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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics with Ian Robinson covers some of the core principles used to create motion graphics, breaking them down into smaller groups of applied techniques in After Effects. The course explores everything from gathering inspiration to integrating traditional typography, transitional elements, animated textures, color, and more into motion graphics. Instructions for building a toolkit with templates and a style guide for future projects are also included. Exercise files accompany the course.
If you've been designing for a while, I'm sure you've seen countless examples of designers tying audio to specific parameters of a graphic so that graphic bounces around according to the audio. This video is going to be slightly different, because we're actually going to use audio to create a whole new graphic. So to get started, let's first listen the audio in this comp. I'll just select layer 3 and press period on the keypad to do an audio preview. (audio playing) I don't know, I think that's kind of fun.
So let's go ahead and add our graphic that we want to bounce around the scene to the beat of this music. To get started, let's create a new layer solid, so go up under Layer > New > Solid. I'm just going to leave the last color I had selected, which was this lime green. That's totally fine. We will end up creating the graphic on a transparent background, so it really doesn't matter what color you choose. Now, the graphic that we're going to use is generated, so if we go up to Effect and choose Generate, we'll be able to see the two choices: there's Audio Spectrum and Audio Waveform.
Let's get started with Audio Waveform. With Audio Waveform up in our Effects palette, notice that I could apply this to a path. Now, since I don't have a path on the solid yet, I can't choose anything, so let's go ahead and add a path. Grab the Pen tool, and let's draw a path around the outside top edge of this graphic. And if your screen moved up like that, just go ahead and press the Spacebar to move around the scene.
Okay, it's actually looking kinda cool. I know it's a little off, but that's fine. Let's go ahead and grab our Selection tool, and now we can change the path pulldown to Mask 1. It might become hard to see with both the path and the graphic selected, so if we go to the flyout menu in our Canvas, we can go to View Options and just turn off Masks for the time being. We have our graphic tied to a specific path, but we really haven't specified the audio channel yet.
So if we do a RAM preview, absolutely nothing is going to happen. (audio playing) What we need to do is go up to the Audio Layer options in the pulldown and choose the actual audio file, which is this Pump_Ecstatic.aiff. Now notice, as I scrub through the Timeline, I'm going to get this cool graphic that's actually sort of bouncing around in the scene. So let's go ahead and do a RAM preview, so you can get a better look.
(video playing) I don't know, I think it's kind of cool the way it's bouncing around the scene. One thing that I do want to do is actually change the layer order, because I'd like this to be behind our type. So let's drag it down below the type, and sure enough, it's perfectly fine. It's below. And now let's tweak the shape of this animation. We can do that under the Display Options. If we click on Analog Lines, let's change that to Digital.
Now we're getting a slightly more funky look to the graphic. This is a little bit more like what I was looking for. (video playing) I think that's pretty cool. Feel free to click around and choose the other Display options, but now I want to go ahead and adjust the colors. I sort of like this pink, with how it's working in the scene, but let's tweak things out a little bit. Go ahead and click the inside color and choose something nice and bright, kind of close to white, and we can leave it that slight pink tint. That's fine. I'll OK.
Now, the outside color, let's choose something darker. I'll choose this dark blue color. Okay. Now if we scrub along, you can see I've got the blue animating in the background, and if you want to accentuate this more, by all means, you can adjust some other settings. So, let's look at the Softness setting. If we drag that up, it's going to change things just a little bit, but if we drag Thickness--there we go. Now as we adjust the Softness settings, you can kind of see exactly how far the inner color and outer color are mixing.
So as we increase the Thickness, we can adjust the Softness to see just how far the inside and outside colors are mixing. Now, I could sit here and go through each individual option, but I want you to go ahead and explore. The one thing I'm going to change is the Maximum Height. If you click and drag that up here, now I'll get a slightly more dramatic option in the scene. So let's move our playhead back to the beginning and load up a RAM preview.
That is a little bit more of what I was looking for. Let's check it out. (video playing) I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty darn cool. So now that you know the mechanics of audio waveform, I do want you to be aware that there is another effect that creates graphics from audio; that's Audio Spectrum. So feel free to go ahead and launch that and click around and explore to your heart's content. Now I do realize these effects are really cool, but it is something that can be used quite often, so just be careful how often you use them in your projects, because you don't want to end up as the designer that always uses the star wipe for their transitions, if you know what I mean.
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