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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters
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Rendering with After Effects


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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters

with George Maestri

Video: Rendering with After Effects

Let's go ahead and finalize this project. Now, for any short film like this, the finalization process is pretty similar. What you want to do is first of all render out all of your After Effects files and then bring them up in some sort of editor. We use Premiere Pro but you can certainly use Final Cut and you can even use After Effects. We also get our final sound mix. We get our final effects mix or music mix and we bring those together. And actually we do finalize our audio in Premiere because all we are just doing is dialogue, music and effects, so it's not really a real hardcore audio mix.
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  1. 2m 26s
    1. Welcome
      1m 30s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      56s
  2. 24m 25s
    1. Project overview
      3m 12s
    2. Original storyboard
      2m 36s
    3. Organizing production directories
      3m 56s
    4. Using a rough soundtrack for shot timing
      1m 58s
    5. Creating a Leica reel in Premiere Pro
      7m 17s
    6. Tracking projects
      3m 1s
    7. Creating art in Photoshop for After Effects
      2m 25s
  3. 47m 12s
    1. Segmenting Photoshop characters
      7m 54s
    2. Importing Photoshop files into After Effects
      3m 55s
    3. Linking character parts
      5m 25s
    4. Animating blinks using Opacity
      8m 19s
    5. Animating the arm
      9m 57s
    6. Animating the needle and thread and the monster's hand
      11m 42s
  4. 54m 9s
    1. Introduction to subcompositions
      5m 32s
    2. Setting up nested compositions
      4m 29s
    3. Animating a run cycle pt. 1: Basic leg motion
      8m 45s
    4. Animating a run cycle pt. 2: Overlap and follow-through
      5m 4s
    5. Putting the girl in his arms
      8m 24s
    6. Animating a screaming girl pt. 1: The arms
      9m 49s
    7. Animating a screaming girl pt. 2: The head
      12m 6s
  5. 32m 5s
    1. The basics of the Puppet tool
      5m 37s
    2. Creating bounce with the Puppet tool
      5m 55s
    3. Dig cycles pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 9s
    4. Dig cycles pt. 2: Shovel
      4m 54s
    5. Dig cycles pt. 3: Arms and body
      11m 3s
    6. Dig cycles pt. 4: Finalizing
      2m 27s
  6. 47m 32s
    1. Creating a monster pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 35s
    2. Creating a monster pt. 2
      10m 42s
    3. Creating a monster pt. 3
      12m 34s
    4. Creating a monster pt. 4
      4m 39s
    5. Creating a monster pt. 5: Finalizing
      4m 22s
    6. Creating smoke and bubble cycles
      7m 34s
    7. Creating a dry brush effect
      5m 6s
  7. 23m 9s
    1. The basics of lip syncing
      3m 8s
    2. Setting up mouths for animation with time mapping
      7m 21s
    3. Animating the lips
      6m 23s
    4. Animating the head and body
      6m 17s
  8. 14m 54s
    1. Rendering with After Effects
      4m 4s
    2. Editing with Premiere Pro
      4m 9s
    3. Final output and audio
      6m 41s
  9. 10s
    1. Goodbye
      10s

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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters
4h 6m Intermediate Jun 18, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Filmmakers of all kinds are exploring new digital tools for creating animated content. After Effects CS3: Animating Characters follows the creation of a short animated film, from storyboard through final output, using After Effects CS3. George Maestri uses a one-minute monster movie to showcase the new Puppet tool, along with many other techniques for animating characters in After Effects. He covers lip syncing, creating segmented characters with movable joints, and employing special effects. George demonstrates in detail how to create individual scenes and shots, and offers insight into how to pull the pieces together to form a cohesive production. Familiarity with After Effects is recommended. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Organizing with storyboards, rough soundtracks, and Leica reels Creating, importing, and linking segmented character parts from Photoshop Setting up nested compositions to animate a run cycle Creating smoke and bubble cycles, and other special effects Animating lips, heads, and bodies with time mapping Editing and creating final output with Premiere Pro
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Software:
After Effects
Author:
George Maestri

Rendering with After Effects

Let's go ahead and finalize this project. Now, for any short film like this, the finalization process is pretty similar. What you want to do is first of all render out all of your After Effects files and then bring them up in some sort of editor. We use Premiere Pro but you can certainly use Final Cut and you can even use After Effects. We also get our final sound mix. We get our final effects mix or music mix and we bring those together. And actually we do finalize our audio in Premiere because all we are just doing is dialogue, music and effects, so it's not really a real hardcore audio mix.

So, let's go ahead and talk a little bit about rendering. These were animated as 2K image files. We did that because well, first of all, the artist gave it to us that way. Second because by giving it a full resolution, it allows us a lot more options when we do go to render. So, for example, if we wanted to do a movie, we could certainly render out a 2K movie file. Now, we are actually outputting 640X480 for most of these. So, let's take a look at how we do that.

Now, for this rendering, we pretty much just rendered as we went and you could certainly batch all these up and render on a render farm if you wanted to, but these things render fast enough so you don't really need to worry about that. So basically, all we have to do is go Composition, Add to Render Queue and that will add each scene to the Render Queue, so you have to load up each scene and then add it into the Render Queue. And then, of course, we have render settings. Typically, for these, we just use the defaults. There really is no reason not to use Best Quality or not to use Full Resolution.

You typically want to use all of that. For output module, typically, we use QuickTime. So we actually output to QuickTime movies and for the compressor, we use the Animation compressor. Now, a lot of people use no compression and some people use some of these other compressors, but typically what we find is that the Animation compressor works great. It's also a lossless compressor. So, you get a little bit of compression but you don't lose any image quality. And most importantly, it's a compressor that every version of QuickTime uses.

Sometimes when you get into these esoteric video compressors, you kind of have to make sure that the place you are sending the movie to also has the compressor. So when we use Animation compression, we are pretty much assured that everybody will be able to read the file without having to download some sort of video codec or something like that. So we typically do 30 frames a second and make sure if this set to High, Millions of Colors and so on. Now, the next thing is we do have to stretch this. Because this is basically 2012x1500, we need to squish it down to 640x480.

Now, this is a little bit off. It should actually be 2000x1500, but that is extra 12 pixels, I don't think it's really going to matter when you squish it down that much. So we are not going to really worry too much about that extra little bit of squishing that we are going to get in the horizontal direction. So, first thing I'm going to do is unlock this aspect ratio and then I'm just going to type in the values here, 640x480. Now, if you want to, there is a lot of nice defaults here for some of these other standard formats, but we are doing 640x480 and we don't want to do audio output on these because actually the audio is going to come from a separate source.

So let's just go ahead and click OK, and then all we have to do is give our scene name so I click here on Output 2 and then just find my directory where I render. Now, we have a Renders directory and basically how we put the files into that directory is just a shot number plus the resolution. So this is 640 and the version, if there is multiple versions of this. So I'm going to go ahead and overwrite that and then, all we have to do is hit Render and off it goes. In the next lesson let's go ahead and show you how we bring all of this stuff into a video editor.

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