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The six foundations of AE

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: The six foundations of AE

The beauty of After Effects is its versatility, from motion graphics projects to visual effects in compositing, it has many different uses and workflows for many different users. But the other beautiful thing about After Effects is its modular design. Once you learn how each module works, you'll have the tools you'll need to be able to push yourself and learn new techniques and effects outside of your normal day-to-day workflow. Now in this video I don't want you to panic because I am going to cover the interface and where everything lives later as we move throughout this chapter.

The six foundations of AE

The beauty of After Effects is its versatility, from motion graphics projects to visual effects in compositing, it has many different uses and workflows for many different users. But the other beautiful thing about After Effects is its modular design. Once you learn how each module works, you'll have the tools you'll need to be able to push yourself and learn new techniques and effects outside of your normal day-to-day workflow. Now in this video I don't want you to panic because I am going to cover the interface and where everything lives later as we move throughout this chapter.

Right now, I just want to cover what the six foundations are, so again, as I start showing you the interface and all those different elements, you kind of already have a basic understanding as to how the application works. So to get started, we want to look at compositions. In the left-hand side of the interface, you'll see this Project panel and that's where compositions live. Notice when I click on the composition, it appears up here in the Project panel with a thumbnail and it tells me the actual dimensions, the length, and the frame rate. So you want to think about compositions as containers for layers.

They're where you will be building your actual projects. So when you double-click on a composition in the Project panel, it opens up the Timing panel down here. This is where your timeline is and these are where your layers are. Notice as I click on each one of these layers, I'm seeing different elements getting highlighted up here in the Composition panel. Now these layers, if you're familiar with Photoshop, work in a very similar fashion. They have a hierarchy and you may even recognize the eyeballs here on the left that turn on and off the visibility.

So layers are the next thing that we want to actually focus on. They're an integral part of building any project inside of After Effects. They determine where you actually create graphic elements, how they look on the screen, their visibility, their transparency, all kinds of information like that. They also control the timing; exactly when those elements will appear on the screen. So don't worry, we'll definitely be diving into layers a little bit more, but next, we need to move on to effects.

Effects are the next area we want to focus on because effects are what you use to kind of stylize your layers. So if I click on layer 2 here, see this little FX button? That's letting me know that I have an effect. And this triangle here on the left, if I open that up, you can see I have effects here. So I want to open up those triangles, and you can see I have a Color Balance effect and a Drop Shadow on there. You can turn on and off the visibility of those effects just by clicking on each one of the effects here on the left-hand side.

Now we're just scratching the surface, but the next thing we want to check out is 3D. Now a few years ago, I would have called this more of an optional area to focus on just because it--I don't know, was relatively new. But honestly now, I can't think of an After Effects project I have worked on in the last couple of years where I haven't used 3D in some capacity. So to look at 3D, let's double-click this composition over here which says 3D Spin. In this comp, I built a project where I actually have a 3D element in the scene and an interesting element where it's actually a flat element but it's moving around in three-dimensional space.

See how it's spinning in 3D space there? The way I'm moving in the timeline--this is called my current-time indicator, and I'm just scrubbing through the composition. So you can see, again, to sort of reinforce, we have layers here that have things like cameras and lights because these are 3D elements within my layers, within my composition, which is being shown in my comp window. Now the final thing we need to focus on, rendering. See once you build all these projects and you have something that you really like, you need to actually create a file that you can send or upload to the web, or put in your videos.

In order to do that, that's a process called rendering. So in After Effects, when you're finished with a composition, just make sure that it's kind of selected down here in your timeline, and you can go to Composition > Add to Render Queue. When you do that, this area is the area where you can determine different things like, what kind of file am I going to create? A QuickTime file, a Photoshop Sequence? You get the general idea. This is where we can set things up so when you're all ready to output your project, you can click Render and go.

Now if you're new to After Effects, I'm sure this was kind of a whirlwind tour. But don't worry, the focus of this video, again, was just to give you an overview of the entire process and get you familiar with the core areas we're going to be covering throughout the rest of this course. Right now, we're just laying the foundation so you have the base knowledge so as we move forward throughout the course, you'll know exactly where we're going and why we're headed there.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 56293 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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