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Animating the Stroke effect

From: After Effects Apprentice 15: Creating a Sports Opening Title

Video: Animating the Stroke effect

In the previous movie we copied the paths from Illustrator and applied them to the same layer in After Effects, and they appear as masks. The next step is to apply the Stroke effect. You will find that under Effect > Generate > Stroke. The default settings applies a white color stroke with a 2-pixel border, and it only applies it to the first path that it sees. Now we would like to apply the stroke to all of these paths and animate them sequentially. So make sure you toggle on All Masks, and let's select a different color-- something we can see, like a bright red.

Animating the Stroke effect

In the previous movie we copied the paths from Illustrator and applied them to the same layer in After Effects, and they appear as masks. The next step is to apply the Stroke effect. You will find that under Effect > Generate > Stroke. The default settings applies a white color stroke with a 2-pixel border, and it only applies it to the first path that it sees. Now we would like to apply the stroke to all of these paths and animate them sequentially. So make sure you toggle on All Masks, and let's select a different color-- something we can see, like a bright red.

That should make this Stroke Effect easier to see. You can also toggle off Mask Visibility if you'd like to see the layer more clearly. So let's review what the Stroke effect is actually doing. It's rendering a stroke using the masks, and it's placing the stroke on top of the original layer. If you reduce your Brush Size, you can see that the black stroke is underneath. But the Stroke Effect allows you to regenerate that stroke using whatever color you want, whatever width, and it also allows you to animate it.

So one thing we will need to do is to get rid of the underlying pixels, and you do that by changing the Paint Style from On Original Image to On Transparent. Now the original black pixels disappear, but when I increase the Brush Size I only see the line that the Stroke effect is generating. So we will set the Size to 2 for now, and let's look at how to animate it. There are two parameters that you can animate, Start and End. So go ahead and scrub those just so you can see how they work.

You will notice the Start will wipe off the stroke, and it would also wipe it on if I go from 100 back to 0, but it wipes it on counter-clockwise. If we scrub the End parameter from 100 to 0, it wipes off the strokes, and if I go from 0 to 100, it wipes on the circle clockwise and then the little tick marks. So that looks like what I like to do. So let's turn on the Stopwatch for End, set our first keyframe to 0. Notice I'm at time 0, so let's move a few seconds in, maybe a couple of seconds.

And we will set the End parameter to 100%. When I RAM Preview, there is my animation. So let's do that again with the outer ring. We will select it, select Edit > Edit Original, and that will open Illustrator and then we will select all the art that's on that layer. Now we can copy, Edit > Copy. We'll jump back to After Effects, Command+Tab. The outer ring layer is still selected.

Edit > Paste, and that will paste the masks. I will press M so you can see them. But we don't need to make any changes unless you want to reorder them. The only mask I need to check is that the first mask is the circle. So we will Toggle On our Visibility, and let's see which one this is. Yeah, that looks like it's the circle. So we will twirl that up. Since we have already set up the Stroke effect, you can just copy it either from the timeline or from the Effect Controls panel.

Press Edit > Copy, select the outer ring, and Edit > Paste. That should give us exactly the same animation. And you can see I made a classic mistake. I didn't check where the current time marker was when I pasted those keyframes. Fortunately, this is easy to fix. I will press Home, click on the word End to select both keyframes, and when I drag them back I will add the Shift key and they will just snap to the beginning of the comp. So right now we're just getting the basics down.

What you might call the bones of the animation. Once we nest this in the main composition, you can revisit this animation, change the speed, maybe stagger them on, and so on. In the next movie, we will add some color to the outer ring.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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  1. 3m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 39s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 17m 38s
    1. Building the grid floor
      8m 48s
    2. Creating a radar sweep
      5m 13s
    3. Adding lightning
      3m 37s
  3. 14m 18s
    1. Building the video panel
      4m 34s
    2. Using the Block Dissolve effect
      3m 52s
    3. Stylizing the footage
      2m 15s
    4. Duplicating precomps
      3m 37s
  4. 21m 22s
    1. Importing Illustrator files
      5m 47s
    2. Working with paths and masks
      4m 54s
    3. Animating the Stroke effect
      4m 20s
    4. Tinting the event names
      2m 42s
    5. Wiggling the rings
      3m 39s
  5. 33m 35s
    1. Starting a new composition
      1m 48s
    2. Spotting music
      5m 55s
    3. Building the floor
      5m 27s
    4. Adding a video panel
      3m 40s
    5. Creating a reflection
      7m 47s
    6. Adding the dial
      4m 7s
    7. Arranging the frame
      4m 51s
  6. 9m 22s
    1. Setting up the final pose
      4m 28s
    2. Keyframing the camera
      4m 54s
  7. 14m 39s
    1. Adding a text layer
      5m 16s
    2. Using text animation presets
      3m 16s
    3. Customizing the preset
      6m 7s
  8. 6m 56s
    1. Adding a Spot light
      3m 41s
    2. Casting shadows
      3m 15s
  9. 12m 7s
    1. Improving consistency
      2m 43s
    2. Adding a 2D background
      4m 29s
    3. Tying up loose ends
      4m 55s
  10. 20m 37s
    1. Overview of Main Comp 2
      3m 32s
    2. Grouping layers
      4m 39s
    3. Animating the swivel
      9m 2s
    4. Assembling the final comp
      3m 24s
  11. 25m 56s
    1. Adding a transition
      7m 0s
    2. Keyframing the camera
      3m 20s
    3. Adding a filmic glow
      4m 0s
    4. Increasing the motion blur
      4m 2s
    5. Retiming a video source
      7m 34s
  12. 13m 4s
    1. Exploring render settings
      2m 48s
    2. Outputting for archiving
      1m 15s
    3. Outputting anamorphic widescreen DV
      1m 57s
    4. Creating a 4:3 center-cut version
      2m 31s
    5. Outputting for web
      2m 23s
    6. Exploring components for editors
      2m 10s
  13. 12m 49s
    1. Creating the inner ring
      5m 19s
    2. Creating the outer ring
      3m 9s
    3. Creating the text ring
      4m 21s

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