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After Effects CS5 New Creative Techniques was created and produced by Trish and Chris Meyer. We are honored to host their material in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Chris and Trish Meyer have been using After Effects since version 1.0 and have written ten books about the program, and they are always among the first to dive into each new version and discover what it offers to their fellow motion graphics artists. Chris takes you under the hood and explains how each new feature works in After Effects CS5. This course covers both the technical and creative implications of this latest release, including tutorials on the new Roto Brush tool and mocha version 2, blending modes, text options, and new and improved user interface elements in Adobe After Effects CS5. Numerous examples show the most efficient ways to use the new features and avoid potential pitfalls when applying techniques. Chris ends with a discussion of which users will get them most out of upgrading to After Effects CS5.
In the previous movie I showed you how to create and export a simple motion track from mocha. In this movie I will show you how to export shape data, a particular outline matte that you want to create that follows a certain object in your footage. I am going to go ahead and open up our project created for me by the good guys over at Bandito Brothers. Select the mocha project they gave me, and chances are if you get a project from somebody else, it will not be able to locate the footage. It may have a local path on their drive that has nothing to do with a relative path on your drive. That's okay.
Go down to this brown folder icon and that's how you relocate your clip. I will click on that, go into (FOOTAGE ), Sources, go down to mocha, select the first in my sequence, click OK and Finish. And here is the clip. They have gone ahead and created some complex outlines for objects like this tire, added metal scrap off to the right of the screen and then the foreground on the left side of the screen.
And this is a very complex shape that goes over the ground, dirt, rocks, metal. There is a piece of metal here. So they had a lot of work to do when they created this mask. Now one of the new features in mocha version 2 is per vertex feathering. That basically says for every vertex, every mask point you can create, you can decide how wide the feather should be at that point and there is a few ways of modifying that. You can select your vertex and choose which tool you want to use.
You can use both, which moves the inner and outer points together, just the inner point or just the so called outside or edge point. With both, moving one vertex moves a pair together so they keep the same distance in between them. If I wanted to change the feather, I pick inner or outer. I will go ahead and pick the inner and say let's just move that one to have a big feather there or a small feather, maybe in that order like that. I will move my outer edge point. I will select that one instead, pull it out a little bit, and get the precise amount of feather that I want.
I can also edit feather numerically. Let's say I want to have a bigger inner feather. I will create a larger value there, click Set, and it will move my points for me. Here I have done it all along the entire path. I can undo and pick just specific points and set just those points and just they will be offset by my Edge Width set over here. So this is what is meant by per vertex feathering. You keep it tight edge along this metal, a much looser edge around this dirt, and custom feather your edges depending on your source material.
Now that I have these three shapes, the tire, the right shape, the left shape, I want to export mattes for these into After Effects. If you have the full version of mocha it has a separate ability to render a matte for you. Mocha for After Effects does not have that ability, but it does have Export Shape Data. This is data which is pasted into a special mocha shape plug-in After Effects to create your matte. I will say Export Shape Data. Selected layers? Let's go ahead and do All visible layers and again I will copy it to Clipboard.
I will switch over to After Effects, open up my mocha starter, and here I have got this guy running again. Now as with any pasting of keyframes in After Effects, it's important that you move the time indicator to the first frame that's supposed to get a new keyframe. If I left it down here, my tracking data is going to start here and just won't match up at all. So I am going to come back here and select my layer and do a simple paste. And now, press F3 to reveal my effect controls. I have a separate mocha shape plug-in added to this layer for each shape back in the mocha project.
It's been named after the shapes or the layers that were in the mocha project. And I can turn these individually on and off and change their opacity. For example, if I want just the Left Shape, I will turn these other guys off and here's that big broad shape I had. I can keep the per vertex feathering that I have setup in mocha or turn it off for a hard edged mask. I can see the shape cutout. I can create just a composite of a white shape on top of my footage or give myself just a high con, a black and white matte based on those shapes.
Let me go back to Shape Cutout so I can see my footage. Now once we have this there are a number of things we can do. For example, say the director came along and looked at this tire. I will put him in Multiply mode. And said, "you know, that tire is too dirty." "Tires are supposed to be black." And you try to explain to him that this is a dirty, dusty scene and the tire is brown, because it has dust on it. The director says that he doesn't care, tires are black. So you select the tire. You apply something like Effect > Color Correction > Levels.
Levels has a nice new Histogram. We will talk about that later. You go ahead play around, let's say, with the black point of the tire, maybe the Gamma and make the director happy, because now just the tire is darker. Another approach is you can fake depth of field blur. I am going to put this back to where it was, turn on all of my shapes, and duplicate my layer. Drag him behind, E for effects, get rid of those. So I have an unaltered copy of my footage behind and my shape version in front. Go ahead and say Effect > Blur & Sharpen and just go ahead and do a Fast Blur for now and blur just the objects that have been defined with mocha shape to give myself a fake depth of field.
Now you go ahead and apply an effect directly like that, before and after. When you are doing a work like this I personally have found it better to use mocha shape as atrack matte rather than applying effects to the mocha shape layer. So I am going to delete that from there. I am going to duplicate my background one more time and I am going to apply Fast Blur to just that duplicate. So I got a blurred copy of everything and I am going to use my mocha layer as an alpha matte for my blurred footage.
Now I've got what I think is a better edge or at least a more control between my mocha shape layers, what it's matting, and my full background layer and I can color correct them individually, etcetera. Now I have got a fake depth of field blur. Again, the mocha shape plug-in is something new in After Effects CS5. You could buy it standalone before, but now it's actually bundled with the program.
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