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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics
Illustration by John Hersey

Working with depth of field


From:

After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics

with Ian Robinson

Video: Working with depth of field

Now if you're tired of the same old camera moves, 3D spins, and the like, there is a better way to draw someone's attention to a specific place within a scene: depth of field. Those of you who've ever taken a film or photography course know exactly what I'm talking about, and if you haven't, don't sweat it. That's obviously what we're going to be doing right now in this video. So to get started, let's actually set up a few different options to make sure we can see exactly what's going on in the scene. First thing, change your Viewer to 2 Views and make sure you have the top view selected in the left and the active camera selected in the right.
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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

Working with depth of field

Now if you're tired of the same old camera moves, 3D spins, and the like, there is a better way to draw someone's attention to a specific place within a scene: depth of field. Those of you who've ever taken a film or photography course know exactly what I'm talking about, and if you haven't, don't sweat it. That's obviously what we're going to be doing right now in this video. So to get started, let's actually set up a few different options to make sure we can see exactly what's going on in the scene. First thing, change your Viewer to 2 Views and make sure you have the top view selected in the left and the active camera selected in the right.

You can do that with this pulldown right here, okay. With the left view selected, let's go ahead and go to the View Options in the upper right-hand corner of the canvas. Now under Camera Wireframes, make sure that that parameter is set to On. You want to do the same thing for Active Camera as well; go up under the View Options and make sure that the Camera Wireframes is set to On, okay? So now no matter what layer we have selected, we can always see exactly where the camera is within the scene.

With the active camera like this, I'm not actually going to see any of these parameters, so it's a little silly to have that on right now, but that's okay. Let's go ahead and get to looking at some of the different options for this camera. So open up the Camera Options, and you notice I have a Zoom parameter here and a Focus Distance. If you double-click the Camera parameter, you can see here in the Camera Settings exactly what's going on, the exact Angle of View, as well as the zoom distance.

If your Units are not set to pixels, make sure that it's actually set to pixels. And I want you to Enable Depth of Field, okay? You don't have to have Lock to Zoom selected, so I'll just deselect that and press OK. Now with Depth of Field actually enabled, it's kind of hard to see, but if we zoom in here on my camera with the Top View selected, if I click on the Focus Distance here and drag, notice I have a new parameter that's actually set up as I click and drag.

This is actually controlling the Focus Distance for this individual camera. So what I want to do is actually have the focus start here where the story begins, but then actually rack focus to the back section of this scene where it says watch closely. So let's go ahead and choose the story begins layer and make sure that our Focus Distance is all the way back out here. I'm just going to go ahead and press the Spacebar and zoom back in here, so you can see this a little bit easier, okay.

So let's click and drag on the Focus Distance and drag it back to the left making sure we get it right close to that individual word, the story begins, okay. With Focus Distance actually selected, you notice I'm not seeing much of a difference here in this scene. To show you a little bit better, let's go ahead and just change this back to 1 View for a second, and zoom in. You can see it's a little soft, but it's really not that soft, and the way you can actually increase the amount of blur is not by adjusting the blur level, but by actually cranking up the aperture setting.

Now when I crank that up, you notice the story begins as in focus and this other type back here is out of focus. So you can crank this up or down to your own individual liking. I'll leave it set around 101. To actually achieve the rack focus, we need to add some keyframes. So let's go ahead and keyframe Focus Distance right here with our playhead set to 0. I'll just move our playhead about a second down the Timeline, and we can switch back to the top view and zoom out here, so we can see the Focus Distance again, and just click and drag to the right, making sure the Focus Distance lines up yet again with this layer back here, which if we select it, you can see that's the watch closely type layer.

So I've got the Focus Distance set pretty much right on top of that layer, and we have our second keyframe set up. So if we switch our view from top back to the active camera, move our playhead back to the beginning, we can go ahead and load up a RAM preview here and watch exactly what's going on. Now, as that's loading, I want to point out to you that as you increase the aperture and the amount of blur within the scene, obviously you're going to up your render times. So just kind of be aware of that as you're making your adjustments.

Now once you actually have things rendered in the scene, go ahead and press the Spacebar, so you can watch the rack focus go from one set of words to the other. So as you can see when you're working in 3D, drawing interest in a scene to a specific area is really only a rack focus away.

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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