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After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title
Illustration by John Hersey

Adding drop shadows


From:

After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Adding drop shadows

Next, I'd like to work on the appearance and timing of these various video frames earlier in this composition. One, I notice it's a little bit hard to distinguish between them as they overlap. I'm going to turn off my Action/Title Safe Areas because I've already arranged my layers just to give myself a clear view of my composition. I think a bit of drop shadow would help me make these stand out against each other. There are a couple of approaches I could take. One approach would be just applying a drop shadow inside this Final Comp, so I'm going to select one of my extra videos, such as this Stress Test video here and apply Effect>Perspective>Drop Shadow.

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After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title
3h 30m Intermediate Jan 17, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This project-oriented course leads you through the creative and technical process of building an opening title sequence from scratch in Adobe After Effects. Author Chris Meyer shows how to pull together numerous skills you've learned in the other After Effects Apprentice courses, from working in 3D space to creating type and shape layers to writing expressions. Along the way, Chris lets you in on the mental process he uses when creating similar spots for real-world clients, while sharing numerous tips that will help broaden your After Effects skills.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.

Topics include:
  • Animating to music
  • Arranging layers in 3D space
  • Performing time stretches
  • Working with 3D camera tracking
  • Typesetting and animating text
  • Adding effects like drop shadows and motion blur
  • Creating and animating shape layers
  • Building and delivering a broadcast package
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Adding drop shadows

Next, I'd like to work on the appearance and timing of these various video frames earlier in this composition. One, I notice it's a little bit hard to distinguish between them as they overlap. I'm going to turn off my Action/Title Safe Areas because I've already arranged my layers just to give myself a clear view of my composition. I think a bit of drop shadow would help me make these stand out against each other. There are a couple of approaches I could take. One approach would be just applying a drop shadow inside this Final Comp, so I'm going to select one of my extra videos, such as this Stress Test video here and apply Effect>Perspective>Drop Shadow.

Just like I did with the text, I'm going to set the distance down to 0 to center the blur and increase the softness, until I get a little bit of overlap on the layers behind. It's bit on the weak side, so I'm going to increase the darkness just to help make it stand out a little bit better and then my differences in size will become a little bit more apparent. That's one approach I could apply to the whole layer here. Another idea would be to cut it from here, go back to my Extra Video Frame Master and apply the drop shadow to the master here.

That way it will also cast a shadow on top of the inset video. The problem is that the drop shadow will extend beyond the edges of these frames. So I would have to increase my comp size to do this, maybe to the order of say 420 to 340, so that my alpha channel is not clipped off by the edge of my comp, and then the drop shadow for that frame would overlap the video as well. But I'm not sure that's a necessary step. I'm going to cut it from here, go back to my Final Comp, select all of my videos and paste my drop shadow effect under them, just to get this little bit of distinction to help them stand out against each other.

Now the reason that I'm using the drop shadow effect here instead of Layer>Layer Styles>Drop Shadow, is that Layer Styles don't play nicely with 3D space, they cause the rendering order to break, and layers don't interact as well. I'll go ahead and use Layer Styles in a 2D comp, such as when I was building the main title. But in 3D space, I'll fall back on After Effect's Normal Effects. Okay, there's our drop shadows.

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