Create A Motion Comic Pt 3: Adobe After Effects | David Miller | Skillshare

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Create A Motion Comic Pt 3: Adobe After Effects

teacher avatar David Miller, Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Intro to After Effects Motion Comics

    • 2. Setting Up After Effects + Timeline + Transform

    • 3. Effects

    • 4. Adding More Layers + Setting Velocity of Keyframes

    • 5. Envisioning The Full Scene + Parenting

    • 6. Backgrounds + More Effects

    • 7. 3D Space

    • 8. Rendering + Pre Rendering

    • 9. Wrap Up

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About This Class

Welcome to another installment of my Motion Comics series, this time focusing on Adobe After Effects!  

I'll show you how I animate comic art using material pulled from public domain Golden Age comics.  

If you want to see where I got the art and how I extracted it/ prepared it for animation, check out Part 1 of my Motion Comics series using Adobe Photoshop.  

Part 2 used Adobe Character Animator, a function of of After Effects, to use motion capture technology to animate and voiceover a character with our own heads.

A few words about Adobe After Effects- this is a huge program with a ton of features and options.  In the same way Photoshop allows you to create virtually any image you can think of, After Effects lets you manipulate footage, still images like jpgs, graphics like Illustrator shapes, words, and sound all in one.  These combined elements are called “Compositions” in After Effects, and you can nest a composition within a composition, or have a sequence of compositions like any other video editor such as premiere or iMovie.  

As complicated as After Effects looks, a lot of the basic elements of layers, transformations, opacity and pixel dimensions are no different than Adobe Photoshop.  We simply have the added element of time, which means a transformation can occur over a period of time- that’s the basics of motion pictures.  If you are completely new to After Effects and want to learn more after this class I highly recommend Jake Bartlett on Skillshare, who has a lengthy list of classes regarding the topic.  

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Intro to After Effects Motion Comics: Hey there. My name is David Miller. I am a multimedia artist in Phoenix, Arizona. Welcome to part three of my Siris on Motion Comics. This section focuses solely on Adobe after effects. In Part one, we worked in Adobe Photoshopped, making frame animation and cleaning up her artwork. In Part two, we used Adobe Character Animator to control the heads and voices of our characters. Your motion capture control in this section will take the assets created in both of those programs and combined them in and aftereffects See, we'll also introduce some new methods of animating and include some special effects to the process and export our final motion comic scene. A few words about adobe aftereffects. This is a huge program, and it has a ton of features and options in the same way Photoshopped allows you to create virtually any image you can think of after effects lets you manipulate footage. Still images, graphics, words and sound all into one seat. He's combined. Elements are called compositions in after effects, and you can Nesta composition within a composition or have a secret. Some compositions, like any other video editors such as Premier or I'm movie as complicated as after effects looks. A lot of the basic elements, like layers, transformations, opacity and pixel dimensions are really no different than a double Photoshopped. We simply have the added element of time, which means that transformation can occur over a period of time. Ask the basics of motion pictures if you're completely new to aftereffects and want to learn more after this class, I highly recommend. Jake Bartlett on steel share, has a lengthy list of classes regarding the topic. Our project is to create a finalized piece of footage with sound uploaded to YouTube video and sharing link on this Kesher Project page. So with that another way, let's dive into aftereffects. 2. Setting Up After Effects + Timeline + Transform: So the first thing we're going to do in after effects is work with the assets that we already created in the previous classes, which is the character animator material and the photo shop Quick time move file that we made. If you did not take those classes, I highly recommend going and checking them out. Uh, you could still learn some information from this. So to import your character animators stuff, it was file scripts. You find your character and made our PNG sequins click wanted. Open it. Do you open my move? I'll All I have to do is file import and then find the correct file on the bottom is my project and timeline paddle. So on the bottom is my timeline panel. When I drop my footage into the timeline, you can see how long the footage is. I'm currently measuring in frames, which you can measure in seconds, and I've got my creeping hands on top of my PNG sequence of the screaming woman. So it's just like Photoshopped. Whatever layers on top is the one that's going Teoh. Whichever layer is on top is going to dominate the scene and the layers up towards the bottom where your background. You'll notice that my creeping hands dot move file is not very long. It's not long enough to cover all the frames I wanted to cover, so I'm going to right click in the project panel, interpret footage we're going toe loop it any number of times that will fill out your you're spaces. Good. I'm going to loop it five times and you can see how it stretched out. Didn't fill it all the way, but I think that's as much footage as I want anyways, So I'm going to trim this composition instead of it being as long as it currently is set up , I'm going to trim it to around where the woman's head stops moving because that's where my dialogue stopped. In character Animator compositions are these kinds of files in the project panel. You see that it looks like a little movie strip on the left. I couldn't see. My frames are ending at 296 frame to 96 so if I right click that change the duration to 296 it's going to trim my composition to be exactly what I wanted to be so that's a good set up . Now I'm going to dig into how we can transform and transformations are the same as they are in photo shop. You have scaling, rotating, warping distortions. Um, position moves it up and down side to side. We're working in two D flat animation. So you have an X axis and a Y axis. Why goes up and down X go side to side. Scaling makes it bigger and smaller. If you scale over 100% this is where you start to see pics. Elation? Uh, it might not matter. You might need to scale something really large, but if you can avoid it avoided now you can set key frames using the little stopwatch that currently I have position and scale set to blue. I click on the stopwatch. It puts a key frame, and a key frame is saying this is where I want it to be at this position in the timeline. So me share you with these hands If I want them to be in a certain position here a certain size, I clicked the stopwatch, insert the key frame 3. Effects: I'm going to make a kind of phony three D effect. I'm not going to to convert these 23 D layers, but if something is close to the camera, it's going to look out of focus. So this is the camera lens blur effect. You can manipulate your effects in that upper left panel. I'm setting key frames using the blue stopwatch on the Blur radius in the upper left panel , so it's going to appear really blurry at the beginning of my animation. And then, as the hands are supposed to get closer to her, the blur will decrease. Just like in real life. When there's a distance between things and the camera has one and focus on one out of focus , you bring those items closer together. Gradually, they'll both get in focus at the same time. I had key frames where woman's head was small and it got larger. This is implying that the hands air really creeping towards her creep creep creep. Now there are some behaviors that have animated presets to them. If you type wiggle in your effects palette, you'll see those or in the twirled on menu animation, presets, behaviors and then There's a bunch of wiggle towards the bottom. Wiggle gelatin, wiggle position, vehicle rotation. These alter randomly. Whatever layer it is you're applying the effect to so wiggle position will move it up down , side to side, and it defaults to 50 pixels. I think that's a bit much, so I'm putting something small like a five. It also has a per second, which is a default one time per second. So if you were to drag wiggle position onto your layer, it would default, legal it 50 pixels per second. And of course, you can change those parameters. Half a second or 1/4 2nd are a lot slower, and in my mind it looks a little more natural. 4. Adding More Layers + Setting Velocity of Keyframes: Kane. So I have my character animator woman face and I have my creeping hands working out really well, I'm going to import a body for the woman and try and fill out the rest of the animation. I'm going to give her some hands. This is all stuff I cut out in photo shop. And if you need help learning how to cut out these things or where to get material, go ahead and check out my first class. We cover all that in there of motion comics, so I'm gonna give her a hand. I'm gonna scale it. So it's approximately the right size to her. And then I'm going to duplicate this hand with command D, and I'm going to transform it so it flips the other direction. I'm going to give her two hands. She's gonna cover her face. I think it's a nice parallel for the monster hands that are coming towards her. And then this is rotation. Rotation revolves around an axis you can set where that access is on the upper menu. If you see the icon that's in blue currently, that allows me to move my anchor point axis around. Now the rotation is around what someone would normally have. I realize they don't have Ah, entire hands for her entire wrists, but that's part of the aesthetic of what I'm going for. So move a hand up and down, so I had to sign. Okay, let's set some key frames where we want the hands to be. So clicked the stopwatch. I click stopwatches on anything. I think I'm going to move. And if I don't end up placing extra key frames, that's okay. It's not going to affect it. You can see the path, which is that straight line right underneath the right hand. Her right hand. That's the path that the hand travels in between key frames. Once you have a past drawn, there is a pen tool, a top, which you can draw the path so it has loops. You can add extra verse, ease and curves to it. As it is, these paths are pretty straightforward. From one point to another, I'm going to space out the key frames, so not all emotion is happening at once. I want there to be a little separate rotation to when she elevates the hand. I also have to think about the logic of the scene. So where would she actually have her hands positioned as a threatening character approaches , sir, When the characters far away, she shouldn't have her hands in front of her face any city. When they get closer, she protects her face much like I have to protect my face when my dogs trying to lick me. Now we're going to make this animation look a little more fluid in life, like not so robotic. Not so much, just a straight line. And to do this, we're going to click on those key frames. We're going to hit F nine, and that is going to change the velocity that is going to create Eazy E's and Eazy E's means that it slowly goes from one came from toe another. Instead of a straight like that, there's a change in velocity. So how high the key frames I want to set Too easy. East hit F nine, Our function nine of My Mac, and then when I right click it key frame velocity, you see the influence. If you have the influence, turned up the motion between your key frames, we really fast and to get closer to the key frames. It's going to be really slow. So this is akin to a baseball player. Are excuse me? A baseball pitcher, pitching of all his arm starts off slow, gets really fast in the middle. And then as he tapers off after he's released the ball, it's going to be slow, and your characters look a lot more lifelike when the velocity of their movements has turned up. Not all movements need high velocity or changes. Of course, if you have a genuine robot character, it might make sense for their our motions to be very robotic. But for the purposes of this, I really like it. So let's check out what our animation currently looks like. 5. Envisioning The Full Scene + Parenting: Okay. At this point, I wanted to jump forward a little bit and show you where we're going because it's easier to explain what to add in what we're doing by showing you what it's going to look like. This is my idea for the finalize scene. So it's a woman in the graveyard. She has a body. She lifts her hands up to her face as the monster hands get closer and the graveyard is filled out with more comic art. And then the background sky is a time lapse of clouds that I shot with my go pro. So I'm going to solo the layers so you can see exactly what we've got in our scene. We start with the creeping hands, we have her hands. We brought in in the last lesson. We have her face, which is the PNG sequence. The body is just a simple piece of artwork that I fixed up in photo shop, also from a comic layer one in the background layer, which is that white area. Don't need it. Use the eyeball turn off. Her body is attached to the head through this mechanism called parenting. So to get her body to follow all of the positions in the scaling of her head, have to pick a good starting frame. Use the pick whip, attach it there. And now this is parented to this. It's going to follow the orders. Whatever the head does, the body is going to do the same. If the head scales, If the head changes position, then the body does the same. And if you were making an entire figure that you wanted to have rotating arms and legs, this would be the way you do it. 6. Backgrounds + More Effects: the other parts of my scene. I have a great here apart headstone here. This is my original comic art. This item is behind her incidents behind her. I wanted to continue the theme of things being out of focus in the foreground or the background. So I applied the effect camera, lens blur. Same thing I did with the hands. Just type it up here and it pops up. And if you don't remember the names of things or you want to experiment blurs air right here. The rest of the graveyard, same piece of footage, same image. The only difference is that I duplicated it and, uh, had a little bit sideways. So if I turn off the creeping hands, you can see there's a little bit of mirroring going on here. Turn that off. Turn it on. There it is. My clouds footage. This is what it originally looks like. This was just something shot with my GoPro, as I mentioned, and the effects that are applied to it. We check out effects here, camera lens blur, cause it's in the background black and white effect right here under color correction. And then this is a dream sequence where the woman is being haunted, I decided, look cooler and little more horrifying if it was inverted. And when you invert something, it switches to a negative. So going back to our original thing, let's turn off these other layers so you can see what it looks like with its effects. And by the way, the the footage that you're seeing is that quarter resolution. It's at full resolution is gonna look a lot sharper and crisper, but it's going to take a lot longer for it to render. When I switch between frames, so better do you work at half third or quarter resolution. When you're setting up your compositions, things are gonna go a lot faster when you render the final piece. Of course, it's going to render at full resolution, but in the meantime, I want to see it like this eats up a lot less RAM 7. 3D Space: this upper part camera is a virtual camera that moves around in three D space. So up until now, everything you've been viewing, everything we've been doing is working in two D space. But we are able to turn on three D layers and set up a camera that allows us to move around . So this is what the three D camera looks like. The only real difference I will select. A good point for him in working in three D space is that instead of all of your pieces flat as if they were all pieces of paper just sitting on a table, one on top of another, I can position things out into space and then have the camera move around like so so you can see how the relationship between those objects change. Let me change orientation up and down. We have interests, and it's no big deal when you do it in a single frame. But over a period of time, when the relationship between objects change, they really need effect and you conduce, um, compression. You can set up lights, which I didn't do in this particular scene, but, um, you can have shadows being cast. So in a future tutorial, get more in depth into the three D camera. As it is, I really only wanted to position the camera in here and have the three layers. So it looked like from the point of view of this monster creeping towards the woman, that there was a little bit of a bounce. So that's just a matter of having the orientation go up and down about one degree. So here's my key frames on the camera one degree up and thats zero one degree down and we'll look at the final footage and you'll see that a little bump in the footage. We'll look at the final footage and you'll see that little bump, and it will give the effect of, uh, you're from the point of view or the perspective of the monster as it approaches the wood 8. Rendering + Pre Rendering: When you have your scene the way you want it, it's time to render your composition. So there's a couple things about this one. When you have a lot of effects going on like this, it might be a good idea to pre render things. And pre rendering is where you select certain pieces pre composed. And then this is a nested composition within the greater composition. Open it pre render. This creates a new movie file that has all of these attributes, but, uh, doesn't render everything at once. If you have three D layers going on and you have lights and shadows, you might be setting yourself up for a very, very long render. So just know that that's something you can do is you can compress down into smaller compositions and render them piece by piece in this case that I'm just going to render it as is so file export. Add to render queue. Here's your render queue. When you set up your module, lossless is going to give you a quick time file that's pretty large, and I recommend you do this once you have all your little scenes and you want to put it in my movie a premiere and maybe add a soundtrack to the background that covers more than one scene. Um, then you burn it down into a smaller, compressed file that you will place on YouTube or venue for our purposes. Since we have a project that we want to you share, you can render it down into a compressed file for my options. H 264 is how you create a small, compressed file video file that's suitable for uploading to YouTube or vimeo. Re sizing. Now your artwork that you might be working with isn't necessarily going to be a, um, standard HD size file in 1920 pixels by 10 80 pixels. This is where you can fix that 1920 aspect ratio. When it's locked to. This creates UH, 10 87. That's close enough for me. Hit, Okay, and then here is your render button. It's going to take a lot of time. Probably. It's good to set your renders up for the middle of the night so you don't eat up your computer ram when you're trying to do other things. You can also run a bunch of your footage through the Render queue at a time, so Q is a line I had passing by headstones as a piece of footage. That's my woman running. Do you hear behind a headstone? At this point? There she is. I has waking up footage, all of this. I shove it in the queue. I leave it on overnight and I wake up in the morning and I have four or five new pieces of my motion con. 9. Wrap Up: So that is the end of our aftereffects segment in future classes and my delve more deeply into the three D layers and positioning of cameras and shadows, let me know in the comments, or send me some questions as to what you might want me to cover in future classes. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this series. If you haven't checked out parts one and two, go ahead and do that. Also, when you make your motion comics or any kind of animation using materials we covered, please share a link to the sketch our product page so we can all see what you've been up to . Thanks for watching and have a great day You can't