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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters
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Organizing production directories


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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters

with George Maestri

Video: Organizing production directories

So in any production you really want to set up a nice logical way of storing your data. One of the things I find in production and as you get into it is that you always have to keep going back to old projects. If you have a project for example, I had a project that I did last year and the client called and they wanted something from that project. If you have a standard way of storing things then you can easily go back through your projects and kind of find things. So we kind of have a rough way of doing our directory structure for our projects here at Rubber Bug.
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  1. 2m 26s
    1. Welcome
      1m 30s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      56s
  2. 24m 25s
    1. Project overview
      3m 12s
    2. Original storyboard
      2m 36s
    3. Organizing production directories
      3m 56s
    4. Using a rough soundtrack for shot timing
      1m 58s
    5. Creating a Leica reel in Premiere Pro
      7m 17s
    6. Tracking projects
      3m 1s
    7. Creating art in Photoshop for After Effects
      2m 25s
  3. 47m 12s
    1. Segmenting Photoshop characters
      7m 54s
    2. Importing Photoshop files into After Effects
      3m 55s
    3. Linking character parts
      5m 25s
    4. Animating blinks using Opacity
      8m 19s
    5. Animating the arm
      9m 57s
    6. Animating the needle and thread and the monster's hand
      11m 42s
  4. 54m 9s
    1. Introduction to subcompositions
      5m 32s
    2. Setting up nested compositions
      4m 29s
    3. Animating a run cycle pt. 1: Basic leg motion
      8m 45s
    4. Animating a run cycle pt. 2: Overlap and follow-through
      5m 4s
    5. Putting the girl in his arms
      8m 24s
    6. Animating a screaming girl pt. 1: The arms
      9m 49s
    7. Animating a screaming girl pt. 2: The head
      12m 6s
  5. 32m 5s
    1. The basics of the Puppet tool
      5m 37s
    2. Creating bounce with the Puppet tool
      5m 55s
    3. Dig cycles pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 9s
    4. Dig cycles pt. 2: Shovel
      4m 54s
    5. Dig cycles pt. 3: Arms and body
      11m 3s
    6. Dig cycles pt. 4: Finalizing
      2m 27s
  6. 47m 32s
    1. Creating a monster pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 35s
    2. Creating a monster pt. 2
      10m 42s
    3. Creating a monster pt. 3
      12m 34s
    4. Creating a monster pt. 4
      4m 39s
    5. Creating a monster pt. 5: Finalizing
      4m 22s
    6. Creating smoke and bubble cycles
      7m 34s
    7. Creating a dry brush effect
      5m 6s
  7. 23m 9s
    1. The basics of lip syncing
      3m 8s
    2. Setting up mouths for animation with time mapping
      7m 21s
    3. Animating the lips
      6m 23s
    4. Animating the head and body
      6m 17s
  8. 14m 54s
    1. Rendering with After Effects
      4m 4s
    2. Editing with Premiere Pro
      4m 9s
    3. Final output and audio
      6m 41s
  9. 10s
    1. Goodbye
      10s

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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters
4h 6m Intermediate Jun 18, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Filmmakers of all kinds are exploring new digital tools for creating animated content. After Effects CS3: Animating Characters follows the creation of a short animated film, from storyboard through final output, using After Effects CS3. George Maestri uses a one-minute monster movie to showcase the new Puppet tool, along with many other techniques for animating characters in After Effects. He covers lip syncing, creating segmented characters with movable joints, and employing special effects. George demonstrates in detail how to create individual scenes and shots, and offers insight into how to pull the pieces together to form a cohesive production. Familiarity with After Effects is recommended. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Organizing with storyboards, rough soundtracks, and Leica reels Creating, importing, and linking segmented character parts from Photoshop Setting up nested compositions to animate a run cycle Creating smoke and bubble cycles, and other special effects Animating lips, heads, and bodies with time mapping Editing and creating final output with Premiere Pro
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Software:
After Effects
Author:
George Maestri

Organizing production directories

So in any production you really want to set up a nice logical way of storing your data. One of the things I find in production and as you get into it is that you always have to keep going back to old projects. If you have a project for example, I had a project that I did last year and the client called and they wanted something from that project. If you have a standard way of storing things then you can easily go back through your projects and kind of find things. So we kind of have a rough way of doing our directory structure for our projects here at Rubber Bug.

This maybe a little bit different from other studios but again the most important thing is that you have a method. It doesn't really matter what your method is. It is just that you have something that you know and that works for you and that is fairly consistent between projects because then as you go back to projects or if you've set something aside from month or so when you come back you can still kind of find everything and that's really important. So in this Monsterpiece directory is pretty much what we had on our main server here and I have kind of copied most of the files down, although I think I have left some of them out because this actually worked out to be a pretty huge project.

We did have to prune out a few things. But let's take a look at some of these directories. First thing we have- let's just go from top to bottom here. We have an After Effects directory so what we tend to do is store our project files or our application specific files such as After Effects projects here. And let's go ahead and view this as a list here so you can see this. So basically what we have here is we have a lot of our After Effects files so Shot1, Version1, Version2, Version3, Shot2 and so on. So these are all just our After Effects projects.

Here we have assets that we create here at Rubber Bug. So these are modifications to Photoshop files, titles, whatever. Audio, this is all of the audio for the project including raw dialogues, special effects, the music and so on. Final, this is where we put our finals. Now, actually our real directory has different versions of this file. So we will have high res versions of this, we will have a flash version that we put up on our website and so on.

So we try and keep master copies of all of our files here, although I am, again, I am pruning down some of these. Stuff that we get from the client. Now when we work on projects a lot of times our clients will be sending us images, they will be sending us dialogue, anything that we get from the client we typically put in this directory that it says from client. Now one of the things we got from our client, and we consider Charlie, even though we are kind of working with him in tandem, we can kind of consider him to be the client because he was the one who is actually feeding us all this stuff.

So this is all of his original art is coming into this directory. Now we have another directory here for Premiere and that was our video editing application. And what that is, it is basically again just like with After Effects, it's all of our project files. Renders. Anything that had to be rendered out before final assembly goes in here. Storyboard, we have seen this. This is our main storyboard. And tests. Sometimes we will do tests, that sort of thing. Things that we know that we are not really going to keep and I really don't like keeping those in the renders folder because sometimes the task may just be a still image or something like that.

So typically we'd put those on a separate file. If we need space or something like that, we can delete it. We know it's kind of superfluous to the final projects so we don't kind of clog up our render directory with tests. So those are the basics of our directory structure. If you are doing sort of project like this again, create something that's logical and create a filing system. It really, really helps when you are doing any sort of large project. So let's go ahead and move on to actually starting to create this project. We are going to start by doing the Leica reel and so I am going to go ahead and go through that in the next lesson.

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