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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics with Ian Robinson covers some of the core principles used to create motion graphics, breaking them down into smaller groups of applied techniques in After Effects. The course explores everything from gathering inspiration to integrating traditional typography, transitional elements, animated textures, color, and more into motion graphics. Instructions for building a toolkit with templates and a style guide for future projects are also included. Exercise files accompany the course.
Creating a style guide can really be a job in and of itself. For larger network logos and other trademarks, you can find style guides that are often large books or three-ring binders containing every possible instance of how you can and can't use their stuff. For a show package like we just created, you want to create a simple one-page digital file designed to be delivered with the toolkit itself. Now if you're not sure what to include, think about the purpose of the style guide. The style guide's purpose is to give a visual reference for any designer that's going to be working with the toolkit.
So you should be rendering at least still frames of your graphics. You should also include other pertinent information like fonts and colors and third-party filters and effects, and different things like that. But again, the style guide's main point is to just give you a visual reference of everything that's used within the style of the overarching toolkit. Let's get started by actually creating a visual reference for our Lower_3rd graphic. If you don't already have it open, open the Lower_3rd comp and navigate to the timeline.
Down here you'll notice we have this set up already as a template for our toolkit, but what you want to do for a style guide is give real-world examples. So let's go ahead and change the type to add a name. Let's double-click the type layer and go ahead and name Robertson. Let's do the same thing for the title. CEO in charge. I am sure that's an official title, but I think you get what I am going for.
Now for a graphic like this with a lower 3rd, it is really important to put it like I said in real-world context. So I am just going to import some video footage we can drop into the background. If we go to our Assets folder, I am sure we can find some videos and here I am just going to drop this Falls video in here, and just drag that all the way to the bottom there. It's important to show this example because you can see little things like the drop shadow that's actually helping to pop off the page.
So, let's render this frame out. Go to Composition > Save Frame As, and choose File. Make sure to change your Render Settings from Current Settings to Best, and you can output the file to the Style- Guide folder which is in Chapter 13. So let's go ahead and save that and render. Perfect! If we navigate to that Style-Guide folder, you'll notice that I did render each of the bumpers as well as the Title_Open itself.
Just like before with the storyboard, I created the style guide within InDesign, but really you can create a style guide within any application that allows you to import graphics and add type. So let me go ahead and switch over to InDesign here. As you can see, we've got a good start going. All we need to do is add the graphic into the lower 3rd here. So select the Lower 3rd box. I am going to go to File and just place our graphic. So there we go. Lower 3rd, and it's too large so I need to grab my Direct Selection tool and just right-click in the window here, and under Fitting, I will Fit Content to Frame.
Okay, let's look at some of the other things in this window and just so I can see things a little bit better, I am going to go up under View here and change the Screen mode to Preview, just so we can see this board without all the lines. You noticed I have a place for the Company Name and then a title of what this actually is. So this is the style guide for revealing the artist. Now that I am here, there is an area for Colors. So if the overarching show has a specific color palette, this is where you'd input that information.
Now below, there is an area for Fonts Used as well any 3rd Party Effects Required. Sometimes you just can't get around it. You have to use a 3rd Party Effect. So, if it's required, list it here. That way the designer knows before they ever open up the project that they may need to purchase a 3rd Party Effect to actually render out this example. Underneath each still, you can see I've got an area for the Fonts Used, the Duration of the Animation, and other distinct features. Other distinct features could be, for example, the Color of the Type or how large the Outer Glow needs to be.
You get the general idea. You want to add as much detail as possible, so when the other artist is opening up the composition, they have, again, visual representation of what everything is supposed to look like. So I am going to leave you with one more thought. If you don't have time or the budget to create a simple guide like this with visual examples, at least make sure to include a simple text or rich text document that relays the same important information. From fonts to point sizes to color values, it all can be very helpful.
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