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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.
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.
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