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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.
And now we are going to look at manually animating properties. And this is kind of a complex topic. Once you get the hang of it, it's actually very easy. And everything in the After Effects animates the same way, whether you are animating something like fading in or moving from side to side, or you are animating some component of an effect or whatever; everything animates the same way. So, once you get the Zen of After Effects animation, if you will, then it's really, really an easy program because everything, again, animates the same way. But this isn't the time or the place really to get into that.
We are going to save that for a little bit later on in the training series, a couple of chapters down the road. So, for now, just kind of follow along with me just to get the overall feeling of the way animation works. So, I am going to select the filigree stems layer. That's layer 10. I am going to click this little stopwatch here next to Transition Completion, and I am going to click and drag on this property until it reaches 100. The next thing I am going to do, and by the way, I am at 3 seconds and 7 frames in, so basically, 03:07 and if you wanted to move your Current Time Indicator to get there then you can follow along exactly with me, but it doesn't have to be exact.
I am going to move to the right, basically a little bit further in time, maybe about a second so that it says 04:07. The next I am going to change this value to where we want it to end up, to 0. So, basically the stopwatch says, "After Effects remember what I am about to tell you." So, then it will animate on if we scrub the Current Time Indicator. So, you could see these stems animating on. It's very cool. Now just for practice, let's do the same thing with the filigree stem tips layer.
So, let's go out to about here in time, and that's about 03:17. So again, scrub your play head, your Current Time Indicator, till you add about 03:17. If you are a little bit above that, like 3:19, 20 or a little bit behind that like 3:14, 15, it doesn't really matter, not for this example, anyways. So, I am going to go ahead and do the same thing here where I am going to click the stopwatch for a Transition Completion, drag this value up to 100%, move in time out to about another second, so about 04:17 this time and click and drag on Transition Completion the value to about 0%.
By the way, if you have a Photoshop background and you are new to After Effects, this concept of how you click and drag on values, this is referred to as a scrubby slider. And many Photoshop users that don't know After Effects don't know this, but in Photoshop, you can do this all over the place. So, if you are going to change a layer's opacity or some other value, maybe a text size or something, you could put your cursor over a value, and you get this icon indicating that you can scrub left and right, which is really great for getting instant live feedback for what you are doing.
So, now, if we back up a little bit and scrub our Current Time Indicator, you could see that we have both of these cool, little objects rotating on, which is really cool. I love the way that looks - really easy as well. One thing that I don't particularly like about this is that both of these objects are animating on in the same way. They are both going counterclockwise. It's kind of interesting that the description of the Wipe is clockwise in both things. It says it's clockwise, but really, it's going counterclockwise because we are doing it backwards.
So, what we are going to do is go to the filigree stems layer and change the Wipe type in this dropdown, just click this, and choose Counterclockwise. So, now when they animate on, they animate on in opposite directions. If you want the other one to go clockwise, the other one to go counterclockwise, feel free to change that as you please. But for now, this is what we got - pretty sweet. Now, one another thing I want to do while we are talking about this is kind of like extra credit. We have this video here that comes on the beginning. Let's go ahead and turn on the visibility of this layer by clicking this Eye icon for that layer.
As we move in time, the layer fades to black, and then it just stays black. It covers up all the work that we did, so you can see this bar is on top of everything. So, we can't see what we have here because of that video layer. So, let's move in time to when it fades to black, and that's about two seconds and ten frames in - and we'll explain timecode a little bit more in the next chapter, but for now, just scrub this until it says 02:10. Then I am going to open up this layer by clicking the little arrow next to it. Click the arrow next to Transform to open that up, and these are the basic animation properties of a layer.
Again, we are going to talk about this very in-depth in a couple of chapters down the road, but for now, just know that we are going to adjust the Opacity parameter. So, I am going to click this stopwatch for Opacity. I am going to move in time ever-so- slightly, just one frame, maybe two frames, just kind of one little notch over and then drag this down to 0. If you did this correctly, you should have two little diamonds here right next to each other. You might have to zoom in by clicking these little mountains. We'll talk about what those diamonds mean and what they indicate a little bit later on.
But for now, just know that we have taken this video layer and faded it out so that our other animation can continue, which is pretty awesome. So, if you've been following along, congratulations now on being a full-fledged animator and being able to bring something to life from scratch. It feels pretty good, doesn't it? I love that.
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