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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.
Masks, mats, and blend modes are a great way to take a busy graphic and blend all the different elements together. Now this graphic was created in a later chapter in our audio chapter, but I thought it was a perfect example of something we could use to blend different blend modes together. Let's load up a ram preview and check it out. I just have to warn you there's audio on the track so watch your speaker levels. Alright. Here we go. (MUSIC) Okay. Well as I looked at the scene, I could see that the front word and our pulsing audio line here are completely fighting with each other. I think it's sort of a fun look but we could definitely draw a little more contrast between the two.
So let's make sure we have our Blend modes active. I'm going to go to the lower left corner of my interface and click the second button in. This'll make sure that my Blend modes are up in the screen. Now, it's funny that I said screen, because if you look at the Blend modes, that's what our top 4 layers are set to. A screen blend mode. That's probably why they're all so bright. Now, if we turn the visibility off on layer one and layer two, you can see it actually took two layers to create the brightness of that word. Now, the audio pulse is what I want to blend into the scene.
So let's go to layer three and turn that visibility off. Okay, now we know exactly what we're dealing with. I want to create a mask to create darkness kind of in the center here. So, I'll go up to my Elipse tool in my toolbar. You can click Q and press it numerous times on the keyboard until you've selected the Ellipse tool to get it. Just make sure when you start dragging that you have layer 3 selected. So I'm going to click and drag to draw a mask around our waveform. With the mask applied, I want to invert the mask because I want the center to actually be the more dark place.
So let's change the pull down on the mask from add to subtract. Now, notice when I did subtract, the mask in essence kind of went away. If I click Inverted, nope. This is one of those instances where it might be better to actually apply the mask after the waveform. Let's see if I can click and drag down here, and it's not like I can change the hierarchy in terms of how this renders. What I need to do is actually pre-compose. I'm going to click on the mask and just press Cmd + X to cut the mask off the layer. Now we can go up under layer and go down to choose precompose. And we can move all the attributes into a new comp and click OK. And as long as we don't click our continuously rasterize button or collapse transform button right here, we should be able to easily mask this off now. Since I already have the mask selected on my tool bar, I'm going to go and click and drag on the canvas again.
And this time, if we go to the pull down next to our mask, we can change it to subtract and it'll actually work the way that I was expecting. If you press M, M on your keyboard rapidly, you'll open up a mask options. Now, I can click and drag on the Feather options, here, to soften the transition across my map. Now, this is looking relatively close to what I was hoping, but I need to blend this background glowing a little bit more. So let's select our audio pulse glow. If you don't have the blend modes open, make sure you do and then let's click here, under screen.
Notice blend modes are divided up into groups. Rather than focusing on what each individual blend mode does, I try and just keep track of the individual groups. So the first group will create dissolves, and I definitely want to explore that here in a second. The next group creates darkness. Now the group after that creates lightness so I like to think these darken and then these add. Now the other group compares contrast between the layers and then we have difference and hue, color, luminosity and then the stencil layers.
I just encourage you now to click through each of the layers to see if there's some kind of blend that you like. For example, if I chose subtract for this, now I'm subtracting that blur out of the background. And it just doesn't look quite right. Whereas if I chose add, it's really going to kind of try and blend to give this nice pop in the background. I want to change things up drastically. So I'm going to click on the pul ldown and choose Dancing Dissolve. When we do that, it's going to scatter all of the different elements into a dissolve. Now, I'd like to add a glow to this, so I'm going to go up under Effect and choose Stylize and choose Glow.
But, notice, when I press the Glow, it's just scattering the Glow effect. So, it's like the effect is processed first and then the Blend mode is processed next. I'm just going to press Cmd + Z to undo. So in order to change the order of processes, we need to select Layer 4 and go up under Layer, and choose pre-compose. And this time, we definitely want to make sure to move all the attributes into the new comp, and when we click OK, now we can go back under our Effect options and choose Glow.
This'll add a nice glow back into our scattered graphic. If I wanted to make that pop a little more, I could adjust some of the glow settings, but I sort of like where it's at. Now, we could add a blend mode to this to blend it back into the background. So let's click on our blend mode and see if we can color burn it back into the background. And that's definitely added a little bit more burn into the image. So I'm liking what I have as we scrub down the timeline. Now there's one last thing we need to look at maybe adjusting. And that's a track mat.
So if we have our background video composition here, let's turn the visibility off and on. I'd like to actually have this background blend with our blurry scatteredness. Right above it. So let's keep our background layer exactly where it is, but let's go over to its track mat. Let's change that mode to alpha mat. This is going to look at the alpha channel of the layer above it, and use that to cut the mat. So if we turn on our alpha channel for our composition, you can see all that we have actually in the scene is our scattered graphic and our text. The background is being completely cut out by this alpha operation. I'm going to go back here and go to RGB.
Just so I can blend the background in a little bit, I'm going to duplicate the background layer by pressing Cmd + D. And I'll drag that to the bottom of the layer hierarchy. And change its track mat to no track mat. And then we can just press T to open the opacity, and, bring its luminance down. So now we've got this kind of haunting look where we have our glow kind of going across the screen and we have this sort of scattered look that blending into the background along with our alpha track mat. So when it comes to being able to draw a separation between your different graphic elements, definitely look at maybe using masks, and then you could explore some blend modes, and of course, pre-composing.
You get the idea. Feel free to adjust to your own personal taste. Just remember, there is an order of operation to how you apply things. As we leave I'm going to load up a RAM preview of our project. (MUSIC) Alright, I think that looks pretty good. Kind of exciting. I hope you've enjoyed. Thanks.
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