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Now that we have our camera moving and we have out shark swimming through the scene, we need to create an entire school of sharks. That process is really easy. It's going to consistent of duplicating the original shark that we created, shark 001, and making copies of it and repositioning those copies in this frame so that it appears there is a school of shark swimming through the scene. First thing I would like to do is to grab shark 001 and duplicate it. But before I do that, let's switch to a four-way view so we can see what's happening in our scene. Now we are going to be watching our layout here in this view and moving things in the Orthographic views to get a better position on them.
So the first thing I would like to do is to position this for shark as I scrub through the animation, my shark swims through the frame you can see that. At the start of the animation, it's not out of frame and that's okay. The important thing is that it doesn't do an ease on its motions. So it's already swimming when we cut to this shot. I don't care about the fact that it's not out of frame. Instead of towards the camera I would like to have it swim across the shot. So if I take this sharks spline and make sure that I am in Point mode, so I can see the points that make up this spline, I can now grab the points and you can see that the points travel in sort of a little snake pattern towards the camera.
As I scrub through it, if you watch the Top view, you can see that the camera is moving towards the shark. If I reposition these points, it's going to be really easy to reposition the shark. I'm going to select a single point by grabbing the Selection tool and clicking on a single point of the spline and then hitting Command or Ctrl+A and that selects all the points in the spline. Now if I use the Rotate tool, here in the Top view and this is really important, only do this in the Top view. Do not click inside. If I click inside, I can rotate that spline freely and I don't want my shark to move crazy like that.
I am just going to undo this by hitting Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on the PC. What I really want to have is I only this shark to be swimming along a single plane, and that plane is the ground plane in this case, but I wanted to stay parallel with the ground plane for the whole animation. So as along as I click-and-drag outside of this yellow circle, it makes it really easy to reposition that shark. So I can just rotate this just a bit and now when I scrub the animation, my shark swims right through.
Now it still comes too close to the camera, so let's reposition the points on the spline a little bit. I am going to grab this first point here and I'll just drag it and the great point about this process and the great thing about the Spline Wrap is that it leaves everything live for the whole animation. So anytime I don't like something, all I have to do is reposition the points on the spline and I can quickly tweak my animation. And you notice I haven't adjusted or changed any keyframes. All I've done is move their points in the spline and my shark animation changes.
Now let's scrub that one. So now I could see my shark starts near the edge of the frame, does a little back-and-forth movement, and then swims out nicely at the side of the frame and I think that's a really nice animation. So that's the first shark. I am going to need a lot more to make this school really impressive. So I need to make a copy of this. Over here in the Object Manager I am going to Ctrl+Click and drag a copy of the shark 001 file and that gives me shark 001.1.
Let's change the name of that and call it shark 002. Now shark 001 and shark 002 are in exactly the same position right now. If I twirl open the hierarchy here, I can see I have a new shark spline and if I take the points on the shark's spline and rotate them around, I am going to select all the points again, and this time when I use the Rotate tool, R on the keyboard, I am going to rotate them exactly the other direction. And then just move them over a little bit. I used the E keyboard shortcut to bring up the Move tool. I am just going to move those points around a bit.
So now when I scrub through the animation, you can see I have two sharks swimming through the scene and I want to make sure that they don't cross paths. It would be kind of weird to have two sharks swim through each other. I think that's okay. Now I am going to be adjusting the keyframes for the Spline Wrap. In the Timeline it's really important to have distinct names. Right now this Spline Wrap and this Spline Wrap have exactly the same name and so I want to change the name on these.
I am going to change the first one and call it 001 Spline Wrap, and I'll change the name on the second one and call it 002 Spline Wrap. And I'll repeat this process over and over again to make the entire school of sharks. Now this is a time-consuming process and so we are going to skip ahead in time a little bit to where we've got entire school of sharks. It's going to be about 12 to 13 or 14 sharks by the time it's all said and done. Now that I have got an entire school of sharks swimming through the scene, and you can see them moving all through the scene here, I want to preview the motion.
But before I do a preview of the motion, I need to clear out some of the elements in the frame. It's a little bit confusing having the grid here, and so I would like to turn the grid off. Underneath the Filter option in the Perspective view, I'm going to uncheck Grid and now I want to get rid of the splines in the scene. I don't want to delete them. I just simply want to hide them from view. So under the Filter menu also is a Spline option. When I do that, that gets rid of my splines in the scene. You notice my green boundaries are gone as well and I don't really care about that right now.
That's okay because they were made up of splines. I'm going to deselect by clicking over here in the right-hand of the Object Manager and get rid of everything. And now I am going to go to the Make Preview option and as a general rule you should never trust the Editor view for a judging animation speed and you always want to make a preview movie. In the preview movie, when you do it, it will be defaulted to Full Render, so you want to change that to Software Preview and Software Preview will show you exactly what you're seeing here in the Perspective view. So the Preview Range or Manual option would be checked if you were working at a different Preview Range then you're down here. Because we have our range set to be 0 to 160, the same as our shot length, we can just use All Frames.
I am going to change the Image Size to be 640. The default is 320. And you will notice that it keeps in mind the aspect ratio. So I hit OK and I get a blue line down here at the bottom of the frame. That blue line shows me that the preview is calculating. So now when I hit Play, the image will cache and while it's caching, it will start to play. And in the second time through it will play at the correct speed. The first time through it caches the memory. So I can see now that my sharks are moving through the frame but you'll notice that as I scrub through this animation, the sharks are kind of all hitting the center at about the same point.
So I'd really like to have them at varying speed so that they are not all swimming at exactly the same speed throughout their frame. So the best way to do that is by moving the keyframes around in the Timeline. So let's close the Picture Viewer up and I am going to switch my layout to the Animation Layout, so I can see my keyframes and curves. And let's bring the Perspective view to full and then raise this up. I am going to make the Perspective view very small here. Now I'm going to switch over to Keyframe mode by clicking on the key icon here in the Timeline and then I now can see all of my elements here that have keyframes on them.
Let's twirl closed all of the Spline Wraps. You can see that I have the Offset Animation track visible for all these guys. I know that the Offset function I'm adjusting, so I don't need to see that. So I am going to twirl all of these close and that's going to make it easier to see each of the shark animation tracks. So I'll twirl each of those closed. Scrub down here and twirl that last one closed. Now I can see all 13 tracks without having to adjust my view up or down, like that.
So you can see that all of the keyframes are exactly the same speed, from 0 to 160. So what I want to do is I am going to navigate out here and you can adjust these range of keyframes that you are seeing here in the timeline by clicking on this icon right here and dragging left or right, and that allows you to do a pan here and the next icon over allows you, when you drag left and right, that will zoom the range of frames. So if I zoom out just a bit, I can now take these keys one at a time and just slide them over. So I'll quickly just move them. And you notice I am moving them beyond 0 and beyond 160.
And the important thing is that I want my sharks to swim a little bit slower and I don't want them all to be exactly the same. So the important thing is that the keyframes don't line up. So by just dragging a keyframe to one side or the other, I can easily adjust the timing on those. So I can just drag them. You can see I am going about 30 frames on either side of the animation and I just work my way down here. The important thing is that the keyframes don't need to be the same. So you don't have to be real precise about what you do.
This is really a "flying by the seat of your pants" sort of moment. You can just quickly move the keyframes around. I would like to make sure that I don't actually touch the camera keyframes. So don't touch this keyframe track or this keyframe track. Just the keyframes for the Spline Wraps. So now as I scrub through the animation, you can see that the sharks are no longer swimming at exactly the same speed and they're not hitting their marks at the same time either. Let's make a couple more adjustments and we'll do another preview movie. Make one that swim really slow, there we go, so that will-- There we go. It's going to look great.
Let's do another preview movie to make sure. So I have got all my filter elements turned off, so I can go to the Make Preview option, select Make Preview, and leave all the settings as they were before and I hit OK and that blue line is going to come up and show us that it's calculating a preview, and now here in the Picture Viewer, remember the first time you hit Play, it's going to cache the frames. When it gets to the end of that caching processes, it's going to play it back in real-time. So I hit Play. You could see that 0 flashing on the left-hand side and that indicates that it's caching, and then when it gets to then end, boom, it starts to play back smooth.
You can see that my sharks are no longer all at exactly the same speed and it actually feels pretty good. Let me pause playback for a moment here. I wanted to make sure as I was doing this animation that I kept at the center of the screen kind of empty and you can see that none of the sharks are really concentrated in this area here. There are sharks in the background in that area, but they're not in the foreground of this area, because that's where my type element is going to go. So I wanted to keep this area clear for the type. So now we've got our animation, we're ready to create the preview movie that we are going to be using in After Effects.
The process for creating these sharks was straightforward, but a little bit time-consuming. But it's a really important step for getting the animation just right. And the beauty of working with dummy sharks is that you get very near real-time performance and you can create the animation in a very short amount of time.
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