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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.
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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