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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.
Another way to get 3D in After Effects is through the use of certain effects. And one of those that we are going to look at in this movie is perhaps among those powerful as far as the native effects in After Effects, and that is the Shatter effect. Meant to blow stuff up, which is actually we are going to be doing in this movie, but because of its 3D power, there is a lot of application there. Now what I am going to do is show you around this project, show you what we are going to be doing, and then we are going to look at Shatter a little bit and then put the pieces together. So, basically what I have here is I have the shop sign that's not in perspective.
Then I have the original video with the window cutout with this dark magenta solid in the background cut through. So, what we are going to do is we are going to have this window, put in perspective with the Shatter effect and then blow up the window and that could like something is shattering the window. It will be a pretty realistic effect. But for the time being, I am going to take off the visibility of the storefront movie. And I am going to turn on the visibility of this Temp solid layer just so we can see our way around the Shatter effect. And I am going to do a search for Shatter in the Effects & Presets panel and apply that to the Flower Shop Sign layer.
Now first when we apply Shatter we are greeted with this weird wireframe deal, and as I scrub in time, we'll see that Shatter also auto animates for us so we don't have to keyframe the explosion. Shatter is what we refer to as a particle system and particle systems like when I had the foam, the little bubbles in the last chapter, we don't animate the individual particles. We animate the Particle Controller or the Emitter, and that controls all of the other particles. So, we don't have to spend a lot of time keyframing all these little bricks and whatnot.
Now the cool thing about Shatter is if I go into my Effect Controls panel and I open up Camera Position, I will see Y Rotation. If I adjust this, I will see that Shatter is actually a three-dimensional system. So, the bricks that it's creating, even though this is kind of hard to see because of the wireframe system, you could see that it's actually creating real three-dimensional bricks. Now the way Shatter works is that there is this ball here. This is called the Force. There is a little sphere in the center here.
Actually, let me rotate this a little bit more so we can see what's going on here. So, everything that touches this force will blow up and everything that does not touch it will not blow up. So, if we wanted to make it seem that it was a baseball going through this window, then we want to go into the Force 1 area and change the Radius, which is that little like turquoise line around the sphere. As we take Radius down, this shrinks and the hole that it creates becomes smaller.
If we adjust the Depth value so that this sphere never comes in contact with the wall, then nothing happens ever. So, that's one way to control the animation of Shatter to animate the depth value so that it blows up later on. So it's not touching it, and then it is touching it. I am actually going to take the Radius back to its default, which I could do by right-clicking on this value and choosing Reset. We also control the strength of the blast by using the Strength value. In this case, I am going to take the view from Wireframe and Forces, which is a really helpful work-view but not good for output.
I'm going to choose Rendered so we could actually see what's going on and again as we adjust Y Rotation, we could see these three- dimensional bricks, which is pretty awesome. The next thing I want to do is go up to the Shape area and actually I want to change the Pattern from Bricks to Glass. There are a series of patterns here. Pretty cool to play with, but we want Glass. We want this to look like it's a shattering window, and I think I might want to increase the Repetitions. As we increase the Repetitions, it makes smaller pieces, which can give a cooler effect.
Also, if the pieces are looking a little bit too thick for your liking, which for this glass window that might be a little bit too thick, we can take down the Extrusion Depth value. If they are looking like they are not thick enough, we could increase the Extrusion Depth value thereby making these really thick chunks, which could be cool in certain circumstances. I am going to take this down to maybe about 0.05 or so. Now the next thing I want to do is adjust this virtual camera that comes inside of Shatter.
As you can see we can blow this up from any angle. I am going to take this back to 0, and actually, I have the figures here. I've already figured out the Camera Position so we don't have to sit here and laboriously go over how we are going to arrange this window. So, for X Rotation, change the value to -5. For Y Rotation, change the value to 8. Z Rotation will be 4, and then change the X, Y Position to 193 and then 214, and then change Z Position to 2.11.
Now we could turn off the temporary solid layer and turn on the storefront layer. And we could see how awesome this is. That we have this window layer and it looks just like the regular old window in the scene, but when we preview this, the window shatters and we are left with these shards of broken glass, which look so cool. And as we back this up and play this in real-time, you can see that the animation is looking pretty good. It's not going as fast as I would like it to, so I might increase the Strength value.
You can also, if you want to get crafty, you go into the Physics area and we might want to decrease the Gravity so things blow out a little bit more. Conversely, you may want to increase Gravity so those pieces fall faster. But I think this is pretty much in a ballpark of what we wanted to get to and it's looking pretty good. So, who knows what's going on inside the old flower shop? Something is a mess because windows are blowing up and all kinds of crazy things are happening. So, that is the Shatter effect, one of my favorite effects.
And again, if you want to learn more about this, there is the After Effects Effects series on lynda.com.
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