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Using depth of field

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Using depth of field

In the world of photography, whether you are talking about stills or video, the key element is focus. And if you have a wide enough aperture, if your aperture is opened big enough to allow enough light to enter the camera usually with like some pretty nice lenses or a great sensor on your camera, then you can achieve a very shallow focus, a very shallow depth of field as we call it. And this is just a phenomenal look. It's one of the things that everyone is coveting all these cameras for. They want to be able to have this shallow depth of field, which we can actually recreate in After Effects here with an After Effects camera.

Using depth of field

In the world of photography, whether you are talking about stills or video, the key element is focus. And if you have a wide enough aperture, if your aperture is opened big enough to allow enough light to enter the camera usually with like some pretty nice lenses or a great sensor on your camera, then you can achieve a very shallow focus, a very shallow depth of field as we call it. And this is just a phenomenal look. It's one of the things that everyone is coveting all these cameras for. They want to be able to have this shallow depth of field, which we can actually recreate in After Effects here with an After Effects camera.

This is phenomenal. So, go ahead and open up the Camera Options and what we are going to do is we are going to turn on Depth of Field. So, you open up the Camera Options, and we are going to turn on Depth of Field. You can go ahead and do that. Before I do that, I want to change my view here. You might notice that I took this 2 icon, and I brought it very close to the viewer. I adjusted in Z space, so it is very close to the camera. So, I am going to go to the Top view and zoom out a little bit and actually this is the number 2 icon.

So, if we click the camera layer to see the camera-- Actually let me back up a little bit. Here's all the other layers, and then here is the number 2 layer. So, it's actually not scaled up or made any larger. It was just brought much closer to the camera. Now I want you to watch the camera. Look at this area right here. This is like triangle that shows us the camera's range of view. So, watch that when I turn Depth of Field on. Boom! Okay, so nothing happened because the Depth of Field is right here. What I am going to do is change Focus Distance. I am going to drag this down.

Now you can see what was added. So, if we turn off Depth of Field, that goes away. We turn it back on. It comes back on. So, what we can do is use this visual indicator as a reference for what we want to be in focus. So, I am going to change my focus distance, drag it back down so that what's in focus is the number 2, which would make everything else behind it out of focus. So, I am going to change this back to Active Camera and zoom in so we could see what's going on now. And now you could see we have the number 2 in focus and everything else behind it out of focus.

Now just as in real life, if you want to make the Depth of Field even more shallow, you increase the Aperture. So, if you wanted to increase the Aperture, it would make the background even more blurry. Now the Focus Distance is about 500 pixels we'll say. If we go back to the Top view, and then zoom out a little bit and adjust the Focus Distance to where it is in the middle of all the other layers. It's about 1100 we will say, just to round-up. We will say it's 1100. There we go.

Then we go back to the Active Camera view and you could see the difference. Even though this 2 is right next to the camera, that's not where our eye goes. Our eyes goes to what is in focus. And so that's why cinematographer's greatest tool is focus. The ability to control what viewers are looking at and Depth of Field does that. So, we could create what's called a rack focus effect where we start at 500, where the 2 icon is in focus, and move out on time maybe about 15 frames.

Click the stopwatch for Focus Distance at 500. Move out in time to about 1 second and 15 frames and then take this to 1100. And we will change the rack focus. So, we could animate this, so we again create this rack focus effect where this 2 icon is in sharp focus, and then it's almost like we shift the focus on the camera and that goes out of focus and what is behind it becomes in focus. So, as you could see Depth of Field takes a little while to render, but once we do-- Actually I'll just go ahead and hit B here and N here to create a work area, and you could see there is our Depth of Field.

Again, the rack focus effect because we have two depth planes and we shift the focus from one to the other. Actually, we could even expand this a little bit out so we can get a better sense of where it comes from and where it goes. Ah! It's amazing, Ah! I love that effect. So, we can do that with motion graphics here in After Effects with Depth of Field, which is just amazing. To be able to take real-world things like shadows and lights and fall-off and depth of field, you will to apply them to Illustrator files like 2D graphics. It's just amazing what you can come up with in After Effects because of that.

You will love it.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 68533 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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