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Archive for the 'After Effects' Category

Learn With Andy #4 – After Effects Effects Engine

In technology training, one of the most important and time-consuming parts of the process is staying current on technology. In this video series, I will be showing you what I go through when learning a new technology.

Sometimes we’ll be looking at a software program I’ve worked with very little and need to learn, other times I’ll look at a new feature in a program I know very well, and sometimes I’ll be looking at a web technology I’m trying to become familiar with.

In this episode, we’re looking at the Effects engine in After Effects.

Learn with Andy #2 – After Effects Video Intro

In technology training, one of the most important and time-consuming parts of the process is staying current on technology. In this video series, I will be showing you what I go through when learning a new technology.

Sometimes we’ll be looking at a software program I’ve worked with very little and need to learn, other times I’ll look at a new feature in a program I know very well, and sometimes I’ll be looking at a web technology I’m trying to become familiar with.

This week, we’ll look at After Effects, and I’ll show you how I created the introduction to this series with the Write-On Effect.

Enjoy this series each week!

it2go Episode 56 – Efficient Video Editing Workflow

On this week’s episode, we’re talking about several webinars coming up, including the Efficient Video Editing Workflow session happening on April 1st.

it2go – The IT Training Podcast

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Create High End Camera Effects Virtually in After Effects CS5.5

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.

Stabilize Shaky Footage with After Effects CS5.5

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.

Camera Lens Blur in After Effects CS5.5

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.

Light Falloff Effect in After Effects CS5.5

Using the Write-On Effect 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.

After Effects: Using the Write-On Effect

After Effects CS5 – Introducing the Roto Brush

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.

After Effects CS5 – Introducing the Roto Brush

CS5 is now shipping, and it will be available to Indiana University students faculty and staff soon.

Adobe CS5 Production Premium Preview Recording

Miss the CS5 Production Premium presentation on Friday, April 16th?  No worries, you can watch the entire presentation online at this URL:

Adobe CS5 Production Premium Preview

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.

Increasing Efficiency in After Effects with Pre-Composing and Copy/Pasting

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.

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Split Screen in After Effects – It’s like looking in a mirror!

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.

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Motion Tracking in After Effects

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.

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