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Adobe After Effects 5/5.5 Essentials Tutorial

Adobe After Effects is the design application that has become the standard for 2D/3D compositing, special effects, and animation, even among video and motion graphics professionals. In this Virtual Training Company tutorial, Jayse Hansen guides you through the use of After Effects 5/5.5, taking you from the basics of creating a clip, organizing, and how to work with compositions, to working with typography, audio, effects, fades, and transitions. Other lessons involve working with 3D layers, lighting, and cameras, importing from Photoshop and Illustrator, and 3D enhancements. He includes assignments to help you apply what you are learning. And for even more assistance, he gives you additional book and web resources so that you can explore After Effects even further. To get started today, simply click one of the movie topics below.


What is After Effects?
Should I Learn After Effects or Something Else?
Why You Should Learn After Effects
The Best Way to Learn After Effects
Assumptions I have Made About You
How This Course Works
Get Your After Effects Notebook
What You'll Learn
What's New in AE 5.0
Lets Get on with It!


Basic Level What You'll Learn in the Basic Level
Example of What You'll Learn
Get Ready to Conquer
Quick Overview of Creating a Clip in AE


Project Window & Importing in Detail
Organizing: Saving / Deleting / Renaming

Extra Tips: Essential De-Interlacing

Interlacing and Fields
Example Bad (Upper)
How to Fix
Example Properly De-Interlaced (Lower)


New Comp Settings
Common Comp Sizes and Frame Rates to Memorize
The Comp Window
Time Line
How it All Works Together Review


The Coolest Part of AE
Applying Hue / Saturation and Fast Blur
Changing the Values
Deleting or Hiding Effects and RAM Preview
Assignment #1!
Adding Effects to Solid Layer Text and Glows
Quality Switches
Adding the Glow
Adding Effects to Adjustment Layers
Assignment Two!


Basics Learning to Keyframe Scale and Position
Easy Ease
Fade Out
Adjusting Keyframes Proportionately
Reversing Keyframes and Copy / Paste
Animation Keyboard Shortcuts
Using Exponential Scale
Animating Opacity
Animating the Anchor Point and Setting Work Area Moving Layers
Animating a Blur Effect
Using Motion Blur
Lets Preview!
Rendered End Result
Assignment #3 Create Something Personal

RAM Previews and Time Controls

RAM Preview
Shift RAM Preview
Preview Keyboard Shortcuts
Ctrl (CMD) RAM Preview Saves the Preview
Region of Interest Tool
Dynamic Resolution
Audio Preview Preferences
Setting the Work Area B and N keys
Frame By Frame Shortcuts
Overview Shortcuts

Rendering Basics

RAM Preview
Changing Render Settings
Saving Render Settings
Output Module
Render Twirl-downs

Timeline and Layers

Customizing the Timeline
Area View
Adding Comp Markers
Layer Management
Reordering Layers
Using Numbers
Layer Markers
Nesting Compositions Grouping Layers
Centering and Aligning Layers
Copying and Pasting Attributes
AV Features
Solid Layers


Shy Layers
Continuous Rasterization
Quality Settings
Effects Switch
Frame Blending
Motion Blur
Adjustment Layer Switch
3D Layer Switch

Editing Layers

Editing Layers
Sequencing Layers
Straight Cuts
Sequencing and Dissolves
True Cross-dissolve
Trimming Clips and Slip Edits
Ripple Edit Inserts
Handy IBON keyboard Shortcut
Trimming on the Timeline Slip Edits
Playing a Clip Backwards
Time Remapping

Work Area Extras

How Footage Affects the Initial Work Area
B & N Keys / IBON / Shift Snap
Trimming Comp to the Work Area

Fades and Transitions

Cross Fade
True Cross Fade
Fade to Black


Basic Text
Animating Size and Tracking
Adding Glow
Gotcha...Don't Animate the Scale
Using Title Safe Guides
Adding the Kickback
Adding Horizontal Blur
Using Path Text for Normal Text
Advance Options in Path Text
Animating Individual Characters
Final Touches
Normal Path Text
Number Generator


Basic Typography Intro / Serif Vs. Sans-Serif Fonts
Categories: Handwritten / Brush Scripts
Categories: Techno Type Fonts
Where to Find Fonts
General Design Guidelines
Further Resources: Books
Further Resources: Websites

Importing From Photoshop

Examining a Layered PS File
Importing Into AE as Composition
Modifying Layers
Importing with Alpha Channels
Creating an Alpha in Photoshop
Working with Pre-Multiplied Alpha Channels
Creating a Straight Alpha the Best Kind!
Multi-colored Straight Alpha Channels
Working with B&W Scans
Play Around with These
How to View the Alpha Channel in AE
Saving Out to a Layered PS Document


Difference Between a Raster Item and a Vector Item
The Vector Language
Working in Illustrator / Problems when Importing
Using Crops to Define Your Final Output in AE
Viewing Alpha Channel of Illustrator Files
Applying Effects - Continuously Rasterize Solution


Creating Simple Masks
Adding Feather
Modifying Masks
Editing Mask Points
Selecting Multiple Points
Deselecting Points
Adjusting Bezier Curves
Mask Interaction Multiple Masks
Drawing Masks with the Pen Tool
Learning to Trace with the Pen Tool
Freeform Drawing with the Pen Tool
Importing From Illustrator
Adding Effects
Animating the Masks

Track Mattes

Introduction to Track Mattes
Applying a Moving Luma Matte to a Movie
Pre-Composing to Add Effects
How the Mattes Were Created
Replacing Mattes
Improving the Bad Design
Alpha Track Mattes

Transfer Modes

Introduction to Transfer Modes
Dropping Out White
Dropping Out Black
Inverting Line Art
Another Example of Dropping Out White
Adding Effects
Creating the Look of Heaven / Film / Instant Sex Photoshop Example
Some Alternatives
Using it in After Effects
Color Boost Defeating JPG Artifacting
Color to Black and White Fade
Difference Trick
Compositing Stock Effects Over Footage with Screen and Add Modes
Compositing Smoke Using the Screen Mode


Introduction to Audio Formats / Sample Rates and Bit Rates
Importing Audio
Previewing Audio
Previewing Shortcuts
Viewing the Waveform
The Audio Palette
Spotting Audio Setting Layer Markers
Adding a Script layer
Working with Markers in Pre-comps
Audio Effects
Stereo Mixer Effect
Looping a Music Track
Audio Fade is Not as Straight Forward as You'd Think

3D Layers

Introduction to 3D in After Effects
Turning on 3D layers: Views XYZ Handles
Rotating Along XYZ.
Customizing Keyboard Keys for Views
Difference Between Orientation and Rotation
Arranging in Space
Animating a Surreal Sky Photoshop Steps
Working with 3D Layers
Adding an Atmosphere
Final Render of Red Clouds

3D Lighting

Using Lights to Add Drama
Working in Draft 3D Mode
Using Views to Set the Scene
Adding a New Light Light Types
Positioning the New Light
Options: Intensity
Options: Color / Cone Angle and Cone Feather
Options: Shadow Controls
Example: True 3D Shadow Fall-off
Transform Properties: Point of Interest
A Note About AE 5.5
Negative Lighting
Parenting Lights

3D Cameras

Introduction to 3D Cameras
Creating a Fly-through effect
Adding a Camera
Using the Orbit: Pan and Track / Dolly Tools
Animating the Camera Setting Custom Resolution
Modifying the Motion Path
Using Roving Keyframes
Orient Layers Towards Camera
Using Multiple Cameras
Adding Depth of Field
Comparisons with and without Depth of Field
A Note About Multiple Views in After Effects 5.5


Get Excited! Expressions Are Cool
Four Basics You Must Learn
Setting Up an Illustrator Cyber-Screen
First Option Using Parenting
Better Option - Using the Pick Whip Tool to Match Properties
Basics of Java Syntax
Using Math to Alter Expressions
Linking Dissimilar Properties - Rotation to Opacity
Converting Value Ranges 100 to 360
Linking Lights and Cameras to Layers with Expressions
Orientating a Camera the Wrong Way
Orientating a Camera the Right Way with Expressions
Rendered Example
Offsetting Time Values
Efficiently Working with Null Objects

New Features of After Effects 5.5

Awesome New Features
Resetting Preferences - Tip of the Day
Automated Proxy Creation Awesome!
Details Behind Proxy Creation - Creating a Motion Proxy

New Effects

The New Effects Palette
Four Color Gradient
Roughen Edges
Cell Pattern
Advanced Lightning

New Transfer Modes

Linear / Classic /Vivid / Pin Additions and New Keyboard Shortcut

3D Enhancements

Introduction to Multiple Views
Colored Shadows Simple Example
Colored Shadows Example Two
Colored Shadows Example with Video
Rendered Example
Setup Explained - Using Expressions / Changing Lighting Settings
Creating a Reflection Effect
Rendered Example
Final Word About Colored Shadows
Adjustment Lights
How Adjustment Lights Differ From Adjustment Layers

SWF Import

Importing Files From Flash or Livemotion

Demo Tips

The Most Important Thing to Focus on
Selecting Work to Include
Tips for Motion Graphics Designers
Tips for Visual Effects Artists / Compositors
Delivery Options VHS / DVD
Targeting Your Market
Tips for the Perfectionists

End Notes

What Now?

Appendix Further Resources

Keep Moving Forward!
Some Favorite Learning Websites
Some Favorite Useful Websites
Some Favorite After Effects Books

Related Books on Adobe After Effects 5/5.5 Essentials

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