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This course pulls together the skills you've been learning in the previous After Effects Apprentice installments to create a real-world video promo. Trish leads you through building the artwork and components used in the final piece, and then Chris shows how to assemble these precompositions into a 3D world, timed to music. Along the way, Trish and Chris also share their thoughts as they design a video project, including unifying the overall look and handling change requests from clients.
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.
In the last movie, you made this animated gradient. In this movie, we will add some more interest by compositing a lightning movie on top of this layer. In the Sources, twirl down Movies. You're going to be using the Curly Lightning.mov from Artbeats. What I am most interested in are the white lines and a little less of the blue smoke. So we'll need to color correct this so we're not adding too much blue.
If you remember the final animation, it has more of a golden orange tint, and the floor is fairly neutral, something like a warm gray. So I will return to my Composition and add the movie to the comp. Now you will notice the movie is only at D1 size, so it's not filling my 1200 square comp. We can fix that by selecting Layer > Transform > Fit to Comp. If I press S for Scale, you can see I am scaling the layer by a large amount.
I wouldn't normally do this if this was a real job and not a tutorial. I would have the client buy the high-def footage so that we wouldn't be blowing out pixels. I think you'll get the idea if I just scale it up for now. So now we need to composite this on top of the gradient below. The first thing I will do is set the Blending mode, and you can pick something like Screen or even Add. And Screen will composite just the light values on top of the gradient. That helps a little, but we still have to remove the blue color and then fix the transparency problem.
There are lots of ways to change the color, but I think Color Correction > Tritone is quick and easy. It changes the blue to a sepia color, and I can click on this brown and maybe make it a little more desaturated. In fact, if you want to choose the exact color we used in the book, it's 90 for red, 85 for green and 70 for blue. I will click OK. And the last thing we need to do is fix the transparency. If I check the transparency for the gradient by turning off the Lightning movie, you can see the gradient is creating its own transparency which is reflected in the composition's Alpha channel.
I will Option-click. So this shows you clearly what the Alpha channel for the composition looks like. Now I'd like the lighting to play only inside the composition's Alpha. Fortunately, there is a very easy way to do that. Let me go back to RGB, turn back on the Lightning movie--assuming you still have the modes column visible--check out the T switch for Preserve Underlying Transparency. When you enable this switch, the Lightning movie will only be visible inside the Alpha channel of all the layers below.
In other words, it's not adding anything to the Comps Alpha channel, and I will turn back over to transparency. Now you can see why I rotated the gradient inside the pre-comp. I don't want the lightning to rotate as well, but if you do want the lightning to rotate, by animating the pre-comp after it's been nested, you will rotate both of the layers together. So that's it for this chapter. In the next chapter, we'll create the video screens that are placed on top of the floor.
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