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In this installment of After Effects Apprentice, Chris Meyer focuses on ways to edit and enhance layers in After Effects. Through a series of Quizzler challenges and Idea Corner examples, Chris shares alternative ways to employ modes, sequencing, and adjustment layers, while special sidebar movies cover the subjects of creating seamless loops, animating effects points, understanding pixel aspect ratios, and employing Brainstorm to explore the variety of different looks that effects can create. The course also covers tricks for enhancing boring footage and tips for converting scans into moving sequences. Exercise files are included with the course.
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 Online Training Library®.
Earlier in this lesson in the chapter on adjustment layers, we showed you how you can use the adjustment layer to apply effects to the entire composite of this composition. We also showed you how you could scale down that adjustment layer to affect just a smaller portion of this composite. Well let's take those ideas and extend them. Say that I want to have a vertical bar that travels across my screen and I want just the area underneath that bar to be affected. Maybe a bit blurred, maybe a bit blown up, maybe a bit color shifted, as if it was under glass. This is a trick you might have seen on an opening title sequence of say a television show.
Well, first I am going to add an adjustment layer. Layer > New > Adjustment Layer. It defaults to being the entire size of the composition. And the reality is just a solid that has the Adjustment Layer switch set. So I am going to make sure the adjustment layer is selected. Go to Layer > Solid Settings. Here you can rename it, such as adjustment bar, and change it's width. Let's say it's only 100 pixels wide. Note that the color of an adjustment layer has no effect on the outcome.
It's the Alpha channel you're interested in. I'll click OK. I have a smaller bar but I don't see any adjustment yet because I don't have any effects applied. Well that's simple enough. Let's go to Effect and apply Hue and Saturation. Here I can do a little bit of a color shift, maybe to make it a bit more golden. Maybe make it a bit more saturated underneath that bar. If I want to blur it out, I can apply Effect > Blur and Sharpen, something like Fast Blur. Box Blur is also a very good choice by the way. Increase the Blurriness.
And now I've got little bit of a defocused frosted glass look. And one thing I normally do with Fast Blur and treatments like this is turn on Repeat Edge Pixels because that cleans up the edges of the top and bottom. Now a third treatment I would like to do is slightly expand or magnify the area underneath the adjustment layer bar. Again going for that refracted through glass sort of look. The problem is that if I just use normal scale-- press S to reveal-- it has no effect on the adjustment. That's because Scale is not an effect.
It's just changing the size of the area that gets the treatment that gets the effects, but is not an effect itself. Whenever you need to apply a transformation property as an effect, you can apply an effect called Transform. I'll double-click that. And now I have a whole set of transformations including Scale, Skew, Rotation, etc, that's applied as an effect. So if I scale this up slightly, you'll see that I get that refracted look of it being expanded.
I'll go ahead and type P to reveal just the position of this layer. You'll see it's magnifying whatever is underneath this bar. All that's left now is to do some keyframing. So just do what you like. Go ahead and set a Position keyframe here. Go little later in time, move to a different position of the frame, go little later in time, move it back, go little bit later in time. Maybe do a little jig this direction, and then go to the end, and you can scrub it all way back, or of course you can just pick it up and have the Shift key to constrain your movement, then push it off the screen.
The default keyframes are linear which gives kind of a boring bounce-bounce sort animation, a bit abrupt. But I would prefer is to maybe to select these, hold down Command on Mac or Control on Windows, and click on one of them to convert them to Auto Bezier keyframes, which automatically smoothes out the movement. So I get little bit better of a bounce as it hits those corners and goes back and forth. And again using what you've learned, you can apply something else such as Easy Ease to make him come to complete stop when he hits those keyframes.
But anyway that's another use for adjustment layers to create some fun treatments of your footage underneath, as if you're viewing it through another surface or another layer.
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