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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.
Preparing the templates to use inside of a toolkit isn't rocket science, but things can get pretty complicated if you don't prepare properly. Let's look at the Project panel and the first thing I want you to notice is the fact that everything is contained within a folder. This is something I like to do when I'm preparing a toolkit. That way everything has its place. Another really important thing to do is draw extra attention to the folder that contains all the compositions that you'll actually render your graphics from. So let's select the Graphics Package Elements folder and add the word OUT in capital letters to the end of it.
Now I know this is the folder that contains all the compositions that we're actually to render out from. Next thing go through each composition. So let's start with the Title_Open here. If you think there's going to be a graphic that another artist might need to make changes to, you want to make sure all those layers are editable. So even though the title of the show is called "Revealing the Artist", what if this toolkit is going international? Well they might need to rename this title, so I'm going to go ahead and leave this text editable.
You have to be really careful when you leave text editable that you didn't use a font that's too unique,. You want to make sure to use, I don't want to say generic fonts, but fonts that will be pretty much installed on all the systems. You can search online and find a list of fonts that get installed whenever you install After Effects, for example, or Adobe Creative Suite. That way you can make sure that those files will be on any system that opens up that project. Now another thing is really important, to make sure you don't deliver too much information. What I mean by that, you want to delete any extra graphics that you're not using in any one of the comps.
Now we could sit here and go through each individual comp and kind of compare back to the graphics, but there is a nice shortcut that After Effects has. If you go up under File, you can go to Remove Unused Footage. So when you use that After Effects will give you a message telling you whether or not it removed anything, and if so, it'll tell you exactly how many items were removed. Now as I'm looking through these comps everything appears to be in order. As a matter of fact, when we look at the Lower_3rd comp, go ahead and double-click the Lower_3rd comp to open it.
When we look at the Lower_3rd comp, the text actually says Insert Title Here, Insert Name Here. So this is really nice way to make sure that other designers can quickly and easily know that this is the area that they're supposed to be able to edit. Now with the bumper, if we got to Bumper _01, you notice Bumper_01 just contains the title graphic, and yes the text in there is also editable, but when we go to Bumper_02 we have a sponsor logo here.
So if you look we have the sponsor logo right up here at the top of the comp. Instead of leaving it to sponsor name go ahead and rename this layer, REPLACE, with all capital letters, Sponsor Logo. Now this is clearly labeled for any designer. All they have to do is just hold down Alt or Option and drag whatever graphic they want to replace right into the Timeline, and as long as layer one is selected when you choose Alt or Option+Drag, it'll automatically replace that graphic.
Now the only thing I'm noticing that's missing is actually something that's sort of important and that's a style guide. A style guide is usually a PDF or at least a JPEG that contains still images that show you the way things are supposed to look when they're actually finished. So we're going to have to create a style guide, but that's a movie in and of itself, so we'll get to that a little later in this chapter. But for now I want you to know that you actually have to be looking for a style guide most of the time when you're working with a toolkit.
Now once you've prepared everything by deleting any unused footage or renaming layers that are going to remain editable, you want to go ahead and package up your toolkit so it's all self-contained. So to do that, go up to File and choose Collect Files. When we choose Collect Files it'll tell you your project needs to be saved first. Do you want to save it? So by all means click Yes to save it, and then you'll get this contextual menu. What you want to do is make sure the first pulldown collects all source files.
Now look in the lower left-hand corner. You can see exactly how many files are going to be collected and how many effects are being used. If you click this button in the lower left-hand corner, Comments, you can actually add additional comments. So I'm going to add a comment that says "All Comps that are used to create a final graphics are contained in the Graphics Package Elements OUT." Okay, now we're ready to go ahead and Collect.
When you get this option I'm just going to ahead and collect this into the Chapter 13 folder. Rename the folder whatever you'd like. I'm just going to leave this the Preparing the toolkit folder, but when you go ahead and click Save, After Effects is going to copy all the project files and resave the After Effects project. So let's jump into the Finder really quick so we can look at our project. Here is our 13_02_Preparing the Toolkit folder and the After Effects file was copied, and also I got this neat thing down here called a report.
If you double-click and open the report, notice in here it tells you exactly when the report was created, the name of the project, exactly where the files were collected to, all the comps that were collected, the number of files. You get the idea. It's pretty intensive, but the thing you want to pay attention to right here is the effects used. It's really important to be aware of any third-party effects that you may have used when you're sending your project out around the world. If you did use any third-party filters, all you have to do is just pre-render those elements as layers and re- import the rendered files and you should be perfectly fine to distribute your comps that way. But this way you can make sure that all of these effects are native to After Effects, and then check this out, down here at the bottom. Any font that you've used in any of the comps will also be listed.
Here at the bottom is our comment, "All Comps that are used to create?" Yeah you got it. Everything that we added in the Comments field is now in this report. So using the Collect Files option is really important when you actually go to send out your project. You can make sure all the footage elements are contained as well as create a general report for any designer to reference it in the time so they can make sure that they have obsolete everything from your project. Now as long as you've prepared the files accordingly, your project should have a long yet delightfully simple existence.
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