Using the Basic After Effects Tools
I'm gonna go ahead and delete these two folders and media assets because that was just for example, so I'm just going to select them in my project panel and then click delete and now let's go over the basic tools. If you hover over them and just pause for half a second, you'll see the name of the tool pop up with the keyboard shortcut. This first tool that is sort of your standard mouse tool that you'll be using for most things you do in after Effects is just the selection tool. This allows you to click on things and then once you have different assets, shapes, titles, layers in your composition, it allows you to click on them and move them around. The next is the hand tool and this actually moves around the composition window itself or the video itself in your composition window. For example, if I set this to 25% and then I take my hand tool. I can actually move this composition around and this is beneficial if you have something that you want to zoom in on and then you want to move a...
round your composition so that you can see it more clearly. Speaking of zooming, you can zoom in with the zoom tool so I can zoom in now to zoom out. Once you have the zoom tool selected, which is keyboard shortcut Z you can press option on your keyboard and then click to zoom out option on a Mac and then it will be on a pc for pc users. That's another way other than using this drop down menu here to zoom in and out of your composition. I'm actually going to bring back my kangaroo photo show so I can show you kind of more what this looks like and what these other tools do. I'm gonna drop this in on my composition and I wasn't going to show you all of these things until next lesson. But let me just show you a quick way to zoom in and out of a an asset that you've added or to scale it up or down. If you press s on your keyboard, that brings up the scale property, you have these percentages here. You can just click and drag to the left or right so you can see I can zoom in and out. It's not necessarily zooming into my video, it's just scaling up or down the asset that I'm using. So if I want to fill the frame I'll put it at about 49%. Now you can see more clearly if I zoom in. For example, and let's change the resolution to full. So we get the highest quality possible. And then I take my hand tool, which another quick tip is. If you just press the space bar on your keyboard, you temporarily get the hand tool and then when I pressed the space bar it goes back to the tool that I was using. So for example, if I'm using the selection tool, I can use the space bar to move this around. Let me zoom out really quickly so only zoom out to 50 and then I'll just space bar hand tool to move this around with the selection tool. If I click and drag this photo, it's actually moving it around the composition. So if I want it on the right hand side I can do that on the left, up down etcetera. That's different than the hand tool which is actually moving just the composition window around. Same with the zoom tool, you're not actually zooming in on the video or the media, it's just zooming in on the window. The playback, the next tool is the rotation tool. And so if I click that and then I click on a layer so I have to have a layer selected and then I click and I drag around, I can rotate this image left or right. Say you do something and you don't like what you did. You can quickly undo by pressing command Z on your keyboard. We're going to skip the camera tool which will be covering in the three D. section of this course. And then there's the pan behind tool. This is a little bit confusing so I'm going to try to explain it as clear as possible but this has to do with the anchor point of each layer. The anchor point is symbolized by this little circle with the lions coming out in, sort of a cross section, you see that it's right there. It's kind of hard to see. I know but it's right there in the middle of this layer. And what this does is it anchors all of your different properties to this point. So remember when we scaled this photo up and down down here with the scale property. So if I zoom in and out, where is it zooming in and out from or scaling up and down from its scaling up and down from that point right there in the center. The anchor point. What if I move this point down to the left, which I can do by clicking on our pan behind tool or the anchor point tool. I can drag this anger point down to the left and now if I scale up or down it scales from that point, see how that works. And so the anchor point is going to really come in handy later on when we're changing how we animate different layers. This will also affect the rotation. So if I go back to the rotation tool, it rotates from that anchor point and the rest of this lesson. We're just going to go over these three other tools, the rectangle or shape tool, which is also the mask tool, the pen tool and the text tool or the type tool. These other tools are a little bit advanced and we'll be going over them in a later lesson of this course. First the rectangle tool, the rectangle tool or if you click and hold it down, you can see that there's more options such as the rounded rectangle tool, the ellipse tool, the polygon tool or the star tool. This allows you to create shapes, you will be able to create a new shape if you don't have anything selected in your timeline. So what does that mean? If I click on this kangaroo layer, it highlights this layer, You can see that when I click it, it's this sort of bright purple. If I click off of it, just down here in the timeline, it sort of becomes a little bit darker. If I have that rectangle tool and then I just click in my composition window and drag you can see that it creates this rectangle and I can change the shape and size and eventually we can change the color as well. And when I do that, this new shape layer appears in our timeline. Okay, let me delete that. Actually delete that layer. Now I want to show you what happens when I have the kangaroos layer selected and then I have this rectangle tool selected and then I try to create a rectangle. What happens is I'm actually creating a mask of this layer that selected. Cool, right. So if you want to crop or quickly cut out a piece of your photo or any of your media assets. You can do that with with this shape tool or what becomes a mask tool. Let me undo that and say we want to create a circle or an ellipse as they call it. We can choose that tool and then just drag around are kangaroos face. I'm gonna show you how to create perfect squares in the next lesson. Let me undo that. The next tool is the pen tool. While this is selected, What I can do is just click around and it basically creates a custom shape. So every time you click it creates a new point and then you have to complete all of the points in a complete circle for it to actually become that shape. Again with the kangaroo layer selected, it creates a mask for this kangaroo layer. Let me undo that undo undo. If I click off of the kangaroo and then I click with the pen tool. I do the same exact thing, You can see that without the kangaroo selected, it creates an actual shape layer. So you are now learning that these two tools, the pen and then the shape tool, they have to things that they can do. They can either create masks or they can create shapes. Let me delete that one. Lastly we have our type tool. So with the horizontal type tool or if we click and hold you have a vertical type tool, you can select that and then you just click in your composition where you want to add type, click it adds that empty text layer down here and then if we start typing Hello, you can see text over on the right hand side, you'll also notice that the character panel popped open and this is where we have all of our text options. You can change the font, you can change the style, you can change the color and we're gonna be going over more of these options in a future lesson but feel free to play around with these settings now it won't change anything unless you have your text highlighted with your text tool or your type tool selected or if you go back to your selection tool now that select all that text and you can change these settings. So if I want to change it to white text, I can click the text color which is this window right here that brings up our color picker and then I can drag around and change to white. For example, if I want to change the font, just choose a different font. If I want to change the size via this method which is different than the scale method that we showed you down here, I can change the text pixels or the font size pixels, Those are the basic tools in after effects and as you can see there's so much in after effects and I hope you're learning so far It may seem like we haven't covered that much and it's true there's so much more to cover and this course has already been what, 30, 40 minutes long. So I hope you found it beneficial. So far, these lessons are really the basis the foundation. And as we move forward, we're going to get more into the real world aspects of it. But hopefully this has been helpful, and in the next lesson, we're gonna be going over more of these different options in the timeline.