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Delve into the world of motion graphics, keying, and compositing in After Effects CC. In this course, Ian Robinson lays out six foundations for becoming proficient with After Effects, including concepts such as layers, keyframe animation, and working with 3D. To help you get up and running with the program, the course begins with a project-based chapter on creating an animated graphic bumper. Next, explore the role layers play in compositions and find out how to add style to your projects using effects and graphic elements. Last, see how to build 3D objects with CINEMA 4D Lite, as well as stabilize footage, solve for 3D cameras, and paint in graphics with the Reverse Stabilization feature.
Layer solids are so simple. It's staggering how helpful and flexible they can be in your daily workflow. Now, to best show you what a layer solid is, we should just go ahead and create one. I want to make sure you have the Project panel selected, so if it's not already selected, just click in the Project panel. Now, there are two ways to create layer solids. The first way is to go up under the Layer menu and choose New. But you notice it's greyed out And that's because I have the Project panel selected. Whenever you create layer solids using this method, you need to specify exactly which composition you'd like the solid to reside in. So I'm going to deselect my Layer pull-down here and just click in the Composition window for my Hand comp.
If yours isn't already open, just double-click on the Hand comp. I have the timeline selected, that's perfectly fine as well because it's for the hand counts. So let's go up under Layer and choose New > Solid. When I've done that our solid settings open and if yours don't look like this, that's perfectly fine because the solid settings will always remember the last layer solid that you created. So I'm just going to reset my color to black by clicking in the little color well here and I'll make it black. All right, now if we look at the width and height for the size, the default should be your Comp settings.
If you don't have yours set up like this, just go ahead and click, make comp size, and it'll make sure that the solid is that size. All solids created are some form of square or rectangle. There are no round edge solids. Now if I wanted this to be half the size of my comp, I'll go ahead and lock my aspect ratio. And then just do a little quick math. And choose half the width, so 640. And since I have this locked, it'll automatically change the height. Now, for units, I like leaving it in pixels, 'cuz we're in video.
But as you can see, you could change the units. And our specific format is already square pixels. But if you click on the Pulldown you can choose whatever size you need based on your project settings. Now when I click OK, we'll create a black layer solid. Now like I said before there are not round edged solids, so if you want a round the edges, what you need to do is create a mask for that layer solid. Before I create the mask I just want to explain what we're doing. We're going to create a layer solid as a background for your logo and then we'll use that logo in two different compositions. So let's start by actually making a circle for our layer solid. Now since I still have the layer solid selected, let's go up to our Tool panel and grab the Ellipse tool.
If you don't have the Ellipse tool currently active, press Q on your keyboard. Every time you press Q, it'll cycle through the different shapes that you can create. Now since I have a layer selected, when I click and drag with this tool, its going to go ahead and create a mask for the layer that I have selected. Now I'm going to hover my mouse right over the center of the anchorpoint of this layer. The reason I'm doing this, I want the center of my circle to be in the center of my layer solid. So once thats lined up, I'm going to click and drag.
And notice as I start to drag its already cropping the edges of my solid off. If I hold down Shift it will transform in proportion. If I hold down Shift and Command it'll scale up around the center point. Now as I drag this out notice the mask will go beyond the edges of the solid. Since the mask is tied to the layer solid, any adjustments that I make, I just need to be aware of the size of the actual layer solid if I really want the mask to just maintain its particular shape. Go ahead and make the mask just a little bit smaller than the size of the layer solid.
I want to adjust the color of this solid, and to do that, you can press Cmd + Shift + Y or Ctrl + Shift + Y on a PC, and that'll open your solid settings. And here I can change the colour. And once I change it, let's say I want to change it to kind of a teal blue colour. I'm just going to click over here and there we go. A little cyan, and I click OK. Notice it's automatically changed the name to that cyan colour, and I'll click OK. Now we need to add our logo into the circle.
So let's go to the graphics folder in the project panel and click and drag our logo down into the timeline. Now with the logo over the circle I'm going to press S and click and drag on the scale parameter to scale this down around the center point. Now notice as the illustrator file was scaled the control handles for the file are way out here on the sides. That's just an interesting point if you're trying to re-position something or scale something directly in the Comp window. You want to know where the edges of the handles for that layer are. For example, if I select layer 2 here, you can see the handles have already resized based on the size of my mask.
Now, that brings up a good point, notice the edges of the mask are perfectly centered on the center of the layer. I did that on purpose, because if we open our transform options for layer two if we needed to rotate this layer for any particular reason I wanted to make sure that the mask didn't wobble around. If you need to move the mask on the layer, you can select the mask by clicking on the mask in the timeline and then if you have your selection tool selected, by pressing the V key, you can click on anyone of the control handles and since all four are selected, they'll all move around the layer.
Now notice as I'm moving around, the rotation of the layer actually was applied, even though we couldn't see it. If I click and drag on the rotation again here, you can see what's happening with that solid. I'm going to press Cmd + Z a couple times to undo and get back to where we were. Now since this shape was created with a mask on my layer solid, I'm always seeing the edges of the mask in addition to the solid. If you ever just want to turn off the mask so you can better see what's going on in the scene visually, you can click on this button here, in the bottom left corner of the Comp window. It's just two to the right of the magnification settings. Go ahead and click on that, and that'll toggle the mask on and off. With this off, I'm looking at the edge of the circle. When I go to render this project, this is exactly what it's going to look like. Even if I had the visibility of the mask on, you wouldn't see the mask, they don't render.
Now, I'll turn that off and go up under Effect > Generate. Stroke, and the reason I did that is I want to add a slick stroke around the outside of my circle just to sort of weight the logo a little bit better inside of that circle.Now if you notice the next control panel is already popped upon the left side of the interface. So if you click and drag on the brush size, we can go ahead and increase the edge size of the circle. Now we've got everything set up kind of the way that I'd like.
Lets go ahead and collapse layer 2 and collapse layer 1. Now I'd like to copy this logo and the background circle into another composition. So I'm going to click on the layer solid and hold down shift and click on layer one. With both layers selected I'm going to press Cmd + C or Ctrl + C to copy, and lets jump over to our sprint comp If you don't have it in your timeline down here you can go back to your project panel and double click on the sprint comp. Now let's go ahead and press Cmd + V or Ctrl + V to paste, and you notice the logo pasted underneath of the solid. Well let me undo to show you what happened there. We jump back to our hand comp.
The reason it did that, we selected from the bottom up. Now the order in which you select your layers will determine how they actually get pasted into the next composition. So I’m going to click on the top layer and hold down shift and click on the layer below. Now if I Cmd + C to copy, I can go to the other comp and Cmd + V to paste and they will paste in the proper order. The last cool thing about their solids is the fact that they actually are imported into the project panel. If we open the folder solids, that After Effects automatically created, you can see my solids in here. Should you ever want to create a layer solid without already having an account, you can come up under file and choose import, which is solid. And you can get to the same layer solid menus and import a solid directly into your comp pane.
Now with your solid selected, let's go ahead and make a change. And I'm going to show you how to update under both comps. So with the layer side still selected, let's go up under layer and choose solid settings or shift Cmd + Y or Shift + Ctrl + Y and let's change the color a little bit. I'll click on that teal color in the color dropper and go ahead and change that to blue. When I click OK and click OK one more time, it'll affect both comps because of this check box right here, effect all layers that use the solid It's going to affect two layers. When I click OK, now notice I have a blue solid in my sprint comp and I have a blue solid in my hand comp.
So as you can see layer solids are relatively simple in their creation but once you actually get working with them, they're extraordinarily flexible for your different workflows.
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