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Creating a galaxy scene from scratch

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Creating a galaxy scene from scratch

This tutorial is going to be a little mini project of sorts. We're going to creating key elements of this galaxy scene here from scratch. We're going to be creating the stars and this planet from scratch using a series of effects that we have not touched on just yet. So, let's hop on over the Galaxy START composition, and we'll see the sun, and the ring's already in play here, the sun and the ring. That's already been done for us, but we're going to create the stars, and we're going to create the planets. So, I'm going to right-click in the Timeline panel here. I'm going to create New > Solid, and we're going to start with the Stars. And there we go.

Creating a galaxy scene from scratch

This tutorial is going to be a little mini project of sorts. We're going to creating key elements of this galaxy scene here from scratch. We're going to be creating the stars and this planet from scratch using a series of effects that we have not touched on just yet. So, let's hop on over the Galaxy START composition, and we'll see the sun, and the ring's already in play here, the sun and the ring. That's already been done for us, but we're going to create the stars, and we're going to create the planets. So, I'm going to right-click in the Timeline panel here. I'm going to create New > Solid, and we're going to start with the Stars. And there we go.

I'm going to apply a Cycore effect. The Cycore effect is called CC Star Burst. Now you could just type in Star, close up Animation Presets, and there we go: CC Star Burst. As a matter of fact, if this gets annoying for you - and actually it's annoying for me so I'm going to turn it off now - but in the Effects & Presets panel, you can go to the flyout menu here right to the right of the name of the panel. So, Effects & Presets, just to the right there, and then go ahead and turn off Show Animation Presets to get rid of those. Now all we have left is the Effects, and we do searches. And they're just much cleaner.

So, I'm going to apply CC Star Burst. This is okay looking, but it looks really terrible because of the blues. So, the stars are okay, but the blueness is really disgusting. This effect actually replaces whatever is on the layer that you applied it to, but it also picks up the color of the original layer. So, because our solid was blue, now our stars are blue, and we don't want that. So, I'm going to select this layer, and I want to go back into the Solid Settings. So, what I'm going to do is hit Command+ Shift+Y; that would be Ctrl+Shift+Y on the PC.

That gets me back to my Solid Settings. I can click this blue color swatch, and I'm going to drag down and take this to oh not black - white. Stars are white. Okay, so I'm going to go ahead and click OK here. Then we have our stars. Now if I hit the Spacebar to preview this, we see we have some kind of cool star type action going, but these stars are way too big. They're also too many of them. If I were going to combine this with an effect like CC Radial Fast Blur, for example, my guess is that this would be kind of a cool star trekkie-type effect.

So, as you play this, it's almost like we're going to warp speed. Actually, I have to take up that blur a little bit. So, this could be kind of cool for that I guess, but I am just going to go ahead and select CC Radial Fast Blue and hit Delete. I want a more realistic star field in the background. So, I'm going to change this Scatter value to 300. That's going to spread things out quite a bit, so already looking a little bit better. The speed is way too fast for this like subtle, realistic thing in the background. So, I'm going to take Speed down 0.01. For little tiny values like that, it's better to just manually type in.

Finally, for Size, the default is 100, way too big. I am going to take this down to 30 and press Enter. Now we have something that's a little bit more realistic. And from frame to frame, we don't see too much movement. So, as I hit Page Up, Page Down, and go back and forth between the frames, we're really not seeing too much movement there. But again, over time, it's like this slow kind of more realistic growing on of the stars. I'm liking that. Next, let's create our planet. I'm going to right-click and go to New > Solid.

Let's pick a color for our planet. This is totally a matter of personal choice. I'm just going to go ahead and pick like an earthy green color, but that's kind of boring. Whatever you want to do, go ahead and do. I'm going to so a search for Fractal Noise. There she is. I'm going to go ahead and apply that to my layer. I want to check the Fractal Type from Basic to Terrain. I'm going to take down the Contrast considerably here, maybe there. I also might take down the Brightness, so we have like a more subtle effect there.

I'm thinking that this might a little bit complex for what I'm looking for. Maybe we could take down a little bit. Let's also come down here to the bottom of the effect, and there is this Blending mode dropdown. Blending modes are a key feature of After Effects. We're going to be talking about that later on in this training series. For now, just know that it's a way that we can take Fractal Noise and blend it into the original layer. So, the green of the solid is what we are going blending it into. So, I am going to take the Blending mode from Normal to, let's say, Soft Light. Looking good. I'll take down Opacity.

So, it's just kind of like a faded, nice little texture there. I have a feeling that I might want to go back and change this layer, but for right now, let's move on. I'm going to go to the Effects & Presets panel, and I am going to do a search on CC Sphere. It's another Cycore effect. What this does is it takes your layer, and wraps it around a 3D sphere. This 3D sphere is going to be our planet. I'm going to go ahead and close up Fractal Noise. Then we have out planet here. So, I'm going to shrink it down little bit till it looks about planet size, and then we can use Offset to move this planet into place.

Now, I kind of already made a mask on the rings, as you could kind of see here by this edge of the rings. So, that way we can reorder the layers and place this planet behind the rings. Right now, the planet is on top of the rings, and so the rings are behind the planet. We can't see this part of the rings, and it looks really fake. So, the rings layer is actually here. We can't see it because it is what we call shy. So, go ahead and click this little dude, looks like he is hiding behind a wall. Now we could see all the layers in our composition. You see when we're in the switches area of the Timeline panel, there is a little mini version of that shy guy.

When we click these switches, they become shy layers, which mean that once we click this button for the entire comp, those shy layers become hidden. So, I've actually used this a lot throughout the training series, just so we don't get distracted. So, you might notice that there is tons of layers on the screen, visually. You could see them, and then the Timeline panel might only show like one or two layers or no layers at all, just so I can keep things kind of clean. So unshy those layers. What we're going to do is we're going to take the Ring, and we're going to put it on top. We're going to grab it and drag it on top of the planet layer.

Now right now this layer that we're using as a planet is called Medium Gray-Green Solid 1, or whatever your color happens to be, not a very descriptive name. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to select the layer. I'm going to press the Return key or the Enter key. I'm going to type Planet to name this layer and press Return. That's the way we name things in After Effects. We hit the Return key. This works in the Project panel as well. If I want to rename one of this compositions, like rings Comp 1, I can press Enter and then just type in rings and Enter again. Now getting back to our Planet here, we could make some fine-tune choices here.

We could take the Radius down a little bit. Again, play with the Offset and tweak that until we get it just right. I'm not sure if we really need to take the time to do that or not as we're playing with Offset and Radius, but that looks about good for me right now. If we open up Light and Shading, we can play around with the lighting and the shading. So, right now, the lighting is coming from the side, and our light source is coming from the upper left -hand area of our screen. So, what we could do is change the Light Direction so it's changing where the light is coming from.

We have light coming from the bottom. We have the light coming from the top. We're actually wanted to kind of diagonal over from the side here. We can also adjust the Light Height. So, maybe we can want this to be like not super bright planet. That looks actually very cool. You can see a little bit of that backlit edge right there, and that's looking really nice too. Now we go up to the Rotation area at the top of CC Sphere, you'll see this Rotation Y value. This is the value that's going to allow us to rotate our planet around like a planet. So, I'm going to go ahead and hit the Home key, press the Stopwatch for the Rotation Y property in the CC Sphere effect, hit End and increase the Rotation just a little bit. A little dab will do here.

We don't want to rotate this really fast because that would not look very realistic. But if we do a RAM preview here by hitting 0 on the Numeric keypad, I'll hit 0 again there. That's much too fast, but you get the idea that this is a nice little planet scene. We could go back to Fractal Noise and tweak it. I really wasn't happy with that pattern. That's a little bit too bit, and it draws too much attention to itself. It doesn't look very realistic, but I'm actually liking the way with the lighting the way it is. It's not bothering me as much anymore. So, there is that nice, little planet scene and the few new effects we learned.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67493 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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