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This project-oriented course leads you through the creative and technical process of building an opening title sequence from scratch in Adobe After Effects. Author Chris Meyer shows how to pull together numerous skills you've learned in the other After Effects Apprentice courses, from working in 3D space to creating type and shape layers to writing expressions. Along the way, Chris lets you in on the mental process he uses when creating similar spots for real-world clients, while sharing numerous tips that will help broaden your After Effects skills.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.
I'm going to continue on with the Final Comp and HERO +Title that I've created so far. If you're just jumping in at this point in the course and you have access to the exercise files, go into Intermediate Comps and you can use 08a_Title Animated and 08b_Hero Precomp Placed, and that will catch up to where I am. These will look slightly different than the ones I've built so far, because I've made some different choices for parameters, etcetera, but we're trying to get you to focus on concepts rather than doing exactly what I do. Now back in this Final Comp, as my placeholders pan by and my HERO video comes into the scene, I remember that I was going to frame this HERO video.
It does look a bit on the naked side hanging out by itself with nothing around it, just a piece of video hanging in space. So to do that, I'm going to back to my Hero +Title Comp, and then open up its composition settings. Shortcut is Command key on Mac, Ctrl key on Windows. I had made my placeholders 140 pixels larger in both dimensions to leave room for the frame. So I'm going to make this comp 1100x680 and click OK. There's no need for Title/Action Safe anymore, so I'll toggle this off with apostrophe, double-check that my background is indeed transparent.
And finally, I'm going to make sure I have no other layers selected in my composition before I continue working here. I'm going to create a shape layer that will act as my frame, and to make sure that you're creating a shape rather than drawing a mask on an existing layer, make sure nobody is selected by pressing F2. I'm going choose Pen tool, make sure the RotoBezier option is turned off. I actually want to create some squared off corners initially. I'm going to make sure that my Stroke is set to None for now.
Change my Fill Type to a Radial Gradient. Set the Opacity to something like kind of see-through. 70% is okay, you might even want to go lighter like even say 50%. And then drag to a point in time somewhere in this composition where I could see a fair amount of my video, because I'm going to use this video for inspiration when choosing the colors of my frame. I'm going to click on this Fill Color Swatch to open up the Gradient Editor, make sure that my two opacity stops are set to 100% and what colors shall we use? For my first Color Stop, let's go ahead and pick the green from this surgeon's cap.
That's kind of a weak green, so I think I'll make it a little darker and more saturated, somewhere around there. And then for the second stop, another rich color is actually this blue blanket that's over the patient. You can pick something down in this region to get a nice blue gradient. Again, maybe go a little bit more saturated, because my frame is going to be translucent, so I can see through it. I might want to have more saturated colors initially so they hold up when I'd back off their opacity. Now I'll click OK. Now I want to create a frame around this video.
And instead of just being a very boring rectangular frame, I think I'm going to create some little cut ins and cut outs just to add some interest to it. You don't have to do exactly what I'm doing. I just want to lead you through a general procedure to how I might approach this. Go ahead and change it as you like to your taste. Now I'll click in the upper left corner to start my shape layer, move a little bit further along in my frame, and then I'm going to hold down the Shift key to make sure I'm drawing a straight line. When I click again, I will now get a straight line between my two points.
I'm going to create a little notch here, so I'm going to come down a little bit, Shift+Click, don't drag your mouse at this point, you'll create Bezier handles, I want squared off corners initially, go out here, Shift+Click. Make sure I get nice right angles around my frame edges. Okay, I think I'm going to come down here a little ways, cut in a little bit for a notch, maybe extend down to -- maybe even all the way down to here with that idea and start coming around the bottom of my frame.
I'll Shift+Click, Shift+Click, Shift+Click, Shift+Click, I can always edit these points later, as well, I'm just making some decisions as I go here. And I'll click there, then make a little cutout notch right to this area. Click, still holding the Shift key everytime I click, to make sure these vertices are lined up. When I close the mask by clicking on my last vertex, there's a good chance that this point and the point before don't align. So I might need to take this last point that's selected, and nudge it to the right or left a little bit, until I see that the mask path is nice and perfectlystraight in between them.
Okay, that's the outside of my frame. Now I need to cut out the inside of my frame. I'm going to make sure that my shape layer is still selected, because I want my new path to be part of the same layer and I'm going to start picking a zone in between the video and my outer frame to define the inner frame. And to make things interesting, I'll Shift+Click here I might even overlap the video in some areas to create the illusion of support tabs that somehow this glass LCD frame behind is attached to my frame at these overlapping tabs.
Here, get a little deeper into here, then maybe take advantage of those cutouts to go up in here, a little higher, here, maybe the overlapping tab again down to here. I'm Shift+Clicking to keep things aligned, down to there, here, make my tab there as well. Let's make a little bit of a wider tab, just to make it more interesting. The bottom of the frame is a little less interesting in the shot anyway. And just break things up a little bit with my patterning. Come down to here.
I think I'll go ahead and overlap my video there as well, just to change things to where my tabs are, Shift+Click, Shift+Click, and close my path, and I realize I did end up in a different place I started, so I'm going to use my cursor keys to nudge that first point, back up to line up with my last point. Now that I've drawn the paths that define the outside and inside of my frame, in the next movie, I'm going to subtract one from the other to create a hollow in the middle and do some additional treatments to make this frame look nice, like a piece of translucent plastic or glass.
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