Adobe® After Effects® CC® Quick Start

 

Lesson Info

Understanding Animation

We're gonna talk about animation. This is where it starts to get really fun. All of that stuff that we've been covering so far, thank you for bearing with us. It's not super thrilling, but it's necessary, to understand all the super thrilling stuff. And here we are ready to have a blast. So, we're gonna talk about animation. And there's a lot to it. If you've done this before in After Effects this might be kind of like a review to you. But, we're going to go very slow. One of the best things about After Effects is that once you understand how to animate anything, then you understand how to animate everything. Every property, like we're gonna make this guys arm wave. And in the same exact way you make his arm wave, you can make colors fade in and out. You make text pop on and off. Everything animates the same exact way, with the same structure, the same keys, the same method, everything. And it can be tricky to understand. And if you don't understand it, then all of After Effects can be...

really confusing. But if you do get it, then the rest of After Effects becomes really exciting. Because all of a sudden you can animate everything there is to animate. So, we're gonna start by looking at this astronaut's left arm. By the way, I do know my left from my right. And the astronaut's arm is on the right side of our screen. But, when you're doing character work you always speak from the character's point of view. For those of you that happen to be doing stuff with characters. Because characters can rotate, they could flip upside down, they could turn around, whatever. And their left might not always stay your left. So their left arm can change, that could be really confusing. But, their left arm will always be their left arm. So we speak from the characters point of view. So this is the astronaut's left arm. And we want to wave it. So the first thing we do, bonus points if you're thinking change the anchor point, because you are correct. We need to change the anchor point. So, I'm gonna hold the letter Y, because that's my jam. And I'm going to click the anchor point, and I'm going to put this down at the joint. Down here where we want the rotation to happen around. And then I'm going to press, anybody remember the letter for revealing rotation? R, yes points for you, good. And here's how this works. I want to set an initial state. Again, we are going to go so slow. Like glacially slow for the next couple of minutes. Just to make sure we're all on the same page, and you get how to do this. But we want to basically set an initial state. So I'm going to do this; I'm gonna back it up a little bit. Like this is kind of like a middle ground. This is kind of like mid wave, right mid wave. So, we want to start here, and end there. Right? So I want to start here, and then later in time, I want it to be this. So this is how we get After Effects to do that. Because right now, I make that change, and nothing happens. And I could go later and nothing happens. Because right now, this property doesn't animate. So, I'm going to back it up to the first position. And what I want to do is I want to record this position. I want After Effects to remember this rotation value at this exact frame. To do that, I click the stopwatch. Now, once I click this little stopwatch, which almost every property in After Effects has, a few things happen. Number one, the stopwatch is enabled, it turns blue and it turns from like a weird circley thing to obviously a stopwatch. And also a diamond is created. That will come in handy momentarily. So, remember that. But also, this value is stored at this particular time. It's almost like the diamond is a container for this particular value. Now, another things that happens, that's really really critical with this stopwatch. If you're taking notes, I recommend taking this down. With this stopwatch, once you click that stopwatch, it tells After Effects I want to animate this property over time. This is no longer a static property. So if I want to create animation, if I now want him to wave like actually wave out there. So start here, and then go out there. I need to move my play head, to a time where I want his arm to wave. Let's say like, one second, this is gonna feel really slow, we'll change this later. But, for right now, let's say I want this frame to be where he waves like this. So I'm going to increase rotation, (makes weird sound) and there we go. And because the stopwatch is clicked, then After Effects assumes okay you want to animate this property over time. So, wherever you are, if you're going to change the value, I'm going to remember that value. I'm going to create what's called a key frame. The little diamond is called a key frame. So now, if I go back to the beginning, and drive to the beginning, hit the space bar and preview this, yay. He waves. Hello, people of earth. And it's adorable. And it's really fun. So here's how key frames work. The way I like to think of this is, like if you're taking a flight from like Los Angeles to New York. Cause those are two big destinations, you know where they are, you know about how far away they are. And let's say again, like the value. Let's say you have a flight and it's Los Angeles, like that's the value of the key frame. And you're going to New York and that's the value of this key frame. Well, if I move this later in time, it's like, think if you went to New York and somebody said Well you don't have to be there in five hours, you have to be there in five months. Okay, well then maybe you take a road trip. You can go slower, because you have more time. So when you take these key frames and you separate them, it slows down motion. Likewise, if somebody said like oh yeah, like that trip to New York, you gotta be there in five hours, we need you right there. Well, you better take a flight, because you gotta go fast. So you've gotta bring these closer together. And that increases the speed. So that's kind of how these key frames work. We can move them around and change them as needed. Oh, I'm sitting down again, sorry. So, (laughing) I'm gonna move this over I can click and drag and move these key frames over. They still remember their values as I click and drag and move them. Because again, they're like little containers of this data. So, it doesn't start waving now until there. If I bring these super close together, it's a faster wave. If I drag this out like this, then it's a slower wave. (laughing) So, yeah. So that's the basics of animation. And I'm going to do this again several times with different properties just so we kind of like, just get it as part of our veins, part of our vocabulary of what we do. I'm actually going to make the astronaut arm wave a little bit that way. And by the way, before I move on, if I move in time and I'm like, Oh wait, you know what? Like his arm actually looks painful. (chuckles) It's like distended. So I'm just gonna rotate that a little bit less. Well what happens is I didn't change the key frame that's there, what happens is that it waves and then comes back a little bit. That may or may not be what you want. So, if I instead wanted to actually change that wave and not create a new key frame, I have to be on that existing key frame when I make that change. So, now that the stopwatch is clicked, every time I change the value it's gonna create a new key frame. So if I wanted it to wave or whatever, I could move in time and change the value and move in time and change the value and now he waves all over the place. But that might not be what I want. I'm gonna click and drag a marquee to select all these key frames and hit the delete key to get rid of them. If instead, I want to change an existing value, I need to actually go to the frame, where the key frame is. And I can do that using this key frame navigator thing. I just click these little arrows to jump to the next key frame. And by the way, you'll get this little blue diamond when you're on a frame with a key frame. It kind of indicates that you're on the frame with a key frame. And then if I adjust this, it actually adjusts the value stored in that storage container. So now, it's not as big of a wave. And it didn't create any extra key frames. When I was first learning After Effects, I'm a very slow learner, very, ridiculously, painfully slow learner. And, one of the things that really helped me to get this idea of a key frame is when I heard the history of animation. With like Walt Disney and his team of animators. They really kind of pioneered animation. And when him and his team of animators get together, they have like, ya know Ollie Johnson or whatever like these really great animators that just were kind of literally pioneering it never existed before. They were pioneering this field. And so they knew that they had these frames of animation. So they had these really high paid animators that were like amazing artists draw the most important frames. So they didn't have like these executives of Disney at the time, drawing like every single frame that's just too much. So, they would draw like just the simple basic part, like the really important frames. And then they would pawn off on other animators, the frames that just weren't as important. You know what I mean? So, and that way, let's say for example, like Homer Simpson like he's gonna get hit by a car. As he does every episode in the beginning. And he's like, scared, and then like he's running and he like goes to the door. So you might have Homer like scared, and then like the high paid animators make that really important frame. And then like when he gets hit at the door, that really important frame the high paid animators do. And everything else they have interns or lower paid people do all the frames in between that. So those really, really important frames are the key frames. And that's where that terminology comes from. The key frames. And then the lower, like grunt people do all of the stuff in between. And translating that back to After Effects, you and I as the operators of After Effects are the key frame creators. We make those key frames, the important ones, the really important ones. And then After Effects, because the stop watch is clicked, will automatically make all the stuff, After Effects is our grunt worker if you will, the one that makes all of the frames in between those key frames. It's called interpolation in After Effects language. We'll look at it a little bit later. But basically, After Effects will automatically figure out how to get from that key frame to the other key frame. That's all you have to do. That's all you have to do. And that's why After Effects is so fun. So fun. Because you just say, be here then, be here then, boom and then After Effects is okay, I'll figure it out. And it's great. Okay, so let's look at another way that we can use key frames. Here I'm going to take my rocket, and I'm going to make my rocket go through the scene. So I'm going to actually start a little bit lower. So I can click and drag here. I'm going to hit P for position. I could also do that here, but it's a little bit clunky. To (makes weird noise) I could just like click and drag it, and it's just easier to do that. So, instead of doing (makes weird noise) I'm just going to click and drag saving me tons of (makes weird noise). So, what I'm gonna do now is I'm gonna click at the first frame of the animation. This is exactly where I want my animation to start. I'm gonna click the stopwatch for position. I'm gonna move in time. And I'm going to click and drag. And now, actually I cut off some of this when I rendered this from Illustrator, so I'm just gonna do that so no one sees my mistake. And now, if I hit play, rocket shooting off, which is fantastic. So, no matter what the property is, whether it's rotation or whether it's position or opacity. If you want to fade something in, out whatever. All of the key frames work the exact same way. You click the stopwatch, you move in time, you change the value, you have animation. Ba da bing. That's all you have to do. Because After Effects is our non key frame animator. We are the key frame animators, which is great. Another thing along those lines, if you are to click that stopwatch again, you're going to tell After Effects oh, never mind, I don't want to animate this. So then all of the key frames are gone. So, wherever you click. So if I were to click the stopwatch right now, And I know that I can undo this so I will, just temporarily. If I click this all my key frames are gone. Okay, you don't want to animate this, okay, I'll just delete all of those key frames for you then. So be aware of that. Same thing with Premier, it works the same way in Premier. So, whatever value you're currently at, at the current time when you unclick the stopwatch, then that's where its gonna stay. So, I don't want that, I'm gonna undo it. Command Z, control Z to get that back. One thing that's kinda cool. So we have these points here, and what happens with positions, positions a special one. Position's a extra special one. Because what happens is when you do this it creates this little trail. It's called a motion path. And you could do some fiddling with this motion path. And we could probably teach a whole course on the motion path and all the fun things you can do with it. It's incredible. So, you can't see these little points very well, that's one of the down sides, like by default it's like this straight line. But, what I can do is click on these little, I don't even know if you can see these little dots. See this little dot? It's a little bit bigger than the other ones. If I click and drag this, I can move this around. Click and drag this one, move it this way. And now look at our path, it's kind of screwy. And now when this flies, it's like whoa. (chuckles) It's not that whoa, but yeah, you get the idea. Maybe I could move this down a little bit more. Make it a little bit more screwy. And so now, I'm getting this kind of like weird shape. And these are bezier handles if you're familiar with bezier paths from Illustrator. If you're not, that's what those are called then. (makes flying noise) It's screwy. Not the best example, but you can fiddle with this. It doesn't have to change a straight line. And this is what we're gonna talk about later. But, be aware that those values of those key frames haven't changed. Those values of the key frames haven't changed at all. It's still starts at the same spot, the same time. And ends at the same spot, the same time. It's just all that stuff that happens in between. And that where intermediate After Effects of stuff comes in. Is what controlling After Effects in the in between the key frames. You know, because we're just starting out, we're just setting key frames, that's a lot to take in. That's where we're at. But, as you get into more advanced levels, trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B you can control After Effects in that way as well. And that's where a lot of animation power comes in. Okay, so that's the basis of animation. We're gonna continue to revisit this as we go through the course. But that's, in a nutshell, how to bring things to life in After Effects. I love when you play Dr. Frankenstein, really. You have like this corpse of Illustrator art and your like, live. And then it's like okay and then it comes to life. And it's really, really fun.

Knowing how to utilize the tools and opportunities in After Effects® can take your video from amateur to professional. Award-winning filmmaker and author Chad Perkins will help you get started with utilizing this motion software. This course covers the basics of starting a project and how to make the most of the many ways to bring life to a video. You’ll learn:

  • How to start a project and create a composition
  • Working with layers
  • Creating text
  • Understanding animation
  • Working with textures and shapes
  • Creating 3D motion with lighting and camera
  • Compositing techniques

Learn to enhance your video projects by animating text or creating transitional effects with this quick start into Adobe® After Effects® CC®.

Software used: Adobe® After Effects® CC®

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Excellent introduction to After Effects. Definitely delivers on being a quick start to the features and capabilities of the software. Chad's passion and enthusiasm really shines through.
  • Chad is an incredible teacher. He makes what would seem like daunting projects and tasks to the common person become both possible and even simple! He keeps his audience engaged by taping into one's inner child of creativity. Keep your hand hovering over the pause button because this presentation is crammed full of incredible information. Thanks again, Chad and all the folks at CreativeLive in Seattle!