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Let Chris and Trish Meyer share with you two of the core secrets required to become an efficient After Effects user: understanding the render order (the internal order of operations After Effects uses when calculating masks, effects, transformation, track mattes, and layer styles) and the use of multiple compositions where a composition may be nested into one or more other comps. This makes it easier to group layers, efficiently re-use a common element to quickly accommodate client changes, pan around large composites of multiple layers, and solve render order issues.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Chris Meyer: To build upon what you've learned in the previous chapters inside this lesson, we have a couple of Quizzler challenges for you. Both of them involve understanding the render order inside After Effects and using that combination of nested compositions plus some other tricks you've learned in other lessons to solve these problems. If you have access to the exercise files, open up the Quizzler.aep composition. For your first challenge, so you've been working on a little design idea here, where in one composition, you've got a couple of layers that have been molded together, you apply a couple of effects to them, you create a sort of xerox or mimeograph sort of look, and you are using that as an element inside a second composition where you have added a soft feathered mask around that element.
Your client comes in and takes look at and says yeah, they like the way this is going, however they are bored with circles. Could you make it some more interesting shape, perhaps playing a Warp effect to it? Make it look something more like this, which is more of an alien face to it rather than just a normal circle? The squared feathered mask is okay. Don't change the shape of the mask; just change the shape of the content inside the mask. Your challenge is how to satisfy your client request with a minimum amount of work.
Yes, you can apply multiple copies of the Warp effect, yes, you can create more pre-comps to try to solve this problem, but do it with only one instance of the Warp effect and by not creating any additional compositions. That's your first challenge. Your second challenge is contained inside the Quiz 2 folder. Open up the movie Quiz 2.mov and what I want you to do is create a simple picture-in-picture effect where one video inside its own composition is floated over another background with a nice drop shadow.
The trick is I don't want it to be just a simple video. You need to apply effects to it and you need to also create a motion path for it. I'm using an abstract background here just to make it very obvious what's going on. I have an animating blur effect plus an animated position move, but it would be quite normal in the real world to have say an interviewee who is not staying inside frame, so you need to animate back and forth to keep him centered and maybe you need to apply an effect to him like color correction, keying, maybe a smart blur effect to get rid of wrinkles in her face, etcetera.
How would you create this hierarchy where you've got a picture-in-picture that has a motion path and an effect on top of another background layer with a drop shadow? We've already created a starter composition for you that has that background layer and inside the Sources folder, you can grab any one of these backgrounds. We happen to use a Digidelic just because it's really obvious to see what's going on when you blur it or move it. So that is your second challenge: creating a flexible picture-in-picture composition hierarchy.
We are not going to put any restrictions on you in terms of how many compositions you create, etcetera, but do try to keep it simple so that it would be easier to modify later on. And those are your challenges.
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