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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.
If you do motion graphics work, another essential tool is Adobe Illustrator. We've been using Illustrator files throughout this training series. And as we have talked about, when you import Illustrator files, you could also import them as a composition as well. So, there is a lot that carries over. Another feature that we haven't really touched on too much is the fact that Illustrator files can be scaled up above 100%. They could be resize without any loss in quality and that relationship, that ability, carries over when you import Illustrator files into After Effects.
So, I have this little knight guy here and if I take his scale above 100%, really, really huge, we can start to see some degradation here, and that's going to happen on any layer that you have. But if it's an Illustrator file, then you can go to this layer, and there is a column here in the Switches area of the Timeline panel that says Continuously Rasterize. If we check this, it will access the Illustrator file and it will remain really, really sharp, perfectly sharp even if it's scaled up above 100%, or 1000%, or whatever it is. It's going to be completely crisp and sharp.
Now another benefit we haven't talked about is you could actually copy and paste paths from Illustrator, and actually Photoshop as well, into After Effects. And you can paste them as mask, which we've talked about before, but you could also paste them as a motion path. So, I have drawn an arc here, which actually you can do just by going underneath the Line Segment tool and getting a spiral and just clicking and dragging to make this, and I am going to get the Selection tool and select this shape.
I am going to hit Command+C on the Mac, Ctrl+C on the PC, to copy that. Then I am going to go over to After Effects. I am going to select the flower petals layer-- that's this one right here, the white flower-- and then I am going to hit P for Position. Now if we just copy and paste this path onto this layer right now, it's going to be pasted in as a mask. But if we select Position before we paste and then we hit Command+V or Ctrl+V to paste that, then it will be pasted in as a motion path.
So, we can make some really cool elaborate motion path in Illustrator, just paste it in here into After Effects, and notice that the keyframes have already been created for us. So, all that motion and everything has already been created. Notice also that in Illustrator we have this Anchor Points, these little dots along the spiral, and when we go back into After Effects those dots becomes the keyframes. It also automatically creates for us a different type of animation called a roving Keyframe. So, there is two main keyframes on the ends and if we click and drag the one to the right, we could extend this entire animation proportionately, so the speed and distance and everything maintains the relative distance to each other.
So, again, if you work in motion graphics, I really recommend that you get familiar with Illustrator because of the great integration between it and After Effects.
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