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Exploring textures in motion graphics

From: After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics

Video: Exploring textures in motion graphics

When it comes to creating visually interesting motion graphics, you really can't go wrong using textures in your projects. If you are a student with access to the project files, in the assets folder, you'll find a bunch of textures I created by taking pictures with my digital camera. And we'll get to those in a second, but I want to show you the paint strokes comp that we'd used earlier in the title. These brushstrokes were literally watercolor brushstrokes that I scanned and then cut out of their background to layer into this comp and create sort of an interesting move and texture for the background.

Exploring textures in motion graphics

When it comes to creating visually interesting motion graphics, you really can't go wrong using textures in your projects. If you are a student with access to the project files, in the assets folder, you'll find a bunch of textures I created by taking pictures with my digital camera. And we'll get to those in a second, but I want to show you the paint strokes comp that we'd used earlier in the title. These brushstrokes were literally watercolor brushstrokes that I scanned and then cut out of their background to layer into this comp and create sort of an interesting move and texture for the background.

To give you a small sampling of what the files actually look like before they got treated like this, let's go ahead and just select one of the layers; for example, let's select this Wave layer and go ahead and solo the layer. And as you can see here, it's actually just a piece of rice paper with an ink stroke on it. Now the reason we're not seeing the bright white, with a multiply transfer mode when you layer things on top of each other, it'll knock out the white pixels since some of the pixels like here on the edge of some of the pieces of rice paper, some of those pixels are actually discolored slightly and so that's why we're seeing the edges.

I thought that was kind of cool, so I just left it in there. But obviously if we wanted to isolate only the brushstrokes, we could've done that. But the most important thing was to get this generally deep layered texture look. Now that we've seen some of the brushstrokes, let's jump over to some of the other textures that I took pictures of. So I'll just Command+Tab over into Bridge. Now in assets folder of your exercise files, you'll find an images folder. In there, we can see all these different textures that I was able to capture.

Literally all these are our images that I took around the house. Obviously, that's kind of a bedspread. This was a plaster wall that was painted. I just thought it looks kind of interesting. This paper here was out of a package that I received. It was just the packing paper, and I just sort of smoothed it out, and sure enough, took a picture. Here is some slate. This kind of texture is sort of interesting because with this texture I don't think I'd ever want to try and tile it or repeat the texture. I'd want to use this in an example where I was trying to create like a weathered look for my graphic.

So the last couple of textures are just random bathroom tiles and some sort of microfiber and wood textures. Of course, you can never have too many of these natural kind of textures. I liked the scratches in the desk, so I'd left them in my graphic. But let's see how we can actually apply these in one of our projects, so Command+Tab back into After Effects. Now I already showed you how changing the transfer mode can help you layer graphics on top of each other, but let's go ahead and use textures to lay in to specific pieces of graphics.

So, for example, open the Textured- layers comp, and in here we'll have the same background, but as you can see, I have this King Wave kayaks logo. So to give this a little bit more visual interest, let's layer in a texture right inside this shaded gray area. Now the Diamond layer, if I that turn on and off, that is the entire layer, including the outer stroke. So to get started, let's go ahead and select the Diamond layer and just Edit > Duplicate.

I created a duplicate of this layer because I'm going to scale it down and use this as a mask so I can get that nice clean edge. To better illustrate the point, let's drop in one of our textures. So go to your Project pane and double-click to import the textures. Now like I said, you should be able to find the textures in your Exercise Folder, under assets, under images. And let's just go ahead and import all of the textures.

Now with them all selected, let's just drop them into a folder here, so we can keep things organized. Okay, so to swap out this Diamond 2 layer with a texture, it's pretty simple. All you have to do is open up your Texture Sources, and let's get started. We'll try layering in some of this cardboard. If you hold down Alt or Option as you drag the texture into the Timeline, it will automatically swap out the selected layer with your newly added layer.

Okay, so obviously, this is way too large for what I'm trying to do, but like I said, what I wanted to do was actually just layer in this graphic for a specific section of the logo. Now the biggest reason I duplicated this Diamond was for its position data. Since this is a two-dimensional layer, this really wasn't that hard to deal with, but sometimes when you have layers in three-dimensional space and you know you want the texture to occupy the exact same position that that object is occupying, it makes sense just to duplicate the object and use this Alt+Option+Drag technique.

To cut out the background, I'll duplicate this Diamond layer one more time, Command+D, and position it above Diamond 2, which I will now rename Texture. And so the Texture actually gets dropped into this specific area of the diamond. Go ahead in your Modes panel and change the Track Matte to Alpha Matte "Diamond 3" and when we do that you notice now it's automatically getting cut out by this Diamond 3 layer.

Now since I want to see the black edge of the original logo, all we have to do is open up the Scale here and just drag down till we get to a proper setting. Sometimes when you're repositioning graphics like this, you want to make sure that you're working at 100%, so just in case there may be some kind of bad pixel alignment here, you'll be able to see that when you're set at 100% magnification. So I'll jump back to fit the whole scene in here, and now in order to have this texture sort of layer itself into the background, let's play with its Transfer mode.

So again, in this switches and Modes panel here, let's go ahead and change the blending mode. No, that didn't really work. Let's go ahead and change it to Screen. Okay, that's starting to work a little bit, but I think this whole set is not really mixing the way I want it to mix. What we want to do is choose a transfer mode that'll help layer in the texture to the specific areas of the scene where there are lighter pixels. So let's go ahead up here and change it to Multiply.

That is definitely a little bit more like what I was thinking. Even though we changed the transfer mode, let's go ahead and press T and adjust the Opacity down a little bit. And now you notice we have our texture and we're kind of controlling how deeply it's mixing into the Background layer. Okay, that looks good. Now, the only problem with this is if there were animation, this texture would actually slide all over the place. So what we need to do is make sure that both this texture and its matte will always follow this main background diamond.

So the easiest way to do that is to select both layers and just in the Parent section, click on the pick whip and choose the Diamond layer. Now when I go ahead and scale, notice the texture is scaling perfectly with the background layer. Now, obviously since I was adjusting the scale, I probably want to parent all these other text objects in as well, but I think you get the general idea. So using blend modes is a great way to layer in your textures to specific areas of a project. Now as we move on through the chapter, I am going to show you some other ways we can actually layer textures in without using transfer modes, but for the meantime, there should be more than enough to give you some ideas to go around your house and take pictures of your textures, and again continue adding to your motion graphic toolkit.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics
After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics

60 video lessons · 23062 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
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  1. 3m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
    3. Defining motion graphics
      1m 32s
  2. 11m 11s
    1. Workflow for creating motion graphics
      5m 7s
    2. Organizing projects for motion graphics
      4m 25s
    3. Defining a motion graphics "package"
      1m 39s
  3. 12m 58s
    1. Collecting visual inspiration
      2m 14s
    2. Listening to imagine
      3m 20s
    3. Creating elements for inspiration
      7m 24s
  4. 33m 4s
    1. Essential theories of typography
      6m 34s
    2. Understanding shortcuts for setting type in AE
      7m 27s
    3. Converting type from Photoshop
      5m 51s
    4. Importing type from illustrator
      9m 44s
    5. Creating shapes from text
      3m 28s
  5. 36m 30s
    1. Understanding the role of timing in motion graphics
      8m 1s
    2. Creating and using markers
      7m 58s
    3. Creating animation with markers
      5m 16s
    4. Using audio to create animated graphics
      5m 47s
    5. Editing techniques for graphics and video
      9m 28s
  6. 49m 27s
    1. Understanding different kinds of type in After Effects
      15m 53s
    2. Using animators with type
      7m 59s
    3. Using type presets
      7m 35s
    4. Creating custom type presets
      4m 35s
    5. Animating paragraph type
      13m 25s
  7. 45m 51s
    1. Exploring the use of color in motion graphics
      10m 40s
    2. Creating and using color palettes
      13m 45s
    3. Exploring color correction tools in AE
      6m 46s
    4. Advanced correction with Color Finesse
      8m 30s
    5. Creating custom color presets
      6m 10s
  8. 59m 6s
    1. Exploring textures in motion graphics
      8m 30s
    2. Building an animated background texture
      16m 48s
    3. Creating textures for type
      10m 19s
    4. Animating seamless textures
      15m 1s
    5. Creating custom vignettes
      8m 28s
  9. 38m 25s
    1. Understanding lighting in After Effects
      12m 57s
    2. Intro to lighting techniques
      5m 17s
    3. Using material settings to enhance lighting
      7m 36s
    4. Adding polish to a light setup
      12m 35s
  10. 50m 32s
    1. Animating swoops and swooshes
      12m 37s
    2. Creating repeating light trails with the Vegas effect
      6m 28s
    3. Repeating patterns with shape layers
      8m 11s
    4. Exploring graphic transitions
      10m 37s
    5. Exploring video transitions
      5m 16s
    6. Adding dynamic elements to a video transition
      7m 23s
  11. 22m 23s
    1. Working in 3D
      8m 36s
    2. Rigging cameras for animation
      8m 45s
    3. Working with depth of field
      5m 2s
  12. 50m 54s
    1. Creating storyboards in After Effects
      10m 20s
    2. Creating an animatic
      18m 14s
    3. Polishing the animation and timing
      8m 45s
    4. Applying the final effects
      13m 35s
  13. 47m 53s
    1. Preparing a map for animation
      7m 59s
    2. Animating and styling a map
      8m 24s
    3. Designing a lower-third graphic
      8m 22s
    4. Adding animation to the lower-third graphic
      9m 10s
    5. Creating bumper animations
      13m 58s
  14. 14m 17s
    1. Defining the toolkit
      2m 2s
    2. Preparing templates
      7m 12s
    3. Creating a style guide
      5m 3s
  15. 1m 3s
    1. Next Steps
      1m 3s

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