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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.
One of the features that a lot of designers overlook is the ability that After Effects actually has to literally create animations from markers. Now, I know you're probably thinking a marker is just noting a place in time, not really any particular animation properties, so how exactly does that work? Well, really, it's kind of genius. It happens through the use of expressions. But don't worry, if that word strikes fear into your heart, we're not ever going to script anything right here.
All we're going to do is use some of the pre-built presets that come natively with the After Effects. Now, if you're joining me from the last video, you might recognize this animation. Now, I went ahead and took the liberty of adding some more rotation keyframes, but let's go ahead and check out a RAM preview so we can see exactly what things are looking like right now. (video playing) So it's kind of a square and poppy, with a little bit of twists and turns here and there, but I'd like to animate the circle, and really what I want to do is actually add some flashes over the graphic, so we can get just a little bit more excitement in the scene. So the easiest way to do that is to use some presets.
Now before we jump into presets, what I want to do is create a layer for the presets to be applied to. So let's press Home to move our playhead back to the beginning of the Timeline. Now go up to Layer and choose New > Adjustment Layer. Now, adjustment layers really have absolutely no properties. It's not like a solid layer or anything like that where you have to worry about its actual visibility. But with the adjustment layer here what I can do is apply some effects to that adjustment layer and those effects will go ahead and treat any of the layers below the adjustment layer.
So with Adjustment layer 1 selected, let's go up under Animation and choose Browse Presets. Bridge should automatically launch, and what I want you to do is look in the Image - Special Effects folder. In there, if we look in the second row here, we have Light Leaks - layer markers. And over here on the right, we can see a preview showing that the actual light leaks or flashes are happening specifically with corresponding layer markers. Now, obviously since there isn't a layer here, we can't actually see that, but since it's named that, we can guess that that's probably how it functions.
So to actually apply this to the adjustment layer, go ahead and double-click light leaks right here in your Content panel. So double-click and Bridge should automatically disappear, and After Effect should reappear. And if we select our Adjustment layer and press the U key, you can see we actually have some calculations that are set, and right now they're set to zero, and down here, we have an expression for opacity. Now, in order to actually see some animation, we need to add some layer markers directly to this adjustment layer, because this animation is only going to react to any markers that correspond to this individual adjustment layer that we have selected.
So let's collapse the layer, so we can see our Funky Tech audio layer. And I'm just going to move my playhead down, and again I'll hold Shift as I drag. And now I'm on this first marker, and I'll just add another marker, again pressing the Asterisk key on your keypad. Now you'll notice the second I added that, I've got this kind of bright settings that's happened in the scene. Let's go ahead and move our playhead down, and I'll just add another few flashes here at different points randomly throughout the scene.
I could be adding these in real time just by using my Audio preview, the Period key on the keypad. But honestly, right now, all I need to do is just go ahead and move my playhead and tap the Asterisk key anytime I think it is the time where I want to add some flashes to the scene. Now, if we press Home, move our playhead back to the beginning, and press zero on the keypad to load up a RAM preview, let's see what we've got. (video playing) So, let's say I don't quite like how this animation is looking.
I can just as easily drag these markers, and now the flashing will move according to where the new marker positions are. Let's load-up a RAM preview one more time, so we can check it out. (video playing) As you can see, layer markers can not only be used just to mark a place in time, they can actually be used to drive animation, just like any other element in the After Effects composition: just through the use of expressions.
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