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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.
The last of the five transforms is Scale, basically resizing. So, what we are going to do is open up the Sun and go ahead and press S for Scale. So, as you can see here, we can click and drag this up or down, or in other words, to the right, we can increase in Scale. So, now, for example, it would be 241% of its original size. We can also drag it to the left to make this smaller than it initially was. So, this is 45% of its original size. Typically, you would not want to increase an object or a layer above 100% unless you know what you are doing.
In the case of Illustrator files, and this is part of the magic of why it's so important to work with Illustrator in After Effects, but when you are working with Illustrator files, you can scale them up beyond 100% and it still remains crisp. That's part of the relationship between After Effects and Illustrator and the nature of Illustrator itself. So, I am going to change this;. Just click in here and type 100%. Now, you will notice that there are two values here, just like Position. And like Position, they represent the same thing: the X axis and the Y axis.
In other words, the X Scale, the left to right Scale, and the vertical Scale, the Y Scale on the right here. By default, there is this little chain-link, which means that the proportions are constrained. So, if you adjust X or Y, then both dimensions move equally. But if you were to click this to uncheck it, then you can scale width and height independently. Now, in the case of the Sun, that looks just terrible. So, I take this back to 100%. And actually what I am going to do for Scale, to animate it, is I want to start at the beginning before the Sun even animates on, maybe like right here.
I want to take this down slightly smaller, maybe 75%. We will start there and see how that goes, and click the Stopwatch for Scale. We want to animate this. I am going to drag my Current Time Indicator to the end of the composition and make this a little bit above 100%. Maybe that's too big, maybe around 115, 120, somewhere around there. Then if we preview this, we have a sun that comes up that scales and gradually increases.
Now, that's way too heavy-handed for my liking. So, I am going to actually take this back to maybe 110%. Also, I am going to take this other value, again, making sure that I am seeing a gold diamond here. So, I am actually on the frame with this keyframe. Take this up to 85%. So, this is going a shorter distance, only from 85 to a 110, rather than 75% to 117%. So, now if we preview this, the sun comes up and slowly grows on.
That's kind of what we are looking for here. Oftentimes I will use Scale for this kind of like brooding, slowly coming towards you, in your face thing. Something about it is very engaging. Actually, if you want to go over to the other Composition in this project here, the Hansel and Petal Ad, which we saw earlier on in this Training Series - we didn't talk about this, because it was a little bit too much to get into, but for the final components of the logo, all I did was I animated the Scale value of this Hansel and Petal text. So basically, what it's doing is it's scaling up, and it appears to be coming towards you.
Again, it's getting your attention more because it is kind of coming towards you like that. And then also, we have a basic rotation on the flower petals and the ampersand on the right here is just slowly moving to the right. So, I basically just animated the basic parameters here, the five basic transforms: we have Rotation, Scale on the text, and Position on the ampersand. As a matter of fact, if you look closely in the background, you will see this kind of cool texture here. And basically, that's just position on these textures overlay on the background. So, again, it's just the five basic transforms, but those five basic transforms can do so much together.
Again, you see in the result of Scale here on the text. It's kind of the same thing I was going for with the Sun. Now, one other kind of interesting use for Scale - I am going to turn on the Bridge layer. This might not work, but I want to show you the principle here. I am going to hold the letter Y, and I am going to move the Anchor Point over to the bottom left-hand corner of the bridge here. Now, as we hit Scale for the Bridge and we scale this up, you will see that it's scaling from that point. That's kind of a cool look as well.
So, it looks like the bridge is coming towards you, but still coming towards you in perspective. You may also want to unlink these values and Scale them independently. So, you will notice as I am doing this, it almost looks as if we are panning a virtual camera around in three dimensions. So, Scale can be good for faking those 3D perspective effects as well. Now, we can't go all the way over here, because the graphic cuts off along the edge, and oftentimes little technical issues like that, you need to be aware of. Sometimes, like in the case of this Bridge here, there really aren't any fixes.
You just have got to come up with some kind of bubblegum, duct tape, hackneyed solution. But I am going to play with this a little bit. I am going to Scale this along the X axis actually. Let's actually start here, where it's completed. Actually, let's go a little bit farther, and the Stopwatch for Scale and move in time. With these values unlinked, we are just going to animate this along the X axis, so it appears to kind of grow on and go to the right there.
That's kind of cool. What we can also do is animate the Position of this. So, we might want to animate it so that I will select the layer and hit P for Position, and we might want it to like, I don't know, end up right about there. And then, move it a little bit earlier, and increase the Y axis until the Bridge hides underneath the signage here. So, then as we go scrub this in time, we could see these different components animate on.
Now again, it's a little bit too intense and distracting with the Bridge. That's way too much, so I am going to hit S for Scale, go back to the last keyframe, and I will take this down to something a little bit more modest, maybe 110. So, now as we take this back and play it, that's kind of cool. So, just take some slow, gradual movement here. This kind of makes this still feel alive even after the elements have animated on the screen. Now, you can see we haven't done anything with the hills, and then the hills seem now painfully boring, because they come up, and they are fun. And if everything else just came up and just stood still, then it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but everything else is still kind of full of life and breathing.
So, to have the hills there, I guess the contrast is kind of interesting. But anyways, that's our little project so far. Pretty cool! Now, we do have kind of a main character, a protagonist, in this project, if you will, and that is the biker. We have not really touched the biker yet, but we will, in a major way, in the next movie.
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