Effects interface has plenty of flexibility, without proper organization, you might soon discover that you are spending more time scrolling through your layers than actually working on your animation.
In this post we will explore how to go about organizing compositions in a way to make them more manageable, while still maintaining complete creative control over the project.
I’ll also show you a trick about duplicating Transform properties across multiple layers that should save you lots of time in certain scenarios.
Before we look at the video though, let’s talk about pre-composing. Pre-composing is the process by which we can turn multiple layers into their own composition. Every After Effects project is made up of compositions, which can contain any type of media, including audio, video, graphics, and other objects in any combination, or even other After Effects compositions. We must create a composition to begin working in After Effects.
Let’s see how to do this after the break.
One of the effects used infrequently back in the day was the split screen. Using the split screen, filmmakers could make it appear as if the same actor was on screen twice (see “The Parent Trap”). This required the camera to stay perfectly stationary and the lighting to be identical. Most of the time, this effect was used as a gimmick, and as time has gone on, filmmakers have gotten a lot more sophisticated effects, including computer controlled cameras that can be used to make much more complex effects that accomplish the same goal(the same actor on screen multiple times), but also allows the camera to move, and actors to move in front of each other and even interact with each other.
But since I don’t have a fancy computer controlled camera, I decided to do this old school. It’s actually pretty simple in After Effects. Check out the final result:
See how to do it yourself after the break.
In our last After Effects training video, we felt pretty cool about using Corner Pin to get a piece of video to appear on a monitor within our video.
Then we hit play…
And we quickly discovered that though corner pin is an incredibly useful effect, once your video starts moving, it loses it’s utility very quickly.
This is where motion tracking comes in. We have a couple of options for motion tracking in CS4. After Effects has a built-in motion tracker, which we can access through the “Tracker” panel, and there is a helper application called “Mocha for After Effects” that is included in the Production Premium install (assuming you didn’t de-select it). We’ll explore both in this post.
With the power of Mocha motion tracking, you can accomplish results like this (low quality video):
Learn how to accomplish the results in the above video after the break.
In After Effects, it is often useful to place an image or video into another video project. Sometimes this works like the Picture-in-Picture function on some televisions, where the video appears in the corner of the screen, but other times, you might want to make the video or image appear on a screen within the original video, or perhaps on a wall.
Our great enemy in this second case is perspective. If you aren’t careful, the new video will appear out of place in the background video, ruining the effect. Coming to the rescue is the Corner Pin effect. The Corner Pin effect allows us to control each corner of the image or video individually, which lets us “pin” the foreground videos corners to any four points we want in the background video. The best part about it is it’s extremely easy to use.
In the training video below, we’ll explore how to attach a new video to two blank monitors in our background video. It requires a small amount of After Effects knowledge to follow along, which you can acquire by attending IT Training & Education’s After Effects workshop, or by browsing the Lynda training library.
At the end of the video, we’ll notice a small problem. As our background video zooms and pans, the foreground video stays in its original position. That’s a problem that can only be fixed by motion tracking. Check back next week, and I’ll post another video that describes how to use motion tracking to allow your foreground video to follow the motion of the camera.
It seems like every device these days includes a video camera. Cell phones, music players, laptops and more all include easy to use video cameras. Along with this, consumer level cameras are becoming cheaper and more powerful all the time. But what to do with all of that video? Well IT Training is here to help. Starting next week, we’ll begin teaching on video topics with the following workshops on 11/4 and 11/5:
Video Basics – An Overview of Tools and Resources – In this workshop, Donna Jones will discuss the basics of video, starting with a discussion of cameras, and what features to look for, and then using Windows Movie Maker to edit a short video. While working on editing the video, the process of shooting a movie will be discussed, including setting up lighting, getting good quality audio, and setting up good shots. Donna will also discuss some simple ways to make your production look more professional.
After Effects: Text Animation and Video Basics – Adobe After Effects is an animation program focused on video production which allows you to combine video and animations into a single project and then export it into many common video formats. In this workshop, Andy Hunsucker will guide you through the creation of a short movie trailer that combines text animation, video, and background music, along with some animations created entirely within After Effects. Participants will get a chance to spend time working in the interface, and learn the basics of the animation system and the effects system.
See the workshop descriptions to sign up. If you can’t make it next week, we’re doing a rerun on 11/17 and 11/18. And don’t forget about the same workshops being held at IUPUI.