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In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.
Now we're starting off inside of Photoshop because obviously a lot of times when you create graphics, you'll probably want to start the design in Photoshop. It does a very good job of creating graphics and I think you'll be amazed how well integrated the communication between After Effects and Photoshop is. So let's look at what we have here. First thing at the top Layer, we have an Adjustment layer. If I turn it's visibility on you could see it's a black and white layer. That's just there in case the client wanted a black and white version.
So we'll turn that off and you could see we have editable text. I can see that because I have the little Text Layer there. And we have editable text down here. We have a Shape Layer which is this Black_Bar right there. And then we have layers within layers. So we have each group of these three solar panels. So we have two groups of three. And the next layer down, these are just painted pixels so we have the Washington panel and then the Oregon panel, which when we select those, notice we have a Multiply blend mode and a Vivid Light blend mode and different opacities for each layer.
Now down here, we have a layer that has a Shape and a Mask. So if we disable the mask, I'm just Shift+Clicking on this little thumbnail. That will disable the mask. You can see the full size of the shape. Now I'll just click back on the thumbnail to re-enable it. We do have Layer Styles applied to a lot of these. A lot of Outer Glow and Stroke. And then our bottom layer here, this is an Illustrator File that was placed inside of Photoshop. So it's a Smart Object, and this too has an effect over top of it.
Now let's jump into After Effects so we can import this. I'm just going to double-click inside the Project panel and navigate in your exercise files to the Footage folder, in the Photoshop folder you should find Solar_panels.psd. Now let's not import this as Footage, let's import this as a Composition - Retain Layer Sizes. That way it will be easier to animate. Make sure Photoshop Sequence is not selected and click Open.
Now in this next menu, we have one more chance to change our mind if we didn't want to choose Composition - Retain Layer Sizes. But the big option you want to check here is make sure that your Layer Styles remain Editable. For some reason if you wanted to flatten that layer, you could merge the Layer Style down. But since we're doing Color Overlay, and Stroke, and Outer Glow and things like that, those are pretty straight forward Layer Styles. So let's leave those editable and click OK.
We've imported our composition, you could see we have all of our layers in our Layer folder in the Project panel. And if we double-click our composition it's open here, and it is 1280x720 and it's 5 seconds because that was the length of the last composition we had created. Now let's look closely at our layers. If we start at the top, we do have a black and white layer. And if you turn on it's visibility, sure enough, it makes the layer black and white. So if we go to Window and open our Effects Controls, you can see we do have our effect and it has remained completely editable.
Let's disable Black & White for now and continue looking through what we have. Well a High Population of Sunlight, okay. Well if we open Layer 2, notice yes, the Layer Styles came across. We still have a Drop Shadow, and we still have our Outer Glow, and if we open the options for each one, they're fully editable, Drop Shadow as well. But if you notice the text is not coming across as text. Now this is one of favorite features when I'm working with the integration between Photoshop and After Effects.
It's the fact that you can go up to the Layer menu, and if it was text inside the Photoshop, you can say Convert to Editable Text Inside of After Effects. Now when we choose that and we open the layer, you can see we have text here and we have our full text group and all of our animators. So you can convert text layers into editable text. One more time, let's select Layer 3, go up to Layer > Convert to Editable Text.
All right, now let's look at the Black_Bar. Notice it did come across since it was a Shape Layer. It did come across with a mask, and if you press M we do have a Mask Path that's on here. Let's open up it's options and notice we have Layer Styles. Our Stroke came across and it's editable as well. All right, let's keep going. We have our precompose layers. Notice they are precomposed.
So Group Layers, layers of layers inside of Photoshop, come across as precompositions. When we select the Was_panel and the Ore_ panel, the blend modes have transferred. If we press T to open their Opacity, their opacities have transferred. So I think your seeing that the integration between Photoshop and After Effects is really flexible. The last thing I want to point out is this SW_Area. Notice if we press M there is no mask. If we turn the visibility off and on it's definitely a layer and it did bring it's Layer Styles across but the mask-- if we jump back to Photoshop here, this Layer Mask was applied on import.
So that did not come across as editable but it was applied to the layer. So to sum up, I think you can see how integrated Photoshop and After Effects is. So the next time you have to create some complicated graphics don't sit in After Effects trying to re-create it with masks and all kinds of other things, just jump over to Photoshop. Save it as a Layered Document and import it as a comp and you can retain the layer sizes.
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