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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics
Illustration by John Hersey

Polishing the animation and timing


From:

After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics

with Ian Robinson

Video: Polishing the animation and timing

Just like waxing your car, adding a little polish to your animation can go a long way to help smooth things out. If you aren't joining me from the previous video, let's go ahead and double-click the Title_Animatic QuickTime that we have rendered here in our project. Just want to go ahead and show you where we're at. Just press the Spacebar to play it back, and as you can see here we've got a very rough animatic. All the brushstrokes are kind of animating onto the scene and they're moving around rather mechanically. So in this video what I want to do is smooth out some of these moves and transitions and also I'll show you how we can paint on each one of these brushstrokes using the Brush tool.
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  1. 3m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
    3. Defining motion graphics
      1m 32s
  2. 11m 11s
    1. Workflow for creating motion graphics
      5m 7s
    2. Organizing projects for motion graphics
      4m 25s
    3. Defining a motion graphics "package"
      1m 39s
  3. 12m 58s
    1. Collecting visual inspiration
      2m 14s
    2. Listening to imagine
      3m 20s
    3. Creating elements for inspiration
      7m 24s
  4. 33m 4s
    1. Essential theories of typography
      6m 34s
    2. Understanding shortcuts for setting type in AE
      7m 27s
    3. Converting type from Photoshop
      5m 51s
    4. Importing type from illustrator
      9m 44s
    5. Creating shapes from text
      3m 28s
  5. 36m 30s
    1. Understanding the role of timing in motion graphics
      8m 1s
    2. Creating and using markers
      7m 58s
    3. Creating animation with markers
      5m 16s
    4. Using audio to create animated graphics
      5m 47s
    5. Editing techniques for graphics and video
      9m 28s
  6. 49m 27s
    1. Understanding different kinds of type in After Effects
      15m 53s
    2. Using animators with type
      7m 59s
    3. Using type presets
      7m 35s
    4. Creating custom type presets
      4m 35s
    5. Animating paragraph type
      13m 25s
  7. 45m 51s
    1. Exploring the use of color in motion graphics
      10m 40s
    2. Creating and using color palettes
      13m 45s
    3. Exploring color correction tools in AE
      6m 46s
    4. Advanced correction with Color Finesse
      8m 30s
    5. Creating custom color presets
      6m 10s
  8. 59m 6s
    1. Exploring textures in motion graphics
      8m 30s
    2. Building an animated background texture
      16m 48s
    3. Creating textures for type
      10m 19s
    4. Animating seamless textures
      15m 1s
    5. Creating custom vignettes
      8m 28s
  9. 38m 25s
    1. Understanding lighting in After Effects
      12m 57s
    2. Intro to lighting techniques
      5m 17s
    3. Using material settings to enhance lighting
      7m 36s
    4. Adding polish to a light setup
      12m 35s
  10. 50m 32s
    1. Animating swoops and swooshes
      12m 37s
    2. Creating repeating light trails with the Vegas effect
      6m 28s
    3. Repeating patterns with shape layers
      8m 11s
    4. Exploring graphic transitions
      10m 37s
    5. Exploring video transitions
      5m 16s
    6. Adding dynamic elements to a video transition
      7m 23s
  11. 22m 23s
    1. Working in 3D
      8m 36s
    2. Rigging cameras for animation
      8m 45s
    3. Working with depth of field
      5m 2s
  12. 50m 54s
    1. Creating storyboards in After Effects
      10m 20s
    2. Creating an animatic
      18m 14s
    3. Polishing the animation and timing
      8m 45s
    4. Applying the final effects
      13m 35s
  13. 47m 53s
    1. Preparing a map for animation
      7m 59s
    2. Animating and styling a map
      8m 24s
    3. Designing a lower-third graphic
      8m 22s
    4. Adding animation to the lower-third graphic
      9m 10s
    5. Creating bumper animations
      13m 58s
  14. 14m 17s
    1. Defining the toolkit
      2m 2s
    2. Preparing templates
      7m 12s
    3. Creating a style guide
      5m 3s
  15. 1m 3s
    1. Next Steps
      1m 3s

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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics
7h 57m Intermediate Feb 09, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics with Ian Robinson covers some of the core principles used to create motion graphics, breaking them down into smaller groups of applied techniques in After Effects. The course explores everything from gathering inspiration to integrating traditional typography, transitional elements, animated textures, color, and more into motion graphics. Instructions for building a toolkit with templates and a style guide for future projects are also included. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Converting type from Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Creating shapes from text
  • Using markers in animation
  • Editing techniques for graphics
  • Using type presets
  • Animating type
  • Exploring color correction tools
  • Building animated textures
  • Creating custom vignettes
  • Understanding Lights and Material settings
  • Adding dynamic transitions
  • Rigging cameras for animation
  • Working efficiently in 3D space
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Ian Robinson

Polishing the animation and timing

Just like waxing your car, adding a little polish to your animation can go a long way to help smooth things out. If you aren't joining me from the previous video, let's go ahead and double-click the Title_Animatic QuickTime that we have rendered here in our project. Just want to go ahead and show you where we're at. Just press the Spacebar to play it back, and as you can see here we've got a very rough animatic. All the brushstrokes are kind of animating onto the scene and they're moving around rather mechanically. So in this video what I want to do is smooth out some of these moves and transitions and also I'll show you how we can paint on each one of these brushstrokes using the Brush tool.

So to get started double-click the Title_Animatic comp in the Project panel and let's go ahead and duplicate that comp just so we're working off of a separate comp and we'll call this Title_Smooth. Okay, double-click Title_Smooth and now let's scrub our playhead in the Timeline so we can see what's going on here. Okay, I like this initial move. I don't like the tilt, but I do like this subsequent brushstroke that comes in here.

So rather than having to worry about repositioning this stroke let's go ahead and just split up the layer. Select layer 3 and press U to open up all the keyframes. If you move your playhead to around two seconds, it'd be a good place to go and split the layer. The key command is Shift+ Command+D or Shift+Ctrl+D on the PC. Now with the layers split, let's turn off the visibility for layer 3 and select layer 4. If you notice in the Timeline, layer 4 ends right where we split it obviously, but we have some extra keyframes that we no longer need. So let's go ahead and draw a lasso around those keyframes just by clicking and dragging and pressing Delete.

As we scrub our playhead, you can see we have this nice one move and then obviously the brushstroke disappears. Now we'll deal with that in a second, but let me show you how I can use the Brush tool to reveal this brushstroke. It's important when you're using the Brush tool to remember that the brushstroke is actually recorded and it starts recording that stroke based on where your playhead is positioned in the Timeline. So let's move the playhead back to the beginning of the Timeline and double-click layer 4.

When you double-click a layer, that opens up the layer in its own panel here in the Comp window. This is the window where you can actually use the Brush tool. Now in order to see the different options for the Brush tool, let's change the workspace from Standard to Paint, and if we go ahead and reposition the interface here a little that, you see that we have the Paint panel and the Brushes panel. In order to activate these options, we need to go ahead and just select the Brush tool. Now with the Brush tool selected, you can see our cursor has changed into a circle.

If you look in the Brushes panel down here, this is where you can set the diameter of your brush. Go ahead and scroll down to the 300 Soft Round brush. If you double-click, notice that just opens up the name. In order to adjust the parameters you have to click and drag on the set parameter. So I want to change the diameter up a little bit. Now you might be wondering why I'm choosing such a large brush and that's just because I want to make sure the entire brushstroke is covered by our new painted brushstroke.

Notice there are Brush Dynamics, but since I'm using a mouse I'm going to go ahead and just turn off the Brush Dynamics. If we go up and look at the Paint panel here, I want to make sure that I'm painting on the Alpha channel. The Alpha channel is what determines transparency for a layer, so once I paint on that channel it'll actually reveal the layer below. So to get started, again we'll make sure our Playhead is back at the beginning of the Timeline and click and drag, holding down your mouse button as you drag and that'll go ahead and paint your brushstroke.

Now in order to see this brushstroke let's go ahead and close our Brush layer here and change our workspace back to the Standard workspace. There we go and I'll just move my Timeline back up here, and if we press the U key with layer 4 selected in Timeline, you'll notice now I have paint as one of the effects and there is a brushstroke that's been added. Now the brushstroke animates on the scene based on these two keyframes. Now you notice there's also a subsequent layer or a little sub-layer that's been created that represents the actual brushstroke.

Since it took me about nine seconds to paint on the brushstroke, that's how long the animation was recording. We can go ahead and speed up the playback of that just by moving this keyframe on the right back to the left. Now if we scrub through the scene you notice, check it out, I've got the brushstroke painting right through the scene. This is backwards. Obviously I don't want the brushstroke to disappear. I want it to appear. In order to do that, let's just go ahead and draw a lasso around our two keyframes, Ctrl or right-click on the keyframes, go to the Keyframe Assistant, and just Time-Reverse the keyframes.

With the keyframes time-reversed, you notice the layer actually paints itself on, okay. Typically I'd re-record this brushstroke just because I had to paint that one edge in separately, but all in all I think you get the general idea as to how this actually works. Now I'm revealing the brushstroke in the scene. Sometimes when you paint a brushstroke on the Alpha channel, the brush might be a little soft and one of the nice things about paint is the fact that you can actually open up the Stroke Options and go back and change any of the parameters retroactively.

So, for example, I can increase the Hardness of the brush and now you notice the edge of the brush is much sharper in the scene. So rather than having to set the presets, once you have a brushstroke selected you can go ahead and retroactively change anything like the diameter or the hardness, the roundness. You get the general idea, okay. Now that we know how paint strokes are drawn on the scene, let's go ahead and tweak the move that's actually happening. And just to get a better idea as to where we are, I want to go ahead and do a preview or a RAM Preview with my audio, so I'm going to go ahead and just load up a RAM Preview here and give my computer a second to run through this.

(Music playing) Okay, so first thing, I don't like how this layer is just disappearing. Let's extend the length of this layer so it stays on the scene, but from about two seconds on I want this brushstroke to actually paint itself away. Now the easiest way to do this is to go ahead and double-click the layer again and this time let's go ahead and paint from the top down.

I'm just going to press the Spacebar so I can reposition the layer here a little bit and we'll go ahead and get started painting just by clicking and dragging. Okay, and if we press U, you can see we have our second brushstroke set up. Let's go ahead and move to end down here and jump back to our composition, so we can see exactly what this brushstroke is doing and sure enough, it's painting the brush away. Now just like I said before, notice how I have some of the edges there.

I can go into my Stroke Options here and actually increase the hardness a little bit on the edges so the brushstroke actually disappears. There we go, beautiful! Let's load up another RAM Preview and see how things look. (Music playing) Okay, I know you guys are probably well versed on how to paint in brushstrokes, so what I want you to do is actually go through the other layers and animate some brushstrokes revealing and wiping away the different brushstrokes and we'll go ahead and join you in the next video where we can go ahead and finish the rest of the polish.

But for now we're all set animating the brushstrokes. So I hope you enjoyed this little bit about paint and I'll see you in the next video.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics.


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Q: How do I transition from one piece of animated type to another in After Effects?
A: There isn't an effect that can create these types of transitions. It's really a matter of animating the type and camera, using basic keyframing and positioning.
 
If you understand the basics of moving the anchor point of a type layer, animating the parameters of that layer (Scale, Rotation, Position, etc.) and then separately animating the camera around the type layers, you can achieve different types of transitions.  Check out the following videos for more information:

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