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Trish Meyer leads beginners through a gentle introduction to Adobe After Effects: from creating a new project and importing sources, through arranging and animating layers, applying effects, and creating variations, to rendering the final movie. However, this is no paint-by-numbers exercise. Trish demonstrates how she makes creative decisions and saves time through the use of keyboard shortcuts and smart working practices. Additional movies explain further details about how After Effects works under the hood. Her measured pace helps even those completely new to After Effects understand the program so that they can use it effectively on their own projects. Exercise files are included with the course.
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 Online Training Library®.
At this point, we have all of our major elements in place. However, I think our videos are looking a little bit flat and perhaps a little blue. Our title has a bevel alpha and a drop shadow applied. I think it would look good if we applied similar effects to the video layers. Now, we will be looking at applying and editing effects in more detail in a later lesson. But for now, I think we deserve some instant gratification. I will select the first video, and let's start by removing some of this blue. As you can see, After Effects comes bundled with lots of effects.
The first one I will apply is Color Correction > Auto Color. This will remove the blue cast. The Effect Controls panel will open. It's docked with the Project panel. If you have extra space on your monitor, you might prefer to see both panels side by side. To do that, in the Effect Controls, click on the top left-hand corner and then drag over to the right-hand side of the frame. Now you will want to check that you have enough space so that the Comp panel is still being magnified at 100%.
If it's being squished, simply reduce the width of the Project panel and reduce the width of the Effect Controls. Now Auto Color does a very good job of removing the color cast, perhaps a little too good a job. If we scrub the value for Blend with Original, this is the original image, and this is the fully effective image. By the way, this is a slider. If you twirl down the little arrow, you can see that it's a slider that goes from 0 to 100%. It is just as easy to scrub the value directly.
But let's add in some of the original blue, somewhere around 40%. By removing some of the blue, the red jacket seems to pop a little better. Next, we will add a bevel around the edges. Now, After Effects offers two bevel effects: Perspective > Bevel Alpha and Bevel Edges. Let's look at Bevel Edges first. You will see this is a very high-contrast bevel with a chiseled look, slightly old-fashioned, but certainly not in keeping with what I have applied to the title.
So let's delete this effect, and this time, we'll select Effect > Perspective > Bevel Alpha. This follows the alpha channel of a layer, so it is also very good for applying to a title. I had increased the Edge Thickness so you can see how it looks. It's a very soft bevel, with a very anti-aliased look. I will set it to around 10 or so, and that should match the style I have in the title. Feel free to also adjust the Light Angle, Color, and Intensity.
Next, I will apply Effect > Perspective > Drop Shadow. I will increase the distance, so I can see it, increase the softness to give it a nice soft look, and perhaps reduce the Opacity so it is not quite so dark. Go ahead and tweak this to taste--the idea of being that it somewhat matches the title. You wouldn't want a very dark hard- edged shadow on one element if another element has a soft diffused shadow. Now I need to apply all the same effects to my second video.
Fortunately, we can just copy and paste. So once you've finished tweaking all of your parameters, click in the Effect Controls to make sure it's the active panel. Now when you select All--using Command+A on Mac, Ctrl+A on Windows--you will be selecting the effects. Now you just have to copy, select the second video, and paste. The only difference is that the second video wasn't quite as blue. So I am going to adjust the Blend with Original slider in the Auto Color effect.
I'd increase it slightly until it visually matches the snowboarder. Now let's do a RAM preview and see where we are at. Now it takes a little longer to calculate a RAM preview when you have more layers, especially when you have also added effects. Some effects can really slow down your rendering. Now I don't think I like the snowflake going behind the videos. I imagine it going in front of the videos, but behind the title. So let's see how the layers are orderedm and we can rearrange them.
Let's stop the RAM preview and twirl up our layers and see what we have. Layer 1 is our solid bar. Layers 2 and 3 are our videos. Layers 4 and 5 make up the title, and layer 6 is our background. So if I select layers 2 and 3, I can move the two video layers down in the layer stack, so that they sit above the background. Now when I RAM-preview, the snowflake will play in front of the videos, but still land behind the title. I think that looks pretty good as a first proof.
So in the next movie, we'll render it to disk. After that we can see if we have any other ideas for how we might improve this video.
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