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After Effects CS6 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating compositions


From:

After Effects CS6 Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

Video: Creating compositions

If you like having choices, you'll like creating compositions inside of After Effects. There are really no right or wrong ways to creating comps, it's just a matter of choosing what's right for your workflow. I know I've already showed you how to create a comp just by clicking this Comp button in the bottom of the Project panel, you can also come up under Composition and say New Composition. So let's start here and look a little more closely at the Composition Settings. In the Basic Tab, the first thing you always want to start with are your Presets.
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  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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After Effects CS6 Essential Training
8h 41m Beginner May 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the workspace, important preferences, and the cache
  • Importing footage and comps
  • Relinking missing footage
  • Creating type, shape layers, and masks
  • Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
  • Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
  • Timing animations to audio
  • Building backgrounds with effects
  • Rendering with the Render Queue and Adobe Media Encoder
  • Animating 3D type
  • Smoothing shaky footage and retouching footage
  • Keying green screen footage
  • Working with 3D: extruding shapes, adding ray-traced lighting, and more
Subject:
Video
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Ian Robinson

Creating compositions

If you like having choices, you'll like creating compositions inside of After Effects. There are really no right or wrong ways to creating comps, it's just a matter of choosing what's right for your workflow. I know I've already showed you how to create a comp just by clicking this Comp button in the bottom of the Project panel, you can also come up under Composition and say New Composition. So let's start here and look a little more closely at the Composition Settings. In the Basic Tab, the first thing you always want to start with are your Presets.

So click on that pulldown and you'll notice we have some Web Presets if you want to create some web graphics, and then standard definition video settings, high definition video settings, and look at this down here, film settings. It's pretty cool! Obviously, you can choose any one of these presets and customize accordingly. So I know we did this in the previous video about comps and layers, so I'm not going to do this right now. But just understand, when you start creating compositions, you want to make sure that you're starting at the proper resolution before you create your graphics.

So I'll just click outside of that pulldown menu, so we can look at some of the other options. If you need to create a specific size, let's say for a live action event where they're using graphics that aren't traditional broadcast sizes, let's say your client goes, yeah, that display is 2,000 pixels wide and it's 16x9. Well you can lock your Aspect Ratio and then just choose 2,000. And notice, it will automatically change the Height to match accordingly.

You can obviously also change your Pixel Aspect Ratio. This is a great way if you're dealing with something that's standard definition like a down-res of a high definition clip. You can choose one of these other options based on exactly what you're creating. The Frame Rate is kind of interesting. After Effects does not tie your keyframes specifically to an individual frame kind of the same way Flash does. I can choose whatever frame rate I want because the keyframes are tied to points in time.

So when the keyframe is at 1 second, if I render it at 30 frames, it's on frame 30. If I render it at 24 frames, it's on frame 24. Start Timecode is a really nice feature if you're working on long-form graphics. A lot of times, producers or editors will enjoy having graphics that have a Start Timecode of whatever matches the project that you're working on. So for example, a lot of times when people shoot for long form, they'll shoot different hours for different reels depending upon what it is.

So for example, if I know I'm creating a graphic that starts in the second hour of that composition, I'll just say, Okay, 2 hours, and just keep hitting 0 until I get to the 2 hour mark. And then, any time I create a composition, instead of it starting at 0, it's going to start at 02:00:00. Now the background color is kind of important. If you want to have a different background color for your composition, by all means, you can. Just click in here and choose a different color.

Most of the time if I want to have a different color, it's because I'm trying to make sure that I've cut out something properly for compositing, and I want to make sure there's no extra noise in the background. You'll see me do this a little bit later in the course. Let's click Cancel for now and jump to the Advanced Tab. I want you to pay attention to the Renderer here. Ours is set to Ray-traced 3D and that's because the last time we created a composition, it was set to create a Ray-traced 3D renderer. Yours may say Classic 3D. Now I'm going to kind of juggle around with some of the things in here to get this one menu that pops up.

But let me explain Ray- traced and Classic really quickly. Think of Classic 3D as the Advanced Renderer in the previous version of After Effects. Basically, if you're working in a 2.5D project, you can probably use Classic 3D, and be perfectly happy. Ray-traced 3D gives you the ability of a full-fledged 3D application. You can have full 3D objects with reflections and refraction, and the whole bunch of other things that we'll be getting into a little later. For now, I'm going to change my comp to Classic 3D and click OK.

Just so I can show you what I'm talking about, with Comp 1 selected, I'm going to press Command+K to reopen its Comp Settings, and jump back to the Advanced Tab. See, anytime you want to edit the settings for a composition, you can always press Command+K with the comp selected and open that comp up. If we change the Renderer from Classic to Ray-traced 3D, when we click OK, you may see this window that pops up and it's an alert window. It's really important when you first start using After Effects CS6 to pay attention to this because basically this outlines exactly what features the Ray-traced 3D renderer enables and what features are not rendered by the Ray-traced 3D renderer.

As you're first getting started within After Effects, I do recommend leaving this set up Once Per Session. Basically, that way, anytime you re- launch After Effects and you create a new comp and switch between the renderers, you'll get this alert that pops up. But if you select Never Again, you won't ever see this. So I'm going to leave this set up to Once Per Session, and then click OK. Now that we've edited our blank composition, let's jump over to the Type comp. This composition was actually created by importing an Illustrator document with all of its layers.

I'll show you how to do that in the next video, and later on there's an entire chapter where we'll talk about exactly what translates from what application and how to properly prepare Illustrator, and Photoshop documents for layered import. For now, I just wanted you to understand that you can create those compositions on import. Another way of creating compositions, and this is one of my favorites, is to actually duplicate a previously existing composition. So for example, let's say we wanted to have bumpers, like a graphic that pops up at the end of a segment, and for each bumper, I wanted to have a different message pop up here.

Well I could render this first version where it says Turning Light into Energy, but rather than creating a whole new composition or re-importing Illustrator, it makes a lot more sense to just select the Type composition and press Command+D on the Mac, or Ctrl+D on the PC, and duplicate it. Now when I double-click the second Type Layer, I can double-click on the T and change this. So now, I could render this version and this version, and we've created multiple comps just by doing a simple duplicate command.

Now even though I've shown you some basics on how to create compositions, what I want you to really understand is how After Effects is designed around the theory of workflows. Whether you're starting from scratch, or saving time by creating variations on a theme, the multiple ways of creating compositions in After Effects will become second nature, and more importantly, they'll be centered around the way you work in your specific workflow.

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