How to Generate Artwork
So next, I wanna talk about some of the things we can do in After Effects where we create artwork from nothing. And there's a group of effects and presets in After Effects in a folder called Generate. So back to After Effects, let's come down here and close the project. If I go into Effects and Presets, I'm gonna take off the filter here, and if I scroll down, you'll see all of the effects are showing up inside of groups, here. So there is a group called Generate. If I toggle this open, basically, these are a whole bunch of effects that will invent artwork from nothing. So this is great, we can just come in here and just have After Effects draw something for us, and then we can go in there and start to make changes and modifications to it. So to begin, let's come in, let's make a new composition. So to do this, I'll just do 1000 pixels by, we'll do 562, something in a six to nine ratio. Background color, let's pick black, and then I'll choose OK. So now we have this blank composition. ...
We have no artwork in the timeline panel, all we have is the definition of that composition. Now, if we're gonna create artwork out of nothing, we have to have something to apply that effect to, and so we wanna create a blank layer inside of After Effects. So After Effects has this idea of a solid. So under the Layer menu, under New, there's an item called Solid, and basically, this is just a blank object or layer inside of After Effects. When we click a solid and create this, we have a couple of options inside of here, including a color. So for now, I'm gonna pick blue as the color, but a lot of times, an effect will wipe out the color of a solid, and just let us add the effect into our artwork. Make Comp Size, we'll make this the size of the composition, which is great, and then I'll click OK. So now, with this in place, I can see this in my timeline panel as well. I now have a royal blue solid 1. Let's go over to our Effects and Presets, under Generate, and what I wanna do is take a look at some of these settings inside of here. And some things that might not look interesting at first. So one of the things about After Effects is, when you apply these effects, sometimes they don't look like they're really doing anything at all, or they don't seem interesting, until you start playing with some of the settings. So let's grab Radio Waves, and just drag and drop that right into the stage. So this will happen a lot in After Effects. You apply an effect, and you look at it, and you go, "I don't even know what I'm looking at." Sometimes, effects are actually animations. In this case, Radio Waves is an animated effect. So if I come down to the timeline panel, and click and drag the playhead, you'll see that what it's doing is it's creating these radio waves that will animate out. So this by itself would be kind of a pain to create yourself, you'd have to make all these different circles, and animate them at the same pace. So this will just add this for you automatically. But if we come in here and start to look at the properties, there's a bunch of things we can do to change this content as well. So the first thing I'll do is bring the timeline panel out, so that we have enough time to generate some of these pieces. And what's also important to keep in mind is, if I were to go to the Composition window, and say Save Frame As, like we've been doing, and choose Photoshop layers, it's gonna pick the frame that we're currently on. So After Effects can have multiple frames because it's a whole animation, but wherever the timeline is, wherever the playhead is, that's the frame that's gonna be saved out. We're gonna use this later with our particle effects, because we can pick which exact frame to create the bubbles for her champagne. So we're gonna do the same thing here. So let's just pick a frame where we have enough of these, and then let's come down here, and let's just start playing with some of these properties. So, for the wave form, we'll keep polygon here for a minute. Let's come down under wave motion, we can choose the frequency, and if I drag this up, all the frequency means is how often are these generated. So automatically, that starts looking fun, looks like an illusion practice. We can choose expansion, which chooses how these are applied to that base shape. So if we were animating pieces, we could have the frequency and expansion changed, and have them sort of space themselves out. We have direction of velocity, but these won't look like anything until we change what we're actually creating. So for wave, we can choose polygon, image contours, or mask. Image contours is interesting, because if you have a shape, maybe you've keyed it out, the radio waves can actually go to the shape of the alpha transparency of that layer. So now you can create shapes of a person, or whatever is in the artwork. But under polygon, we can come down here, and we can change the number of sides. So we're looking at 64 sides, which makes these look like a circle, but if I come in here and change this, we can change these individual shapes. So let me decrease the frequency just a little bit, maybe lower the shapes. I can get my arrow key in here, and just arrow down, so I can just go one at a time. So it starts to look a little more interesting. And then if we start to change the direction, and then the spin, isn't that beautiful? Look at that, isn't that amazing? So this is the radio waves. So when I think of radio waves, I did not think anything like this. So the number of things you can change are just amazing, when you start going in and playing with all of this. Again, you could draw this in Illustrator, using Transform and Scale, and making sure you set your stroke to always not scale up, this is much faster. however, you can't get the vectors out of here, this is still a bitmap based image. But again, you can just create this as large as you need it. So that looks pretty awesome. And this is an effect, so I can just come over here and turn that off. So similarly, let's take a quick look at checkerboard. Again, things you could, you could draw, this might be a little faster, but there's things we can do to change the way this checkerboard looks as well. So with our sliders, we can change the height and the width, we can even change where the checkers are generated from. So if I change the width here, what I'm actually doing is changing the sides of the squares. So this can be incredibly fast, or if you need each square to be a particular size. But what gets interesting is if we come down to the feather properties, we can feather these, either on the horizontal or the vertical. So if I come in here and really increase the feathering, and one thing that you'll also find inside of After Effects, is if I toggle open this little switch here for width, it'll say from zero to 20, and if you grab this little bar, you can only go to 20. However, most of the time in After Effects, if you bring your cursor up to the numbers, you can go much higher than that. So I can bring this up to 100, for example. So now, if you look at this, if you didn't know it started from a checkerboard, this almost looks like a weaving pattern, you can sort of imagine the basket weaving happening in that effect. And then if we change the height as well, we set that to 100, now we're gonna start getting a diamond checker pattern shape. So again, these effects, the blurring effect being assigned to the checkerboard is gonna give us these shapes that are just real interesting. We wouldn't have thought that would have come from a checkerboard. And now, since this artwork is black and white, we could load this into Photoshop, put it into a channel, and load only the black or load only the white, mask artwork into it, and do anything that we would do inside of Photoshop. So there are a ton of these, you can definitely spend an entire Saturday playing with all of the different, just the generation effects, to create some interesting artwork. But what I want to talk about is the kaleidoscope. So under the File menu, I'm gonna close this project. Let's go back to our exercise files, and inside of folder four is a bowl.jpg file. Drag it in the project, then drag it over to composition, that's gonna open this up, and we're gonna open up an effect called CC Kaleido. Let's drag and drop that. So this is one of my favorite effects, because if you're ever trying to find a pattern, or just trying to find something interesting to create for any type of background, you can find some really cool stuff with this kaleidoscope pattern. So with this selected, it doesn't look like there's a lot of controls in here, until you start playing with what we can do inside of here. So the first thing that happens, zoom out here a little bit, is After Effects will divide up the entire canvas, and the size is based on the size property here. If I click and drag the size, we can change the size of the kaleidoscope that's gonna fill the entire composition area. So again, make it a composition large enough for your project, and then apply this. So the image doesn't even have to be as big as the entire canvas, it just has to be as big as one of the individual tiles that you're creating. The center point, the center point gives us the ability to change where this is being referenced, so I can move this a little bit, but it's much more fun to come over here to the stage and click and drag it, and just drag this around. And as we go through the image, we start to see all of these different effects take place. This is endless amounts of fun, this one by itself. Now, if you're curious as to where this is being sampled from, if we come up here and turn off the effect, I can see the center point is right down here. The ridges down here on the bottom of the bowl look like they might be interesting, and again, this bowl shape by itself isn't really that interesting of a photograph, but applying these effects will just give us something that we can really play with. So I'll get the effect down here, and then turn it back on. This just sort of orients me to where I'm sampling in my image. And then I can start to move this around, and add all these different shapes.
[Male Audience Member] Can you use this as a plugin with two videos, like a transition? A transition from one video to another, with the kaleidoscope tool?
Chris, quick question from out here. The rabbit hole's endless, right, as far as creating different types of artwork for your print pieces, correct? You just showed us a handful of things, but really, people could really dig in and become, be really super creative, correct?
Absolutely. I recommend just playing with the settings, duplicate your layers, and play with every single setting in an effect and preset, because you'll always be surprised. That spin control in the radio waves gave us this really interesting artwork that we never would have seen if we didn't try just changing some of those settings.
Awesome, thank you.