Join Alan Demafiles for an in-depth discussion in this video Big picture concepts, part of After Effects CC 2018 Essential Training: Motion Graphics.
- [Instructor] Before diving in, there's a few big picture concepts about After Effects that are worth revisiting. After Effects is a versatile tool that's used to accomplish many tasks across various fields. Arguably however, if there's one field that it's most synonymous with, it's that of motion graphics. There are few tools currently available that can do what After Effects does, and because it's so tightly integrated with Adobe's other tools, namely Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere, it's no wonder motion graphics artists around the world use it as their main animation software.
I've often heard After Effects described to those unfamiliar with it as animatable Photoshop, or Photoshop with a timeline. While the analogy might start there, After Effects' capabilities go far beyond what's capable in Photoshop, integrating tools like motion tracking, 3D layers, and the powerful shape layer tools to name a few. If you can break it up, you'll find that After Effects is built on six concepts. Compositions, in this example here, we have a composition with several layers, and essentially compositions are the home for all the assets used in this particular animation.
You could even have compositions inside of compositions, so these bouncing boxes are created using this one composition here. So with this one box, I can duplicate that into another composition several times, and offset their timing to create this. It's a real powerful way to compose and animate elements. Next, After Effects is built on layers. So much like Photoshop you can have layers on top of each other in a stacked order in such a way that you can either hide or reveal certain elements.
Next, After Effects is built on animation. It's here, where fidgeting around with the key frames is really what gives life to our layers. Next, we have effects, and these effects can be stacked on top of one another to alter the layer to a great degree. So for example here, I have an effect called Fractal Noise that creates a white cloud that moves over to black. I can stack on top of that a Shift Channels which takes out all the black and reveals the blue sky beneath it.
Next I can put in a Remove Color Matting that takes out all the black completely, and we have a pure white cloud. Lastly, this Matte Choker takes the blurriness of this layer and really fine tunes it, and sharpens it up. 3D, After Effects deals in a 3D space so we can actually move around our scene and reveal that these layers are 2D layers occupying a 3D space. Lastly, we have rendering, and that's where we output our work to disk, so we can share it with others in its finished state.
This is a QuickTime movie that was rendered out of one of the animations. So by knowing how these six building blocks of After Effects work together, we can effectively use them to give life to our creations when building motion graphics.
- Working with shape layers and paths
- Animating compositions
- Animating type
- Animating 3D layers
- Creating 3D text and geometry
- Rendering your motion graphics
- Following an effective motion graphic workflow