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Delve into the world of motion graphics, keying, and compositing in After Effects CC. In this course, Ian Robinson lays out six foundations for becoming proficient with After Effects, including concepts such as layers, keyframe animation, and working with 3D. To help you get up and running with the program, the course begins with a project-based chapter on creating an animated graphic bumper. Next, explore the role layers play in compositions and find out how to add style to your projects using effects and graphic elements. Last, see how to build 3D objects with CINEMA 4D Lite, as well as stabilize footage, solve for 3D cameras, and paint in graphics with the Reverse Stabilization feature.
If you're coming to After Effects from a traditional design or photography background, you're probably already pretty familiar with Photoshop. And that's one of the tools I recommend most when people are getting started with After Effects. I do this because you can import Photoshop documents into After Effects, and After Effects will automatically create compositions for you. So it saves you a step in trying to create the compositions again in After Effects. But there are some things that you need to be aware of when you're preparing your files to move from Photoshop to After Effects. And to explore that, let's actually open a Photoshop document. Navigate to your Exercise Files, in the footage folder, in the 01_Psd folder, let's double-click on the Training_Swoosh.psd file. That will open the file in Photoshop.
I'm currently recording this in Photoshop CS6. So if you're using a different version, things might look a little different. But the overall function should remain the same. Now if your interface doesn't look like this, you'll want to reset the Workspace. Go up to Window > Workspace and make sure Essentials is chosen. Or if it still looks different, go ahead and reset your Essentials Workspace. Now, I want to analyze some of the layers that we have in the lower right side of the interface. The top two layers are text layers. I know they are fully editable because I have that T icon to the left of the word.
Just to double check which layer we're on, turn the visibility off and on, and you can see we have a Text layer. I'm going to press Cmd +, Ctrl + on Windows, to zoom in a little bit here, and you can see that there's a subtle texture on this Text layer. Now, if we look to right side of the Training layer in our Layers panel, we can expand those options, and as you can see we have effects. We have a color overlay, a pattern overlay, and a soft drop shadow. To see what any of those are doing to the scene, just go ahead and turn off visibility or turn it back on.
Now, Layer Effects are a supported option for importing into After Effects, but not all of them function quite the way you would expect. To show you what I mean about that, we're going to jump back into After Effects. There's one other thing I just wanted to show you. We can collapse our Training layer. Down towards the bottom, there's a Swoop_Lines layer. Go ahead and select that, and I want you to pay attention, this is a Smart Object. And the way this is created is by going up under File and choosing Place, and we've placed an Illustrator file into this document. I'm going to zoom out, Cmd + minus, just so you can see. Now, the Swoop_Lines file also has a gradient overlay, and an outer glow, that created this style.
All right, now that we've dissected what's going on with the layers in the Photoshop document, let's actually look at our Photoshop setup. If you go up under Image, and choose Image size, the document that we had created was 1280 by 720. Now, notice there's no mention of frame rate or anything like that. These options were created by using one of the Photoshop presets. If you're unfamiliar with the presets, let me show you how to set one up. I'm going to click Cancel, and go up under File and choose New. When you create a document in Photoshop, you get these options for presets. Let's click on the first pull-down where it says Clipboard and choose Film & Video. Under Film & Video, you can see we have a lot of different presets. If I click on this HD/HDTV preset, you can see we have standard definition presets for standard NTSC and PAL.
Down towards the bottom, we have full resolution film settings. Now the setting that we are going to use is the HDV/HDTV 720P setting. This gives me a document that is 1280 pixels across by 720 pixels high. If you look closely at this, you can see it has a frame rate specified of 29.97. That's because photo shop does support the ability to open video files. Now, since we don't have any video in this comp, this number really doesn't matter, and to show you that, let's actually go ahead and import our composition into After Effects. So I'm going to cancel this, because I don't want to create a new composition, we already have one that's set up.
Back to After Effects, double click in the Project panel to import. Now, you want to go to your image folder, Inside your exercise files, and in the Photoshop document folder. Select Training_Swoosh by clicking once, and then under Import As, change the Footage option from Footage to Composition Retain Layer Sizes. Now, make sure Photoshop Sequence is deselected, it if it's not already on your system. And then click Open. Look at this other popup where we could change our mind if we wanted to change it back to, say Footage, which would import the layered document as flat, so it would only have one layer.
I want to choose Retain Layer Sizes because that's the easiest for animation. And also down here, I have some options for Merge Layer Styles. You want to make sure to choose Editable Layer Styles, that way we could make changes inside of After Effects. If I click OK, the comp is automatically imported. Now, since the comp is already selected in the project panel, I want you to press Cmd + K or Ctrl + K on Windows, and we'll look at the Composition settings. As you can see, the 1280 by 720 is completely translated. But the frame rate is this 23.976.
The reason this number is in my comp settings has nothing to do with the Photoshop document and it has everything to do with the last time I created a comp inside of After Effects. The last time, I used this setting with 23.976 under the frame rate and I also had a duration of 10 seconds, so your settings might be slightly different. Now, I want to change the duration of this comp from 10 seconds to 5 seconds. So let's go ahead and highlight that number and just press 500. Notice I don't need to put the colons, it automatically translates to 5 seconds. Now, we'll click OK.
If you double-click the comp in the Projects panel, it'll automatically load up in your Comp window as well as the timeline. And as you can see, the text translated and the texture is there. If we select Layer 2, I want you to open up the options just by clicking on the triangle and open up the Layer Style options. Under here, notice we have our drop shadow, our color overlay, and our pattern overlay. And you can turn the Visibility off or on for all those different options. Now, the interesting thing about Pattern Overlay is that it doesn't quite translate in terms of editable.
Notice, when I open up the options for Pattern Overlay, I don't have the option to actually change the pattern. If I wanted to change this, I would right-click on the Layer, and choose Reveal Layer Source in Project, and then I would right-click on this Layer and choose Reveal in the finder or I can just go up under Edit and choose Edit Original and open it back up in Photoshop to make changes. There is an important thing that happens when you import a layered Photoshop document. You can actually import the text this editable text.
So with Layer 2 selected, if you go up under Layer and choose Convert to Editable Text, notice the text is now editable, I have that same T option here, but I lost some options. If we expand Layer 2 and look under our Layer Styles, notice we have our pattern overlay, but it's no longer there. Also, the color overlay, if we expand its options, well, the blend mode was set to Screen. So if I just change that back to normal, you can see it's going to apply that dark color.
So the color overlay worked. It's really just the pattern overlay that's problematic when you want to import it and then edit it or make your text editable. So just be aware of that when you're working with layered Photoshop documents. I'll go ahead and collapse Layer 2. If we scroll down on our timeline, we can scroll down to any layers that are hidden. I want to select this Swoop_Lines layer. I'm going to press 8 on my keypad to automatically select the layer and open up its options. And if we open the Layer Style options. Sure enough, we have our Gradient overlay, and that's all set up as well as our glow. That's all set up.
So if I change the magnification of our comp to fit up to 100%, you can see everything that I've imported from my Photoshop document has been brought into After Effects. You just need to be careful in terms of exactly which layer styles you want to use. And manage whether or not they are editable in After Effects or use the edit original command to make changes in Photoshop.
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