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In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.
As we scrub through the project, you can see I've got some issues here that I could definitely use the Clone Stamp tool to fix. For example, this hair that appears to be on the lens and this dirt that's up here; notice as I scrub when the turbine goes by, it overlaps. That could be problematic. But we can fix it relatively easily with the Clone Stamp tool. Now the Clone Stamp tool is driven by the Paint Engine in After Effects. So the way that works, you have to double- click the layer to open up the Layer panel.
So if we double-click, here we have a Layer panel window, and in here, we could paint with our Clone Stamp tool. But since this is a paint function, if you go to the Workspace pulldown, notice there is a Paint option. So let's change our workspace to Paint. Now that we're in Paint, you can see on the left, we have the Composition Viewer and then right here, we have the Layer panel. So within the Layer panel itself, we can actually paint once we grab our Clone tool.
So go up to the Clone Stamp tool in your Tool palette and select it. Let's look over to the right here, and notice we have some options for the paint. Right here, 100% Opacity, that means as we paint, it will be 100% opaque. This is the next thing you need to pay attention to. If you click on that, notice the Brushes panel becomes active. So let's make that a little more dominant. You can see in the Brushes panel, you can make the diameter of the brush smaller or larger depending upon what you're going to paint.
So I'm going to click and drag on the diameter, and set it up to around 27. Now these other options are kind of fun but they're pretty self-explanatory. Let's just jump down to the Hardness one. If you click and drag on Hardness, notice the edges of the brush will get more sharp. Well when you're dealing with painting something like a sky that has variable colors of blue, you don't want a hard-edged brush. So let's change the Hardness down to 0. Now Spacing deals with painting over a long area and we're not going to have to worry about that, so we'll just leave the Spacing set at 25.
Now let's move the Brushes panel back down so we can see some of our Clone Options. I want you to note that we're painting on a Normal blend mode, and we are going to paint on all the channels; the Red, the Green, the Blue, and the Alpha. You can paint just on RGB or Alpha, and the Duration is set to Constant. You'll understand what that means as soon as we get started. So let's get started painting. When you paint, you want your Magnification to be set at 100%. So go to the lower-left corner of the Layer Viewer, change it to 100%, and I'm going to press the Spacebar, and click and drag to get back over to the left side here.
The way the Clone Stamp tool works, you need to press Option to choose where the pixels are being sampled from. So hold Option and click, and then let go of Option and now when I start painting, you'll see a Plus symbol that shows me where I'm sampling those pixels from. Now notice I just painted one section of this. That's because I don't want one big stroke going around because of all the varying shades of blue. So sometimes it makes sense to do multiple strokes.
So this time, I'll sample from over here, Option+Click, and then paint the upper portion. On this side, I'm going to Option+ Click and just paint this last portion. Notice in the timeline here, my current-time indicator was set at 7 seconds 23 frames. If I scroll through the layer, you can see something is happening before this time. Well let's make the layer a little larger and I want to scroll up here and collapse this section right here called Clone 3. Let's collapse it.
We can collapse Clone 2 and Clone 1, because notice, this actually determines whether the paint stroke is really there. What we need to do is make this the entire length of the comp. An easy way to do this is to select all three Clone Stamp layers, and click on the left edge of one of them, and bring it all the way to the front of the composition. I'm going to press Home to move my current-time indicator to the start of the composition and let's expand Clone 3 so you can see what you can do with the Clone Stamp tool.
If I select Clone 3, here let me bring my viewer up here a little bit more. I'm going to press the Spacebar so we can focus on this one brushstroke. Now I'm going to scroll down so we can see Clone 3. Okay. In here, notice it's actually created a path, and you can see that path in my Layer Viewer. I could animate the start or the end of that path. So you can actually animate the stroke. We could adjust the Diameter of the Angle, the Hardness, all these brush options that we had in the Brushes panel, we could change after the fact.
So this is really, really cool. The rest of these options are pretty straightforward, but the one down here I want to point out is Clone Time Shift. This is fascinating, because you can sample from earlier or later frames in the timeline. For example, if I was painting a brushstroke at 1 second, I could Option+Click, and when I paint, I could be sampling from 1 second earlier. So frame 0 could be painting on frame 1 as I'm using the Clone Stamp tool.
I think that's pretty cool. Another thing to be aware, when you have the Clone Strokes selected in the timeline, if you come back up and start painting again, that stroke will be replaced. So it's really important that we scroll up, and just select layer 1, or as a matter of fact, double-click layer 1 to make sure that the Layer panel is active. Now we can continue painting paint- strokes, but let's expand our Layer Viewer here and just scrub, and you can see now that one hair is completely gone out of our scene, just gone.
By all means, you can feel free to retouch some other areas as you identify them, but let's press the Spacebar, and drag over to the right side of our viewer. Up here, this is the area that I want to show you a different technique to dealing with. So move your current-time indicator down to around 8 seconds one frame. Notice the blade of our turbine is overlapping the piece of dirt. Here, let's expand our Paint panel again.
We can't paint with a constant duration because it's going to paint over the blade. See, if I use Page Up and Page Down to step through the frames, notice that would be problematic. So what we need to do is go through, and set a Duration of Single Frame. Now with Single Frame set, you want to paint anytime you think the blade is getting close to our dirt. So if we say Page Down right here, I definitely want to paint this. So I'm going to Option+Click right on the blade, and then when I go to paint up here, I'm going to paint over that area.
Now I can Option+Click and paint here as well just to get rid of that. Now that looks pretty good. If we page up, you can see there's before and there's the next frame; Page Down. Now if we Page Down again, you could see we still have to do some Clone Stamping. So let's Option+Click, and fix that, and again, I'm going to Option+Click on the blade, and just extend it a little more. Now that one didn't line up, so I'm going to Command+Z to undo, and give it one more shot; Option+Click, and okay.
Let's undo that last time, and we'll try one last time. Okay, there we go! So I could Option+Click and make the paintbrush a little smaller to deal with this one edge, but you get the idea. You can be very precise in the paint. So now as I Page Up and Page Down, notice, I've got the blade going over, and my dirt is appearing and disappearing. What do you do about all the other frames? I don't want to have to repaint each one of these frames.
So what you do is move your current-time indicator to the last time, the turbine blade crossed the dirt. So here, what I'm going to do is set my Duration to Constant, and I'm going to Option+Click, and paint this one area. Now if we look in the timeline, here I'm going to bring the timeline up, you can see with the Duration set to Constant, since my current-time indicator was down the timeline, it's not starting till right here. Now let's look at this specific area.
As we move down the timeline back to our problem area where we had the Clone Stamp, see this constant duration is giving me an issue. So what I need to do is trim the out point of this constant brushstroke. So here, there we go. So as you can see, even with this constant stroke, I may have to just trim this one extra frame, and then, paint one more with the Single Frame retouch.
So let's Option+Click, Single Frame. Okay. Now as we step through, you can see it's covered and we have our constant brushstroke beforehand, and our individual frames afterwards. So when you're done with your edit, and all the different Clone Stamp strokes, if we zoom in here, notice you'll have ones that exist over very short periods of time as well as the other ones that exist over the entire length of the composition.
So I definitely encourage you to follow this up by going through and retouching this one area every time the blade crosses. I think you'll be really surprised and pleased at how fast and powerful it is to work with the Clone Stamp tool.
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