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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.
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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