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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics
Illustration by John Hersey

Using audio to create animated graphics


From:

After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics

with Ian Robinson

Video: Using audio to create animated graphics

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.
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  1. 3m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
    3. Defining motion graphics
      1m 32s
  2. 11m 11s
    1. Workflow for creating motion graphics
      5m 7s
    2. Organizing projects for motion graphics
      4m 25s
    3. Defining a motion graphics "package"
      1m 39s
  3. 12m 58s
    1. Collecting visual inspiration
      2m 14s
    2. Listening to imagine
      3m 20s
    3. Creating elements for inspiration
      7m 24s
  4. 33m 4s
    1. Essential theories of typography
      6m 34s
    2. Understanding shortcuts for setting type in AE
      7m 27s
    3. Converting type from Photoshop
      5m 51s
    4. Importing type from illustrator
      9m 44s
    5. Creating shapes from text
      3m 28s
  5. 36m 30s
    1. Understanding the role of timing in motion graphics
      8m 1s
    2. Creating and using markers
      7m 58s
    3. Creating animation with markers
      5m 16s
    4. Using audio to create animated graphics
      5m 47s
    5. Editing techniques for graphics and video
      9m 28s
  6. 49m 27s
    1. Understanding different kinds of type in After Effects
      15m 53s
    2. Using animators with type
      7m 59s
    3. Using type presets
      7m 35s
    4. Creating custom type presets
      4m 35s
    5. Animating paragraph type
      13m 25s
  7. 45m 51s
    1. Exploring the use of color in motion graphics
      10m 40s
    2. Creating and using color palettes
      13m 45s
    3. Exploring color correction tools in AE
      6m 46s
    4. Advanced correction with Color Finesse
      8m 30s
    5. Creating custom color presets
      6m 10s
  8. 59m 6s
    1. Exploring textures in motion graphics
      8m 30s
    2. Building an animated background texture
      16m 48s
    3. Creating textures for type
      10m 19s
    4. Animating seamless textures
      15m 1s
    5. Creating custom vignettes
      8m 28s
  9. 38m 25s
    1. Understanding lighting in After Effects
      12m 57s
    2. Intro to lighting techniques
      5m 17s
    3. Using material settings to enhance lighting
      7m 36s
    4. Adding polish to a light setup
      12m 35s
  10. 50m 32s
    1. Animating swoops and swooshes
      12m 37s
    2. Creating repeating light trails with the Vegas effect
      6m 28s
    3. Repeating patterns with shape layers
      8m 11s
    4. Exploring graphic transitions
      10m 37s
    5. Exploring video transitions
      5m 16s
    6. Adding dynamic elements to a video transition
      7m 23s
  11. 22m 23s
    1. Working in 3D
      8m 36s
    2. Rigging cameras for animation
      8m 45s
    3. Working with depth of field
      5m 2s
  12. 50m 54s
    1. Creating storyboards in After Effects
      10m 20s
    2. Creating an animatic
      18m 14s
    3. Polishing the animation and timing
      8m 45s
    4. Applying the final effects
      13m 35s
  13. 47m 53s
    1. Preparing a map for animation
      7m 59s
    2. Animating and styling a map
      8m 24s
    3. Designing a lower-third graphic
      8m 22s
    4. Adding animation to the lower-third graphic
      9m 10s
    5. Creating bumper animations
      13m 58s
  14. 14m 17s
    1. Defining the toolkit
      2m 2s
    2. Preparing templates
      7m 12s
    3. Creating a style guide
      5m 3s
  15. 1m 3s
    1. Next Steps
      1m 3s

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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics
7h 57m Intermediate Feb 09, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Converting type from Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Creating shapes from text
  • Using markers in animation
  • Editing techniques for graphics
  • Using type presets
  • Animating type
  • Exploring color correction tools
  • Building animated textures
  • Creating custom vignettes
  • Understanding Lights and Material settings
  • Adding dynamic transitions
  • Rigging cameras for animation
  • Working efficiently in 3D space
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Ian Robinson

Using audio to create animated graphics

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics.


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Q: How do I transition from one piece of animated type to another in After Effects?
A: There isn't an effect that can create these types of transitions. It's really a matter of animating the type and camera, using basic keyframing and positioning.
 
If you understand the basics of moving the anchor point of a type layer, animating the parameters of that layer (Scale, Rotation, Position, etc.) and then separately animating the camera around the type layers, you can achieve different types of transitions.  Check out the following videos for more information:

 
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