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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.
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.
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