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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters

Final output and audio


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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters

with George Maestri

Video: Final output and audio

Now that we have everything kind of edited together, let's go ahead and finish up this project. Let me just show you the process that we go through. Now first of all we have this original project that we have which has our audio and then what we do is we actually just drag that sequence in here and create another sequence with just this track in it. And what we can do here is we can actually do our color correction and if we want to do any audio processing, we can do it here. Now what we did was we actually had a third step that we went through and what we had was we did have some revisions where we put the monster into his boxers, for example.
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  1. 2m 26s
    1. Welcome
      1m 30s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      56s
  2. 24m 25s
    1. Project overview
      3m 12s
    2. Original storyboard
      2m 36s
    3. Organizing production directories
      3m 56s
    4. Using a rough soundtrack for shot timing
      1m 58s
    5. Creating a Leica reel in Premiere Pro
      7m 17s
    6. Tracking projects
      3m 1s
    7. Creating art in Photoshop for After Effects
      2m 25s
  3. 47m 12s
    1. Segmenting Photoshop characters
      7m 54s
    2. Importing Photoshop files into After Effects
      3m 55s
    3. Linking character parts
      5m 25s
    4. Animating blinks using Opacity
      8m 19s
    5. Animating the arm
      9m 57s
    6. Animating the needle and thread and the monster's hand
      11m 42s
  4. 54m 9s
    1. Introduction to subcompositions
      5m 32s
    2. Setting up nested compositions
      4m 29s
    3. Animating a run cycle pt. 1: Basic leg motion
      8m 45s
    4. Animating a run cycle pt. 2: Overlap and follow-through
      5m 4s
    5. Putting the girl in his arms
      8m 24s
    6. Animating a screaming girl pt. 1: The arms
      9m 49s
    7. Animating a screaming girl pt. 2: The head
      12m 6s
  5. 32m 5s
    1. The basics of the Puppet tool
      5m 37s
    2. Creating bounce with the Puppet tool
      5m 55s
    3. Dig cycles pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 9s
    4. Dig cycles pt. 2: Shovel
      4m 54s
    5. Dig cycles pt. 3: Arms and body
      11m 3s
    6. Dig cycles pt. 4: Finalizing
      2m 27s
  6. 47m 32s
    1. Creating a monster pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 35s
    2. Creating a monster pt. 2
      10m 42s
    3. Creating a monster pt. 3
      12m 34s
    4. Creating a monster pt. 4
      4m 39s
    5. Creating a monster pt. 5: Finalizing
      4m 22s
    6. Creating smoke and bubble cycles
      7m 34s
    7. Creating a dry brush effect
      5m 6s
  7. 23m 9s
    1. The basics of lip syncing
      3m 8s
    2. Setting up mouths for animation with time mapping
      7m 21s
    3. Animating the lips
      6m 23s
    4. Animating the head and body
      6m 17s
  8. 14m 54s
    1. Rendering with After Effects
      4m 4s
    2. Editing with Premiere Pro
      4m 9s
    3. Final output and audio
      6m 41s
  9. 10s
    1. Goodbye
      10s

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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters
4h 6m Intermediate Jun 18, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Organizing with storyboards, rough soundtracks, and Leica reels Creating, importing, and linking segmented character parts from Photoshop Setting up nested compositions to animate a run cycle Creating smoke and bubble cycles, and other special effects Animating lips, heads, and bodies with time mapping Editing and creating final output with Premiere Pro
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Software:
After Effects
Author:
George Maestri

Final output and audio

Now that we have everything kind of edited together, let's go ahead and finish up this project. Let me just show you the process that we go through. Now first of all we have this original project that we have which has our audio and then what we do is we actually just drag that sequence in here and create another sequence with just this track in it. And what we can do here is we can actually do our color correction and if we want to do any audio processing, we can do it here. Now what we did was we actually had a third step that we went through and what we had was we did have some revisions where we put the monster into his boxers, for example.

So we actually have a couple of these extra shots so actually I have this timeline called DV Master or this sequence called DV Master and that actually has our final output and our final mix. So let me show you what the mix looks like. Now for audio typically what we do is we have just a separate track for the score so these are different score pieces. (Musics plays.) And what we did to create those is essentially we sent off the rough cut, which was this, to the composer and then he kind of underscored what we gave him.

So it pretty much fits to the action on the screen, move stuff around drastically, it does pretty much fit. So, we actually have a couple of different underscore pieces here and some of this is just we have actually cut the soundtrack and kind of moved it around to make sure that it fits. Then we also have some- there is one called Sound Balance. What that is essentially is... (Buzzing sound) basically just sound effects.

So we have some sound effects and then we also have some additional sound effects. Now these are mono sound effects, the ones here are stereo so we are actually putting these on little bit of a separate track. So for example a jail door. (Door slams) Those sorts of things. (Door slams) There it goes. OK, let's stop that. So essentially we have all of this pretty much together. Now to finalize this we have got all of this. It actually looks a little bit messy. So, in order to finalize it we need to create a clean version where we can do all of our final processing, such as final audio effects and final color correction, that sort of thing.

So what I do here in Premiere is I actually just create a new sequence. So we can just call that whatever, I usually call it final or something like that. Something that's glaringly obvious and then I scroll up and I find the sequence for my master edit and so what I do is I just drag that in. Adjust the timeline so everything fits in my window here. So essentially what this is is everything in here, all of this kind of this complicated edit, it's all boiled down into just one little movie. So it's kind of like a sub-composition in After Effects.

What I can do here is I can do my final processing before I do output. Now one of the first things I do is, especially when it's going to the Internet, is we like to compress the audio just a little bit. Now Premiere has a really nice audio effects library and so what we typically do is we go in and we use the Dynamics effect. Now essentially what Dynamics is is a compressor limiter. Typically that's what it will be called in most audio applications and maybe some other video applications. So if I take that, you'll notice here I have my Dynamics on this particular one here and typically what I do here is I go through- you can actually go through this custom setup here and it's got this nice little control panel here.

But I actually just go down to the individual parameters here and I make sure that I have a little bit of compression going on here, it's a little less than a 2:1 compression ratio and what that's going to do is that's going to reduce the Dynamics a little bit. Now that will affect kind of this stereoscopic, grandiose quality of it a little bit. Not too much but what it also will do is it will make it more consistent so when somebody listens to it on their laptop speaker, it will still sound good and when somebody listens to it on just regular stereo speakers, it will also sound good.

And then another thing I'd like to do is I like to limit it. So typically I limit it to about probably -8dB or -9dB, somewhere around there and what that does is it makes sure that it never gets so loud that it will clip. And I just want to make sure that nothing ever gets louder than negative, somewhere between -8, somewhere around there. -8db and -9db is typically how much we limit it. Now for the video track, you can do a bunch of video effects on that as well.

Typically we like to leave it alone, but in this case we actually had a little bit of saturation problems and so one of the things we did was some color corrections and we did some hue saturation on this particular one here. And actually what we did was so we went through the Color Balance here and we just reduced the Saturation just a little bit because what we found is when we actually played it on an NTSC monitor actually the reds were kind of blowing it out just a little bit.

So we just dropped the Saturation just a hair. Now you can do all sorts of global effects here, which can actually be nice, and some of these are just going to be little subtle things to just balance out your levels and make sure that everything is really nice and clean before it goes out. And then once we have that then all we have to do is just is output it. Select your sequence and then you go File, Export and then you can export it to any sort of movie file you want. You just go here into Settings and this is very similar to After Effects.

You have your file type, so we can use QuickTime. Your video compressor, Animation. If we want- we can whatever frame size we want and so on and so forth. Another way to export it is to use the Adobe Media Encoder and what this is is this kind of actually exports it to the web. Out of Premier Pro you can actually export it to Flash video so this is great. You can certainly just great all of your own parameters that you need in order to export it to a website or something like that.

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