Join Mark Christiansen for an in-depth discussion in this video Set up an After Effects project, part of After Effects CC 2018 Essential Training: The Basics.
- [Instructor] Up to this point in the course, we've been focused on showing what different parts of After Effects do and why they're designed that way. Now let's try learning by doing. We'll create a short commercial, sometimes called a bumper, if it's less than 15 seconds, using the same elements we've been experimenting with. We'll do this step by step. In this first step, I'll show you how I like to start any shot. I have three folders here, and they're all twirled open.
So I have one for the comps to go into, once I create one, and eventually there will be some solids in this project as well. And then here are my elements. Now you may have seen me before starting with a clip and dragging it to the New Composition icon like that. And that's often how I like to get started. But now I'd like to say a little bit more about why to start that way and what you must think about before you go any further. So I'll move the comp up to the Comps folder, and then highlight the footage for a moment.
And if we look at the details about this clip, we have the size, which is 1280 x 720, and the frame rate, 23.976 frames per second. Now let's not worry about the specific numbers right now, and just more generally talk about the fact that you need to know at this stage whether that is actually your target size and your target frame rate, because changing them later can get you into trouble.
Frame rate in particular is crucial to get right at this stage. So size-wise, we could scale this down when we render it out, to go out to the web, but you might want your master to go out at a full 1280 x 720. Now go to Composition Settings, and you'll see in here that we can change the width and height, either manually or using one of many presets that are in here, and similarly, we can change the frame rate.
These are some of the most common. So just to restate, you want to decide ahead of time what you want the width and height and the frame rate of your final output to be, and for the most part, you want to start with that in your very first composition, assuming that will be your master. Having said that, I'm going to go to the first useful part of this footage, which is right around here. So notice the camera kind of moves in the wrong direction.
So somewhere in here I'm going to set my work area in and I can also scrub to the other end, and see that the tail of the shot looks fine. So I'm just going to be working with this part of the shot, and I'll just leave it like that for now. And now I'm going to add the foreground element, the logo. I'll just drag that down, and I'm going to hold it, so you see this dark line right above the other layer. There are other ways to do this, but this is the most straightforward.
Having done that, why don't I make one more adjustment? I'll twirl down the layer controls. That reveals the Transform properties. I'll twirl those down, and these five transform properties are always the same for any layer, more or less. If it's 3D, they look a little bit different. But I'm just going to adjust the Opacity downward. And I think I'll scale it up a little bit. And then I'm going to reposition it.
Now I could do that here with these controls, or I could just click and drag it right up here at the top. I'm holding down the Shift key to constrain the movement, just like you would in Photoshop, or most any Adobe application. And now I'll just preview it. So if the job were simply to get the logo to display over the footage, we're done. Most of the work you do in After Effects is what we sometimes call plussing up the shot.
This means actually designing the shot to make it more compelling, and it'll be different for each artist who tackles the shot. Let's plus this one up using one of the most sophisticated effects in the application, Camera Tracking.
- Six foundations of After Effects
- Setting up a composition
- Working with layers
- Animating compositions
- Applying effects, including lights
- Working in 3D
- Rendering projects