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After Effects Apprentice 07: Parenting
Illustration by John Hersey

Setting up


From:

After Effects Apprentice 07: Parenting

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Setting up

Earlier in this lesson when we had you build this RoboTV composition we gave you a couple of movies to use as your background. We gave you this movie which had a nice generic soft curtain of light sort of feel and we used this as a lighting effect, and we used this movie which had a very blocky sort of pattern meant to mimic some of the square blocky pattern that we saw in the other elements in RoboTV. Well, these were actually created using a plug-in in After Effects known as Fractal Noise. And Fractal Noise is a good utilitarian plug-in to use.

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After Effects Apprentice 07: Parenting
1h 39m Intermediate May 25, 2011 Updated Nov 20, 2012

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Parenting is a way to group multiple layers within the same composition inside After Effects. In this course, Chris Meyer shows how to set up a parenting chain, discusses what makes a good parent, and demonstrates several techniques using parenting, such as creating a title animation with a minimal number of keyframes, building a geometric construct, and bringing an anthropomorphic robot arm to life. Sidebar topics include avoiding a scaling gotcha with parenting and creating abstract backgrounds using the Fractal Noise effect.

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 Online Training Library®.

Topics include:
  • Preparing files
  • Making parenting connections
  • Arranging the frame and arm
  • Using null objects
  • Crafting anthropomorphic-style animations
  • Avoiding problems with non-uniform scaling
  • Animating Fractal Noise
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Setting up

Earlier in this lesson when we had you build this RoboTV composition we gave you a couple of movies to use as your background. We gave you this movie which had a nice generic soft curtain of light sort of feel and we used this as a lighting effect, and we used this movie which had a very blocky sort of pattern meant to mimic some of the square blocky pattern that we saw in the other elements in RoboTV. Well, these were actually created using a plug-in in After Effects known as Fractal Noise. And Fractal Noise is a good utilitarian plug-in to use.

Therefore, I am going to show you how we created these two backgrounds using the Fractal Noise effect. You don't need any source files to do this, because you are just going to use solids and plug-ins already inside After Effects. The first thing I'm going to do is create a new composition and you have a few choices as to what size you make this composition. You could make it the same size as your final overall composition. In this case, we are creating an NTSC DV size Comp. But another approach is just to make some of these textured movies, render them, and have them around as your own stock footage.

In that case, you might want to create them at a larger size such as an HDTV size and have those files around that you can pan, zoom, rotate, and otherwise use as necessary for different projects. But just to make renders faster, we're going to use this smaller DV size for now. I'm going to name this fractal noise - soft because the first example I'm going to show you is this nice generic soft background. I'm going to make it 6 seconds long, again so it will render fast and because that was the length of our final composition. I tend to like to make looping backgrounds at least say 16- 20 seconds long, but we'll do this now just for expediency.

Inside your comp, either create a new shape layer or a new solid layer as the size of your composition and I'll name this after the plug-in I'm about to apply. By the way, the color is not important. Next, I'm going to apply Effect > Noise & Grain > Fractal Noise. Fractal Noise and Turbulent Noise are very similar to each other. Turbulent Noise is actually GPU- accelerated, so in some cases it maybe faster.

It also is set to create a more realistic form of Fractal Noise for those trying to create natural phenomenon such as smoke and fire. However, Fractal Noise has the advantage that you can actually force it to make seamless loops and since we're creating background textures, that's what we're going to take advantage of here. So here is Fractal Noise at its default settings. In the next two movies, we're going to change these settings to create a soft amorphous lighting type background, plus a stylized geometric blocky background. We'll also animate them both.

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Q: This course was updated on 11/20/2012. What changed?
A: We added new movies on using the exercise files that come with this course, and added an additional set of exercise files designed for After Effects CS6.
 
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