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Learn how to create stunning motion graphics and animations for video production. Author Ian Robinson explains how to format and animate type with the Transform Glyph tool and explores Motion's real-time 3D tools. The course also covers working in 3D space, creating depth with lights and shadows, keying green screen effects, and working with particle systems. In addition, Ian offers practical advice on integrating Motion into a professional video workflow and explains how to work smarter using rigs and templates.
Enabling depth of field will take your projects from "Hey, that looks pretty cool" to "Oh my goodness! Look at that!" Last I checked that's a pretty good thing, because honestly, any little thing you can do to add polish to your animations will help set you apart. Now if we look at our project here, you can see it's a very basic project. All it is, we have the camera and then we have three objects in our scene and then one object that's kind of laying lengthwise down the side of our scene here.
Now, depth of field is going to add just a little bit more interest to what's going on here, because right now I've got her name in the background, which is pretty large and dominant, and I've also got her standing here. And yes, we do have some leading lines that draw our eyes to this general area, but there's no dominance as to whether I should be looking at Jess or her name or the graphic or whatever. So the depth of field is going to help lead people to that. To enable depth of field, make sure the Camera layer is selected and then in the Inspector, go to the Camera section.
In there we have Depth of Field underneath the Camera Controls. So make sure to go to the right side of the bar and say Show if you're not already seeing these options. Now the fastest way to see depth of field is to just crank up the Depth of Field Blur Amount. I am going to crank this up to around 75 and just wait a second see what happens. See, depth of field is rather processor intensive. So notice the second I dragged that, it took a minute or two and notice it's still blurring.
Now, we've got this cool blur, but how do we know what's in focus and what isn't? That's when you start adjusting the Near Focus and the Far Focus. So if I drag the Near Focus to the right, notice this yellow line that pops out to letting me know that focus is now starting to move back closer towards my camera. That's the near plane of focus. We can do the same thing with Far Focus; if we just click and drag, it starts dragging out to the right. Now we are doing little bit of a faux pas here in that we are actually using the perspective view to figure out how the focal plane lines up with our objects. And to be quite truthful, you very rarely, if ever, want to do that.
Most of the times when you do things like this you want to go ahead and lay things out from a perspective that doesn't really have perspective, like the top. These are called orthographic views. Now in the top area here notice I have my camera and I have its angle of view, its focal plane, its Near Focus, and its Far Focus. It's pretty straightforward. Well, if I want to adjust, let's say, do kind of a rack-focus here, the parameter that you want to look at moving is Focus Offset.
Notice as I drag that back to the left, it's now bringing the focus closer back to the camera. Now if we drag this back out to the right, you notice we can set focus to be significantly farther along. So all the while you have to wait for the refresh to happen. Now if you're having issues waiting for this refresh to happen, you can go in under your Render Settings and change the quality from Best to Normal. A lot of times that will definitely help with speed. So if I were to try and create a rack-focus right now, what I would typically adjust is the Focus Offset.
If I drag this back to left, again it's going to bring sharpness to the front part of my image. Now this option here, Filter, as you are first working and your kind getting your depth of field settings set, you want to leave this set to Gaussian. But if you think you are going to be away from your computer for a little while and you know you've got a little time for render, go ahead and change Gaussian to Defocus before you do your final output. So if we further analyze the camera and its depth-of-field settings, you'll notice that now I've got Jess kind of sharp here in the front and now this background color line is still leading our eyes over towards Jess, but since her name is out of focus and that's slightly out of focus, it's not nearly as distracting.
Now obviously you can see how to keyframe each one of these parameters just by clicking on the Add keyframe button, but there is an actual behavior that's set up to help do rack-focuses as well and we will explore that later in the chapter. But it's really important, before you start getting into camera behaviors and other things like that, you have to understand exactly how to view the camera and what elements you are actually looking for when you're attempting to make adjustments.
So again, if you want to draw your attention to a specific area of the image without necessarily having to redesign everything, you might want to consider enabling Depth of Field.
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