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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.
Like most other video programs, After Effects has ability to add transitions, which is basically what happens when you go from one video clip to another video clip. In most dedicated video editing programs, such as Final Cut Pro or Premiere Pro, the animation that happens is automatic. But here in After Effects we need to, typically, manually transition from one clip to the next. So, to set this up, what I have done is I have got two clips here. One are these clips of these flowers moving from right to left. Then we can remove the visibility of this top layer, and we could see that we have these candles that were moving from left to right.
So, it's kind of like a similar motion here. The camera is basically going from left to right. So, what we are going to do is we are going to transition from one clip to the other clip. For that to happen, you need to have overlapping clips. But basically you could see here we have one clips stacked on top of the other clip. So, what I am going to do is go to Effects and Presets panel, and I am going to go to the Transition category. These are where you'll find the video transitions. Some of these, like the Cycore ones, they are a little bit over the top, but also can be quite interesting like CC Jaws, for example. You see that we have this Completion parameter.
This is pretty much common to most or all of the effects in the Transitions category. It's basically determines how complete the transition is. By default, it's set to 0%, usually. We can animate this to go from 0-100, to reveal the clip beneath it. Now, I definitely don't want to go through all the settings in this effect, and I don't want to go through every affect. I kind of want to just give you a basic idea of what's possible here in the Transition category. What's cool about these effects is that they can often be used for unconventional methods, like for example, earlier in the strings here, we have looked at that project with Radial Wipe.
We use this as kind of like a motion graphics tool to animate some dots coming on the screen. So, that's cool for stuff like that. You might use this as a kind of like a border. Maybe you don't want to animate the Completion value. You just leave it as a border. So, like, as you play these clips, then you have kind of like this cool border going on, and you don't animate the Completion. We could change the direction here, so maybe it's on like the left and right side. Maybe this some other type of like animated texture in the background here or something. We could change the height. We could change the width of these Spikes.
We could even change whether they are Spikes or whether it's RoboJaw, which is like flat Spikes or Blocks, or what have you. So, a lot of parameters here with the CC Jaws effect. You could see that it's not just for Transitions necessarily. I am going to select this effect, in the Effect Controls panel, hit the Delete key to delete it. There is a few other standard effects, such as Linear Wipe. This is very simple here. Basically, the Linear Wipe does exactly what it says. It just sweeps one clip away with a line to reveal the next clip. Very simple parameters here: we have the Wipe Angle, and we can Feather that so it's a little bit more of a soft edge.
Again, this can allow you to create some interesting effect that you might not want to animate. You might not want to use this as a Transition, but just use it as kind of a a nice like soft feathered texture in the corner or something like that. So, you could see, as we're removing in time, what that looks like. Now one of these effects is just ridiculously cool. I am going to select Linear Wipe and delete it. I'm going to play the Card Wipe effect to that top layer. Now first thing we know is that Card Wipe is very complex compared to the others. The other thing we notice is that it looks terrible in its default settings. If I move around Transition Completion, we can see that basically it kind of is like this blocky 1980s- looking texture that goes through.
However, if I take this Transition Completion to around 40, 50, 60% somewhere around there, then we go down to the Camera Position category of parameters. Open that up, and adjust Y Rotation. We will see that what's going on here is that After Effects is turning the top layer into a series of three- dimensional flipping cards. So, when we adjust Transition Completion, what we are actually doing is flipping these cards around. If we wanted to, we could change the Back layer, in other words what's on the back of the cards, to the Merch_Candles layer.
That's the Candle layer. So, we can transition to that layer behind it if we wanted to. Actually, the purpose of the effect is that it create that stadium look, where it looks everyone in the stadium is holding a certain card, like for a cell phone company or something. They flip it upside down to reveal a logo or what have you. So, you could see, we have one side of the layer and through Transition Completion we could flip the cards over and flip to the other layer. Now, another thing, too, is we go down here to position Jitter, and we could increase Z Jitter Amount. This is the position, Z position.
So, there is X is left or right, Y is up and down, and Z is towards you and further away from you. So, as we increase the Z Jitter Amount, we are increasing the distance between the cards and the camera, which is really kind of cool. So, now as we move the Y Rotation on, again, we have this series of 3- dimensional cards, very cool stuff. I might even want to just like take off the visibility of the Candles layer, and just play around with what I can come up with, with Card Wipe, without a Background, or some other kind of textures of background - maybe not use this as a Transition, but just as a way to create cool cards or something.
One other thing that I have also used this for is starting a Transition Completion at a different spot. Let's say I take down to 0%, I guess. Then with the Z Jitter Amount values really, really high, maybe even X Jitter Amount and Y Jitter Amount really, really high, so it looks like just like a series of crazy pictures all over the place. Then what we could do is animate these, so that these elements that the values reduce drastically here, and animate to have no Jitter Amount. So, they kind of gather back together, and then flip at the same time.
So, it's almost like a logo gathering together. A very cool effect with this awesome Card Wipe effect it's kind of stowed away in the Transition category, which is not typically where you would find a lot of really powerful effects. But this just happens to be one that you might want to experiment and play around with. Again, as with all other effects, there is that After Effect effects Training Series on lynda.com that goes into great detail about all that you ever want to know, and probably more, about Card Wipe.
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