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In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.
Animating text on a path will give you the ultimate control when you're trying to fly your text around on a screen. To get started with our animation, let's look at what we've got. layer 1 we have a Text layer, and layer 2, if we double-click on it you can see it's a pre-comp of our Illustrator logo. So let's close that comp and talk about what we're going to create. I want these four words to fly around the kinetEco logo in a circle, and then we're going to have both of them scale away from the camera so it looks like they are just kind of fading off into a very small place.
So to get started, we need to create our path. I'd like to have flexibility with my animations, and in doing that I'd like to be able to reference my path from any other layer at any time. So instead of just creating my path right on the wind solar green energy layer, let's create a path on a layer Solid. So if we go up under Layer, we can choose New > Solid and just make sure it's the comp size by clicking the button and we can leave with this purple color, so I'll click OK.
Now, move your mouse over the Comp Viewer and scroll to 100% magnification. If you're not seeing this anchor point, make sure layer 1 is selected. Now go up to your Shape tools in the Tool palette and make sure that we have the Ellipse tool selected. Place the Ellipse tool directly over the center of this layer and then click and drag. Now after you start dragging, hold down Shift, and then Command at the same time. So I'm dragging, holding Shift and Command and this is allowing me to draw the circle from the center point of this layer.
If we scroll on our mouse again to zoom back out over the canvas, this is about what I'm looking for for the mask. To add this mask to the Text layer, you'll just have to click on the word Mask 1 to make sure it's selected and Copy, Command+C, and Paste, Command+V. Since we're not using Layer 1 anymore, we can turn its visibility off and make it shy and enable our little shy guy there. That way it's hidden but we can always go back to it if we need it for any other reason. Select Layer 2, and you can see that the Mask that was added to Layer 2 pasted on to the layer if we scroll in here and move up.
You can see the anchor point is the center point of the circle. So when you paste a path onto a new layer, it will paste in the same position from your source layer. We don't need this mask to mask anything, so change its Mask mode from Add to None. If we scroll back out in our comp, here I'm just going to reposition, let's look at what we have. The mask is in the wrong place. So if you press V on your keyboard to grab the Selection tool, you can double-click on the Mask to grab the bounding box or create the bounding box.
If you move your mouse anywhere inside of the bounding box, you can move the Mask up in the composition. I want to make sure it's centered on the comp and I like using Title/Action Safe as a reference. So in the lower left corner, click on Title/Action Safe and let's just move this right over the center of our canvas. Okay, if we scroll into 100% magnification, you can use that to make sure that you are at the center of your comp. Press Enter on your keypad to set that location for the Mask path.
If you open up the Mask Path options, here you can see we can also select the Mask Path right here. Well this is the parameter that we're going to use to keyframe. Now before we start animating the Mask, we actually need to apply the type to the Mask. So let's go back to 50% magnification so we can see our scene and turn off our Title/Action Safe in the Comp Viewer. With the Text layer selected, let's collapse layer 2 and then open it back up again, and open the Text options.
Under the Text options, you want to open Path options because we now have a path. We can go to the Path pulldown and enable Mask 1. Now when you have the words on the path, notice they snap to the top of the path, and they're upside down. Well, the first option here is Reverse Path. If we click off to on just by clicking on it, you see, now it's on the outside of the circle which is what I was looking for. Why did it choose the top of the path? Well if we scroll down, the parameter that we want to adjust is this first margin.
So click and drag on that parameter so you can see a preview as to what the words will be doing. Notice as I move, if we scroll in here you can see this control vertice has a circle around it. None of the other ones do. That's letting me know where the start of the path is. So when I Reverse Path, it literally moved from one side of the path to the other side of the path but it was also referencing the start point. Now to create our animation, we have to animate the path and we have to animate the type moving around the path.
So two separate parameters and that also gives you a lot more control. Now before we start animating I just want to show you some of the other options with the Path Options. Perpendicular To Path; if we click on that, notice that will make the words literally perpendicular to the path as opposed to each individual character. Force Alignment; here let me scroll out here, we'll stretch all the letters out so it's around the entire path, obviously we don't want that. And then First Margin just allows you to work with the first margin.
And if we had a lot of type that went all the way around, we could click and drag and adjust the end margin and see something. But again, since we only have a little bit of type, you don't have to worry about that option. So I'm going to reset that to 0. Now to start our animation with Layer 2 selected, let's press M to open up our Mask. This is where I want the circle to end in terms of its size. So let's start by adding a second keyframe. So move your current-time indicator down to about 2 seconds and add a keyframe for the Mask Path.
Now if you press Home, that'll move your current-time indicator to the start and if we scroll out here with our mouse over the Comp Viewer, you can press Command+T and open up this bounding box. Now the only reason I opened this bounding box is because we already had Mask 1 selected. If it wasn't selected we would have just grabbed the Text tool. So to add another keyframe, all you have to do is click on one of the corners and you guessed it, if we want it to go around the center point, we have to hold Shift+Command on the Mac or Ctrl on the PC.
So let's click and drag until the path is way outside of our Comp Viewer. Now if we scrub in the timeline, here you can see, okay, the path is animated, that's perfect, now we just need to animate the type along that path. So let's collapse Layer 2, go to the Text section and then under Path Options we will keyframe the first margin. So move your current-time indicator to the start of your comp, add a keyframe, press End. And then I like to click and drag on the parameter.
That way as I drag, I can see exactly how many times I'm going around the circle. So I want to drag until I get about three times around the circle. Perfect! If we scroll through here and load up a RAM Preview, you can see that we've got our Type animated. Now the only thing we have left to do is scale down the logo. So let's go collapse Layer 2, select Layer 3, press Home, and we'll start with a logo with this size.
So to automatically add a keyframe to the scale, instead of just pressing S, if you hold down Alt on the PC or Option on the Mac and then press S, this will automatically add a keyframe for the scale. If we move down to 2 seconds, which is where the keyframe was on Layer 2, you could also select Layer 2 and press U, just so you have a reference, we can scale our logo down. So select Layer 3 and click and drag to adjust the scale down. Now we can load up a RAM Preview and you can see our Type flies down and we have our Circle Type spinning around.
Now if you're one of those overachievers who wants to keep pushing this animation, I suggest you use parenting or the pick whip. Now if you haven't already checked out the video on that, go back to the Animation 101 chapter and check it out. Now let's see how to animate shapes and shape layers.
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