Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
After Effects: Trailer (Typeface)

Objective

To learn After Effects production techniques by recreating the above video.

Discussion

After Effects is Photoshop in motion. Like Photoshop, After Effects can handle vector art, but it is really designed for video production which is pixel-based. Video files by definition are huge (because they are made of many frames and lots of pixels). Therefore, working in After Effects requires more RAM, more resources and more time.

Previewing video requires rendering, which can be a time consuming process. To save time, most production work-flows render lo-res draft quality video for previewing before rendering hi-res production quality video for broadcasting/publishing. Therefore, it is recommended that layers be set to draft mode and motion blur be turned off until the video is ready for final rendering.

Short sequences can be efficiently previewed in RAM using these "shift-RAM" preview options:

  • resolution=half
  • skip frames=5

Also read this tutorial on AE keyboard shortcuts and/or download this cheat sheet.

Procedure

preparing for the exercise

  1. download starter files
  2. examine downloaded files
  3. open "keyframes.ai", examine layers/artboards
  4. export keyframes (GIF)
  5. place keyframes in a new AI document
  6. export a presentation storyboard image
  7. open "typeface.ai", examine layers/artboards
  8. window > links: note embedded pixel element
  9. file > new: profile=video, size=HDV720, align to pixel grid=on
  10. window > artboards: artboard options: display=(all off) (flyout)
  11. view > hide transparent grid
  12. view > rulers > hide video rulers
  13. save as "HDV720.ai" (for future reference)

setting up the "typeface" composition

  1. launch After Effects
  2. file > save as "typeface.aep"
  3. file > import "typeface.ai" (composition - retain layer sizes)
  4. open "typeface" composition
  5. delete "black" layer
  6. composition > composition settings: duration=60;00
  7. view > resolution > half (previews faster at lo-res)
  8. file > import "sound.mp3"
  9. drag "sound.mp3" into timeline (expand layer, note length)
  10. play movie using RAM preview (from current time)
  11. press SPACE to pause: add markers to key transition points (7, 11, 15, 22, 28, 36, 45, 52)
  12. save

creating the "typeface" composition

  1. go to "art" layer, trim at 55 sec (opt+] )
  2. tween position: 1 and 55 sec; lock (P)
  3. repeat with "title" layer
  4. go to "logos" layer, trim at 55 sec (opt+] )
  5. tween position (1 sec transitions @ 15, 22, 28, 36, 45 sec) (P)
  6. layer > new > solid: color=black (cmd+Y)
  7. tween opacity (fade in from 52 to 55 sec) (T)
  8. trim "black' layer at 52 sec (opt+[ )
  9. file > import "dirt.mov"
  10. drag "dirt.mov" into timeline (top)
  11. layer name: RMB > columns > modes
  12. blending mode=screen
  13. start "dirt.mov" at 38 sec (hotkey=[ )
  14. tween opacity (fade in from 38 to 42 sec) (T)
  15. continuous rasterize all vector layers
  16. save

creating the final composition

  1. composition > new > composition: "~final", HDV 720 (1280x720), duration=60;00 (cmd+N)
  2. drag "typeface" composition into timeline; rename layer "large" (RMB)
  3. scale 250% (S), reposition
  4. tween opacity (fade out from 7 to 8 sec) (T)
  5. trim layer at 8 sec (opt+] )
  6. drag "typeface" composition into timeline again (below previous layer)
  7. rename layer "small"
  8. tween scale and position (1 sec transition @ 11 sec); scale larger (S) (P)
  9. layer > new > solid: color=black (cmd+Y)
  10. tween opacity (fade in from 0 to 1 sec) (T)
  11. trim "black' layer at 2 sec (opt+] )
  12. drag "sound.mp3" into timeline
  13. turn off audio in other layers
  14. turn on motion blur for all layers
  15. save

rendering a SD movie for YouTube

  1. "~final": compositon > add to Adobe Media Encoder queue (cmd+opt+M)
  2. choose preset "YouTube 480p SD wide"
  3. output to: "typeface_SD.mp4"
  4. start queue

rendering a HD movie for your archives (optional)

  1. "~final": compositon > add to Adobe Media Encoder queue (cmd+opt+M)
  2. choose preset "YouTube 720p HD"
  3. output to: "typeface_HD.mp4"
  4. start queue

grading

  1. upload "typeface_SD.mp4" to your personal YouTube account (privacy=unlisted)
  2. publish unlisted web address as a link from your process page

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Last updated: 3/1/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young