Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
If you want to create a seemingly complex graphic inside of After Effects. It's just a matter of precomposing. Now, let's look at the project that we're currently working in, by clicking on the current time indicator, and scrubbing through the timeline. Now, I can see that I have a null object and that's what's controlling these two spheres moving around. But just so you can see things more clearly, let me go ahead and select layer 1. And you can see clearly, there's our null object. And you can see its motion path is a perfect circle. Now, if you press R, it has rotation and that's what's actually causing these two spheres to move around.
If you look in the Parent column, you can see Sphere 2 and Sphere one are both children of the Null 1 layer. So I'm going to rename this Null 1 layer by selecting it and pressing Return on my keyboard, and we can call this Sphere Control. And just so I don't forget it's a null, I'll call it Null. Now, if you ever don't want to see these control handles in your project, you can just turn the visibility of the Null off. It's still going to allow me to scrub through the timeline, I just don't necessarily need to see that level of complexity.
All right, now if I want to create multilple spheres moving around in kind of an interesting pattern on the screen. I'm going to go through several layers of precomposing. So let's do just that. Let's move layer 1 down just above layers 3 and 4. This way they can be all right next to each other when we go to precompose. Now, before I precompose, I want to make sure that I have Motion Blur enabled for these two layers. So if you don't have the switches currently set up, make sure to toggle your Switches and Nodes button, till you get to this scene right here. Now, for these two spheres, I'm going to go ahead and enable my Motion Blur there and there, layers 3 and 4, just by clicking on the Motion Blur boxes. Now, if you want to see a preview, you can enable Motion Blur just by clicking the button in the middle of the Timeline panel. There, you can see, I've got a pretty good blur working for that one sphere. Now, let's just disable Motion Blur for the time being, because we don't need to see it as we're building this graphic.
So select layer 2, hold down Shift, and select layer 4 to select all three layers. Now, press Shift+Cmd+C or Shift+Ctrl+C on the PC to open Precompose. Let's call this 2 Sphere Pre-Comp, and we can click OK. Now, let's duplicate this layer. Since layer 2 is already selected, just press Cmd+D or Ctrl+D and that will duplicate the layer. Now, I want two spears kind of mirrored on the other side.
So I'm going to press S to open up the Scale parameter and rather than rotating this. I'll just unlock the x and y and change the x parameter to be minus 100. Now, when I press Enter on the keyboard, I have an exact mirror image. So if we scrub through, you can see I've created kind of a cool animation there. Now, we're not finished. We're going to go ahead and precompose a few more times. So let's go ahead and collapse layer 2 by clicking on the triangle, and select layers 2 and 3. Just make sure to hold down Shift and select those layers and press Shift+Cmd+, again, Shift+Ctrl+C on the PC for Precompose. I'll call this 4 Sphere Pre-Comp.
I think you can see a pattern going here. Okay. Now, let's duplicate this layer and this time we'll go ahead and rotate. So I'll press R to open Rotation, and let's change this rotation to 180 degrees. Now, as we scrub through, you can see oh, we have an even more complex animation. Now, we could continue this pattern several more times to create a complex animation. But I think you get the point in how easy it is to actually create complex innovation just using the precompose commit. Now, there's one more layer of flexibility that we've created based on how we've built this composition.
And that's because we can change this sphere graphic at any time. If we open the Pre-Comps folder, in the Project panel, you can see we have our sphere element Pre-Comp. Let's go ahead and just double click that Pre-Comp. In here, we have our Sphere element. But let's say for some reason, we wanted to make it a square. I could come up to my Shape tools. And grab my Rectangle tool and I'll just click and drag and create a square over top of this sphere. I can just turn the visibility of the sphere off. If we go back to our Complex_Graphics and scrub through, now, you can see I've built that graphic using squares. So, when it comes to composing and precomposing, you have extra flexibility. It's not just the ability to create complex graphics. But you also have the ability to change your graphics should you decide.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
110 Video lessons · 51242 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 14457 Viewers
79 Video lessons · 15293 Viewers
350 Video lessons · 101486 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.