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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics with Ian Robinson covers some of the core principles used to create motion graphics, breaking them down into smaller groups of applied techniques in After Effects. The course explores everything from gathering inspiration to integrating traditional typography, transitional elements, animated textures, color, and more into motion graphics. Instructions for building a toolkit with templates and a style guide for future projects are also included. Exercise files accompany the course.
As you should know by now, the process of creating a title animation is just that, a process. Just like how a potter continually spins and works with the clay, you need to continue to tweak and adjust the different parameters in your animation, in order to eventually create something you like. If you're joining me from the last video, I went ahead and added the rest of the brushstroke reveals to our stroke layers. I also added a few using ease-ins and outs to keyframes, as well as an occasional fade-in or fade-out here or there.
But all in all I didn't use any techniques that we haven't covered already. So let's check out our animation. I'm just going to go ahead and load up a RAM Preview here to show you exactly where we were at. (Music playing) Okay, there are a couple of things I want to chat with you about.
The first thing, let's scrub our playhead around the Timeline and you should be able to see the edges of the paper. Now, I left those in on purpose because I like the depth that it added to the scene. If you want to get rid of the edges of the paper, by all means you can open up the source files in Photoshop and just blow up the white levels a little bit. You could also just paint out the edges with white and that would also get rid of them. But like I said, I left them in on purpose. So I just wanted you to know that that wasn't a mistake. If we go ahead and scroll back to the beginning, I want you to note how this move actually stops rather abruptly.
I actually like that because of how it fits with the time and the music. Let's go ahead and listen to a preview. (Music playing) So I think that's kind of cool. But if you look at the type, you notice that type is just popping on the screen. Well, we need to fix that. With everything else that's going on in the scene, like the brushstrokes moving and everything sliding around, the scene is kind of busy and that leads me to actually appreciate the simplistic nature in which the type is being revealed.
I just want to tweak it a little bit. So to stick with that theme, let's just add a simple fade to each type layer. Now the easiest way to do that is to select both type layers that are used to create each word, press I to move the playhead to the beginning of that layer, and press Alt+T or Option+T to set your first keyframe for Opacity. Since we want this to fade in, let's go ahead and change that value down to 0. Now let's move about 12 frames down the Timeline and change our Opacity up to 100.
If we move our playhead through the scene, you can see that this word is actually fading in. That's perfect! Now to apply this fade in to all the other layers, go head and select both keyframes for the Opacity adjustment and copy them. Now what we have to do is select each group of text layers, move our playhead to the beginning of each line, and paste the keyframes. So let's go ahead and repeat that process for the other two words. If we open up the Opacity option, here you can see we have a nice fade in applied to each set of words.
Now that we've tweaked the fade in of the words let's go ahead and look at the rest of this animation. The fact that the words actually stop before the end of the Timeline bothers me a little bit. So let's add a couple more keyframes so we can keep the words moving around the scene. So just to make sure that we don't have any extra animation applied to these layers, go ahead and select all the type layers and make sure to press P for Position.
That way we can see all the position keyframes that have been applied to these layers. Now, you'll notice the Position keyframes only reside on the lower layers of each one of these groups of words, and that's because the upper layers are parented to the lower layers. This word "the" controls this word "the." You get the general idea. Okay, so let's go ahead and add some more keyframes. Select layer 6 and you notice I have a visual representation of the move.
The move is left to right here. So let's just click and drag on the word "the" and drag it over to the right. Now once we start dragging it, hold down Shift after you start dragging and that way you will make sure that the move snaps on the x-axis. Let's do the same thing for the other words. Now since "revealing" is moving right to left, let's go ahead and drag "revealing" to the left. Again, making sure to hold down Shift once we start the drag. Now the word "artist," let's move that over to the right.
Since it's kind of moving in a diagonal fashion I don't want it to move up anymore because it will bump into the word "the." So let's go ahead and just drag that to the right and hold Shift and there we go. Now if we preview our animation, we should see the words fading into the scene as well as continually moving throughout the rest of the animation. This is exactly what I was hoping for with the text animation. (Music playing) If you notice at the end here, I got this interesting wiggle that happened.
Notice how the word "revealing" is moving right to left and then it bounces and heads back the opposite direction. That's actually caused by keyframe interpolation and there is an easy way to fix this. All you have to do is draw a selection around all of our keyframes. Now, with all the Position keyframes selected, if you Ctrl or right-click on any of the keyframes and open up Keyframe Interpolation, we can actually adjust all of the keyframes at once. Spatial Interpolation is set to Auto Bezier.
Sometimes with Spatial Interpolation can actually add a little bit of that wiggle back in your animation. So change that to Linear. Now when we click OK, you can notice that I don't have the drift anymore. To check that out, let's go ahead and load up another RAM Preview. If your RAM Previews are taking the long time, don't forget you can skip frames or you can adjust the resolution down a little bit. Just to understand when you skip frames, you might skip over an important frame. So make sure that you're seeing everything when you go ahead and set up your RAM Preview.
Most of the time if it's not playing back right, I just adjust the Resolution down just a little bit. (Music playing) Okay, that's actually looking pretty good. If you notice, we've gotten rid of the wiggle. Now there is one little thing that the type perfectionist in me is noticing and it's this. The fact that the word "artist" is so closely pinned up to the word "the." Since we have multiple keyframes applied to the word "artist," sometimes that could be seen as problematic.
But as long as you position your playhead on one of the keyframes, whenever you select multiple keyframes, say these last two keyframes, now when you go ahead and adjust the position, notice it's adjusting the position of both keyframes. If I do say so myself, this is actually kind of a cool tip. I really use this quite often. All right! Perfect! Now if we preview this one more time, you notice that this is spaced out a little bit better. We're almost finished, but if we move our playhead to the beginning you'll notice there is something arrived, and it has to do with the fact that this doesn't really match up quite well with the storyboard.
It's a long time since we looked at the storyboard, so let's jump back to the storyboard here, and sure enough, you'll notice frame one has a nice clean looking background, where frame two actually has this high contrast or dirtier looking background. Now to fix this, all we have to do is keyframe the contrast. So let's jump back to our Background layer, scroll down in your Timeline to Light Gray Solid 1, and make sure that you have your Effects Controls open. Here you'll notice we have a setting for Contrast.
Now since the Contrast is already set for the majority of the animation, let's work slightly backwards. Move your playhead down about a second in your Timeline and go ahead and add a keyframe for the Contrast setting. Now move your playhead back to the beginning of the Timeline and change the Contrast to around 20 and you'll notice now the background looks a lot more like the first frame in the storyboard. So if we loaded up a preview here, you would notice that this is actually fading in now. So let's go ahead and do that.
Let's load up a preview. (Music playing) Okay, that looks pretty good, but there is one last thing I want to add to the scene, just to kind of push it over the edge, and that's a slight flicker effect.
Initially, when I was designing this, I thought it be cool if just the type was flickering. But I think it would actually benefit the entire scene if we just added a little flicker to the whole page. The easiest way to do that is by using an adjustment layer. So let's move up to the top layer in the Timeline, go up under Layer, choose New > Adjustment Layer and let's rename that adjustment layer Flicker. Now when I'm adjusting the brightness in the scene, I like to use an effect under Color Correction called Exposure.
That's because this effect works in 8, 16, and 32-bit mode. So to add a subtle flicker over the entire composition, all we have to do is set up two keyframes. So let's make this easy. Move your playhead to the beginning by pressing Home and set your first keyframe, move your playhead to the end of the Timeline and instead of clicking the stopwatch, because that would actually delete the first keyframe, let's press U to open up the keyframes and click this diamond box right here.
That will add another keyframe of the exact same value to the Timeline. Now to create the Flicker effect, we could use an expression, but I would like to use an old-school tool called the Wiggler. It's kind of funny. If you select the word Exposure, you'll notice now we've selected both keyframes. To use the Wiggler, all you have to do is go up under Window and choose Wiggler. It's kind of a funny name, but it's a pretty good tool. Now all we have to do is set up some of the parameters. Right now, we'll Apply To set to the Temporal Graph and change the Noise Type from Smooth to Jagged.
Since I want this flicker to be kind of fast, let's change the Frequency to around 20 times per second. The Exposure setting is extremely sensitive, so rather than leaving Magnitude set at 2, let's go ahead and set it at 0.5. That way when we apply this adjustment, the only way this exposure can move is +0.5 or -0.5, which should be plenty enough to add a flicker to the overall scene. So go ahead and press Apply and now if you look at the Exposure setting in the Timeline, you'll notice that there are a ton of keyframes that have been added.
That's what the Wiggler does. It adds keyframes based on the Frequency setting you have set. Let's load up a RAM Preview and I'm just going to cross fade so you don't have to sit here and wait for the preview to load. Okay, now that the preview is loaded, let's check out our animation. (Music playing) So all in all, I like how this looks. Now the flicker is a little strong and I did say the Exposure setting was extraordinarily sensitive, but I'm going to show you a neat little trick with adjustment layers.
Now to make a quick adjustment all you have to do is actually adjust the opacity of that layer. I don't have to go back into my Exposure setting and change any of the keyframe settings. Let me show you what I mean. Let's press T to open up the Opacity and if we actually bring the Opacity down, I'm just going to bring it down to around 30%. If you notice now when we go ahead and try and load our preview, the flicker isn't nearly as severe. So again, I'm going to load up one more RAM Preview here so you can see exactly what I'm talking about.
(Music playing) Okay, that's perfect! That's definitely much more like what I had imagined. So as you can see, by taking a little bit of time to add our final effects to the scene, you can definitely tweak out your animations and create exactly what you're looking for, and by all means, I encourage you to keep going and pushing your own animations to create a title reveal all your own.
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