Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating cast reflections, part of Motion Graphics for Video Editors: Creating Animated Logos (2014).
Okay, we've done the hard stuff. Let me give you some ideas for some simple graphic treatments to just process logos, and you can work with these just in Photoshop. I think you got a pretty good stretch of the mind there, learning AfterEffects and getting your hands on it, and I just want to slow things down a bit. These are practical techniques that you can apply. The first one up is doing some cast reflections, and let's explore how to pull that off inside of Photoshop. Let's begin by opening up the first asset. I'm going to start with this background here.
And what I'd like to do is add a logo. Now since I'm working with a vector logo, one of the easiest ways to do that is to choose File > Place. You'll notice now that we have the option with the newer versions of Photoshop to choose between an embedded place and a linked place. Now, I'm going to choose to embed the smart object here. This is going to actually create a copy of the current graphic inside the current file. If you're using your older version of Photoshop, that might just be labeled as Place. And let's grab that Adobe Illustrator file, and click Place.
This will bring it in, it gives me the ability to choose between a page and an image. In this case, it's the whole page. I'll click OK, and it adds it as a vector smart object. Now, holding down the Shift key and the Option key, I can scale that proportionately from the middle and up equally. And that looks pretty good. If you want to keep safe title in mind, remember, under the Actions panel, Window > Actions, there's a bunch of default actions. And I have a lot loaded here, but one of the ones that's included with Photoshop are some actions I wrote with Dan Brown, and you'll find them near the bottom, called video actions.
And you can load that up, and inside of there is one called Titled Safe Overlay. Feel free to run that, and this will manually add a title safe guide to everything that you are working with. Just be sure that, when you are done, to disable that layer from the finished graphic. Now, it looks like after all these years of making video graphics, I did pretty good at eye balling that. I got it inside the safe title area, and I kept all of the text so it was readable. What I want to do now is create the reflection. To do that, I need a second copy of the logo.
You can right-click on a layer and choose Duplicate Layer. And, I'm just going to rename this Reflection, and click OK. There it is, and we should drop that down below since it is indeed a reflection. Pressing Cmd or Ctrl+T for free transform will bring up the Free Transform command. And now with a simple right-click, you can take advantage of commands, such as flip. And I'm going to flip this vertically. This is essentially creating a mirror image.
And you see there that they start to connect. Now to have a little bit more room, I'll press Cmd+minus, or Ctrl+minus on a PC, to zoom out so I can see more of the work area. And what I'd like to do is introduce some perspective here. So with a right-click on the free transform area, you'll see the ability to choose different options. Now, Perspective is currently grayed out because this is a smart object. So in order to take advantage of that, I'm going to need to rasterize this and turn it into dead pixels.
So let's right-click on that, and I'll choose to rasterize that layer. And now, when I press Cmd+T for free transform, and then right-click, you'll see that Perspective is indeed an option again. This allows me to flay that out a little bit to create a sense of a reflection being cast down below. And I'll just zoom in a bit using my arrow keys, I can nudge that. That looks pretty good. And in fact, what I'm going to do is just shorten the height of that a little bit, so I'll choose Scale again and pull that in.
So it looks like it's casting it forward onto the ground. Alright, that looks good. And what I'm going to do now is turn it back into a smart object with a simple right-click. This is going to give me some greater flexibility as I use filters. Speaking of filters, I generally consider reflections to be not as crisp as their original. So I'll tend to blur those a bit using a filter. And since this is a smart object, I could apply a blur. But if I change my mind, double-click and refine that until it looks about right.
That feels pretty good, let's just blend that a bit. We'll go with something gentle like overlay or soft light. And I think that looks pretty good, I'll just lower the opacity slightly. And at this point, we've got a cast reflection, and you can see that the logo itself is being picked up down below. Now, you might refine that slightly, and you can easily invoke the Scale command as you see fit. And just pull that out so the elements look like they're lining up. That seems about right. When I re-invoke it, the blending and the filter kicks back in.
We can turn that off and let's just zoom that up. We'll minimize everything else there. And you see we have the cast reflection of the logo. Everything falls inside a safe title area, and we have to do something a little bit more three-dimensional. This is a quick, easy way to do a logo treatment for a client, and it doesn't take a lot of effort, but it does give quick results.
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- Acquiring logo files
- Understanding what file formats are supported
- Sizing a vector logo in Photoshop or Illustrator
- Saving a logo with transparency
- Importing a logo into After Effects
- Animating layers
- Extruding a logo in 3D
- Rendering the animation
- Creating cast reflections and cast shadows
- Filling a logo with a pattern
- Adding rays and glows