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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
As if the 200 plus effects that ship with After Effects weren't enough, After Effects actually includes a series of third-party plug-ins with every version of After Effects. And the plug-ins included with the current version of After Effects CS5 are just astounding. Let's first talk about the Cycore collection. Go to the Effects & Presets panel and type in cc. You will see a list of effects and actually, I'll just go ahead and press the Tilde key to maximize this panel. You can see these effects that start with cc. All of these affects are part of the Cycore collection.
These ship with After Effects CS5 free of charge. Now one of the reasons I want to point these out to you, in this movie, is that a lot of you that maybe work for government agencies, or go to a school, a lot of times these third-party effects that come with After Effects there are separate installations. So, often times when you have like an IT department that is doing your installations for you, they will miss this. So, if you have the power and authority, you might want to go back to whoever is in charge at whatever institution you're at and make sure they install the Cycore effects, as well as the other effects I'll be showing you in this movie, because a lot of time people will miss out on these.
And there is a lot of really juicy stuff here. I'll go ahead and hit the Tilde key to un-maximize that. Generally speaking, the Cycore effects do a lot of cool tricks and generally, they render very fast, and they are very easy to use. They don't always look as great as some other After Effects counterparts, but generally speaking, they are very easy to use. Let's say, for example, I'll go down here in the Simulation category, and there is CC Rain. This is a very easy rain effect. If you just want a quick, simple, it does not be perfect even cartoony. It's perfect.
It's already autoanimated, and we have a few parameters if we want to adjust this. If we wanted to reduce the Amount of rain, if we wanted to increase the speed or decrease the speed, we have some of that flexibility. But we are not going to get completely the professional results we would, say from, like a 3-D program, or something like that, but still all-in-all great affect. There is also a CC Snow, which does the equivalent, except with snow. So, if I press the Spacebar here, we have nice little snow flurries. A little bit big and not enough depth for my taste, but we can take this away with the Amount or add more snow if we wanted to.
But it's a very quick, easy way to just make an effect happen very quickly. Now, there is a lot of other interesting effects in the Cycore collection. And as you can see, there are many effects in many categories. So, I just want to points out one here, like CC Ball Action. This might be like indicative of the variety that you will find in the Cycore effects. Now, first this looks like just a basic mosaic plug-in. I mean it just seems like a basic, you know, it just turns your stuff into a mosaic. But if you adjust the Rotation value, you will see this is, in fact, turning your layer into a series of three-dimensional balls.
And if we go to Twist Angle and click and drag on the Twist Angle, we can see that we are actually creating a three dimensional twist to our mosaic ball pattern structure thingie that the CC Ball Action effect has created for us. So, obviously, if you want to create some 3 dimensional DNA, this would be great. You can scatter this and then gather it. Keep in mind you could also animate all of these properties as well, so we can have things spinning, moving, scattering, gathering, and variations thereof.
Now there simply isn't time to go through all of these Cycore effects. There is over 60 of them. I am just going to go ahead and click the X to close out of that. I am actually going to took over the Effect Controls panel and select this effect by clicking on it, making sure it's highlighted here with this little light color box. And then go ahead and hit the Delete key on your keyboard to remove that. Some other great effects included with After Effects in the Synthetic Aperture category. There is one called Color Finesse. This creates kind of like its own plug-in window. It's a very high-end color correction effect.
If you go open the Keying category, we will see Keylight. Keylight, when it's sold separately, retails for like $1,000 just by itself. It's really a tremendous bargain. It's great for removing green screen, probably the best green screen removal tool in all of After Effects, and we will be looking that later in this training series. New in After Effects CS5 is this Digieffects Free Form. The Digieffects is the After Effects plug-in company, and they have this FreeFormAE plug-in, which is now included, for the first time, with After Effects.
So, I am going to apply that real quick and show you this effect. If I go to Grid, and I am going to take Rows and Columns to 9, click in here, change this to 9, open up up 3D Mesh Controls and take the Rotation Y value to a negative number, about -70, -72 or so. What I am going to do is I am going to click about where our castle is, and then I am going to just drag this out, and what I've done - it's kind of hard to see with the grid. But if I fiddle around with the rotation Y - you can see that I have made the castle just kind of stick out.
Let's click outside here to deselect the layer, but almost as if I have been able to mold and sculpt the layer. So, it's kind of like what we just saw with the CC Ball Action effect, except that here with the FreeFormAE effect, we can actually have manual control over how we want these pieces to be shaped and be formed in 3D space. So, it's definitely the most control that After Effects gives you in 3D by having this plug-in here. We could actually even rotate this along the X axis. I'll just click 0 for the Rotation Y axis.
Now, we have like a little Matterhorn. So it's kind of a cool plug-in, a lot of potential for experimentation here. So, those are the nuts and bolts of the 3D plug-ins that ship for free with After Effects. Again, they might be on a separate installation on the disc, or it might be a separate download if you purchase that stuff on the Internet, but they are there. They do ship it for free, so make sure you install that stuff. It's good.
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