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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
In this movie, we are going to explore Opacity a little bit. Let's start by zooming in to this text, Explore California. We are going to make both the text Explore and California fade in. Now the easiest way to do this is by using the wheel on your mouse, if you have a wheel mouse, and just roll it to zoom in. You don't need to make sure that your mouse is over the composition panel, but you can use just use that wheel and zoom in. Otherwise, you can use the keyboard shortcut Command+Plus on the Mac, Ctrl+Plus on the PC.
Alternatively, you could use these navigational tools, such as the Hand tool, which will allow you kind of move things around, or the Zoom tool, which also will allow you to click and zoom in. But those, honestly, are kind of pain to have to like go all the way up to the toolbar and use those. That's kind of annoying, just much easier to use the keyboard shortcut. Fo example, like I am going to hold down the spacebar and while I'm holding it down, I get the hand tool, just like in Photoshop. I move this to where I want to see it, and then I let go, and I am back to using the Arrow tool, which is what I want.
Now let's open up the Explore layer again, as we did in last movie. Open up Transform. We see the five basic transforms. Again, these are the properties that you'll probably animate more than any other in After Effects. Now, you might remember in the last movie, we just selected the layer and press the letter R to get rotation, and actually, each one of these properties has its own keyboard shortcut that allows you to see just that property on that layer. For Anchor Point, it's A. Position, it's P. Scale it's S.
Rotation it's R, and Opacity is the only weird one. For Opacity, the shortcut is the letter T. Now, the way a lot of people remember this is that the five basic transforms shortcuts spell the word TRAPS, T-R-A-P-S. So, I am going to select the layer and press T for Opacity to just see opacity. We talked about it in the last movie. 100 percent is the 100 percent opacity, meaning that it's completely opaque. And as we click on this property and drag it to the left, we are actually reducing the opacity, or in other words making this layer more transparent.
So, if we want to want to fade out, then what we could do, as we did in the last movie, is click the stopwatch for opacity, move in time, and that changes to a lower value. We actually want this to fade in. So, what I'm going to do, and there is actually a couple different ways to do this, but what I'm going to do is I'm going to click the stopwatch and then change the value to zero. So, it will be at zero percent opacity and then move in time. You are noticing that I'm not being a super specific about the timing here, as long as you have like a gap in between.
It doesn't really matter. We are not going for precision at this point. And then I am going to go back to opacity and increase this value from zero to 100 percent, and now our text stays off and then fades on. Now you'll notice that I was a little bit further out from the first frame. I was about here, about eight frames in when I started creating animation by clicking the stopwatch, and there is not really any keyframes before this so everything before this keyframe has that same value so this keyframe has a value of 0 percent opacity. And everything else before this will also then be 0 percent opacity.
As a matter of fact, after this last keyframe there are no more changes. So, it will stay at 100 percent opacity. So, we're just seeing the changes here from 0 percent to 100 percent. Now I am going to move my Current Time Indicator back to the first frame. I am going hit the Spacebar to preview this. And that was pretty cool, but depending on the style of animation we're going for, that might be a little bit too fast. Maybe its too slow, but I am just going to say it too fast for what we are going for. So, what I could do is grab one of these keyframe values and spread it apart.
Now keep in mind that each one of these little keyframes retains the value that it was created with. So, if that has a value of 100 percent here by moving it in time, it still has a valuable 100 percent, but now we've spread out that animation, and thereby we have made it slower. So, see how that was a little bit slower? Maybe I'll exaggerate it, so we can really see what's going on here - much slower. If we were to drag these very close together, then it would be a very quick fade in.
Figure it like this. Picture this keyframe being Los Angeles and this keyframe being New York. If we spread these far apart - let's pretend this is the space and time that we had to go from one place to another. Let's say we have like three months to get from Los Angeles to New York - well then we can go very slowly because we have a long time. If we have a really short time to get there, then we're got to have take an airplane because it's a very short duration so we're going to have go much faster. Now, I'm going to let you play around with how you'd like the Explore text to animate on because this is your project, and you could put here own artistic spin on it there.
I am going to close up the Explore layer. I am going to select the California layer, and we are going to do the same thing but in a different way. I am going to press T, for opacity, and what I'm going to do because I know I want this text to fade on as well, I am going to click this stopwatch for opacity, but I don't want it to remember what this value is here, so I am actually going to move this keyframe over in time to where I want it to be. So, let's say I want it to be completely faded in at this point, right here.
But my current time indicator is still here, so now I can take this down to 0 percent here. So, now and then, this will fade in as well. Now we might want to grab this first keyframe, move it down little bit, move the next keyframe down little so that the fading in is staggered. So, it says Explore and then California. Let's try that. Very cool! So, you've seen two different methods to animate from 0 percent to 100 percent.
Alternatively, you could actually move in time and actually, I'll just go ahead and do this. I am going to click stopwatch for Opacity, so we have no more keyframes. And let's say I wanted to fade in at this point. Well, then I'll click the stopwatch for Opacity there. Then I could move earlier in time and then drag this to the left to 0 percent so we could see it fade on there. So, now we have a staggered, cool animation of the Explore and California fading in.
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