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Animating strokes with effects

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Animating strokes with effects

One of the most fundamental elements of any graphic design is the use of lines. And of course, After Effects makes it relatively easy to create multiple animated lines moving throughout your scene. You have many different options. One is to animate shape layers themselves. The other is to use the Stroke effect. I personally like to use the Stroke effect so that's what I'm going to show you in this video. Let's go ahead and look at our scene and we have these swooshes kind of moving across the bottom of our project. If we load up a RAM preview let's look at what's animated. And as you can see we've got this crazy busy animation and of course we want to add one more layer of interactivity to this by animating the swooshes in the background.

Animating strokes with effects

One of the most fundamental elements of any graphic design is the use of lines. And of course, After Effects makes it relatively easy to create multiple animated lines moving throughout your scene. You have many different options. One is to animate shape layers themselves. The other is to use the Stroke effect. I personally like to use the Stroke effect so that's what I'm going to show you in this video. Let's go ahead and look at our scene and we have these swooshes kind of moving across the bottom of our project. If we load up a RAM preview let's look at what's animated. And as you can see we've got this crazy busy animation and of course we want to add one more layer of interactivity to this by animating the swooshes in the background.

So I'm going to press the Spacebar to stop play back but just because this is such a busy graphic I do want to isolate the strokes on a layer by themselves. Now if we look at these lines, they're created by Layer7. So select Layer7 and then press the Solo key to go ahead and solo that layer. I know this is an Illustrator layer because I can see the Illustrator icon on Layer7. If you go ahead and Ctrl + click or right-click on Layer7. You could go up in the menu and choose reveal and finder and then double click on that to edit it inside of illustrator and to make changes etc. That's not what I want to do.

What I'd like to do is just copy the paths from that illustrator file to a new layer solid inside of After Effect. So instead of right clicking leave the layer selected and go up under the Edit command. And let's choose Edit Original. Now it may take a second for your system to launch but once you choose Edit Original, Illustrator will start launching in the background. It looks like the swoop had changed directions upon import into After Effects, but all in all this is exactly what I was looking for. So let's go ahead and click on the black arrow. That will allow us to select the graphic.

Now when we click on any one of the lines, notice the only lines that actually have paths going through them are the first and the last line. This is quite a common occurrence when you're creating multiple strokes like this inside of Illustrator. And that's because there's a tool called the blend tool, that allows the creation of these kind of things, really easily. Now since this isn't an illustrator course, I'm not going to dive really deep into the blend tool, I'm going to show you how you can optimize this, to actually copy it into After Effects. If we go up under Edit and choose Copy, what we can do is jump back into After Effects, lets choose layer and choose New Solid. Lets leave it blue just so we know it's completely different and make sure it's comp size by clicking to make Comp Size button. Now we can go under Edit and choose Paste.

And notice all the paths came in perfectly. What we need to do is actually generate the stroke. So let's go up under the Effect menu. We go to generate and choose stroke. Now with stroke in the effects Control panel, go down to the bottom under Paint style and click on the pull down. Now if the stroke affect is loaded into the effects Control panel, and go down to the bottom under Paint style. Let's change that pull down to say reveal original image. Now as you can see, we've got our strokes going the wrong way.

So what we need to do is press S to open up the Scale and then we can go ahead an unlock the scale. And I'm just going to change the X parameter to minus 100. Now when I press enter on my keyboard, it'll be flipped around and these will work beautifully. Now I can continue repositioning this layer with the position key frames, etc., but I think this works great so I'm going to go ahead and scroll down to layer eight and turn off its visibility. So now we need to just be able to see our strokes more clearly. In order to do that, let's press Shift + Cmd + H to hide the pass in the window. I can barely see what's going on with my strokes here. That's because its revealing he original image. If we go ahead and change our paint style on transparent it'll cut out the background and allow me to choose the color here as opposed to the color from my layer solid.

Now with that setup lets go ahead and increase the brush size to around 5. Now Brush Hardness may appear not to do anything when you Scrub on it. But if you go ahead and change the spacing, let's click and drag on the spacing, and increase it up to 100, now as we adjust the hardness. Let's zoom into 100% so you can see it a little better. We're getting softer dots versus harder dots. Each stroke is made up of a series of dots and you can adjust those dots by adjusting the spacing. Let's leave our setting for spacing around 30% and we'll make our brush hardness a little bit softer just so the edge doesn't appear quite as aliased. So let's go ahead and bring that down to around 50%. And then the opacity will just adjust the overall opacity of the stroke. So we can leave that at 100.

Now if we want to animate the appearance of this stroke I'm going to scroll back out with my magnification or let's just fit it up to 100%. To animate our stroke, all you have to do is just click and drag on that end parameter and that'll allow us to change how that stroke animates. I'd like to stroke all of the strokes sequentially so select All Masks in the top of the Stroke panel. Notice stroke sequentially's set by default. This way, when we key frame the start and the end It'll stroke one stroke after the other to create this kind of interesting look. Let's go ahead and create an animation for that. We'll change the end parameter to 0% and press home to move our time indicator to the start of our project.

We'll create the key indicator for the end, move down to one second, and increase that up to 100%. Now let's re-position our stroke layer down to the bottom of the layer hierarchy, just below the blue color solid. Now if we turn off soloing, you can see we've got our stroke here in the background. We can blend it a little bit more by pressing T. And adjusting the opacity down, or we could literally adjust the color and adjust the blend mode of the layer itself.

But for now, I think this is looking pretty cool. So let's go ahead and preview our animation. I'm going to load up a RAM preview. So there you have it. We've created animated strokes using the Stroke effect.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 50779 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects UPDATED
      59s
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects NEW
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache NEW
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology UPDATED
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects NEW
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions NEW
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers NEW
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation NEW
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects NEW
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D NEW
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render NEW
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements NEW
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects NEW
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers NEW
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes NEW
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics NEW
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques NEW
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3 NEW
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects NEW
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras UPDATED
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight NEW
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight NEW
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks NEW
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next? NEW
      2m 24s

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