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This course pulls together the skills you've been learning in the previous After Effects Apprentice installments to create a real-world video promo. Trish leads you through building the artwork and components used in the final piece, and then Chris shows how to assemble these precompositions into a 3D world, timed to music. Along the way, Trish and Chris also share their thoughts as they design a video project, including unifying the overall look and handling change requests from clients.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.
Now that I'm done arranging and parenting my layers, I no longer need these two views. I'm going to go back to 1 View, make sure it's set to Active Camera. And actually, now that I am done arranging the frame, I'm also going to press the apostrophe key to toggle off the action and title safe just to clean things up. Let's decide when to time this animation move for these layers. For reference, I'm going to look at the camera, press U to reveal its keyframes, and I'm going to drag the current time indicator back to one of the beats in the soundtrack and listen a little bit to get a feel for what's happening at what time in the music.
I'm going to press the Decimal Point key on the numeric keypad to preview just the audio. (audio playing) So for my first move, the camera does land here and the music pretty much calms down from here on. (audio playing) So I probably want to make my move in between the camera move animating or maybe even overlap at a little bit. And by the time the music is calmed down, so we can go ahead and focus on that video wall layer.
I'm going to press the J key on the keyboard to jump back to the next keyframe or marker earlier in time. The J and K keys provide ways of navigating very quickly between the important points inside your composition. I'm going to enable keyframing for Y Rotation for the Null Parent. Remember, Orientation is just good for posing. Don't keyframe that. I'm going to keyframe the actual Rotation parameter. I'm going to press K now to jump to the next marker in my soundtrack and see which one I want to scrub this.
Yeah, that direction. Positive, I'll enter 90x to exactly rotate around by the correct amount. So this move now goes from this pose to this pose. Okay, how shall we end this? We do want to hold on this for a little while so we can see our title build and we can see our video action. So, some point after here is probably when we want to do our next swivel move, maybe somewhere around the ending of the soundtrack. So I'll put the current time indicator back a couple beats earlier and press the Decimal key again and listen. (audio playing) It's a good decisive bang here.
I think I'm going to use that as my motivator to kick around the rotation of all those elements. A good starting point is to place a keyframe right on that beat. However, you can toy around later with moving these keyframes a little bit earlier or a little bit later in time to anticipate or lag the action. Later in time, we'll show that it reacts to the sound event. Earlier in time may help build anticipation towards the sound event. I'm going to try it a little bit earlier for now. Again, you can tweak these things later. Now when am I going to end my move? (audio playing) When I listen to that lightning, I'm hearing two phases to it.
I'm hearing a boom, then a second woom later on. (audio playing) Let's look at that waveform. I'll select that layer, press LL to reveal its waveform. And I indeed see one big bang here, a little bit more body here. I'd say that might be the ending of that second part of the lighting hit. (audio playing) That pretty much decays from there. So I think I'm going to make that a position of my second keyframe. Enter 180 degrees to rotate by another 90. Now we'll see the back side of that video layer with the paraglider going away from us and our final text, "Tonight at 8 pm." And if the null object is just getting in my way, I just need to turn off its video switch.
I no longer see the red square that signifies it, but it will still work and everybody will still render fine since they're parented to it. Let's preview that and see how it works. You'll notice I've already set up my work area to be just the second half where I want to play comp 2 from 4 seconds onwards. Remember, you can go ahead and place your current time indicator anywhere and press B to begin the work area there. I'll go to this marker at 4 and press B there. I'm going to press 0 on the numeric keypad to initiate a RAM preview and since it is 3D and since there is motion blur, it is going to take a little while to render this preview.
However, I used this time of calculating to see if anything is obviously wrong with my animation. So far it looks good; I just have the text in the ground, I just have the layer building, reflections look good. Might move this whole cube to line up better with the grid on the floor. This one I can do later on. Here's the big swivel. You can see that this big movement is taking longer to calculate. (video playing) I saw something here I didn't like, right there.
You can see that the motion blur on this letter is strobed. You can see multiple copies rather than one smooth individual blur. That can be a problem with motion blur. The faster things are moving, the higher the chance they're going to strobe. Well, I can fix that. I'll go up to the Composition Settings, click on the Advanced tab and go edit the Motion Blur settings. The Adaptive Sample Limit applies to 2D layers, but Samples Per Frame applies to 3D layers, which is what this text is.
So let's try 24, don't press Enter yet because it'll just close this dialog, but since later versions of After Effects have this Live Preview, I can see the result. That is an improvement over 16, but it's not perfect. What if we go up to 32? Yeah, there we go! That's nice and smooth. I no longer see the individual strobing. I'll click OK to remember that setting, but I'll temporarily turn off Motion Blur for the composition so that I can preview a bit faster.
So I still have Motion Blur turned on for those components layers and they'll render with blur, but I'm getting a bit impatient waiting for these long previews. And indeed, I'm not going to make you wait through this long RAM preview. I'm going to cut to the end here so you can see what it looks like after it's all built. (video playing) That's pretty good. I'm fairly happy with that.
I can see two areas for improvement though. One is that that rotation is a bit sudden. Sometimes sudden works, particularly, if you're trying to do extreme movements to grab the user's attention, but in this case, I'm trying to give the impression of the 3D world and that there's real mass and volume and weight to these objects. To do that, I want to actually add some acceleration and deceleration to those keyframe moves to get more of an impression of mass and a little bit more of an impression of elegance to be honest. So I'm going to select the Rotation keyframes. I can either just Command-click or Ctrl-click on them to change them to Auto Bezier.
That'll give me a little bit of ease in and ease out, or I can press F9 on the keyboard to just turn them to Easy Ease keyframes. Now you might have noticed that this video panel moved a little bit when I did this. Easy Ease keyframes do hold their position in between two keyframes of the same value. However, if I Command-click to turn them into Auto Bezier, you'll see that I do have a little bit of problem with overshooting and coming back. You may remember from an early After Effects lesson that when you had two keyframes with the same value, you may get this overshooting behavior.
In that case, you need to select the offending keyframe that happens earlier in time. I'll right-click and I'll toggle the whole keyframe. That will make sure that I hold this value in between those two keyframes and then continue with my animation. But in this case, I'm going to go ahead and select the Rotation keyframes, right-click, Keyframe Assistant, and Easy Ease them to create a very elegant movement and give the impression of a lot of mass. The second thing is I did mention that I have a wiggle expression applied to the camera, but I didn't see any wiggling during this hold.
This is because I actually disabled the wiggle expression for this layer. To enable it, I click on this Equal sign and that will be turned back on again. And now we'll get some slight jitter in the movement in between those two keyframes. I'll queue up another RAM preview, and again, I won't make you sit with the whole thing. (video playing) Subtle improvements, but improvements nonetheless.
Okay, now that we finished the second half of our promo, let's put them all together in a final composition.
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