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Join Rob Garrott in CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo as he demonstrates how to create a 15-second promotional video that looks and feels like a professional advertisement. Learn how to use a combination of CINEMA 4D, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator to go from concept to script to screen, creating sketches, adding animation, and rendering the final promo. This course focuses on real-world techniques, culminating in a finished, usable product. Exercise files accompany the course.
We have our animatic pretty well timed down. We know that the promo is going to be 15 seconds long. But in order to really understand exactly how long each of our shots are we need a running frame count for reference. We are going to add two sets of timecode using adjustment layers inside of After Effects. One set of timecode is going to be a running frame count for the entire piece. And then a second timecode will be used to tell us how long each of the shots are. So let's start off in our animatic composition here and add an adjustment layer. So we go to the Layer menu > New > and Adjustment Layer.
And an adjustment layer will have an effect on anything below it. But the effect that we are going to put on here is a text effect and so it won't really affect any of the images below it. It's just going to sit on top of them. So we go to the Effect menu and we go to Text and to Timecode. And in the Timecode field now we can see it shows up as the Display Format. And that Display Format is set to be SMPTE and we want to show frame numbers instead. So let's set this to be Frame numbers, which gives us a running count for the exact frames in our composition.
And I am going to move that down to the bottom left and this is going to be the actual frame count for this shot and then on the right-hand side I would like to have a frame count for the entire piece. So let's duplicate this adjustment layer, Command+D on the keyboard, or Ctrl+D on the PC. This layer I am going to take the effect for it and change the position for that. And I am going to move that over here to the right-hand side. Now for the very first shot they are going to match up.
But this is going to start at the beginning of our second shot. In this case the second shot will be the transition. So we want to have this shot end when our first shot begins. So this first adjustment layer, let's change the name of that and call it full timecode. And let's call this one shot timecode. So for the shot timecode layer, let's bring the shot timecode layer to the end of the first shot. So our first shot, even though it shows us two JPEGs here it really is one long shot.
In my sketch process I had to use two JPEGs to illustrate this. But in reality we are going to be just dissolving between these two type elements within the same shot. So this shot is actually going to end at the transition point. So here in the transition, I am going to make sure that that shot ends at the start of the transition. Let's use up the Page Up command to backup one frame. And then let's zoom in a bit and bring this timecode field right to the end of that shot. For the shot timecode I want to find that how long my transition is going to be.
And so if I take this shot timecode and duplicate it, let's drag that down in the hierarchy and move it over to the right until the beginning point is right at the end of the previous shot. And you can see the great thing about this now is that the way that timecode filter works is that it starts the timecode all over again at the beginning of the shot. So by moving my adjustment layer to the in point of my starting shot, it changes automatically back to zero again. So I know that my first shot goes from 0 to 160, meaning 161 frames total.
And then my second shot, which is the transition, starts right here at the 000. And now I can take this layer and go to the end of the transition. I am going to use a keyboard shortcut here, the Option key or Alt on the PC, and the right-hand bracket. And that's going to change the Out point to that moment in time where my time marker is. Let's zoom in just a bit and make sure that we got it right. And so our transition ends right there and the next shot comes into play.
So if I duplicate this shot to timecode layer now it gives me shot 3. Let's drag it down one more time. I am going to use another keyboard shortcut. And this time I will use the left bracket, without holding down the Option key, and that's going to snap my in point to the current time. And now you can see once again my timecode jumps from 29, which my transition is about 30 frames long. And I go right to the next shot, which starts again at 0. So now this is hero shot I call it and this is where we get to see the name of the Shark Zone block and that's going to last for all three of these JPEGs right here.
So let's back out just a bit and take this timecode and drag it right to the out point of this shot. It's actually the starting of the transition again. And so if I drag that over, let's zoom in right here. And I can see that yeah, I've got it right. The last frame of the previous shot is 155. And so now we are ready to do the same process. So I will take this timecode 3 and duplicate it one more time, drag it down, and I'll use that left bracket tool again, drag it over.
And now we can time it out for the second transition. So use the Hand tool and pan over just a bit and go right to the out point of the transition and backup one frame. And then I will use that Option+Right Bracket command to adjust that point. So let's duplicate this timecode one more time again. Command+D or Ctrl+D, drag that layer down, and use the left bracket tool to align the in point. And now this one will go right to the end of the piece.
And so now I've got timecode that covers the entire piece from head to toe. And the real value in this is now we know exactly in frames how many frames each shot is going to be. So we have a running number count. So when we move into CINEMA 4D it's very easy to set up our project files because for example, for shot 1 when I start at time 0 and I end on an even number like 160, hitting O on the keyboard, that I'm going to have an odd number of frames. So 0 to 160 makes 161 frames.
And so for the second shot if I hit I on the keyboard by grabbing that layer and I am going to hit O on the keyboard to get to the out point I have 29 frames at the out point. So 0 to 29 gives me 30 frames exactly. So now I have a really great idea of exactly how long my frames are here in After Effects. It makes it really easy to move into CINEMA 4D and it becomes the foundation really for moving forward with rest of our project.
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