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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.
So, now we are continuing on with this logo from Illustrator. I have done few little color embellishments here. I'll teach you how to do that later on in this training series. But now, we finally get to this place where the rubber meets the road and talk about animation, how to bring things to life in After Effects. Again, the great the joy of After Effects is that when you learn how to animate anything, any one property in After Effects, everything animates the same, exact way. And as you go through this training series, you'll see that, and it'll bring you joy. So, let's go to this Explore layer, go ahead and come over to left side of the name Explore and click this right-facing arrow to expand this layer and see its contents.
Every layer has this Transform area. So, click the arrow next to Transform to expand it, and you'll see five different values. Again, this is the same case on every layer. It's not just this Explore layer. It's every layer in After Effects has the same five properties. These are the key elements of animation in After Effects, and we'll be talking about these through this chapter. Now just so we don't get confused here I am going to select the Explore layer, so it's highlighted. You can see these layers are not highlighted, and this one is.
Go ahead and press the letter R on your keyboard to reveal the Rotation property only. So, we have just Rotation, the stopwatch next to Rotation and then its value. Initially, this may look confusing, because we 0x+0.0 degrees. That may look a little off- putting at first, but we will talk about rotation specifically later on in this chapter, and you will see it's not super confusing. What I am going to do is I am going to go the right value of the two different zeros and just click and drag to the right.
Now you'll see that as we go left, it rotates counterclockwise. As we go right, it rotates clockwise. And then let's say we'll twist a little bit and then grab Current Time Indicator and move around in time. You can see that it just stays there. It doesn't change in value. So, if you change your property in After Effects, After Effects will assume, by default, that is the way that you want things to be. But see when you animate something, you want it to change value over time.
The way that we do is with the stopwatch and really, animation is a three-step process. I am going to go ahead and click this value, and when we'll click that value once, we'll get a field where we can manually type in a value. So, I am going to type in 0 and press Enter. So, the three steps to animate are, first click the stopwatch. That tells After Effects we want this property to change over time. That action also After Effects to remember the current value at this particular time.
So, it creates this little diamond here in the timeline. It's kind of like marker, an indicator that at this particular place in time, at 3 second and 13 frames in this case, it'll be at this value, at (0,0). So, all we have done so far is to click the stopwatch. Step two is to move in time. Step three is to change the value and again, a little diamond has been created for us, and that's After Effects' way of telling us that it remembers this value, 36 degrees, at this time, at 7 seconds and 6 frames.
Now folks, this is the magic of After Effects. That's all you have to do. If we scrub our Current Time Indicator, we can see that the value automatically changes to go from point A to point B, and that's all we have to do. We didn't have to tell it, "Okay, After Effects. Those are the two values that you want. Now you go animate." It automatically did that for us. Now one word of caution: if I hit Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on the PC, that will undo my last action, and that is how you undo a keyframe.
You can also select it and then hit the Delete key. I will actually redo that edit, redo value change. And I could select it and then I'll hit Delete. When they are not selected, they are gray. Those of the two methods that are okay for deleting keyframes. If you were to click the stopwatch again, basically deselecting the stopwatch, that would erase all keyframes for that property and whatever the current value is, that will be the permanent value then. So, be very careful with that. A lot of students that I have taught, that's like their first inclination when they are playing around with a value or with animation at first. They want to click the stopwatch again when they want to undo something, but that will wipe the slate entirely clean.
Sometimes you might want that, but be aware that that's what you are doing when you deselect the stopwatch. Now we are going to go through a series of these, actually all of these transforms. If I close that layer, open it again and see all these different transforms, it works the same exact way with Position, with Scale, Opacity. It's the same exact thing. I click the stopwatch, let's say, for example, Opacity, which refers to the transparency of the objects. And 100% is completely opaque and not transparent. So, I click the stopwatch, move in time, and change the value.
I can drag this to the left to fade that out a little bit, and it fades out automatically. Now that's pretty much the end of the tutorial. We are going to be practicing with these five properties throughout this chapter. So, if that's all you need, you can just close this movie. I wanted to give you some artistic background for those of who that are interested in kind of going the extra mile as far as your knowledge is concerned. But this comes back from an original Disney concept for animation. What they were do, and actually what's still done on shows like the Simpsons and whatnot, they're hand-drawn animation.
What they'll do is they will have the high-paid animators create the important frames of animation, and then they'll send the work off to maybe overseas or somewhere where people are making less money and the labor cheaper or maybe to a junior animator, and they make the frames in between the key, or in other words the important frames. Well, After Effects uses this analogy as well, and that is what we are doing. You and I, as users of After Effects, we are the keyframe creators.
We say, "Okay, After Effects I want you to here at this point and there at that point." Then After Effects is kind of like our grunt servant animator that goes in and creates all the frames in between. Now if you are brand-new to After Effects, this concept may seen a little unusual, but trust me by the end of this chapter even, you'll be feeling so solid and secure in this information that it'll no longer seem like some weird theory. It's just amazing. Again, a few chapters down the road, we are going to get into effects, and you'll see that we animate effects in the same way. If you're going to make a lightning bolt, you animate it in the exact the same way with this whole stopwatch deal.
So, it all works to same. You learn this one concept of After Effects - it's almost like you are now familiar with the entire program at once. So, phenomenal. I just love it. So, let's back up a little bit. And we'll talk little bit more animating opacities, specifically, in the next movie.
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