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This project-oriented course leads you through the creative and technical process of building an opening title sequence from scratch in Adobe After Effects. Author Chris Meyer shows how to pull together numerous skills you've learned in the other After Effects Apprentice courses, from working in 3D space to creating type and shape layers to writing expressions. Along the way, Chris lets you in on the mental process he uses when creating similar spots for real-world clients, while sharing numerous tips that will help broaden your After Effects skills.
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 library.
When you are trying to create a unified design, it's really important to identify what are your major elements of your design and make sure you stay true to those elements throughout all of your work. In this case, we've created some nice rounded edges on our video frames. We've created some nice rounded circles on the background, but our video insets have squared off rectangular edges. To tie those in better with a design, it maybe better if those corners were indeed rounded, so I am going to go to one of my video pre-comps, choose my Jogging layer, change to the Rounded Rectangle tool to create rounded edges, and carefully line up my Mask tool with the upper left corner and drag out until I carefully enclosed this entire video.
Now important thing with Mask shapes is that once you release your mouse, you're stuck with those points. You can edit those points but it's not as easy as just changing a roundness parameter for a shape layer. So before you release your mouse, use your up and down cursor keys to change the amount of rounding that you have. I am going to use the down cursor to reduce the amount of rounding until it seems to better compliment my video frame, maybe around there, then release the mouse to ensure that your mask is indeed going exactly to the edges of the video, I am going to twirl-open the Mask Parameters, click on the mask path shape, change my pop-up from the normal pixels to % of source and make sure my left and top start at 0%, my right and bottom go to 100%.
That will adjust my Mask to be exactly centered on my video. Another design element I had going is a bit of softness. I've added a little bit of soft bevel to this frame. I've added a Drop Shadow on the later composition. I might want to slightly feather the Mask around this video, so I just try a small amount, it's kind of hard to see with a Mask visibility turned on, so I'll turn that off and then change my Feather so I've got just a slightly softened look. Now the problem with Mask Feather is that it is centered along your Mask edge which means it is half feathered in and half feathered out, and as a result, half of my feather is getting chopped off by the size of the video.
To counteract that I am going to go ahead and bring in my Mask expansion ever so slightly, -1 or -2 pixels so that my Feather goes cleanly to my edge and maybe even reduce my Feather amount to taste, maybe somewhere around say 2.0 pixels. Once I have a Mask that I like, there is no need to go manually recreate it for my other layers, I'll just select it, copy it, go to my extra videos and just select paste to those as well. That will save me a lot of time.
Now for my final Hero video, it is a considerably larger piece of video and just pasting the exact same parameters to it may not look right, for example the Mask size is too small. So I'll need to recreate the Mask for this layer from scratch. I'll go up to the edges, drag on my Mask to be pretty closely to the edges of my original video, give it maybe a little bit more rounding to match this larger video frame, twirl-open the Mask, Shape, % of source, make sure I go out to the edges of my video, 0 and 100, give it just a little bit of Feather of say 2 or 3 pixels and a little bit of negative mask expansion to shrink it in, so that my Feather cleanly goes out to the edges of that video.
Now on the Final Comp, these elements have rounded edges and just tie in the design of it better, make it more cohesive.
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