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Viewing random variations with Brainstorm

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Viewing random variations with Brainstorm

As we come to the end of this chapter on Effects, I would imagine that a few of you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the have to learn with the 200 Effects, natively in After Effects, add to that dozens and dozens of third-party effects included with After Effects. There's just a whole lot to learn here - not that you have to master all of it. But still just to feel that there is that much content, it could be little overwhelming. So, in this movie and then the next one, I am going to give you a few things that will help you feel a little more comfortable and at ease. The first one I want to talk to you about is a feature called Brainstorm. If we select this Later, you could see in the Effect Controls panel here I have two Effects: Fractal Noise and Color Balance.

Viewing random variations with Brainstorm

As we come to the end of this chapter on Effects, I would imagine that a few of you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the have to learn with the 200 Effects, natively in After Effects, add to that dozens and dozens of third-party effects included with After Effects. There's just a whole lot to learn here - not that you have to master all of it. But still just to feel that there is that much content, it could be little overwhelming. So, in this movie and then the next one, I am going to give you a few things that will help you feel a little more comfortable and at ease. The first one I want to talk to you about is a feature called Brainstorm. If we select this Later, you could see in the Effect Controls panel here I have two Effects: Fractal Noise and Color Balance.

I've animated Fractal Noise. It's just a simple Fractal Noise. And all I've done is just animated the Evolution property, so that these blocks kind of swirl around a little bit, nothing too complex. Color Balance adds some color tinting here, and we're good to go. Now what I am going to do is select Fractal Noise, hold the Shift key down and select Color Balance, so that they are both selected. And then I'm going come down here to the Timeline panel and click on the Brainstorm icon. It looks like a thought bubble with a light bulb in it. Click that to open up Brainstorm. And already we get several variations on our original, which is actually up here in the upper left-hand corner.

Now they're not too different, so let's go ahead and take Randomness up to 100%. And what's going to happen when we click this Brainstorm button is that After Effects is going to give us nine variations, based on those two Effects that we selected. So, it basically just rolls the dice on all of the properties, and we see we come up with. Now I really liking this like red-black thing. That's very awesome. So, if I'm looking for a particular effect, and I don't know how to get there, I can keep doing Brainstorm. Just keep hitting this button as many times as I want. When I find something that I like, I can hit this button, which will Maximize the Tile.

I get a better look at it, and I could say, yeah that's really cool-looking actually. So, what I can do is click this button, which is Include in the Next Brainstorm. This tells After Effects, "You know what? You're getting close to After Effects." I like what you are doing there." So, when we find something we like, we usually take down the Randomness value, so that we now have variations on this one thing. And now our variations look very much like that original thing. Now I think this is perfect. This is what I'm going for. We talked about this button, Maximizing the Tile.

We talked about this button, Including in the Next Brainstorm, but there are these two options when you find what you like. Number one, you can Apply this to the Composition. If I click this now, it will change my Composition settings. It will change this instance of Fractal Noise and Color Balance to match what the pattern is here. But if I find a pattern that I like - that I don't like for this current project, but I'd like to use it eventually maybe - I can click this button, which is Save it as a New Composition. In this case, I can click this button and notice nothing really changed, nothing really happened.

But what's going to happen is that After Effects create a Composition that we will see in just a moment in our Project panel, with the new layer, with this texture already applied to it. That way, again, we have it for later, but it doesn't interrupt our current project. Now we can bring this up to 100%, click Brainstorm and continue searching for random variations. The cool thing is if we click the Play button, then After Effects will load into Ram the Preview for all nine of these titles, with my current animation settings. So, I've animated the Evolution parameter in the Fractal Noise effect.

So, if I click the Play button here, it's going to play back all of these, with the Evolution parameter animated. So, that way I know, before apply it, what it's going to look like. Now what's cool about Brainstorm is that it's not just about an effect. I mean if you wanted to, you could just select Fractal Noise Only and just see what you can come up with, with just Fractal Noise, or you can select 10 Effects and see what it comes up with, with 10 Effects. Or you could select the Position property, or the Rotation property, or anything else in After Effects, and it will roll the dice and give you tons of Random Variations at one glance.

And as soon as you click Brainstorm again, it gives you another set of variations. It's a very cool tool to play with, whether you're new to After Effects, or very experienced with it. No doubt, all the random mathematical computations that are going on here are going to produce patterns and ideas that you've never thought of. I love is bloody gauze looking thing. That's crazy. So, anyways, I am going to hit Cancel here. I am going to go back to my Project panel, and you will see a Comp 2 here. Notice that the Comp we've been working on is Comp 1. Well, Comp 2 is the Comp that brainstorm created for us.

Double-click that to open it, and now we have this Comp. And it still has our Evolution Animation settings that we had before, all set up from Brainstorm. Brainstorm is a great way to get familiar with individual Effects and After Effects as a whole.

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This video is part of

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

111 video lessons · 67672 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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