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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.
If you've ever watched television in your life, you've probably seen about 4000 lower third graphics, but just in case you weren't paying attention or you are little unfamiliar, the lower third graphic is a graphic element that obviously appears in the lower part of the screen and it's most often seen in news broadcasts, typically used to introduce someone's name like the news anchor or the weatherperson. The main purpose of the lower third is just to show you pertinent information, but not be so large as to distract you from whatever else is going on in the scene.
So we're going to create a lower third graphic based on the title design we created in the previous chapter. That way we can use it as a part of our overall graphics package for this show revealing the artist. So to get started, let's look at the Graphics Package Elements folder and first thing you'll notice, we have our Title_ Open Comp and this is the same comp we created in the previous chapter. So let's go ahead and create a new composition by going to Composition > New Composition at the top of the page, and let's name our new comp Lower_3rd and you want to make sure as you're building all these different elements that the resolution settings match your original Title_Open graphic, so 1280x720. We are all set.
Now, all we have to do is add some elements from the Title_Open. So to do that lets go to our Title_ Open comp and scroll down to the bottom. While we're here let's go ahead and rename this layer Textured Background. Now that we have that layer renamed let's go ahead and copy and paste that into our Lower_3rd comp, perfect! Now I would like to add one of the brushstrokes from the Title_Open. Let's move our playhead further up in the Timeline around one second.
I like this brushstroke, so we'll go ahead and use it. Select layer 5 and go ahead and just copy and paste that into the Lower_3rd. Okay, so if we scrub through the Timeline, you'll notice we have our brushstroke and it's animated. That's great, but we don't necessarily need that big move. So let's go ahead and select layer 1 and press U to show us all of the keyframes that have been applied. Now I like both Brush 1 and Brush 2 because that will reveal and wipe away this graphic. So we can leave those, but all these other keyframes let's go-ahead and delete.
The fastest way to delete any keyframes is to just click and drag through the stopwatches and that I'll go ahead and delete all the keyframes. Now all we have to do is position this layer in the lower-third portion of the screen. So let's go ahead and click and drag on its axis handles in the canvas and drag it over towards the left of the screen. Now I'm not sure exactly how far this graphic is going off the screen, so let's change the magnification to fit up to 100. Now as you can see, this graphic is way too tall, so we need to adjust the scale.
Go to the Scale parameter in the Timeline and unlock the Constrain Proportions. Let's click and drag to the left on the X parameter to compress the height of this brushstroke. Now if we script to the Timeline, you can see the brushstroke is appearing at the bottom of the screen, perfect! Now all we have to do is cut the background out, so we could in fact superimpose this over some footage. I can easily use a layer mask right on this background layer, but I want to use something a little more unique.
Let's open the Texture Background folder and go to the Paint Strokes Layers folder. Double-click the UpCurve layer and you'll see we have these beautiful tattered edges. I want to use those tattered edges to cut out the background layer. So let's go ahead and drag the UpCurve layer right into our lower-third timeline, just between the two layers. I'm having a hard time telling the different layers apart. So let's click on the Source Name type right here in the top of the Timeline, and first you can see we already renamed layer 3 Texture Background in the other comp.
So let's rename layer 2, Textured Matte. Now all we have to do is position this matte in the lower left portion of the screen. So let's open up the Rotation parameter and rotate the matte around and let's just position it in the lower-left portion of the page. That looks pretty cool! It's still not cutting out the background layer though. So to do that we have to select layer 3 and in our switches and modes, change the Track Matte to Alpha Matte "Textured Matte".
Now the alpha channel from that Textured Matte is being used to cut out the background, and I think this actually looks pretty cool. But we have a problem with this white layer that's right here and all that is is layer 1. See layer 1 is blending with the background through a transfer mode or blend mode called Multiply. Since there isn't a background anymore outside of our matte, we have this white edge and that's no good for this UpCurve. So what we need to do is duplicate the Textured Matte by selecting it and pressing Command+D or Ctrl+D and positioning up above the curve.
Now all we have to do is use a Track Matte for layer 2, and tell it to use Alpha Matte. Now we've successfully cutout our background and we have our brushstroke animated on the scene. All we have to do is add our type. But before you add type, it's important to turn on Title and Action Safe in the lower-left corner of your Comp window. This way when we add the type, we can make sure that none of the characters are outside of this inner box.
This inner box is called Title Safe. So you want to make sure that any type is inside that box. So like I said it doesn't get cut off. Go ahead and grab the Type tool at the top of the interface and click in the canvas just to the right side of Title Safe. Instead of typing a name, I just want to type Insert Name Here and press Enter on your keypad to set the type. Now if your type doesn't look like this, I'm using Rockwell and I have the paragraphs set to left align, that way when I select the layer and grab my Selection tool, you can see I haven't actually positioned here on the left side, right up against Title Safe.
I've got the size of the type around 65 point. This is pretty good, but we need to actually have more type for somebody's title. So let's go ahead and just duplicate our name type. Select the type layer and press Command or Ctrl+D to duplicate and let's position that below our name text. All we have to do is rename this title. So let's go ahead and double-click the Text tool in the Timeline and that'll automatically select the text in the canvas.
Now all we have to do is retype Insert Title Here, and unfortunately we have absolutely no sense of hierarchy visually. See if I turn off Title and Action Safe, it's kind of hard to tell which layer I'm supposed to read first. So we're going to accentuate the differences between the names and the title by adjusting the size of the title. So select layer 1 and change the type font size from 65 down to about 40.
That worked beautifully other than the fact that we have too large of a gap between the two lines. So just go ahead and click on the lower layer and move it up, perfect! So now if I deselect our layer, you can see we have all of our elements cut out and positioned ready for animation. But since we've been going so long in this video, we're going to go ahead and do the animation in our next video. So I'll see you there.
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