After Effects CC Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Animating strokes with effects


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After Effects CC Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

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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.
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  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 1h 5m
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files (CC 2014.1)
      1m 57s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    4. Understanding and managing applications with Creative Cloud (CC 2014.1)
      2m 32s
    5. Which versions of After Effects CC does this course cover? (CC 2014.1)
      1m 40s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    7. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    8. Different ways to use After Effects
      59s
    9. Exploring the interface of After Effects (CC 2014.1)
      13m 22s
    10. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    11. Exploring important preferences, and setting up the cache (CC 2014.1)
      8m 44s
    12. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    13. Video terminology (CC 2014.1)
      6m 19s
    14. Video terminology
      4m 24s
    15. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      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 36m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation (CC 2014.1)
      8m 52s
    4. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    5. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    6. The power of parenting
      5m 27s
    7. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    8. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    9. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    10. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    11. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    12. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    13. 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
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras (CC 2014.1)
      10m 50s
    3. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    4. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    5. Animating cameras (CC 2014.1)
      11m 11s
    6. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    7. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    8. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 3h 40m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects (CC 2014.1)
      1m 53s
    2. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    3. 3D foundations (CC 2014.1)
      9m 49s
    4. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    5. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects (CC 2014.1)
      7m 14s
    6. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    7. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface (CC 2014.1)
      9m 49s
    8. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    9. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files (CC 2014.1)
      7m 20s
    10. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    11. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1)
      11m 7s
    12. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    13. Applying deformers (CC 2014.1)
      4m 50s
    14. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    15. Understanding materials (CC 2014.1)
      10m 29s
    16. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    17. Lighting your scene (CC 2014.1)
      11m 20s
    18. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    19. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    20. Working with presets (materials and lights) (CC 2014.1)
      7m 44s
    21. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1)
      5m 52s
    22. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    23. Adjusting keyframes in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1)
      7m 42s
    24. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1)
      5m 49s
    25. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    26. Working with CINEWARE (CC 2014.1)
      8m 11s
    27. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    28. Render settings and the multipass workflow (CC 2014.1)
      7m 28s
    29. 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. 36m 53s
    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
    5. Animating text and prepairing templates for use in Premiere Pro (CC 2014.1)
      7m 50s
  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
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      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 in After Effects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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After Effects CC Tutorials | Essential Training
14h 52m Appropriate for all Jun 17, 2013 Updated Nov 03, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Delve into the world of motion graphics, keying, and compositing in After Effects CC. In this course, Ian Robinson lays out six foundations for becoming proficient with After Effects, including concepts such as layers, keyframe animation, and working with 3D. To help you get up and running with the program, the course begins with a project-based chapter on creating an animated graphic bumper. Next, explore the role layers play in compositions and find out how to add style to your projects using effects and graphic elements. Last, see how to build 3D objects with CINEMA 4D Lite, as well as stabilize footage, solve for 3D cameras, and paint in graphics with the Reverse Stabilization feature.

Topics include:
  • Video terminology
  • Creating your first composition
  • Using layers, masks, blend modes, and track mattes
  • Parenting objects
  • Building complex objects with Pre-compose
  • Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
  • Understanding the order of effects
  • Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
  • Lighting a scene
  • Animating type on a path
  • Using Keylight for green-screen footage
  • Rotoscoping
  • Archiving projects
Subject:
Video
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Ian Robinson

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.

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


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Q: This course was updated on 6/18/2014. What changed?
A: We added new movies to the "Fundamentals of After Effects" chapter, reorganized and re-recorded the "Up and Running" and "Keying Green Screen Footage" chapters, and added new movies on Color Finesse 3 and masking individual effects.
Q: When I try to open a project file, After Effects tells me I need to update my system, since the file was made with version 13.0. But I already installed the most recent After Effects update. Why can't I open the project?
A: In the latest round of updates, Adobe chose to create a completely new installer for this latest version. While you may have updated the version of After Effects CC you have installed (12.x), there is an entirely new After Effects install for 2014 (13.0). Check for an After Effects CC (2014) item in the Creative Cloud app and download and install it from there. 
 
After you install the new version, you should be able to open 13.0 projects. After Effects CC (2014) will coexist with the older version of After Effects on your machine. If you currently have any shortcuts on your computer to launch After Effects, you may have to go back into the Programs folder and create a new shortcut to the newer version, After Effects 2014.
 
Q: This course was updated on 11/03/2014. What changed?
A: We updated 25 movies to reflect changes to the Creative Cloud 2014 release of After Effects. This includes the new optimized user interface and enhanced Cineware and CINEMA 4D Lite pipeline. The new movies are labeled with the "(CC 2014.1)" tag.
 
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