Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Animation essentials, part of Motion Graphics for Video Editors: Working with Storyboards.
- For today, we're gonna focus on the most essential animation techniques, core animation, using things like position, scale and rotation to add movement within the animatic shot. Now, we're only gonna scratch the surface of what After Effects can do. If you're a long-time After Effects user, this is a good review. But even if you're a new user, you'll see it's not that hard to pick up. Let's explore the essentials of using core animation properties and adding some keyframes to put a little bit of movement in.
Okay. We're gonna work with three separate comps here and build out three of the shots. It's pretty simple. I'm starting with the scene from Page 01-4. And I've got a layered file here. You'll note if I turn the visibility on and off that you can clearly see the individual layers. In this case, I just wanna create a moment that indicates the bike wheel dropping to the ground, and then the impact as it hits. Well, let's keep that pretty simple.
What we'll do here is, take the tire, and you see that we have the anchor point right here in the middle. It put it in the center by default. Remember, the Pan Behind tool can be useful if you need to move that anchor point and reposition it. We'll talk more about anchor point a little later. That looks pretty good. What we're gonna have that do is slide in and then fade on. So I've got the tire here. And let's just twirl this down and take a look at the Transform properties.
I think it's gonna take about a second for that to drop. So I'll work out my timings later. I can always change the speeds. But let's to to the one second mark and add a position keyframe. Now I'll go back to the beginning here and move that, little bit to the left and up. And what I wanna do is, see that come into the screen. So I'll press the spacebar to watch it play, and it lands.
Well, as it hits, let's fade on this little impact mark here. So, easy enough, there's the hit, we can twirl that down and twirl down until we see Opacity. The shortcut is the letter t, to see opacity. You can go ahead and turn that on and set that to 0 to start, and then click here on the timer. You can now say, go forward +10 frames, and it jumps, and we'll just fade that on.
All right. Let's click the Preview button and see what that looks like. That works. A nice, simple animation. I'll mark the end of my work area there by pressing the n key. And what we have happening is the tire coming in and then a little impact to indiate the hit on the ground. That looks good. Let's go to the next page here and similar, we have our layered file. I'm gonna change the Composition settings here to illustrate going to HD for a second.
So let's just switch that to the HDTV preset. And you see we've got a lot of the individual layers. Well, this is pretty simple. We'll start with the sky. And because that's pretty basic, I could select that and press s for scale and just scale that up. Note since it's also just a simple layer, you may find it easier to just say Layer, New, Solid. Take the eyedropper and sample that color and press Return. And you get a new solid color.
These simple solids can often be used right within After Effects. Let's rename that Sky. And we had our background layer. Just gonna scale that up a little bit, s for scale, p for position, drag it into place. Or note you can just grab the regular arrow tool here and move that around until it feels about right. And there's our crowd. So our crowd is in the background.
And what we're gonna do is, have them rotate and move a bit. We wanna see those guys rocking back and forth. All right. Well, let's take a look at what we've got going on there. Looks pretty good. Scale this layer up just a bit, move it down. And we want these guys to move. So, with the Crowd selected, you'll see that the anchor point is right there in the middle of the crowd. Let's move that below the crowd.
There we go. And now press r for rotation. And we can have the crowd rock back and forth. Add the first keyframe, go forward +15 frames, and we'll go from -7 to +7. Easy enough. Select those keyframes. And let's go forward +15 frames, and paste. This makes it pretty simple to just keep repeating those keyframes.
And you'll note as you start to paste that in, how simple it is to just lasso and reuse those. Now, if you are more experienced with After Effects and you wanna create expressions or other, more advanced movement, you can do so. But simply copying and pasting keyframes works pretty well. So there's our crowd rocking back and forth in excitement as our rider goes by. That looks good. We show the energy, that we want an animated crowd.
Let's turn on the rider. And I'll press p for position, turn on my stopwatch and set that keyframe at the beginning there. And we'll just drag him off to the left, come here a little bit later, and have him ride through. Now I think that shouldn't take eight seconds for a 30-second commercial. So we'll speed that up to about three. And let's just take a look at how that looks. Remember, the n key will mark the end of your preview area.
So you get an idea on the shot. All right. That looks pretty good. We've got a good idea of what's gonna happen in the scene. The rider rides past an excited crowd. All right. One more page for practice. In this case here, it's pretty simple. We've got the bikes in the background and the number 25. I want that 25 to follow the bikes. So I could just take the parent and drag that over to attach it to Bikes. If you don't see the parent column, just right-click and choose Columns, Parent.
Now it's very simple. P for position, and let's just drag that to the left. There we go. We're gonna cut to that frame before they come in, set that to -400. There we go. And turn on the stopwatch, go to about the four second mark and drag through. And that works. But I don't want that number to call out until partway into the scene.
So I'll select that layer and press t for opacity and simply start it at 0. And then, couple frames later, fade it up, indicating when the dialog line would be said so that he doesn't call out his line until he gets to the middle of the scene. That looks pretty good. N to mark the end. And let's watch that back. Not bad. We've conveyed the pacing and that the line delivery happens when the riders are sort of framed up in the center.
All right. That's three shots out of the way. Let's explore a few more techniques.
- Creating storyboards
- Scanning sketches
- Drawing with tablets
- Coloring and cleaning up storyboards
- Creating animatic shots in After Effects
- Using 3D cameras with storyboards
- Editing an animatic assembly
- Exporting an animatic for client review