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Animating opacity


After Effects CS5 Essential Training

with Chad Perkins

Video: Animating opacity

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.
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  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course After Effects CS5 Essential Training
8h 39m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the After Effects workflow
  • Precomposing footage
  • Explaining the basics and beyond of animating
  • Creating glows, patterns, textures, and more with effects
  • Color correcting footage
  • Working with text
  • Manipulating video playback speed
  • Masking objects and shape layers
  • Removing backgrounds with keying
  • Compositing multiple pieces of footage
  • Integrating After Effects with the rest of the Creative Suite
After Effects
Chad Perkins

Animating opacity

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: In the "Creating a fireball" movie in Chapter 6, the author showed how to make a fireball. Unfortunately, it all centered around a blob layer that he made without showing how to make a blob layer. How does one go about creating a blob layer like the one used in the video?
A: To create a blob layer, make a shape layer using the Pen tool. Animate the anchor points over time to make it move. These concepts are reviewed in depth in Chapter 4, "Learning to Animate."
Q: In the Chapter 5 video "Understanding precomposing," the exercise file provided does not seem to match up with the file the instructor uses. My file does not include a "Biker Body" layer. Is there an error in the exercise file?
A: Unfortunately, the exercise file originally distributed for this chapter was incorrect. A new file was issued in February 2011. If you downloaded the exercise files prior to then, you can download the corrected file on the Exercise Files tab of the course page.
Q: How do I transition from one piece of animated type to another in After Effects?
A: There isn't an effect that can create these types of transitions. It's really a matter of animating the type and camera, using basic keyframing and positioning.
If you understand the basics of moving the anchor point of a type layer, animating the parameters of that layer (Scale, Rotation, Position, etc.) and then separately animating the camera around the type layers, you can achieve different types of transitions.  Check out the following videos for more information:

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