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In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.
Now if there is one thing I can recommend as you're getting started compositing, it's to have plenty of patience. All too often, people expect a composite to just be something simple. You can drag it and drop it and don't you just add some switches and you're done. And the truth is, no. Most of the time when you add things into a scene, you're like, oh, what if I did it this way or that way? And there's a lot of backing and forthing. So for our project, I'm going to show you how to build a composite between our logo, which currently exists on this white background, and the 3D track that we did at the very beginning in this chapter.
So to get started, we need to actually import the 3D track project. So double-click in the Project panel and navigate to your Exercise Files folder. In there, you want to go in the Ch_12 folder and in the Desk_Track folder you'll see a project named 12_02_Tracked_Desk. This is a saved version of the final track that we created in the 12_02 Video. So we can just click Open and notice that whole project got imported into its own folder in the Project panel.
If we open that up, you can see we have a Track_Desk comp. This is actually going to be our output comp, so I'm going to select it, press Return and Right Arrow to move to the end and I'm going to do _OUT to create the out. And this Logo_Comp will no longer be the OUT comp, so I'm going to press Return and change it to PREcomp. Okay, now usually I'd organize more, but let's get started.
Double-click the Track_Desk_OUT. If we try to drag this entire comp into the scene, it wouldn't really work because when you add elements into the scene, they default to be 2D layers. I could collapse the transformations but that may not work as well. What you really need to do is copy the 3D elements out of one comp into the other. So let's double-click our Logo_Comp_ PREcomp and collapse all the layers and look at what we have in our scene. Here I'm going to make the Layer panel a little larger.
So if I were to copy this into the other comp, I would want to copy absolutely everything, just by clicking and dragging from the lower area, and not the camera. So I'm going to hold down Command on the Mac, Ctrl on the PC, and click on Layer 2 to deselect that layer. I could just say Edit > Copy and Edit > Paste, but we need to have control over all these layers as though they were one layer before we get into the other comp. So I'm going to go up to Layer and choose New > Null Object.
And here, I'm going to rename this Null by selecting the layer and pressing Return, let's call this Title_Control. Press Return to set the name and let's reselect all of our layers. We'll select Light 2, Shift+Click all the way to the shadow catcher, and again, Command+Click or Ctrl+Click on the camera to deselect. With the Parent panel active, just click on the pick whip and choose the Title Control to be the parent.
In order to copy this over, let's hold down the Command key again, or Ctrl on the PC, and add Layer 1 to the selection. Now we can go up under Edit and choose Copy. When we go to our Track_ Desk comp, select Layer 3. I want our layers to be pasted above Layer 3 but below the camera. So when we select Layer 3, we can go to Edit and choose Paste and now the layers will all be added above that layer. If you notice in the scene here, it's been added but it doesn't really match the orientation or perspective of this Track Solid that we created.
That is perfectly in place. Let's move our Title_Control Null to the top of the layer hierarchy so it's right next to our Track Solid, and all we need to do is move the position of this Null Object to the position of this object. Notice as we look at the control handles for Tracks Solid 1, they're oriented differently than our Null Object. Also notice our Title_ Control Null is in 2D space.
So let's enable 3D for this Null and you notice now it'll snap right back to the center point of our title. When we select Layer 2 and reselect Layer 1, notice the difference between the orientation. To move our Title layer to this location of Layer 2, we need to hold down Shift as we grab the parent pick whip and choose Layer 2 to be the parent of our Title_Control layer. Notice when we hold down Shift, it will now move that Null to that new position and it also changed the orientation.
Let's scroll out in the scene so we can see what's happening. You can see it also changed the scale of this layer. So let's press S to open up the Scale and scale this way down, let's scale it to about 20%. As we zoom back into the scene here, you can see, okay, it's not far off, but if we press R to open our Orientation, we can click and drag on the X Orientation. And if you drag to the right, we'll start to flip this layer down to exactly what we're looking for.
Just choose 90 degrees as the Orientation for this. Okay, now it's actually on the desk in a way that looks pretty good. The green solid, we don't really need anymore. Even though it's slightly higher than our white layer, I think it's perfectly fine for what we're looking for right now, so let's just turn off the visibility of our green layer. In order to better position this in the scene, let's press A to open up the Anchor Point.
You want to use the Anchor Point when repositioning this object because we've already have its position set up properly within the scene according to the 3D track. So let's click and drag to the left to shift the Anchor Point to the left thus pushing entire comp to the right. If we press R, we can open the up the Orientation and I want to change the orientation on the Y axis. So let's click and drag to the left so we can better orient the logo to the camera.
So now we can adjust the Scale up a little bit, so let's go back to Scale and change this to, I don't know, about 30 and let's see how that looks. Okay, that's actually looking kind of cool. The problem is it's overlapping some of these notes. So let's zoom back out here and see what we're dealing with. Okay, let's set the Scale to 25. Again, this is all part of the process of compositing. You've got to sort of get things squared away. Obviously, we could change the scale of each one of these objects and reposition again, but I think this will work extraordinarily well.
Now that we have this placed in our scene, we can scrub through the scene and actually get a preview to see how well this is sticking on to our desk. If you need to move a little more quickly, you can click on the Fast Preview button in the lower right- hand corner of the comp window and change Draft to Fast Draft. That will turn off your shadows. The reason I wanted it set to Draft was so I could see where the shadows are being cast, so when I do the final composite, everything will work okay.
As I'm looking at this, I do want to reposition this on the Z axis to be a little closer to the camera. So I'm going to open up the Anchor Point here and on the Z axis, I'm going to drag to the right so it moves a little more closely to the camera. Okay, perfect! Even though I know this is kind of moving in on edge of the keyboard, I want to move to the right with my current-time indicator. The reason being, this camera tilt is going to actually determine my final placement.
Now while this is in the center of the scene, let's actually just adjust on the X axis a little bit more and move our logo back to the left here a little bit. Okay now this is starting to look a little bit more like what we're looking for. Now we have our logo in the scene and it's tied to the track, the only thing that's left to do is make some minor adjustments to the lights and the Material Options as we create our final composite. Even though it sounds simple, there may be some extra steps to that.
So we're going to jump in to that in our next video.
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