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Filmmakers of all kinds are exploring new digital tools for creating animated content. After Effects CS3: Animating Characters follows the creation of a short animated film, from storyboard through final output, using After Effects CS3. George Maestri uses a one-minute monster movie to showcase the new Puppet tool, along with many other techniques for animating characters in After Effects. He covers lip syncing, creating segmented characters with movable joints, and employing special effects. George demonstrates in detail how to create individual scenes and shots, and offers insight into how to pull the pieces together to form a cohesive production. Familiarity with After Effects is recommended. Exercise files accompany the course.
Once you have all of your After Effects files rendered you can bring them into a video editor and start assembling the final project. Now we're on PCs here and so we use Premiere Pro CS3. You can certainly use any other type of video editor. You can certainly use Final Cut or you can use Avid or really any other type of editing program should work but we are using Premiere so let me bring that up and let's go ahead and start showing you how to start pulling in your elements and cutting the final project.
The first thing I do is I bring up that original like Leica reel, which kind of has the rough timing of the project and that kind of gives me a guide to use for cutting the final project together. So if you don't have Premiere you can just follow along, but if you do have Premiere open up a project called Monsterpiece Leica01, which is the original Leica reel when we first started this project. Now I can play a little bit of this. (Movie: Greetings....) So that's the original storyboard that we had.
Now on top of this, what I'm going to do is start laying in the rendered files as we create them and I'm also going to start matching the audio. The final project that we actually created is going to be timed slightly different than the Leica reel but again Leica reel gives us some very good guide to go with. And let's go ahead and start by importing the audio. We are going to go to Monsterpiece/Audio/Monsterpiece01.wav. I'm going to bring that in and then all I have to do is click and drag that to the timeline go ahead and expand this.
It matches up reasonably well to this original soundtrack and I'm actually going to turn off this original soundtrack here so that way I can see it and then I can match to it without actually having to listen to that other track. This is my clean track and again with this storyboard as well we are going to have an ugly track and then we are actually going to have a clean track and these can be deleted later but I like to keep them around for just visual reference. So as we bring in the video we can just go to our render directory so right click here and just go Import and I'm going to go up to my Renders directory and here is all of the files. Now I have 1 through 10 but notice that 9 is missing and 9 is missing because actually in production we actually combined 8 and 9.
Once you have the files in probably the easiest way to line them up is to just keep them selected and I could click and drag them to the timeline. Now this is how we do it in Premiere, may be a little bit different in your editor. And once we do that- in fact let me zoom out here- you can see they are just all lined up. Some of these cut points aren't exact to the Leica reel but they are pretty close. Once we play it you will notice that maybe some of the audio might not line up exactly, but that's part of this editing process is to try and get this pretty clean.
So let's just do a quick playback and see how it looks. (Movie: Greetings. And welcome to...) OK, that looks pretty good. And one of the things I noticed here was I had rendered some of these with audio, but what I can do is I can actually just drag this audio because we are not going to actually be using this audio. That way I have a complete track here. Now I want to show you something that's a little bit closer to completion. Go ahead and open the project monsterpiece05.premiere project.
No, I don't mean to save that. OK so here we are. Let me zoom out a little bit. You can see here we have done some more work. Now one of the things is we added in the title card where it says Frankenstein. We also did some other things. If we go to this girl's mouth we actually have to fade up the next shot. So we can see how this shot fades in and so what we did was we just did a little bit of a cross-fade here and we did some of the other little editing tweaks to kind of tighten it up. So those are the general guidelines for editing and in the next lesson we are going to show you a little bit more about how to finalize the end product.
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