Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video 041 Using iPhone video to create motion backgrounds, part of Design in Motion.
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Hi! Rob Garrott here and welcome to Design in Motion, the weekly series where we explore important fundamentals in the world of motion graphics. Now video that you use in your motion graphic projects can come from just about any source. In fact on a recent bike ride, I've recorded some video from a freeway overpass that we are going to use in this edition of Design in Motion. Let's take a look. This is the video that I shot on the freeway overpass and I've resized it down so that it will fit inside the window, but it was 1280x720, and I'll hit Play, and you can see that it's a little bit jittery and shaky. I was kind of standing there and holding it for quite a while and getting it as stable as I could.
And so we've got all these cars streaming by and they are going by kind of slow because it was rush hour and traffic in LA is slow. So I think this is going to give us a good foundation for what we need. So let's stop that. And what we are going to do is we are going to turn it into this background and I'll hit Play here. And you can see that we've got a nice smooth motion, the freeway becomes this texture in the background that supports this type element here, and let's rewind it back to zero again and hit Play.
And so we are going to take it from this and turn it into this. So let's move over to After Effects and see how that process unfolds. Now I've got a composition already started here that has the basic elements in it, the blue solids that are in the background, as well as the freeway already animated. You can see that's coming in just like that. So what we want to do is turn that freeway movie into the background, and let's take a look at the composition that we did here. Now you can see I've got the freeway pre- composed here and if I solo that out, that's what that pre-composed movie looks like.
It's got a couple of filters on it here. So I'll un-solo that and then let's take a look at the freeway pre-composition. Now I can just double-click to go into that freeway composition. I've got a couple of filters turned on here. And if I select that and go to the Effects controls, you can hit F3 on the keyboard to reveal the Effects controls if they are not already showing. And I've got the Warp Stabilizer and the Mirror turned on. A Warp Stabilizer is a plug-in that analyzes the footage and stabilizes it and smooths it out. Now the Mirror plug-in is what's flopping it over.
So let's uncheck those one at a time and take a look at what's going on here. Now the Warp Stabilizer takes quite a long time to process because this is a fairly long clip, it's about 50 seconds or so of video, and so rather than process it here in the course I have got it preprocessed. And all you really need to do to stabilize it is select the footage here in the Pre comp and then go to Animation and then Warp Stabilizer and when you do that, it gives you the Warp Stabilizer plug-in and because I have it applied on here already, it's not giving me the Warp Stabilizer, but you get the idea, and you'll have this on and you'll have to tell it to analyze by clicking on that and it's going to tell you how long it's going to take to analyze that.
It took about four minutes to process this. Now I have turned the Smoothness up to 108% and I've got it set for Subspace Warp which is the default, and Stabilize Only is how it's going, so that way it's only going to smooth the video out. So if I turn that Warp Stabilizer on, then you can scrub through that and see it smoothing out. Now I have a Pre comp here that shows how the Warp Stabilizer works and I am going to go into the Stabilize comparison composition, and what I've got is I have the raw footage on the left and the stabilized footage on the right, and if I just scrub through that you can see how much more stable the right- hand side is than the left-hand side and it's a pretty jerky feel to the left-hand side.
This has not been stabilized and this has been stabilized. So you can see it makes a dramatic change to the quality of the video. Let's get back into the Pre comp. Let's go under freeway PRE here and take a look at the Effects controls again. Now I've applied the Warp Stabilizer and that's stabilized the footage out and then what I did was I scaled it up a little bit. The Warp Stabilizer by default, if I go back to the Scale on this video and bring it down to 100%, you can see that it leaves these black lines around here and what I have done is I have scaled that up about 110%, a 113%, right around that range to make sure that those black lines and these guys are minimized as much as possible, and I'll scale that up just a little bit more, there we go.
And you can see now those black lines aren't visible plus the chain links are not nearly as prominent. And then what I did was I applied the Mirror filter. The Mirror filter flops it over when you first apply the Mirror filter and I'll just hit the Reset button here. So when you first apply the Mirror filter, it flops the video based on this axis point right here and so I could take the Reflection Center and put it right here in the middle and that's going to flop it just the way that I need it to. You can see that it flops it perfectly right in the middle there.
So now I have got the same video on both sides. See it creates this great-looking V pattern here that we are going to be able to use as a horizon in our composition. So then what I did was--let's go back to the starting composition and this is in the Project 01-Freeway Type-START. And I'll take the freeway PRE and bring it into this composition and it comes in at full opacity. And what I want to do is to set the blending mode to be Overlay. So let's change the blending mode to Overlay and you can see it blends in nicely into those blue gradients that I have in the background, but I don't really want to be able to see all those cars, I want to blur them out.
So let's take this freeway PRE and go to Effect > Blur & Sharpen, and then we are going to add in a CC Radial Fast Blur. And that CC Radial Fast Blur has some controls on it; it has the Blur Center and then the Zoom type. And so we are going to leave it on the standard Zoom and we'll take the Center though and we want to have it blur from this direction up here downward. So let's raise that up a bit, there we go.
And now we can take the blur and you can see that if I hit S on the keyboard, and this composition is bigger than the original. So let's just scale it down just a bit, so you guys can see what I am doing here. And I'll take this center and I am going to move it right up there to the top and then what I'm going to do is take that and crank it way up, that's pretty good, about 90% there. And now we can adjust the Scale back out again. Now if I take this and drag it down, I'll hold the Shift key down and drag it right down to that horizon, Shift key constrains the motion so I am dragging it just along the center, and now I've got this great looking underlay to the freeway.
Now there are some colors from the original movie that are blending in here and I'm going to bring up CC Toner and you see that in the original composition on this freeway, I just put CC Toner--I just made it grayscale right here. So I am going to do the same thing in this Freeway START file. So I'll select freeway PRE and go to Effects > Color Correction > CC Toner and that creates this tri-tone, but it starts off with this brown. I honestly don't think I've ever actually used that brown color, so I am going to take that and just bring it straight across here in the same value range and just desaturate it completely and I'll hit OK, and now I have got this nice grayscale image blending back into that.
Now what I can do is take this freeway PRE, duplicate it, Command+D or Ctrl+D and I want to rotate it around 180 degrees, so I'll hit R on the keyboard and change the Rotation to 180. That's going to flip it over and now I could take that and raise it straight up, holding down the Shift key to constrain the movement. That's pretty good right there. Now what that gives me is this great- looking gradient heading outward from the horizon. Now you notice in the background that I've got this line running through my type and it makes it a little bit harder to read the word Freeway, so what I'm going to do is make a new solid layer, Command+Y or Ctrl+Y and let's pick a color from this range and I want to get a nice deep blue, there we go.
And that deep blue I want to bring down below the type. And now what I want to do is add a mask to it. So I am going to hit Q on the keyboard and hit it two more times to get up to the Ellipse tool or I could just click up here and grab the Ellipse tool, and I am going to click and drag out an elliptical mask for this. Now what I want to do is change the feather on that Mask, I can twirl the Mask open, I go to Mask Feather, let's bring it to like about 50 or so, here we go, it's pretty good. And what that does is that blocks out the horizon right behind the word and makes it much easier to read.
Now all I need to do is to change the Opacity of this solid layer, also I am going to change the blending mode to Multiply; that's going to help it blend back into that background a little bit better. Now I don't want it to be visible until the type settles, so let's find the type settling point, there we go. And I am going to hit T on the keyboard for this layer and set a keyframe for the Opacity and I'll back up in time to time zero, change the Opacity to zero, and there is my animation, all set to go.
So you can see that that video really came in handy and makes a great-looking backdrop for the Freeway type. So you see, the video that you use in your motion graphics projects can come from just about any source. By the time you get done pushing and pulling on those pixels and adding effects and stabilizing and doing all that other stuff, it really becomes much more of a graphic element and less about the quality of the video that was used. That's it for this edition of Design in Motion, keep it moving and I'll see you next time.
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- Working with Xrefs to simplify the workflow