Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up After Effects, part of Creating Flying Logos with After Effects and CINEMA 4D Lite.
- We're in After Effects CC 2014.1 and we need to do a couple things to set up the project before we can start working in CINEMA 4D Lite. First off, if you come from the print world, you're probably used to working in a color-managed workspace where assets from a number of different sources all get converted into one final output color space. That's common in Photoshop and InDesign, for example. However, a lot of video people are blissfully ignorant about color management. Well, that's not gonna cut it when you're working with CINEMA 4D Lite because it does assume you're in a very particular color space, and to get predictable results you need to set up After Effects to match that.
So first you need to open up the project settings. You can go to file, project settings or the shortcut is to click on this little bit per channel indicator at the bottom of the project panel. Once you're inside the project settings dialogue you'll see that the working space has, indeed, defaulted to none. CINEMA 4D defaults to the color space sRGB. This is the most common color space to use for the web and is also what HDTV's color space is based on as well. So we'll convert to sRGB.
The second thing you need to do is enable linearize Working space. CINEMA 4D uses the more accurate color model of linear gamma, which better replicates how our eyes actually work compared to the default computer gamma that many video and 3D video programs assume. So these are the two crucial settings you need to set first. And I'll click OK. The next thing you need to do is to create a composition in After Effects to do your work in. The best working practice in After Effects is start at the end.
Ask your client what format they ultimately need this video delivered in. That may require talking to a video editor or some compression expert inside the company you're handing this off to. In this particular case, I've been told that this project should be delivered in half high-def format, 960 by 540 pixels. That's a pretty good size for video training and for web videos, but you can't take it for granted. Ask the client. They've even provided me a nice background movie that is in that size.
However, one little problem with CINEMA 4D is that it does not work with these fractional frame rates, such as video's common frame rate of 29.97. CINEMA 4D either wants to work in 29 or in 30 frames a second. So I'm going to temporarily convert my project to 30. 30 is a legitimate high-def frame rate and there's tricks I can use later on to slow things down. So I'm gonna select that video. I'm gonna go into its interpret footage dialogue, open that up, and conform the video the client provided me or that I selected myself, to 30 frames a second.
When we talk about rendering later I'll show you how to bring this back down to 29.97. And I'll click OK. Now let's create a brand new composition that matches those specs the client gave me. I'm gonna type command-n on Mac or control-n on Windows or go to the Composition menu and say New Composition. I'm gonna call this Flying Metro Logo. Make sure my width and height are set correctly, 960 by 540. My frame rate matches what I need for CINEMA, 30, and set my duration.
In this case, the video editor that I'm gonna hand this off to says they just need five seconds of a flying logo to tack onto the front of the program. So I'll select that. I happen to have the transparency grid turned on. You can toggle that off or on. I'm gonna drag my composition outside my sources folder so it sits at the top level of my project panel. And finally I'm gonna drag in my background movie that was supplied by the client. Notice that this has a very dark background, not the paper white that that logo was designed for. And we'll be talking about implications like that later on.
The last thing I'm gonna do is, if you've watched my videos before, you know that I happen to prefer this particular column inside the timeline panel not to be at the left but to be over here at the right near my layer bars. I just find that easier for me to keep track of what I need to turn off and turn on. Now that we have all of our After Effects preparation done, in the next movie we'll actually start creating a CINEMA 4D project.
- Preparing the logo in Adobe Illustrator
- Importing, extruding, and beveling the logo
- Simple texturing using material presets
- Key and fill lighting
- Keyframing a camera move
- Compositing in After Effects
- Rendering for video or the web