Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Building custom animations with LayerMonkey, part of After Effects Guru: Keyframe Assistants.
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- If you enjoyed the process of creating animation with TypeMonkey you should definitely get a kick out of animating with LayerMonkey. It gives you an added element of customization, because after all, you're just going to be animating individual elements that exist within a layer. So you could very easily just hold down alt on a PC or option on a Mac and drag to swap out whatever graphic element currently exists in the animation with your new graphic. So it's relatively easy to create your own custom animations and then customize the animation one more time.
If you've ever worked with TypeMonkey before, making the transition to LayerMonkey is pretty straightforward. After all, the interface is strikingly similar. Now, let's start by looking at our project. If I double click the LayerMonkey Example comp in my Project panel, you can see here in the timeline I've got a background video, and three precomps. If I turn the visibility off for each of these precomps, you can see what they are: a bulb, a money, and a graph, and if I scrub here at the bottom, I've got these icons that are pre-rendered.
Now, the way LayerMonkey works is it works with the layers in your timeline. Now, the advantage of working with layers is the fact that you can actually precompose elements to build little scenes and then animate transitions between those scenes using LayerMonkey. So, I'm gonna create an animation very quickly in LayerMonkey so you can see the basics of how it works but then we'll undo that and create our true master build. So, if you wanna work with LayerMonkey just make sure your timeline is active, go up under Window and make sure you have LayerMonkey selected.
With LayerMonkey selected, the layout is set to TypeMonkey. We can change the Scale Variable, but I like a value of 50%. Now for Animation, you could choose a specific style of animation. I prefer to Randomize, and since this is only a 10 second animation, I'll go ahead and leave it set to animate quickly, with the Fast setting. Now the Layer Order determines what order the layers are going to appear in the animation. So we'll start at the Top and work our way down.
Now the timing controls concern what to do when you're actually working with the video clip. And if you remember, layer 4 here is a video clip. So, I'll have the In Point actually be frame 0, but the Out Point, I just want it to Run Out, since this is already longer than the composition. I don't need to colorize anything, so we'll leave the default settings set for that. Under the Time Span, we can just use the Work Area and evenly distribute each of the different elements. Let's go ahead and click DO IT! Now if I minimize LayerMonkey, and scrub through you can see I've already got an animation where each of these icons pop up and then my video file pops in.
But everything looks strikingly similar. It's all roughly the same size, not quite what I was looking for. So, just like with TypeMonkey, I can go back to LayerMonkey here and just say Undo it. Do I want to save my markers? No I don't have to worry about that. Now I'm going to close LayerMonkey here because I want to add some text into my project and build little scenes. Now, in order to add text, rather than just grabbing my text tool, and randomly typing, I'm going to go up under Window, and I'll choose TypeMonkey, because one of the options for TypeMonkey here is to just create text layers.
If you enable this, it won't create any animation. So here, let's go ahead and add some type. I'll highlight the old type and delete it, and I'll just say Great and I'll use the straight line, Ideas, and the straight line is just under your Delete key and you have to hold down Shift, otherwise it types a backslash. Great Ideas create job growth.
Now down here, under the Layout, I will leave it set to All Caps, but for the size, let's go ahead and increase it to something like 90. And I'll choose, not bright white, but I'll click on this and we'll choose kind of a gray, and close the colors. All we have to click is DO IT! and it's automatically created this GREAT IDEAS as one element, since I used that dividing line. Now GREAT IDEAS CREATE JOB GROWTH I'm gonna turn off the visibility of all these text layers and we'll start with the word GREAT IDEAS.
So here, notice with this gray, it's kind of hard to read, so I'm gonna come over here and make it black, and I like GREAT IDEAS being here kind of towards the bottom of my lightbulb here. But let's make it a little larger. Now I want this element to pop up by itself with the text so I'll select the text and the bulb by clicking on one, shift clicking on the other, go up to Layer, and choose Pre-compose, Great Ideas We can move everything into the new comp and click OK.
I've got one element. Let's see, money we could use CREATE. So here the word CREATE, let's turn the visibility on. That looks good, I want to make this even larger. Here I'll just put CREATE kind of off to the side for this one, just so we have a different layout and select Layer 4, shift click on Layer 5, again Layer Pre-compose, okay, and I didn't label Great Ideas as a precomp so I'll go up to my Project panel and _Precomp So, let's go to our Graph here, the last one.
For the Graph, we'll do JOB GROWTH. So let's turn on the visibility for both of those, and we'll make both of those layers black. And I'll position JOB up a little larger and make it actually larger, there we go. So I kinda like how this looks, so I'll just position all two of these words, and select all three layers, Layer, Pre-compose, Growth_Precomp Okay, so now we have GREAT IDEAS CREATE JOB GROWTH.
And we have our icons here at the end, this pre-render. So let's actually create something a little more interesting with these icons. I'm just gonna go ahead and position one over here and I'll scale it down, let's scale it down to about 33%. And I'll just press Command D to duplicate, I'll offset, Command D. Okay, now that everything's laid out, I'll go ahead and select one, shift click, select them all.
I can position them a little further down. We'll go up under Layer, Pre-compose and we'll just call this End_Precomp, and click OK. So now we have four layers, and we have these little vignettes built in. So with the four layers in the comp, I can go up under Window and choose LayerMonkey. We'll leave all the same default settings that we had before, and just click DO IT! So if I close LayerMonkey here and scrub, you can see I've got GREAT IDEAS CREATE, JOB GROWTH.
And then we have our little animated graphics. So, obviously if I want to make this longer I can, but I would like to kind of tighten everything up. So, to tighten everything up, all I'm gonna do is just move my current time indicator to the first place I'd like to tighten something up. Which is around 3:20, and we'll turn off shy and so here with the Create_Precomp I can just hover over any of the arrows, and drag towards the other elements Okay, so there we go.
I've got GREAT IDEAS, CREATE, and then JOB GROWTH. I kind of like how that pops up there, so I'll just leave that alone. And then here I've got these icons that'll go ahead and pop up. So when it comes time to animate with LayerMonkey it works in a very similar fashion to TypeMonkey. The advantage is the fact that you can make precompositions with any of your graphics. So you can create little graphic builds from within your animation, and then of course just like TypeMonkey, if you don't like the layout of anything, you can select the Control layers and move things around, and your camera will automatically adjust.
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