Creating a radar sweep
Video: Creating a radar sweepI've closed the pre-comp from the previous movie. The next element we're going to make is this gradient that sweeps around just underneath the floor. There's also a subtle lightning effects going on that we're also be adding to this gradient. So to get started we'll make another pre-comp. This composition we'll call it Radar and this size for this comp should be 1200x1200. We arrived at this number through trial and error. When you are making elements, take a best guess of what size something like this should be, you can always come back later and resize the comp.
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This course pulls together the skills you've been learning in the previous After Effects Apprentice installments to create a real-world video promo. Trish leads you through building the artwork and components used in the final piece, and then Chris shows how to assemble these precompositions into a 3D world, timed to music. Along the way, Trish and Chris also share their thoughts as they design a video project, including unifying the overall look and handling change requests from clients.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.
- Building a 3D world
- Working with layered Illustrator files
- Synchronizing to music
- Using text animation presets
- Rendering strategies
- Working with widescreen video, including 4:3 center cut and safe area considerations
Creating a radar sweep
I've closed the pre-comp from the previous movie. The next element we're going to make is this gradient that sweeps around just underneath the floor. There's also a subtle lightning effects going on that we're also be adding to this gradient. So to get started we'll make another pre-comp. This composition we'll call it Radar and this size for this comp should be 1200x1200. We arrived at this number through trial and error. When you are making elements, take a best guess of what size something like this should be, you can always come back later and resize the comp.
But in general, always make your elements larger than the final size. It's usually better to scale them down slightly than have to scale them up, because they're too small. The Pixel Aspect Ratio, again, is Square Pixels, 29.97. The same duration, 10 seconds as the previous comp, but for this background color let's pick any color except white or black. Our gradient will be white to black. So we want to pick a color, just something maybe in the blue range, just so we can see the gradient on top of this color.
To make the gradient, I'm going to use a Shape layer. I'll select the Rectangle tool and then double-click. And because I have no layer selected, I'll get a full frame shape layer. Now my settings may look completely different than what you're seeing. I'm seeing some kind of gradient, and I'm seeing a stroke. I'll click on the word Stroke, change that to No Stroke and click OK. Let's click on the word Fill. Well, I am actually getting a Radial Gradient.
Your default maybe any one of these four buttons. So click on a Radial Gradient and click OK. In the Timeline panel, twirl down Contents > Rectangle 1, and now you see the Rectangle Path, the Stroke--which we don't need, so we'll delete--the Gradient Fill and the Transformations for Rectangle 1. I'll twirl down the Gradient. The size of the Gradient is controlled by the Start Point and the End Point. I'm going to leave the Start Point set to 00, which is actually in the center of the layer.
But I'm going to pull the End Point out, pressing the Shift Key somewhere around 550. That way I'll have a gradient that stretches almost to the end of my layer. I'll also increase the Highlight Length. This is the next parameter. I'll increase that to 100% so that the highlight is focused around the End Point. Now let's change the Colors. To change the Colors, you can either click on Edit Gradient, or you can click on the Gradient swatch in the toolbar.
In my case I have two colors from red to white. You may have other colors in the center. If you have any other colors, just drag them away so you return to just two colors. The gradient we're going to make is a very simple white to black gradient. The first color--in my case this is red. And I can see that this is the color that's over on this side of the gradient. I'd like that color to be white. So I'll make that white and I'd also like this color to be 100% opaque.
So I'll just click on the Opacity tab and check that that's 100%. The second color, I'd like this to be black. Now my color will gradient for white to black. The tab on top for my opacity is actually set to the correct opacity, 0%. If I increase it, this might be something more like what you're seeing. A white to black gradient, but in this case I really do want this to be transparent. So I'm going to leave that back at 0%. Now remember, you can come back and edit this gradient at any time.
For instance, I could move the Color Stop for the white color. Or, I could select the black color and change it, so that it's not quite so dark. I could even go to little bit of color. So these are all tweaks you can make later. For now I'll just click OK. And the last thing we want to do is just rotate the gradient. I'll select the layer, press R for Rotation, press Home to make sure I'm back at the beginning of the comp, and turn on the stopwatch for rotation. Now I'll press End to jump to the end of the comp, and I'll change the rotation to 2 Revolutions.
I'll RAM Preview, and that looks like a pretty good speed. The funny thing about writing tutorials is that it always looks like you know exactly what you're going to do in advance. But I arrived at this value for rotation after a little trial and error. After we assembled the main comp, you can always go back, speed this up, or slow it down. In the next movie, we'll composite some lighting on top of this rotating gradient.
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