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The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.
- Animating to music
- Arranging layers in 3D space
- Performing time stretches
- Working with 3D camera tracking
- Typesetting and animating text
- Adding effects like drop shadows and motion blur
- Creating and animating shape layers
- Building and delivering a broadcast package
Skill Level Intermediate
When you're delivering something such as an opening title for a client, quite often just the opening title is not enough. They may need other elements that complement that opening title, and we refer to this as a package, a set of graphics that your editor or client can use throughout a program that have a unifying visual theme. Inside the Comps_Finished folder is a folder called Package that gives an idea of what some of these elements may be. A real common element is a Lower Third Design. Elements of a Lower Third typically include text using fonts that complement each other and match the opening title, and which have been nicely sized for readability and for artistic balance.
And some sort of bar or other element that helps it stand off against the background. And hopefully that bar element also ties into elements in your opening title. In this case I've chosen same colors, same type of translucency and beveling that we used inside the frames for our videos. The client can then duplicate this Comp and use it as a template whenever they need to change a name, such as Bruce Light and change his title. We tend to lock the layers that the client should not be editing so they can't get themselves into trouble.
What we've happened to have done in this particular one as well is we've added some animation for them, some text animations and some other elements. I'll just preview that quickly. So that's something more interesting than just a bar hanging there in space. Notice that I've been careful to observe 4x3 title safe areas as well, because at this point the client has not made a decision on whether they want to letter box this or center cut it when they create the 4x3. Quite often the client may need variations on this bar as well. For example, this is a two-line Lower Third, but the client may also need a three-line Lower Third, so you might need to make another version where the bar is taller, and I'll twirl open the Contents of the Shape layer that I used, make it a taller item, shift it up a little bit in space, take the text, move it up as well.
And then give them a third line they can put underneath for any additional text they may need to describe the person being interviewed. And this part can probably be a little bit taller, a little bit higher in the frame, just to give myself more room in between the text elements. Give that to them as a template, they can reuse it as often as they need, and it ties in nicely to your opening title. Another common element is a looping background. Quite often the client may need to put picture and picture inserts, tables of text, and other elements that don't completely fill the frame.
If you can give them a nice background that again ties into your opening title background, they can add these elements without them sticking out like a sore thumb. This is an edited version of the background plates we used in our opening title, with our Abstract background, our Vital Signs traces. This time I pasted them all down into one Shape layer, but they exist as separate shape groups. And I've added an additional pattern of dots, little circles that blink on and off. I'll show you how to make that in a chapter later on in this course.
It can be provided with or without music. In this case I asked the musician to come up with a musical loop, something that fits in the exact number of seconds long at my current frame rate, and which can be laid end-to-end seamlessly, and again, the editor can then lay this in as often as they need, and this is what our looping background looks like. (music playing) There's a slight hitch in After Effects' own preview of this composition, but when I lay it end-to-end in an editor, it's seamless.
I've made sure that all of our Vital Signs traces are off the screen at the start and end of this loop, so they will indeed be seamless without a visual pop. And additional elements you may be asked for are things called sweepers, bumpers, etcetera. Elements that will help your client come out of your program and go into a commercial, or come out of a commercial or other chapter head and start a new section. To construct this, I just used elements that we already had in our main title, a bit of the music that I've edited down, our Abstract background, the Vital Signs, and the text for our lab results, a simplified camera move, and the simplified version of the opening title.
You see as it comes in, the text slams down into position and I have the frame fade away, the camera move ends, and then we're on full frame video and then the title fades out. The client can go ahead and replace this first clip with whatever clip they're using for the next section of their program after the commercial break and re-render this scene, so they have a really nice transition, and they can also change the text, such as treating HEART ATTACKS.
Again, I've locked all the layers, so they should not be touching and only left unlocked what they can replace; example, the video clip that goes in the background and the text layers so they can edit. In the looping background I left things unlocked, just so they could create variations on the theme. They could maybe have a version without the Vital Signs or a version without these animating dots, or just the background all by itself. Beyond your opening title and package elements, s uch as Thirds, Looping Background, and Bumpers, Sweepers, etcetera, quite often your client will also ask you to deliver the project file.
This is where keeping things organized in compositions, carefully naming things, adding comments to your layers, and just general cleanliness and thinking ahead will really benefit your client. There's also a few nice commands underneath File, such as Remove Unused Footage. That will take out any elements that you're not using so the client doesn't get files they don't need; and Collect Files, which will create a brand-new project and folder that duplicates all of the sources that you're using inside this project file into a brand-new set of assets you can then hand off to the client.
So this package aspect is another very important thing to understand and to deliver to your client so that you can give them more value.