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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.
I find animating to audio to be a truly liberating experience. It opens up my creativity because I'm inspired by audio. And I have a feeling a lot of you are. Now, one of the beautiful things about After Effects is it makes the ability import and edit audio relatively simple. So let's go ahead and get started by importing some audio into our project. Double-click in the Project panel to open the Import File dialog box, and make sure you navigate in your Exercise Files to the Footage folder, and go into your Audio folder. In there, let's select Animation_Music.wav. Now, before we import, let's talk about audio compression. Right now, we've got a WAV file selected.
WAV and AIF are uncompressed formats. Those are the formats I recommend that you import into After Effects. I found they give you the least amount of headache. I know you might be thinking, well, does it import and support MP3 files? And I'll say, yes. But in general, if you can get a WAV, you want to have the uncompressed format to work with. Now, let's go ahead and import the file. Just click the Open button and now, we have the audio in our project. So let's click on that file and drag it down to the folder icon. When we let go it's already been dropped into an untitled folder.
So let's go ahead and rename this Audio. Now, it's open the audio folder, because I want to create a composition based on the length of this WAV file. Let's just click and drag on that file, and drag it down to the comp button. The third button from the right. When you let go, it's automatically going to create a composition based on the length of the music. Now, when I'm editing audio or even listening to audio, I like to see the waveform. Now if you press L, that'll open the audio levels. That just tells you how loud or quiet the song is. You could see, ours is set at 0 dB, so it's going to be fine. Let's go ahead and press LL to open our Waveform setting. So now, if we press period on our keypad, we can do a Real Time audio preview. The reason I recommend Real Time audio preview? It allows you to add markers in real time, so it's very easy to create markers that correspond to key things that are happening in the music. So let's go ahead and do that.
I'm going to select Layer 1 and I could press Period on my keypad to go ahead and start audio playback or I could use a key command on my normal sized keyboard, Ctrl+Period. Now, once it starts playing back, I'm going to go ahead and press the Asterisk key on my keypad to add a marker. You can press Ctrl+8 on a normal size keyboard, if that's what you need. All right, so let's go ahead and preview this.
(MUSIC) Now, go ahead and press the Spacebar to stop playback. As you can tell, this audio track just has different elements coming in at different points in time. It's building. Now, of course, I find this inspirational to build graphics over top of, so we're going to go ahead and use this track. And this time I want you to add a marker every time you think you're going to hear a new instrument get introduced into the song. So, again, Period on the keypad.
And Asterisk to add markers. (MUSIC).
Now, I'm going to press the Spacebar to stop playback. Now, as you're adding your markers, you may or may not see them appear in the timeline. A lot of times, you'll just have to wait 'til you stop playback. And then you'll see that they've been added to the timeline. Now, the kind of markers that we created right here are called layer markers. Because they are applied directly to the layer. We can use them for navigation by clicking on our current time indicator and then holding down Shift after you start it moving. That will cause the time indicator to snap to the different layer markers. Now, I want to double check my edit point here for the beginning of my markers. I'm going to go ahead and change the magnification of my timeline by clicking this button in the upper right hand corner to change the magnification. As I click and drag to the left, it's changing the magnification. Now let's preview and see how well the markers lined up. (MUSIC) I'm going to stop playback.
I can tell that I did a pretty good job. I must have good rhytm today. So what we'll do is actually trim off the different parts of the audio that we no longer need. To do that, with Layer 1 selected, I want you to press Shift+Cmd+D, or Shift+Ctrl+D on the PC. That automatically split the layers. So I can go ahead and select Layer 2 and press Delete, because I no longer need it. Now, let's move our current time indicator past all four of the markers and then hold down shift and drag it back towards the last marker. Let's make sure this lined up with the audio as well by loading another audio only preview.
(MUSIC). I'm going to press the Spacebar to stop playback and just move back a couple of frames here in the timeline, and I'll try and preview that one more time. (MUSIC) Okay, so it did appear as though the marker was added in the right place. So let's make sure that we snap our current time indicator to that marker. And then select Layer 1 and press Shift+Cmd+D or Shift+Ctrl+D on the PC. Now, with Layer 1 selected, we can press Delete and that gets rid of all the extra music.
Now, if we want to add labels to our markers, we can do so just by double-clicking on the marker. So let's double-click the second one here and I'll just call this 2nd. And when I click OK, notice I've added a label for that marker. We can do the same thing here by double clicking on our third marker and call it 3rd. Now, these markers get tied to the layer, but if I'm going to use this composition as a precomposition and a different comp, I'd want to go ahead and add some markers Into my Timeline panel. So, to do that, make sure that Layer 1 is not selected and then go ahead and snap your current time indicator to the second key frame. Now, when you press the Asterisk key its added a key frame in the top of the composition.
This way, if I precompose this, you'll still see these markers in use. So, let's do that for the other markers. Let's make sure we use the Shift drag technique. And we can go ahead and add markers for the rest. Now, I don't need to label these markers, but you can using the same double-click technique. What we're going to do right now is change the length of the composition to the length of the audio. We're almost finished. All we have to do is select Layer 1, press O to make sure that we're on the outpoint for that layer and then press N to reset the work area for that layer.
Now, press I to move to the endpoint of that layer. And again, we'll reset the work area, but this time we'll reset the work area start. So press B for the beginning. Now, we have a selection over the layer. Now, this work area can be used to change the duration of a composition. So if I right-click or Ctrl+Click anywhere in this work area, I can choose trim comp to work area. That way, everything has been resized. And it fits all within this one composition.
Now, if you notice up at the beginning here, my number starts at 901. I like to start at 0. So I'm going to go ahead and change that setting. Press Cmd+K or Ctrl+K on Windows to open your Composition settings. In here, let's change the start time code to 0. Now, when we click OK, you can see the overall length of this is 18 seconds. And we were able to add markers. So when it comes to previewing your audio, you want to make sure to do real-time audio-only previews using Period on your keypad or Ctrl+Period on your keyboard.
And then if you want to add markers, it's the Asterisk key on your keypad or Ctrl+8 on your normal-size keyboard.
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