After Effects CC Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Render settings and the multipass workflow


After Effects CC Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

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Video: Render settings and the multipass workflow

In order to get the highest quality 3D graphics out of your cinema 4D layers in After Effects, you'll want to utilize the multipass work flow. And if you're unfamiliar with the term multipass, let me go ahead and create some multipass layers so we can talk about how those layers function to give us an added level of control over the appearance of our 3D objects. Let's select layer 1. And then with layer 1 selected let's go to our effects control panel. In there we have our CINEWARE options and if you scroll down towards the bottom. We have multi-pass linear workflow.
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  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 1h 5m
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files (CC 2014.1)
      1m 57s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    4. Understanding and managing applications with Creative Cloud (CC 2014.1)
      2m 32s
    5. Which versions of After Effects CC does this course cover? (CC 2014.1)
      1m 40s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    7. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    8. Different ways to use After Effects
    9. Exploring the interface of After Effects (CC 2014.1)
      13m 22s
    10. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    11. Exploring important preferences, and setting up the cache (CC 2014.1)
      8m 44s
    12. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    13. Video terminology (CC 2014.1)
      6m 19s
    14. Video terminology
      4m 24s
    15. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 36m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation (CC 2014.1)
      8m 52s
    4. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    5. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    6. The power of parenting
      5m 27s
    7. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    8. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    9. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    10. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    11. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    12. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    13. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras (CC 2014.1)
      10m 50s
    3. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    4. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    5. Animating cameras (CC 2014.1)
      11m 11s
    6. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    7. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    8. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 3h 40m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects (CC 2014.1)
      1m 53s
    2. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    3. 3D foundations (CC 2014.1)
      9m 49s
    4. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    5. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects (CC 2014.1)
      7m 14s
    6. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    7. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface (CC 2014.1)
      9m 49s
    8. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    9. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files (CC 2014.1)
      7m 20s
    10. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    11. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1)
      11m 7s
    12. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    13. Applying deformers (CC 2014.1)
      4m 50s
    14. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    15. Understanding materials (CC 2014.1)
      10m 29s
    16. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    17. Lighting your scene (CC 2014.1)
      11m 20s
    18. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    19. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    20. Working with presets (materials and lights) (CC 2014.1)
      7m 44s
    21. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1)
      5m 52s
    22. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    23. Adjusting keyframes in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1)
      7m 42s
    24. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1)
      5m 49s
    25. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    26. Working with CINEWARE (CC 2014.1)
      8m 11s
    27. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    28. Render settings and the multipass workflow (CC 2014.1)
      7m 28s
    29. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 36m 53s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
    5. Animating text and prepairing templates for use in Premiere Pro (CC 2014.1)
      7m 50s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects in After Effects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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After Effects CC Tutorials | Essential Training
14h 52m Appropriate for all Jun 17, 2013 Updated Nov 03, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Video terminology
  • Creating your first composition
  • Using layers, masks, blend modes, and track mattes
  • Parenting objects
  • Building complex objects with Pre-compose
  • Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
  • Understanding the order of effects
  • Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
  • Lighting a scene
  • Animating type on a path
  • Using Keylight for green-screen footage
  • Rotoscoping
  • Archiving projects
After Effects
Ian Robinson

Render settings and the multipass workflow

In order to get the highest quality 3D graphics out of your cinema 4D layers in After Effects, you'll want to utilize the multipass work flow. And if you're unfamiliar with the term multipass, let me go ahead and create some multipass layers so we can talk about how those layers function to give us an added level of control over the appearance of our 3D objects. Let's select layer 1. And then with layer 1 selected let's go to our effects control panel. In there we have our CINEWARE options and if you scroll down towards the bottom. We have multi-pass linear workflow.

Go down to the Add Image Layers button and press it. Now we've automatically added a bunch of layers of multipass renders. The object that was rendered out of Cinema was originally being displayed as one individual layer. But the way After Effects works, you can blend multiple layers together to get a high quality image. Well, if I make the size of my timeline a little bit larger, just so you can see all the different multipass layers. You can also notice that we have different blend modes applied to those layers. So it's the mixture of all these layers that actually makes up the quality of this model.

Having the ability to access each one of these individual layers gives me the ability to apply just slight tweaks and changes. For example, if we go to the specular layer I could go ahead and solo that layer so you can see exactly how it's affecting the image. So let's turn the specular layer solo button off and press T to open its opacity. And let's just click and drag to change how it blends into our 3D model. And notice as I drag it down to around 40%, now our model is significantly less bright.

If we crank that up to 100%, now it's kind of popping off the screen. If I wanted to have even more control, I could just select this layer and press command D to duplicate. And then I'd have an even brighter scene. You get the idea. Once you have a multi-pass layer created, you have the utmost control over the individual aspects that make up that model. Now most of the time when I'm working, I don't want to automatically create all of these different layers. I just want to be able to specify The individual layers that I'd like to be able to work with. So to do that, we actually need to go over into Cinema. But when we're in Cinema we're also going to look at some of the other render options to make sure that we're going to have the highest quality models, coming out of our Cinema 4D projects.

So before we jump over to Cinema, I'm going to collapse layer 11, and, click on layer 12 and shift click on layer one to select them all and we'll just delete all these extra layers. Let's make sure to turn Visibility of our multipass c4d layer back on. Now let's select Layer1 and press Cmd+E on the Mac or Ctrl+E on Windows to edit the original file. Once you're in cinema, go to the button that has the clapboard with the cog on it. That's our Render Settings button. We'll go ahead and open our Render Settings and I want you to jump down to anti-aliasing.

With anti-aliasing selected, let's change the aliasing from geometry to best. This'll ensure that the model renders at beautifully high quality. Now the filter option allows me to render for still images and animation. So let's click on that and choose Gauss animation. Now that we have our antialiasing settings set up, let's go ahead and click on multipass. Notice in the multipass section, we don't have anything loaded yet. So let's go down here to the multipass button. If you click on the button, you can see all these different multipass layers, like we just created in After Effects.

Now I just want to access a few of these areas. Let's start by adding a material colour pass and then we can click on multipass again. And this time we'll choose specular. And then we'll add one more thing. Click on multipass and this time choose object buffer. Now, the object buffer is specified as buffer number one. Now, we haven't added an object buffer yet, but we'll do that after we close our Render Settings. Now we want to make sure to enable multi-pass, so go ahead and check that box. Now we've specified the individual passes that we'd like to render out of our Cinema project.

Let's go ahead and close our Render Settings. Now we need to specify that object buffer. So go over to your H plus logo and select it. If you go to the tag section you can go to Cinema 4D tags. Then under here we have a compositing tag. If we select that, there's a channel called object buffer. When we're in the object buffer channel, go ahead and click enable. The buffer is set to number one. It's important that this buffer match the object buffer number that we set up in our Render Settings.

Now we're actually ready to save this so we can go back into our cinema project. So I'm going to go up into the file menu, and choose Save. Now I'm going to jump into After Effects. Make sure to wait for a second, and then After Effects should reload with all the new changes. Go ahead and select layer 1. With layer 1 selected, now you'll notice Defined Multi-Passes is able to be selected. Let's go ahead and select that. Now, when we click Add Image Layers, it's only going to add the three different channels that we specified.

Now notice it automatically turned off my main background layer, so let's just turn that back on. Now things still don't look quite right. Any time you realize you're in this situation, that's when you utilize the Solo button. So, let's select our Object Buffer layer and go ahead and click the Solo button. Here you can see I've got a luminescence render of my object, that's how the Object Buffer works. It gives you the alpha channel of whatever your 3D graphic is. We'll use this in a second. For now, we want to drag it to the top of the layer hierarchy and just disable it. So let's turn off solo and turn off the visibility for our multi pass object buffer.

Now we have our specular layer that's on top and I know that's fine. And then our next layer is this material color. I have a feeling when we turn this off everything is going to look okay. And shown off it is. The material color pass is designed for us to actually change the color of our graphic and in order for it to function properly we've to change the blend mode. So first lets turn on the visibility for layer 3 and then go up under the effect options. In here I want you to go to color correction and then we can choose color balance hue levels saturation. Now that we've applied this effect, it's giving me a warning, just letting me know that, hey, this isn't a 32-bit effect.

But honestly, that's okay. The way that we're going to blend this, it'll work. Now, if we go to our Modes panel, let's change the Blend mode from Normal to Color. Now once we've changed it to color, notice our logo has popped back into the scene. But let's change the color. I'm going to click and drag on the hue value, and it's going to crank around the hue. But since I don't have any saturation in my original render, I'm going to go ahead and just increase the saturation, cause it's there. It's just very subtle. So now we've made our logo kind of red.

I'm going to keep clicking and dragging around 'til I get something that's a little more purple. There we go. We'll set it for a value of 92. Now, since I have this material color layer as its own individual layer. I can press T to adjust the opacity. Let's click and drag the opacity down just the blend the purple in a little more subtly. Now just like in our earlier example, we could duplicate the specular channel or adjust its opacity. For now, I actually think this looks perfect.

Let's look at the alpha channel for our graphic, though. If we click on the channel pull down, we can switch it to alpha. And notice We don't have any transparency in the background. Well, that's why I rendered the object buffer. So let's turn our RGB channels back on and enable the object buffer. Now when you see it, it's just going to blow everything out. But if we change the blend mode, we can switch it from normal To stencil luma. What this will do is create a stencil based on the luminance value.

So we can go ahead and enable that, and sure enough, we've got our logo back in the scene, and yes. if we go ahead and check out our alpha, we have our full alpha channel. So, I'll just enable our GB again, and as you can see, when you have multipass rendering enabled inside of Cinema, you can really step up the quality of your renders.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects CC Essential Training .

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Q: This course was updated on 6/18/2014. What changed?
A: We added new movies to the "Fundamentals of After Effects" chapter, reorganized and re-recorded the "Up and Running" and "Keying Green Screen Footage" chapters, and added new movies on Color Finesse 3 and masking individual effects.
Q: When I try to open a project file, After Effects tells me I need to update my system, since the file was made with version 13.0. But I already installed the most recent After Effects update. Why can't I open the project?
A: In the latest round of updates, Adobe chose to create a completely new installer for this latest version. While you may have updated the version of After Effects CC you have installed (12.x), there is an entirely new After Effects install for 2014 (13.0). Check for an After Effects CC (2014) item in the Creative Cloud app and download and install it from there. 
After you install the new version, you should be able to open 13.0 projects. After Effects CC (2014) will coexist with the older version of After Effects on your machine. If you currently have any shortcuts on your computer to launch After Effects, you may have to go back into the Programs folder and create a new shortcut to the newer version, After Effects 2014.
Q: This course was updated on 11/03/2014. What changed?
A: We updated 25 movies to reflect changes to the Creative Cloud 2014 release of After Effects. This includes the new optimized user interface and enhanced Cineware and CINEMA 4D Lite pipeline. The new movies are labeled with the "(CC 2014.1)" tag.
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