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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
Some effects help us to distort layers, and that's what we're going to look at here in this movie. I'm going to show you a really boring example, just so to work here what's happening. And then we're going to look at a more fun example with this cool wizard, this illustrator art, and we're going to make his beard to distorting wave. So, first, what I'm going to do is do a search on wave. You'll see there are actually several wave-related After Effects effects, and there is two that sound very similar: Wave World and Wave Warp. So, think of the warping that we're doing.
We're distorting something. It's actually in the Distort category. So, we do not want the Wave World; we want the Wave Warp. So, go ahead and apply that to this Solid layer. And you could see, instantly, that there is this waviness created. Actually, if you hit the Spacebar, you'll see that this is an auto-animating effect. It's a little slow to render. It takes its time, but you can see that there is still animation built in. So, we don't really have to set keyframes to set the waves in motion. We change the speed with the Wave Speed value. We could increase the Wave Height. We can increase the Wave Width.
We can also the change the Direction of the waves. Maybe they're slanted. Maybe they're horizontal. So, there are a lot of different directions that we have here. So, now that we're clear, and we could see what it's doing, let's go over to the wizard hair composition. And basically, again, this is a wizard from Illustrator, more sweet art from my buddy Will Kendrick who works on the TV show Yo Gabba, Gabba. I've animated the mustache and the eyebrows so it looks like he is chanting some kind of spell incantation wizard-magic-thing. We're going to apply Wave Warp to the wizard beard layer.
And as we play this back, it feels very mechanical. It's a little bit too intense. So, here is what we're going change it to. We're going to take the Wave Height value. I am going to take this down to 3. We're going to take the Wave Width value, just click in that field and type 50. Bump it up just a little bit. And still, if were to preview this, we would see that the Wave Speed is still significantly too fast. So, we're going to take the Wave Speed value down to 0.5. So, now as we go back and we preview this, and this is going to take just a second to preview.
But when this is done rendering, we won't wait for the animation to load into memory. When we do preview it, you'll see there is a nice, soft warping going on, on the beard, just to kind of bring this wizard to life. So, as we back this up and preview it, you can see the waving wizard beard and also the mustache, and the eyebrow and his beard is brought to life by Wave Warp. Now earlier on this training series, we looked at the Puppet tool, and the Puppet tool is another great way to bring something to life, but this kind of like smooth, flowing, windblown look would be very hard to create, even with the Puppet tool.
So, knowing these distort effects that allow you to go in and kind of play with things a little bit, warp them around. It's really helpful to know. One final thing here: if we zoom in, you'll notice that the quality around the edges is a little lacking. If we zoom out, you could see that this makes it a little bit soft, a little bit blurry. That's because this Antialiasing setting is, by default, set to Low. So, we can take this up to High, and then these edges become much more crisp. But be aware, again, we do take a hit to the render time and things go much more slowly because of that. So, you might want to just wait until it's render time befor bumping that from Low up to High.
I should also point out, if we just close this by clicking the X, that there are just loads of effects in this Distort category that warp, and turn, and smear your layer all over the place that are kind of fun to play with. Actually, if I maximize this with the Tilde key, one of the things I like to do when I'm just kind of playing around and looking for cool motion graphic elements or I'm looking for cool backgrounds or whatever, is I'll go into the Generate category. These usually creates something from nothing, something from scratch. If you apply this to a solid, you'll just have something. And I'll take the Generate stuff and apply a distort effect to it and then kind of distort that and come up with some kind of cool geometric shape, objects, background, what have you.
It's kind of fun like path where I like to go down when I'm playing around with effects.
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