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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.
With Adobe Creative Suite 5, there were several color correction tools added to further enhance the capabilities of After Effects. Now, I have to say, with regards to creating motion graphics, color correction is probably one of the easiest ways to treat the footage that you're working on. In this exercise, what we need to do is come up with kind of a vintage color treatment for our background video. If you turn on the visibility of layer 1, you can see there's this kind of cheesy retro wood texture.
Again, we just want to come up with a color treatment to kind of match things little bit better, and to make the type pop off the background. So, turn off layer 1 for the time being and go up to the Project panel and select the Falls Sunrise video. One thing I want to draw your attention to: this was shot on my DSLR camera, and so it's H.264. Now, most of the time when I am doing color correction, I'd go ahead and transcode the footage--transcode meaning change it from one codec to another codec. Most of the time when you are working on motion graphics, you want to work with an uncompressed codec, or a codec that's optimized to work on your individual system.
Now, I left this H.264 because it saves a ton of file space on the disks, so I just wanted to draw your attention to that. Let's go ahead and move on to our color correction tools. Make sure layer 2 is selected in the Timeline and go up under Effects, down to Color Correction, and the first thing I want you to check out is the Photo Filter. So, navigate down to Photo Filter. This is one of my favorite ways of color correcting footage, just because I tend to look at footage from the eyes of a photographer.
So, this Photo Filter is in fact the exact same filter that's been in Photoshop for a long time. It's just been ported over into After Effects. So, this specific effect is built to emulate different filters you can put on your camera. So, I sort of like using these different warming filters. And the nice thing, you can click through all the different options and see how it affects the images; for example, Sepia, if we wanted that retro looks. But also down here, you can adjust the density. So, if you click and drag, it will obviously affect to the image a little bit more.
So, I just cranked that up to 100 and we turn our frame back on. We're already starting to get back on the road towards a neat treatment. I'd probably go in and change the type a little bit, yellow it so it sort of matches the background, but the Photo Filter, definitely a cool way of treating your footage. Now, let's go ahead and turn that filter off just for second and look at another one. Again, make sure layer 2 is selected, go to your Effects, down under Color Correction, and this time I want you to look at the Black & White filter.
Again, this is another effect that was ported over from Photoshop. The beautiful thing about the Black & White effect is the fact that you can actually make adjustments within each individual color channel. So, just so we can see things a little bit better, I want to change the magnification of our window. So, let's zoom in here a little bit to around 100%, and I'm going to use my Spacebar to reposition. We want to look at this area of rocks right here. Just turn off the Black & White filter for second.
You can see these bushes that are kind of yellow and green. Go ahead and turn Black & White on, and I want you to adjust the green channel. See if you can see any differences. Yeah, I am seeing a difference right here; it's kind of making some minor adjustments to just that one specific area. But I know if we adjust the reds, we'll actually get a fair amount of adjustment right here on the tips of the rocks. So obviously, with the Black & White effect, you should click around and adjust the image to your own personal preference. But if we scroll back out here, I want to draw your attention to one more section of that filter.
That's the Tint area down here at the bottom. If you go ahead and click Tint, this is yet another way to stylize the footage. So, if we go adjust the tint color, we can really kind of crank up that individual effect. So, I'm being kind of harsh here, just so you can see what's going on, but obviously, we have yet another vintage effect. So, let's turn to that effect off, and we'll talk about one last effect for color correction, and that's the exposure adjustment.
Go back up under Effect > Color Correction, and this time go down and choose Exposure. Now, I like working with the Exposure effect because you can actually work in different color depths. So, if I go up under File and down to Project Settings, we can go in under the Color Settings and change the Color Depth from 8-bit to 32-bit float or 16-bit. Now, when we do that--go ahead and press OK-- now when we go ahead and change that space, we can actually apply a much stronger color correction to the image before we'll start seeing that image degradation.
Now, let's first start by adjusting the exposure. Go ahead and bring the exposure of that image down here a little bit. And we can adjust the Offset, so let's go ahead and click and drag to adjust the Offset. You see, this is actually helping me create a sort of weathered beat look, which would kind of work a little bit better with the treatment that we're going for. Now all we have to do is actually add a Tint back into this, but since I'm in 32-bit color space, what I want to do is create a new layer.
I'll just make it a layer solid, and let's brighten up this brown tone to kind of a medium orange and click OK. So, with our new solid selected, let's go to the Mode section and change our blend mode. I want to change it from Normal to Screen, and that actually looks kind of rough right now, but if we change our layer order, making sure to put the new solid in between the two layers, it's starting to look a little bit better. Now, to blend it in, all we have to do is adjust the opacity of this new solid.
So go ahead and press T to open up the opacity and go ahead and bring that down. Now, through using some of the new effects in After Effects, we've created a vintage look for our footage and a new frame. Once we load up our RAM preview, you can see that we've created our new look with a little help from the new color correction tools built right into After Effects.
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