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- Setting up a multi-pass render
- Batch rendering in CINEMA 4D
- Importing 3D elements into After Effects
- Creating and using precomps for compositing control
- Compositing 3D text in a dynamic 3D environment
- Creating a glow effect using Trapcode Starglow
- Using 3D layers to create masking effects
- Adding a flash bulb effect with CC Light Rays
- Adding glows and glints to type
- Creating a 2D camera shake effect using pre-comps
- Adding depth of field with the Lens Blur effect
Skill Level Intermediate
Understanding when things are supposed to happen is the most important part of animation compositing. Not only are you concerned about what a signal frame looks like, but you are also worried about the order in which things happen. In this movie, we're going to make special event markers in our composition that will be a visual cue as to when important effects are supposed to occur. Now, I am here in CINEMA 4D for a reason. CINEMA 4D holds the key to all the information that we're going to need in After Effects, and that's in the form of the moment in time when a particular event happens. And so if I scrub backwards in time, the things that I am worried about are events like when does the phone appear, when does the camera start to move, when does the phone start to move towards the screen? And I'm going to make special notations on a piece of paper of when those events occur based on their frame number, and then I am going to use that information in After Effects to create event markers.
So, for example, I am going to scrub through backwards in time to the moment where I first see that phone come up out of the platform. So if I scrub backwards in time to around frame 32, you can see, that's where the phone first peeks up out of the platform. So I write down 'frame 32, phone appears' on a piece of paper. I'll repeat that process for each of the special events. Now, I am not going through that portion here in CINEMA 4D. That's pretty self-explanatory. What I want to do now is take that information that I've already written down ahead of time, and we're going to go in After Effects now and make our markers.
So I am just going to Command+Tab over to the After Effects window. And here inside of After Effects, I need to have a composition to work in. Up until this point, we've been working with just pre-comps, and I now need the final composition that I am going to be using for all of my compositing for this entire animation. So I'm going to click on the Working COMP's folder and click the New Comp's button. The reason I clicked on the Working COMP's folder first is so that this composition I create will automatically go right into that folder. So I click on this, and I am going to call this MMM-001--that stands for Mobile Media Moment and the first version, 001.
So it's 960 x 540, 30 frames a second and 5 seconds long. That's exactly the right size for the composition, so I'll hit OK. Inside this MMM-001 comp, I need to bring in all of my passes. Now I am going to open up the Pre COMP's folder, and I'll start off with the Stadium Pass and bring that in, and I'll need the Phone Pass. Now, be careful; don't accidentally grab the Phone Screen PRE comp. We want the actual Phone Pass Pre composition. That's the actual phone; the Phone Screen PRE is the Fill that goes inside the phone's screen. So I bring that in and put it right above the Stadium, and I'll do the same thing for the Type now.
And if I scrub forward in time, you can see that--let's go back to the hero. Now, I am a little bit too close in. I'll hit the Comma key on the keyboard to bring this up to a more reasonable size. Now I can see, I've got all my layers in there. Now what I need to do is to go to the moment in time when my events occur, but the timeline is currently set to show timecode and not frames. CINEMA 4D, I was working in frames and here it's timecode, so what I want to do is switch After Effects over to a timecode base, and so I am going to go to the File menu, and way at the very bottom is the Project Settings.
And when I grab the Project Settings, I now see the settings for the entire project, and what I want to do is switch the Display Style for the Timecode from Timecode Base to Frames. So when I click that, I'll just hit Enter on the keyboard to accept this change, and you could see now I'm seeing the timeline displayed in frames here, and this will match the notations I made from my CINEMA 4D file. So the major moments are the phone appearing at frame 32. So if I go to frame 32, I can click on this and hit 32 on the keyboard.
I can go over here to the right side of the timeline and I'll drag a marker over. And if I hold the Shift key down, it will snap right to that moment in time. Now, I want to name this marker. I am going to double-click on it and call it 'Phone' and hit OK. And so now this Phone marker tells me that at that moment in time the phone comes up out of the platform. Now, I am going to repeat this process for the camera move, and the camera actually jumps back in response to the explosion from the phone, and that's going to need to happen at frame 38.
First, navigate to frame 38, and then I'm going to grab the marker, I'll hold down the Shift key, and let it snap right there, and then I'll double-click on that marker, Camera Shake. I'll hit OK, and there is my Camera Shake marker. The next moment I'm really concerned about is when the type actually starts to come in. So if I scrub forward, I remember from CINEMA 4D that the type starts to come in right around frame 63. So if I go to frame 63, you can see that just before then, that's where the type animation starts.
So here at frame 63, I'll make another marker and then double-click, and I'll call this one Type Start. Hit OK. The Mobile Media animates in on its own, and then the word Moment hits its mark. And when the Moment hits its mark, I am going to have an effect happen, and so I need to know when that actually occurs-- and that happens right around frame 91. So if I go to frame 91, I'll hit Page Down to get to exactly frame 91, and I'll add another marker, double-click, and call this one Moment Hit.
And so now the Moment hits at frame 91. The next thing I am worried about is when the camera starts to move and when the phone starts to come towards the screen, and that's called the push in animation terms. And so I know that happens at frame 134. So if I go to frame 134 now, and I am going to set a marker for that and call it Push Start and hit OK. So those were all the most important moments in our animation. And knowing when these things will happen it is going to really help us when it comes time to start setting keyframes.
I don't have to guess when something happens; I can look at that marker and say, oh, at frame 38 I know that this explosion needs to happen right now. Taking the time to set up these markers makes the animation process go much, much faster.