Learn The Basics Of Adobe AfterEffects To Create a Moving Portrait | Hallease Narvaez | Skillshare

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Learn The Basics Of Adobe AfterEffects To Create a Moving Portrait

teacher avatar Hallease Narvaez, Digital Storyteller, Video Producer

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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

8 Lessons (1h 47m)
    • 1. Class Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. The Interface

    • 4. Layers and Masking

    • 5. Keying and Pre Comps

    • 6. Keyframing & Rotoscoping

    • 7. Switches, Modes, & Pick Whips

    • 8. Render & Export

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About This Class

In this class, I’ll teach you the basics of navigating and working in AfterEffects. We’ll re-create a moving portrait and while doing that learn about the AfterEffects interface and some of its basic tools. This class will be great for anyone who has a firm understanding of applications that deal with layers like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fresco. This will also be a good introduction for intermediate-level video editors who have worked in Premiere Pro and want to begin experimenting with AfterEffects. That being said, I’ll try to explain things as easily and succinctly as possible for those of you with no experience in these types of applications. 

We’ll cover the following skills:

  • Creating a new project
  • Creating a new composition
  • Importing media and organizing your project
  • A brief overview of the AfterEffects Interface
  • Creating and nesting compositions and layers
  • Different layer types and their uses
  • Keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation
  • The basics of keyframing and understanding position/scale/placement in a 2D space
  • The basics of keying and masking

This class will be useful for anyone who’s curious to get their feet wet in AfterEffects but finds the program to be overall confusing and frustrating. Again, I won't teach you everything because AfterEffects is VAST but hopefully I’ll give you the vocabulary and skills to begin to utilize some of its basic functions.

For this class, you’ll need access to the latest version of Adobe AfterEffects, preferably through a Creative Cloud membership. You’ll also need an internet connection and a few gigs of space on your computer to download the footage and follow along with me as I build out the project.


Meet Your Teacher

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Hallease Narvaez

Digital Storyteller, Video Producer

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I'm a digital storyteller, video producer, and YouTuber based in Texas.  On my YouTube channel, I document my chaotic good life through documentary-style vlogs, tutorials, and reviews. I'm also the creative director of StumbleWell, my production company. We work with agencies/entities to tell their story through film and video while also creating original content. 


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1. Class Introduction: Hello everyone. I'm Hallease, a digital storyteller, video producer and YouTuber. I'm also the Executive Producer and Creative Director of StumbleWell, my production company. All that to say, I like to tell stories and my chosen medium for that is film-making and video production. I love taking a compilation of seemingly meaningless footage and turning it into some story, whether it be to document my own life and experiences on my YouTube channel or for my clients. In this class, I'm going to teach you the basics of After Effects. If you've never opened After Effects before, this will be the class for you. We'll go over how to open an organize a new project and a brief overview of the interface. We'll also go over the basics of creating a composition, messing with layers in a 2D space, the basics of keyframing, which I know can be a hard concept to understand for many, as well as some basics with keying and masking as well. Finally, I'll also touch on some basic motion graphics ideas and best practices. You'll notice I keep saying the basics with everything for this class. That's because After Effects is an incredibly powerful application with a wide array of tools at your disposal. This class is merely meant to introduce you to the application. I'll feel like I've done my job as your teacher if by the end you can open After Effects and not feel so overwhelmed and also begin to have the language and nomenclature to explore more advanced tools and skills in After Effects. I think this class will be great for creatives who have a beginner to intermediate understanding of applications like Photoshop, Illustrator or Premier Pro. Basically, any artistic application that specializes in either layers or video editing, I always describe After Effects to people as Photoshop, but for video. For our class, you will need the latest version of After Effects, ideally through an Adobe Creative Cloud membership. You'll also need an Internet connection to download the footage I've provided so you can follow along as we move through the lessons. I am so excited to get into After Effects with you. Thank you so much for interesting me with your time. Let's do this. 2. Class Project: Hello. For our class project, we're going to create a moving portrait. Over on my YouTube channel, I created this video portrait to rebrand my channel and celebrate becoming an Adobe creative resident. I'm going to show you how to take all the different video assets I created and bring them into After Effects to create this yourself. Hopefully, during this process, teach you a little bit about After Effects too. The first part of this class, we'll have a few lessons getting our lay of the land of After Effects. We'll go through the interface and focus on the panels you'll need to create the video portrait. I'm also going to go over a few keyboard shortcuts that are helpful to keep in mind as well. Similar to my lessons in Premier Pro, I'm all about the shortcuts whenever possible, they help you work faster. It's a fact, they really do. From there, we'll use some of the different assets I've provided to show some of the capabilities of the program that I think can be really helpful for people who are beginning to dabble in it. Until finally, in the latter half of the lesson, we'll go through and build out the portrait. Remember, like in other applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, there are a ton of different ways to do everything I'll cover through the lessons, and there's no wrong way to do it. If you figure out a faster way to do things or a way that works better for you, awesome. Excel past me in the program, please. I like to say to people, I know enough After Effects to be dangerous. That's it. If you haven't downloaded After Effects yet and the footage as well, go do that, and with that, let's get started. 3. The Interface: Lesson 1, let's do this. Go ahead and open up After Effects. If the home screen doesn't show up for you, you can click this little button in the top left-hand corner, that is, the home screen. Let's see here on the home screen for a second because I want to bring this to your attention. Over here is the learn feature within Adobe After Effects. Don't get me wrong. Happy you're here hanging out with me learning After Effects from me, but don't sleep on these in-app tutorials that are available. This home screen should also look really familiar to you if you're coming into After Effects from other Adobe products like Premiere Pro and Photoshop as well. Again, check this out, This home screen can be incredibly helpful. Since we're going to start with a brand new project, Let's go ahead and hit that at the top, "New Project". That'll bring up an empty After Effects projects. The first thing I always tell people to do is save. Let's go ahead and go through that real quickly as well. File, Save As, Save As. I'm just going to save my project to the desktop. I've created a folder on my desktop called intro to After Effects, and I'm just going to put it here. Again, it's really important to organize your footage and figure out how you want things to go. I'd also recommend maybe putting the footage that you download from me into this folder as well if you want to do that. I'm going to rename my project to be just practice project. I'm going to create a subfolder in here called After Effects as well. Again, this is just how I roll. Simple naming conventions and I'm going to save it there. Perfect. Now, we have saved our practice project where we want it to go. Again, I also recommend putting the assets that I will provide to you into that root folder as well so everything's organized and easy to find. Once we are officially now in our After Effects interface, we have saved our project how we want to, let's start figuring out what the heck some of these boxes are for, at least the ones that we'll use for our project. To help with understanding the interface so that we're all looking at the same layout, go ahead and come up here to the top. This is where you can find all the different workspaces available to you within After Effects, and go ahead and change it to Standard. You'll see that removed a few boxes and simplified the interface just a little bit. Again, I want everyone to have the standard layout so that way as we move through and I explain things, we're all seeing the same thing. This bar at the top is called the workspaces. Workspaces are pre-built or customizable layouts for the software based on what you're using it for. If you're coming over from other Adobe applications, workspaces should be somewhat familiar to you. Take a second and click through some of the workspaces to see how they differ from each other. You'll notice how some boxes disappear and new boxes appear as you thumb through them, so just take a second and click through them all just to see what they look like. You can also customize your workspace layouts and save them as something new. Here's how to do that. Let's click on this composition window right here. You'll know a window is active whenever this blue line is circling around that window. But let's click on it and drag it, I don't know, over here. We have now moved our composition window to this side. Again, I know you-all don't quite know what that is, but that's okay, just bear with me. You can drag windows literally to wherever you want. As you can see, I'm moving this composition around to all places just by clicking and dragging. If you have a dual monitor, for example, you can utilize both screens, different setups, all that stuff. Once you find a layout there that you really like, you can just go up to Window, Workspace, Save As New Workspace. I'm just going to call this one practice. Now, you'll see that practice shows up here. If I want to reference this layout, again, which is a pretty weird layout, but it got the point across, I can. Conversely though, if you ever move things around so much that you want to go back to the default layout for that workspace, you can reset to saved layout. Let's go to Standard, and you'll see that right now standard will still be this craziness that I just did. Let's go up to Window, Workspace, Reset Standard to save layout, and we're back to where we started. Again, for the sake of going through this interface together, let's keep it on standard for now and also makes sure that it is reset to be the saved appropriately layout if you move things around. Let's go ahead and import the footage that I've provided to you. Similarly to other Adobe products, you can literally just open it up in another folder and drag it into your project, or you can go to File and Import up at the top. I'm just going to drag and drop everything in. That's how I roll. I like doing it that way. Similarly to other Adobe applications, you can organize your assets in different folders. However, no shortcuts for this. If there are, I just don't know them, so sorry. I want to create a little bend just to start organizing this. The way to do that would be to come down to the bottom here and click Create a New Folder, it's that little folder there. I'll call this self-portrait footage. That feels good. I'll put all the footage of me in there. Then the next one I'm going to create, I'll call this camera footage. Nothing amazing, and we'll go ahead and drop those in there. Again, you can create as many folders as you like to help keep things organized, and drag and drop things into those folders. Pretty self-explanatory but worth noting. The window we just dropped everything into and organized, is called our project window. The project window is where all your assets live, your compositions, again, I know you-all don't know what those are necessarily,but we'll get there, your photos, media, everything in your project lives in the project window. Now, let's take our assets and create a composition. There's a few ways to do that. The most common way to create a new composition is to go to Composition at the top and then click New Composition, or use the shortcut Command N, Control N, if you're on a PC. This will bring up a new window. Generally speaking, you'll want your composition to be at least HD high def for the final export. Some common settings to use are HDTV 1080 29.97. That's a good place to start. I find that when I work with different motion graphics artists, they'll tend to send me a final piece that's at 29.97 frames per second, even if what I've filmed things on is at 23.97 frames per second. But again, for now and the sake of this project, don't overthink it. In fact, we're going to make a custom composition for our video portrait. Let's change our width and height to be 2304 by 1296. These are the dimensions for a 2.5k video, a little bigger than our standard 1080p video which would be 1920 by 1080. Let's make sure our aspect ratio is set to be square pixels. I'm going to keep our frame rate at what I shot the footage at which is 23.976. Let's go ahead and change this to be that. Perfect. Make sure your resolution is set to full, and then for the duration, this is a short video. We shouldn't need more than 30 seconds of timeline space. Let's come down here to Duration. Let's change that to 30.00. If you want a different background color as your base, feel free to change it, but I usually leave it black. The background color will be the base Canvas color of your composition once it's made. Again, I generally leave it black, but you can change it to something else if you'd like. Once you're ready, go ahead and call this something. Maybe let's call this the final export, because everything we create will live here. Let's call this final export and hit "Okay". Again, for those of you who have experience in Photoshop, fresco, Illustrator, think of a composition as your Canvas or artboard. The visual representation of everything you're creating. For those of you coming from a nonlinear editor like Premiere Pro or Rush, think of the composition as your program monitor. It shows you the final exported video. At least this composition will. Another way to create a composition, if you know you're going to be working with a source video and need everything to match that, is to literally drag your video material down to this little icon right here, which is the composition icon. You can see here the composition we just created is represented by this icon. There's also the same icon represented right here. You can literally say, let's take self portrait reference 2, which brings it up in our footage window. You can click on it, hold and drag. It creates a new composition now using the same settings from that source video. A faster way to create a composition as well. Again, we're going to use the first composition we created. I'm just going to delete this one because we don't want it. Yes, I'm sure. Thank you. That being said, you'll notice that once we created our final export composition, the bottom of our screen changed. Again, for those of you coming from Premiere Pro, this should look somewhat familiar, but also a little different. This is our timeline. If our composition is the visual representation of what we're creating, then the timeline is where we build. The timeline is represented in layer mode. To show what I mean, let's drag and drop some things into the timeline and play around. Let's again, take one of our self portrait reference videos and drop it into our timeline. Click and drag. You see now as we have pulled that asset down into the timeline, it is represented as a layer in the timeline and we can see how long it is and also the color associated with it. This blue line here is our play head and we can use it to scrub through. Similar to Premiere, we hit the "Spacebar" to play. This greenlight here at the bottom as well indicates rendering. How much time it'll take to play back what you're doing at the desired frame rate that you have your overall composition set to. If you find that you're having a hard time playing things back, come up to your composition window and mess with the resolution and lower it until you're ready to play it back for quality, then bring it back up to full. Generally, when I'm doing stuff, I tend to leave my resolution pretty low at a half, at least, just for overall playback issues. Finally, to zoom in and out of your timeline, you would come down to these little mountain peaks at the bottom, drag, and there you go. You can zoom in. Also, you can use the keyboard shortcuts similar to Premiere and I believe other creative Cloud applications, the plus zooms in and the minus zooms out. There is a ton more on the timeline that I'll show you in a later lesson, for now, let's move on. Over on our right side of our screen we have the Effects and Presets, along with our library. After Effects has over 300 effects and presets. It's a lot. Like I said, this application is incredibly powerful and can do a lot. We're not going to go over all of them. There's just too many, but let's play around with one or two so you can see what's good. You know what I mean? If you're coming from Photoshop or Premiere, some of these Effects and Presets should look relatively familiar to you. Let's do a Gaussian blur onto the footage. I'm going to click into the search bar right here and I'm just going to start typing out Gaussian. There it is. We have two versions. Let's do the new one. Similarly to Premiere and other effects applications, you can just click and drag onto the layer. Let's move our play heads so we can see. Perfect. Now, you see I added that effect and nothing changed. But you probably noticed that our Effects Controls panel here to our left has appeared. Your Effects Controls panel is where you can see all the different effects you've added to an asset or a layer in your timeline. Your Effects and Presets panel is where all of the effects that After Effects has live, that you can use on different things. Your Effects Controls is where the effects you've added to something are controlled and manipulated. Just want to make sure that sinks in. Effects and Presets that is where all the different effects live in the After Effects that you can utilize. Effects Controls is where you can manipulate whatever Effects you have added to a layer already. Let's make my footage very blurry so you can see what that looks like. Again, we're over here in our Effects Controls. Let's up it to be crazy blurry. Now let's play it back. There you go. We made my footage super blurry by adding an effect to it. Now you can also make adjustments to your effects within the timeline as well. If you come down to a layer that you have an effect added onto and click this down arrow, you'll see that you have new drop-down menus that appear, the Effects and Transform. If you click on the Effects drop-down, you'll see I have Gaussian blur there, the same effects that I added in my Effects Controls panel now appear here as well. Similarly you can see the effect I've added of 33 is there as well, and I can change it here and it also appears at the top. This is just another method or way for you to control the effects you add to different layers. Some people I know really love to work from the Effects Controls Window. Other times it makes more sense for whatever reason to mess with the effects down here in the timeline itself, it really just depends on how you work. Moving right along, let's check out our Preview Window, which is over here. The Preview Window is a centralized location to adjust your playback settings. I'll go through and explain a few of these just so you know. Up here at the top, again, similarly to the space bar, you can hit "Play" and "Stop". This also allows you to go frame by frame, which is something that can be very helpful for motion graphics and animation. This also can push you to the very end of your timeline if you want. Right now, you'll see that the shortcut for spacebar is to play, we have it set to that. If you want to change it, you can. I like to keep it at spacebar. The range right now is set to the work area. Your work area right here is in the timeline and is expressed by this blue bar. You see right when I hover over it, it says work area end. You can click and drag to change what your work area is. Say you're animating something that is really intensive and you really want to focus on a certain five or 10 seconds of an area, maybe a gesture work area then to only be that section. When you're hitting playback, it keeps rolling through that. Think of your work area as your in and out if you're coming from Premiere Pro. Your frame rate, pretty self-explanatory. Then also in playback you can have it be full screen if you want. Again, different options for how to play back. This may seem like a lot, oh, my gosh, why do they have so much stuff in here around playback? When you're in motion graphics and animation and doing a lot, having these controls can be really helpful to help you work more effectively and not have to mess with so much stuff. Also, it's all about controlling your resolution and rendering times. Again, working with specific sections and only having it render certain things can be really helpful. After Effects, once again, is a very powerful tool and can do a lot. It can also eat up a lot of computing power. It can be good to have these preview window assets and tools at your disposal. The final thing I want to bring to your attention is right at the top here are the tools, mine are at the top. Again, if you're coming from other Adobe applications, a lot of these tools should look very familiar to you. As you click on different tools, other Windows will appear. Let's click on the text one. You'll notice now we have all of our character stuff and our paragraph tools are down here. Perfect. Let's click on the Pen tool. Nothing really changed, but we now have a pen. Let's click on the Square tool. Again, nothing too much changed, but we have a square tool now. Let's click on the Eraser tool. Our paintbrush came up, all our different brushes are now available to us. Similarly, when we click on the Brush tool, some new Windows pop up. Stamp tool, again, bringing up our paint brushing. Let's click on Rotoscoping. Fun. Let's go back to our Selection tool, which is just the V key. All that to say, your layout does respond to you as you're working on things to help you out, which is cool. That's this lesson. I wanted to give you just a brief overview of the interface and the main panels we'll be using to create our video portrait. Go ahead and continue to mess around with things and experiment as much as you want. Before you move on to the next lesson, make sure to import all the rest of the assets I have provided to you into your project Window and organize them however you want if you haven't already imported them. Then go ahead and reset your comp to be blank. Make sure anything that you have in the bottom here is gone so that way we're all starting on the same page. I'll see you in the next lesson. We're going to start messing around with layers and masking. 4. Layers and Masking: Welcome back. Before we begin, make sure you've cleared out any assets in your timeline for our 2.5 K comp we built in the last lesson. This lesson is going to be another jam-packed lesson. We're going to start to build out the background, play around with some gradients, and play around with keying and masking me as well. Let's get into it. A composition in your timeline is made up of different layers. In the first lesson, I showed you how a video layer can be represented in the timeline, but there are four other types of layers you can create in After Effects to use in your compositions. Those are video and audio layers, solid color layers, layers for function like cameras, lights, adjustments, and null objects, it's okay if you don't know what any of that is, synthetic layers that can hold a visual element like a shape or text, and then finally, there's pre-comp layers which are similar to nesting, if you've worked a bit in Premiere Pro. The layer types we'll be using for our project will be video audio, obviously, solid color, and we'll do a pre-comp one too, just so you can see what that does and how that can help as your composition becomes more epic. Obviously, there are more layer types in the Layer menu, but remember, we're just getting our feet wet with this class. We're just trying to learn enough after-effects to be dangerous, that's it. Remember, you can think of layers in the same way you think of layers in Photoshop as well. Compositions can contain literally thousands of layers. Re-add my video layer to your composition. I'm going to use self-portrait reference 1 as my video layer. Go ahead and re-add it. It doesn't need to be amazing. Just drop it into your timeline. We're going to mess with it later. Let's go ahead and create a solid layer to be our background. To create a color solid layer, you'll need to go to layer, new, solid, very simple. Or you can use the shortcut Command Y, Control Y. This will bring up your solid settings box. This is the same idea as a color map and Premiere Pro as well. To start off, let's use our eyedropper to get relatively close to our background, and then we'll hit "Okay". Let's see here. We're just going to click wherever, it doesn't need to be amazing, and then hit "Okay". Perfect. You notice I didn't change any of the other settings because generally when you create a solid, it's going to take on the properties of the composition. You see now a few things have changed. One, we have our solid represented in our timeline and in our comp as well. Two, if we go into our project panel, you'll now see that we have a new folder bin that is called solids. When you create a new solid, they're placed into this folder, so you can reference them again later and not need to create them over and over again, if it's the same solid color, so very helpful. They just throw them into this folder for you. Now, we want me to be on top of the background. We're just literally going to click on my layer and drag up. That way, I am now on top. As an aside, this class is focusing on working in After Effects in a 2D space. Similar to Photoshop and Premiere, the order of your layers will matter. But After Effects can work in a 3D space as well. If you want to play around with 3D space in After Effects, you'll need to turn the layer into a 3D layer by clicking on this little cube. You'll see that mine actually isn't represented, the cube isn't there. What I'm going to do, is I'm going to toggle switches and modes. That brings up a different menu system within the timeline. In order to make a layer, a 3D layer, I would just click on this little cube to convert my layer into a 3D layer. You'll see now we have our x, y, and z rotations available. Something that's really interesting about After Effects is that you can have 3D layers and 2D layers in the same comp at the same time, which can sound weird, but there are indeed times when that makes a lot of sense to have that mix and matching of 2D and 3D space. If you're interested in learning about how to manipulate things in a 3D space, let me know down in the reviews and the comments of the class below. But again, this class will be all about 2D. I'm going to go ahead and turn these back off so that way, everything is back in a 2D space. I just wanted to make sure you all are aware that is where that is. Now, let's manipulate my solid layer by adding a four-point gradient. Because as you can see, if you look at my footage on top of the solid background, the way I've filmed it, I didn't light it quite as perfectly as you should. You can see that there's a bit of a gradient happening with this solid color background that I have behind me. I just noticed that my layout, even though it's in standard, I have a whole bunch of other stuff showing up. Let's go ahead and go to workspace and reset my standard saved workspace. There we go. We're going to head over to effects and presets, and we're just going to start to type in gradient. As you can see, where is it? There it is, four color gradient is right there. Again, we're going to click and just drag it onto our solid. When we do that, we are blinded by day glow, as you can see. Things to note here. Effects that you add to solid layers can change the base color of a solid layer. Now, sometimes you do need a solid color, so that's why I showed you that. But we're going to now go into our effects controls and pick the four colors of my footage to match the slight variations of our solid layer. Before we do that, let's officially rename our layer though to be background. This is really easy. All you do is have your layer highlighted, hit the "Enter" key, and then we're going to type in background, and then we'll hit "Enter" again. This can be really helpful so that way, you can start to rename things, so that way everything is just easier to understand where things are at. But if for some reason you ever do need to know what the source name of your layer is, just click "Layer Name" here, and that toggles it between what the source name is and what you've maybe renamed it. You see self-portrait reference 1 is in brackets because that's actually the source name of the layer, it's not actually a layer name that I have given it. In fact, we can go ahead and change this to be Hallease, just so it's easier. Now, let's go ahead and change our colors so we can get rid of this day glow. Again, I'm going to highlight the background layer and then with each color, I'm going to take the eyedropper and pick in the realm of the main color of that area. This doesn't need to be perfect. We're going to mess with it again later. Let's do that. That feels better. Then our second color, the green, we're going to go right here. Again, this doesn't need to be perfect, we're going to do more with it, but just to get a rough idea. Then our blue. Yeah, that's pretty good. We're starting to imitate the subtle variations again in our background. Now that we've gotten our background colors changed, let's go ahead and change my position in the frame. You'll notice that we have space right here where I'm cutoff. If we actually move forward with the project, it will be a little weird. Let's go ahead and move me down to the bottom of the comp, like we would probably want. If you're someone who's watching this lesson and you're a little bit familiar with Premiere Pro, if you wanted to change the position of something, we would usually go to the effects controls panel over here to do that. Well, in After Effects, things like scale, rotation, position, all of that is actually done directly in the timeline under transform. If we come down here to the timeline and we click this down arrow, you'll see transform is here and there are all our basic motion controls like position, scale, rotation, opacity, and adjusting the anchor point. Again if you are coming from Premiere, this should look pretty familiar to you Another thing that's worth mentioning though is that you can go and do this manually by clicking the arrows. But again, we are all about the keyboard shortcuts here, so let's learn the transform shortcuts real quick. Let's go ahead and have this highlighted first. Position is just the P key, and you see when we click that, it removes all the other transform features and only has position there. Rotation is R. Scale is S. Anchor point is A, and then finally, opacity, is not what you would think and most people would think it's O, but it's actually T. Think of opacity as transparency and that should help you remember that. Now you'll notice when I did hit each key, the other thing was removed. If I hit P, it only has the position, nothing else. If I hit T, it's only opacity and nothing else. But there may come a time when you want to adjust multiple things at once. The way to do that is to hold down shift whenever you push the next key. Right now we are on opacity so I already pushed T. Let's say I want to bring up the position as well, I'm going to hold down shift P and now the position and the opacity are both there for me to mess with. Again whenever you want multiple transformation tools to appear, then just hit "Shift" and then you can bring that up. So I just hit "Shift A" to bring up the anchor point and leave whatever other transformation tools were already up. If I just hit "S" now everything goes away and it's just scale. Again, I'm trying to show you all these shortcuts because I think they are really important to know. But something else you can do is you can highlight multiple layers and with multiple layers highlighted, bring up the transformation tools in multiple layers simultaneously and adjust them simultaneously. With both layers highlighted now, I'm going to hit "S" and that brings up the scale for both T, P, same thing. Now if I hit "Shift T" it brings up the opacity for both. Again, trying to help you be able to adjust things relatively quickly in the program. These quick shortcut keys are, I think really important to know. They really help speed things up. With all that being said, now let's hit the P key officially to mess with the position of me in the Hallease layer, and then let's take R, was that y-axis I believe? And bring me down to where I kiss the bottom of our composition frame. It's okay if I probably go a little bit under just to make sure we don't miss a pixel layer or something, but that looks pretty good. Remember, you can always slide and toggle these just by clicking and holding or you can type things in as well if you want. Whatever floats your boat. Unless I'm trying to be precise, I usually just drag things to be the position that I want. Now we need to blend me with the background a bit better. It's still very obvious as you can see, that I'm not one with the background, so let's create a mask on my video layer. There are a few ways to create a mask. The two main ways are using the pen tool or the shape tool. Those are the ways that most people do it. I'll show you both. The keyboard shortcut for the shape tool is Q. If I hit "Q" and I make sure that my layer is the active layer in my timeline, I can then just click and drag, and I have made a shape layer. I can also adjust what type of shape that is just by toggling through Q multiple times. As you can see over here in the corner, you can see that as I hit "Q", I go through each of them. You can also always just come up here and click on it as well. But you know me, we're all about shortcuts here so yeah. As you can see, once I created this first initial mask, it is now represented inside my Hallease layer at under the subheading masks, mask 1. You can have multiple masks in a single layer, just make sure to deselect and then draw as many as you want. They will all be represented by different color codes, so that way you can adjust each of them however you want to. The other thing you can do is you can also change the shape layers themselves within a mask. Let's mess with mask one for example. To do that we just going to make sure that we are back using our selection tool which is the V key. Then we can literally just move them around. Say I want to adjust this corner, I can just click and move it wherever I want. You can start off with a traditional shape and then end up creating a mask that's completely not a traditional shape. Similarly to Premiere and also Illustrator, or Photoshop, you can also change whether a mask can be subtracted, added, lightened, all different things that should be relatively familiar to you again if you're coming from other applications that specializes in layering and masking. That is how to create a mask using a shape tool. Let's go ahead and delete all of our crazy shape masks there, so we're back to square 1. Now, let's utilize the pen tool to make a mask. In After Effects the pen tool is G, that's the shortcut. There you go. Then of course again, if you keep hitting G, you will toggle through the mask feather tool as well, but we're just using the pen tool for now. Again, with me highlighted, let's go ahead and sort draw a mask around me. I'm going to go ahead and move my play head to when I'm the most epically spread out in the frame, which is right about here, it looks like, and let's go ahead and start drawing our mask. With a pen tool you're just going to click once to begin, and then wherever you click next, it will begin to build your mask out. We're going to try to not clip my hair too much. Then when you're ready to close out your shape using the pen tool, you just connect and we now have a loose pen tool mask around me. Were still not blending in very well. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and open the drop-down for my mask that I've created and I'm going to feather it, just a smidge. I'm going to feather it as much as I can get away with feathering it. Let's do that. Then let's go to our selection tool by hitting the V key and then let's try to adjust to catch most of my hair at this point. That's pretty good. We can also select the pen tool again, which I said was the G key and we can add another dot right there and stretch it out. As I just showed you, you can add more points if you need to. From there we can also make little adjustments if we want as well. You see when I pull this up since we feathered our mask, you lose me here. Let's keep it to where it's all the way off the frame so that way we don't lose any of the bottom of my shirt. I think that's pretty good. Let's scrub through the play head real quick. We lose some of my hair again just a little bit, but I think for the purposes of this, it'll be fine. I don't think people would really notice, you know what I mean, so I'm good with that. With that being done, now that we've tweaked it, now, I want to go back into our background and I want to make some further adjustments to really blend this in well. I'm going to start again just, there we go, kind of eyedropper, messing around to see how close we can blend this, how seamlessly we go. That's actually looking pretty good. That's not too bad. I'm going to adjust my mask because I notice that we could see the cut right there. I don't know if you'll be able to see it on your screen, but I can see the cutoff of the video because I've feathered it so much. I want to just come in here and not screw the whole thing down. I'm going to hit the V key to go back to my selection tool. There we go. Now, push that down just a little bit to get it away from there. Again, I can see it on my screen you may not see it on yours. Then now let's scrub through. That's not too bad. We can play around, we could keep playing with this all day if we wanted to. But again, I'm pretty cool with the hair getting a little bit feathered out. I feel pretty good about that. If you haven't already, go through and do everything I just did. Create a mask and then adjust your background layer colors to match as well as you can, play around with it. This looks pretty good. By the way, I think we could totally move forward with this. But again, the point of this is to teach you a bit about After Effects. In the next lesson what I think we are going to do is we are going to play around with actually keying out of all my background altogether so that way we can just have the cleanest version possible. To emphasize what I'm saying here, I'm going to go ahead and hide the background layer. In the next lesson, what we're going to do is we're literally going to get rid of all of these tophi around me by keying it out. I think this is something that can be really helpful for people learning After Effects. Because this is something you'll probably use a lot if you bring different PNG and JPEG assets into After Effects to manipulate. Generally speaking, you build things in After Effects from other assets and you need to isolate those assets, remove parts of those assets, etc. In the next lesson, we're going to learn all about keying. I'll see you over there. 5. Keying and Pre Comps: Welcome back. Let's hop right into this Keying and Pre-Comps. Keying is the act of defining transparency by a particular color value or a luminance value. In other words, getting rid of a certain color in an asset. Let's try and key out as much of my background of this video clip as possible so I fit better into the artificial background we've created through our gradients. If we head over to our Effects and Presets and type in key, you'll see a ton of different keying options start to show up in After Effects. Each has a different function, so let's say you've started to play around with green-screen effects, for example. There's actually a really great beginner class on that here on Skillshare using DIY Green Screen. It's by, I believe Paul Trillo hopefully I'm saying his name right. You should definitely check it out if you can. But if you were taking that class, for example, then you'd probably want to use, I would guess the keying green blur right here and probably a little bit of key light 1.2. To clean up my background, we're going to use the option Linear Color Key. We're going to actually be really basic about it so we're just going to use that one right there. Go ahead and add it to your video so let's throw it on me. This is one of the more simple color keying options, and you'll see in just a second why green screen and blue screen are the colors used the most when filming to key out backgrounds and other things. Over in the Effects Controls panel, let's start to play around with the footage and get rid of this background. You see over here in our Effects Controls, we have all the different things we can start to mess around with. You can see that the key color is already set to blue, which again, you can see it's a very vibrant, epic blue. It's a type of blue you would use generally for keying things out if you go into production knowing you're going to do that. Obviously, we don't want that color because as you can see, nothing's being taken away. It's such an obscure color that generally speaking unless you actually film with that color in mind, nothing will get removed, that shouldn't get removed. We're going to take our eyedropper and just click and voila. As you can see, it got a lot of the background to go away, but you'll notice it also took that color out of my shirt a little bit and also out of my face right here a little bit as well. That's because this toffee orange color, that is my background is within the skin hues of almost like literally anybody who isn't maybe an alabaster god or goddess. See what I mean? Most people across a variety of skin tones is going to have some hue version of what our background is, which again is this toffee color. As you can see, since I didn't go into filming this thinking I would be keying out backgrounds and stuff. I just picked a color that I felt complimented my skin tone and complemented what I was doing. Let's start to tweak it a bit and let's just see how much we can tweak to make this work. Let's have it be not so accurate and change the matching softness down to maybe like 5 percent. That brings back a bit more of my skin, as you can see at the top, it more or less brought back most of my shirt. But you can also see I'm still missing color right in the palm of my hand because again if you look at the palm of my hand, it's about that shade so not too bad. But hopefully, by seeing this you're again, realizing why if you do want to go into After Effects to key things out and remove things this is a prime example of why green screen and blue screen are the industry standard. This is a prime example of why. Anyway, we're going to make the best of it though, it's going to be fine. I think this is going to be about as good as I'll be able to make it. But something we can keep in mind for this is I actually think we can just use a mask to fix this. Because we don't want the key to focus on my face and body. We just want it to focus on catching the background around my hair and outside of my physical body shape. Let's copy and paste this layer. Copy and then Command C, Control V, paste Command V, Control V on a PC. Now we have two versions of me. Let's remove the key from the top layer of me. Right now we have the second version of me highlighted, we're going to go ahead and remove our key from it, and you can either click up here, hit "Delete", or Command Z to bring it back real quick. You can also delete the effect within the drop-down as well within your timeline to remove it. Our top layer now does not have the keying on it. Our bottom layer, however, which is the same thing does. Now, let's adjust these top layers mask to only cover my physical body. We don't care about the hair anymore. Let's adjust it, so the way we're going to do that is we're going to click to isolate this and then click again to now start to move it. Again, we're just going to adjust this to only really cover me. We don't really care about the hair anymore we just want to make sure that our keying only affects everything past my physical shape essentially and you see we're losing color right here again so that's sketchy out, right about there. Let's go there. Let's scrub through a little bit. Yeah, so for the most part my top layer is always there and I never lose color now. Perfect. Adjust the feathering, anything else you want to do, I think right now I have my feathering crazy high, 164. Let's drop that down to 96. There we go, so that way it's staying a little bit more tight into it because remember we also have a second layer of me that is also feathered with a mask and there you go. That looks pretty good. Let's turn our background back on, and now let's play it back. We're losing me right there. It's this one, our top Hallease, and let's click to isolate, and now let's stretch it out so we never lose the bottom of me. We're going to need to stretch it out quite a bit. Let's go ahead and hit G to bring up our pen tool. Let's add a layer right there. Now you'll notice the first time I brought up my pen tool to adjust my mask, you'll notice I actually had these little side stretching tools to actually make the mask start to curve if I wanted to. That can be something that's really helpful, I'll show you again. The way you access that is you click and then drag. Now you can also start to make your mask have different curvature shapes as well. Which can be really helpful if you're trying to mask out a certain shape like a circle, things like that. I usually for stuff like this when I'm building, I don't usually need that, but again, it's something that can be very helpful. I think that's pretty good. Let's hit the V-keys, so we bring back our just general selection tool, and then let's click away, so that way our layer isn't highlighted, so we can just see everything with nothing covering. It play it back. Now I think this looks pretty good. Actually I think we did a pretty good job. If you need a pause to mess with yours a little bit, go ahead and do that now. When you're ready, go ahead and resume and move forward. You've resumed, so hopefully yours looks something like mine. Now remember how we talked about the different compositions you can create. I'm going to show you another version that's used a lot in after effects to help with organization, and building graphics on top of each other. It's called the pre-composition or pre-composing. If you've worked in Premiere Pro, think of a pre-comp as nesting very similar concept. Where you can essentially take a sequence, and bring it into another sequence, and then when you click on that original, that new clip it just takes you back to that original sequence, so you can make adjustments to it without disturbing your final piece. Pre-comps, essentially act as the same thing. Let's create a pre-comp of our two self portrait clips. That way they're always together in our main composition. Highlight both, have both of them highlighted, and then the shortcut to create a pre-comp is Shift Command C, or Shift Control C. That'll bring up your new pre-compose window. Since we have more than one layer highlighted and they have effects on them, the only option is to move them to a new composition. Which we want to do anyway, so it's fine. Let's go ahead and name it for redundancy sake, Hallease. I also want to go ahead and adjust the composition duration to the timespan of the selected layers. The default setting usually is that this is not selected, and I'll go ahead and show you what happens. It creates a new layer with a pre-comp, that is the same length as the entire thing. Which in some instances can be very helpful. But for the sake of this project, actually we do want to know more or less where the footage ends. I'm going to command Z, Control Z to undo that pre-comp I created. I'm going to Shift Command C again, to bring up the comp window Shift Command C, Shift Control C if you're on a PC. Then I'm going to click this box, adjust composition duration to the timespan of the selected layer. Again, I'm going to rename this Hallease for the sake of redundancy, and then we're going to hit, "Okay". Now you see the pre-comp layer that has been created is now the duration of what my original video clips were. Again, you can see how that could potentially be pretty helpful, depending on what type of project you're working in. Which is why I wanted to show it to you. If we go into our project now, we'll see that we have a hallease composition now, because we just created it. We have our final export, which is what we're working on right now, and we have our hallease one. Something I tend to do and something that a lot of animators and motion graphics artists that I work with do, whenever they package a projects to give them to me. Is they put all of their pre-comps in a separate folder. I'm going to go ahead and do that now for the sake of organization and just to get you all into that mindset. Again, to create a new folder, come down here to the folder icon, click, and most of the time everyone calls it pre-comps, or some variation of the word pre-composition. Then I'm going to throw hallease in there. Because generally speaking, when you're trying to organize a project that maybe you might want someone else to work on, or again, you might want to come back and reference it at some point. Organizing your stuff, I think can be really helpful. It already creates a solids folder for you, which is great. We have our self portrait footage, that I've given you. We have our pre-comps folder now where we're throwing that, we will have our final export just out and generally if you're buying templates for after effects and things like that. They'll have the final export or final render just be a composition that's out. Then the camera footage I gave you, which we haven't done anything with yet. Here is what we're looking like. Now that we have our pre-comp created, I wanted to bring your attention to the effects controls panel for this pre-comp. Notice, there's nothing there now. Because this pre-comp has no effects added onto it. However, though, if we double-click, now we go to the two versions of me and you see a new timeline has opened up. These are the two versions of me, and if we click on these layers, we see our different effects controls. We see our linear color key on this one, and then on this top one, remember there's no effects on it, but it does have a mask on it. Now we see them, and that's where these effects are. They now live inside of this pre-comp layer. Hopefully that makes sense. Now, let's say I want to take this hallease just to prove this point of pre-comps and how they work. I'm going to hit the P-key to bring up position here. I'm going to move this top layer of me over to the right. Now we just randomly have two versions of me in this pre-comp. When I go to the final export, you see it is now reflected there as well. But again, nothing else is happening now say I wanted to move both of these. We're going to hit the P-key again. I want to move everything that is within this pre-comp I've created. Now I can do that. You can see it has now moving both of them together. Command Z, Control Z to undo that. I'm going to undo what I did in there too. There we go. Do you see now how you can begin to build things on top of each other. You can work in design and create things in a pre-comp, and then have that pre-comp live in your main composition and do something else. For example, say you download or create a little car, and that car its own pre-comp, you built it in that pre-comp. You then bring it into your main composition which maybe has a background and a road, and street, and all that stuff. Then you want to animate that whole car to drive down that road. That whole car is a pre-comp. You can now focus on just messing with the position rotation scale of all of it together. It can be a little overwhelming to understand the concept of pre-comps, but once you start to mess with them is once you start to focus on working in multiple layers. Pre-comps can be really, really, really helpful. With all that being had said, make sure you have your two halleases built, put them into a pre-comp, and then go ahead and organize your project panel as well, so that way you're good to go. All right, In the next lesson, we're going to start adding our cameras into the project, and we'll continue to build on everything we've learned thus far in after effects. Before you move forward, again, I know I'm beating a dead horse, but again, make sure you've got your background done. I'm in the frame wherever you want me to be, with my background keyed out, and also that you've pre-comp to me as well. I will see you in the next lesson. We're going to be doing key-framing and a bit of rotoscoping. See you over there. 6. Keyframing & Rotoscoping: Now we're going to start to put in all of the cameras that are surrounding me in the background. You'll see what the footage I provided that I have given you clips called camera 1, 2, and 3 selects. Each of these videos has a combination of clips of me throwing different cameras in slow motion for you to now add to our composition. To do so, we're going to utilize everything we've learned in this lesson already. Layering, masking, composing, and now keying. Let's add our first camera. I'm going to go ahead and find an option from the camera 1 selects by bringing it down into our timeline under me. I'm just going to go ahead and have it highlighted and literally drag it down. You'll notice I dragged it down under me, but on top of our solid. Remember we're working in a 2D space for this project so the order of the layers does matter. In this project, I had all the cameras flow behind me, but in front of the background. You'll notice that where I put my camera selects layer is again, behind me are at least comp that we built in the last lesson, but in front of our solid digitally created background layer. Now just FYI, I put multiple options in each video clip, but we just want to focus on one. Let's shorten this layer to be exactly the section we want. We can do that in a few ways. The first shortcut to shorten the clip is option open bracket and then option close bracket for the ending. Let's do that now. In fact, let's go ahead and get rid of me so we can see what we're doing. Let's find a camera select we want. There's one. Let's have it start right when it enters the frame. To start our clip there, we're going to hit Option, Open bracket, and you see that scoots it down now. You can still see that there is technically other things there but we're only utilizing or seeing the start of this layer right at this moment. We're going to have a go all the way until at least frame. You see we go to black because I give you some black space in-between each one. Let's have it end right there. Again, option close bracket to now have this be our select. Now you see we have this going only two seconds into our start. Let's go ahead and have this start right at the beginning. To do that, we're going to hold down Shift as we click and drag, so that way it snaps right to the front. Another way you can do this if you don't like using the option bracket option, you can also split a layer as well. Let's go ahead, Command V, Control V on that. Let's say I wanted to split it right here. The way I would do that would be Shift Command D, or if you're on a PC, Shift Control D. You see now it has split my layer right where my play head is into two separate things. This is another way you can do it. Then you would just delete the bits you don't want. Those are two different ways to pick selects from a layer that you're using for the composition. We've got our selection we want to use. Now, let's more or less get it into position. Remember the shortcut for position. It's the P key on your keyboard. I also want to go ahead and turn me back on now so I can see where the camera is in relation to me. It looks like it's about directly behind me, so let's move it out of the way. Let's get it over to the left a bit. Nice. Then let's also get down a bit. I'm going to make it so we're completely removing my hands from the situation. Now let's play it back. You see my hand just a little bit of a tip there. Let's get in there. Now, let's add a mask using our pen tool. Remember the shortcut for that is G. We're going to go ahead and have it be more or less when it's at its highest point. Let's say there. This mask is just to more or less just get rid of all the excess. It doesn't need to be too amazing. This mask, just really basic. Great. Looks good. Let's get rid of as much of the background as we can by using our key, which is actually still highlighted here, linear color key. Let's throw it on here. Then let's more or less pick a background. That's cause the softness to drop a little bit. That helps to bring a lot of the camera back, which I like. Let's play it back. This looks pretty good. Actually, I don't need that. Let's click away so we can see it without anything. It looks pretty good. Don't hate that. Let's see. You know what else I'm going to do here just to make sure with our mask, let's go ahead and feather it. Just to be sure, it's still like a gradual thing. We're still getting a little bit of my finger right there. Let's go back into position P key for position. Just get rid of my finger. There we go. That looks pretty good. Now, depending on how well you picked the color for your linear key on the camera right now, it might still be a bit obvious to you when the clip ends and when it starts like there's just this pop of color that appears. Let's see if we can see it on mine, we might. Yeah. You may not see it on your end, but on my end, I can see that right when the clip ends, it pops away and we get back whatever the base space gradient is that we created. It's just slightly off on the color. The way to fix this would be to use keyframes to mess with the opacity, to have it gradually appear and gradually disappear. I'm going to show you how to do that now. In the process, we're going to learn all about keyframes. Basically what we're going to do is we're going to create a fade using keyframes. Before we get into creating this fade, a little bit about keyframes. Keyframes are used to set parameters for motion, effects, audio, and many other properties, usually changing them over time. A keyframe marks the point in time where you specify a value for a layer property such as the spatial position, opacity, or audio. Values between keyframes are interpolated. In other words, they assume going from one value to the next. When you use keyframes to create a change over time, you typically use at least two keyframes. One for the state at the beginning of the change and then one for the state at the end of the change. All of that snazzy talk is to say that keyframes are more or less how you create the motion in motion graphics. If you're coming from Premiere, you'll recognize the stopwatches for keyframes. I'll bring them up right now. Remember we have our camera 1 selected and we're going to mess with the opacity in just a second. Go ahead and hit the T key to bring it up. That brings up our opacity. This little stopwatch here is how you toggle keyframes on and off. You'll also notice that even in our effects, within our effects controls, we have these stopwatches again. Again, you can keyframe things to change. Maybe your color key starts off being key this color, and then you activate keyframes and you change it to then start to key out another color. You can usually keyframe most effects, if not all, in After Effects. Let's go ahead and create just a simple fade on our camera video clip in this layer will fade it in and out by using keyframes. Again with your clip selected, go ahead and hit the T key if you haven't already to bring up our opacity. We want it to be at 100 percent or at full capacity right before the camera comes into frame. Let's find that spot right about there. It needs to be at 100 percent right there. We don't want it to still be fading in when the camera is already in frame because then that'll mess up the illusion that we have around the cameras just appearing from all over the frame. Right about here, then we're going to activate our keyframes by hitting our stopwatch. You'll see now there's a little blue diamond right there. The value of that little blue diamond now is 100 percent. Now, leading up to this, we don't want it to be at 100 percent. We want to fade in. We're going to move our play head like I just did back to the beginning of the clip. We're going to now change this value to be zero. Voila, you see that since I touched the values here, the percentage, a new keyframe was created because I have now changed what I want to start. Remember in the definition I gave earlier of keyframes, usually, you at least have two. Right now we have a keyframe right here saying this clip needs to be at zero percent transparency or opacity at the start, and then by this next keyframe, it needs to be at 100 percent opacity. Then again, like I said, in the center, it interpolates what the keyframes are doing. If we actually show, we can see our number here right at the corner, it is figuring out how much time it would take to linearly make it go from zero to 100 within the time allotted. Now let's say I'm moved to this keyframe all the way over here to two seconds, you see it's going to take that much longer for it to get finally to a 100, and once it gets to that 100, it just stays there indefinitely until I add another keyframe. Very simple. We just created a fade using keyframes. If you really want to see it in action, let's get rid of our background so you can see it. There we go. You see how you see it come up in the beginning. One more time. Now that look good. Let's get to the end and let's fade out as well so we don't have that harsh drop, and here's what I mean by that harsh drop. Now that we have the background gone, you can see it. See how it just popped away? We want to get rid of that. We want it to be a gradual fade away so that way no one ever really notices that we've got tons of layers going on here. By the time we're done, you'll have tons of layers. Let's go right when the camera is just out of frame, so right there. Remember, right now with our keyframes, we're at 100 percent opacity because that's what our last keyframe value was. Now we're going to hit our diamond again because from here to here, we want it to stay 100 percent. We want to see the camera the entire time. Now from here to the end, we want it to fade. We're going to move our play head to about the end and then we're going to hit our diamond in the corner to create a new keyframe. Or you can, instead of hitting that diamond, you can also just change the value and that'll create a new keyframe as well. Now from these two, it goes from 100 down to zero, and you see how it faded away to there. Now we play it back. It's a way more smooth transition. Again, this is the idea around motion and motion graphics. Let's turn our background back on. You have now just created keyframes, very simple keyframes, but keyframes. Something I will say is after playing this back, you'll see we're still losing a bit of information on our camera because of our linear color key that we used. Again, I picked a color that is not good, not conducive at all for keying in the long run because most objects have some variation of this hue in them. With this, we can technically do what we did before with me, we can copy this again, so Command C, Command V, Control C, Control V on a PC to create another layer of this exact same thing and then we can go ahead and remove our keying that we did on this top layer of the camera only. We can come up here to our linear color key and just delete it. Then what we can do is we can now create a new mask on just this top layer for our camera. What we're going to do is now we can hold the G key to bring up our pen tool, and let's just loosely create a layer around our camera cover, and mostly this top part because that's where we were losing a good bit of the information. It doesn't need to be perfect. Voila. As you can see, we get a lot of our color back. If we take this layer away, you see how much of it we lose right there. Let's click away so you can really see it. That's with our top layer off. That's with it on. You see how we get some more of that silvery shininess of the camera on top. Nice, it's adding something for sure. Now, remember, we also don't need to have this mask here anymore. Let's go ahead and delete that. Yes, and there we go. Now remember, with me when we were designing mine, when we did our pre-comp layer, I didn't move too much. It was fine to just have the mass more or less be in the general area in that workout. But this, it's moving. You'll notice you can see where our mask still is. It doesn't follow the camera, so our mask needs to move. The way we can do that is by using keyframes. Here we go. Let's see. My originally, yeah, it looks like I amassed it right at that point. We're going to go to mask path here and then we're going to turn on our keyframes from mask path. Now right at this moment, we have created where this mask should be. The next thing we need to do now is go frame by frame and move the mask to match. I'm going to do this a couple of times for you just so you can see it. But let's go real quick. I'm going to go up to our preview window here and I'm going to go to the previous frame. I'm going to go like three or four frames, because again, remember it'll interpolate in between the key frames. Now I'm going to move the whole mask down. You see how when I do that, a new keyframe is presented in our mask path. I'm just going to keep doing this. Remember this is getting really into the weeds a little bit of just wanting to have that shininess of the top of the camera be present. Now let's play it back. Let's play it back so we can actually see our mask. There we go. You see our mask has followed our camera all the way up, and then it stops here because I haven't animated it yet. Let's animate it the rest of the way. Why not? Obviously, it's not the best, but that twist is a little rough. But that's all right. That looks not too bad. Go ahead if you need to write here, go ahead and pause, build your mask for your camera and key-frame its motion to match the camera, and then start backup when you're ready. Congratulations on finishing your camera mask. Now if you want, we can pre-comp this again, and our main comp can stay organized. Let's click both of these because this feels pretty good. Remember it is Shift Command C, Shift Control C on a PC. I do want it again to be the same duration as our two layers that we're using. and let's just call this camera 1 for now. Maybe if you wanted to put something like camera 1 bottom-left or something like that you could if you want to. I'm going to hit Okay, and now we have this. Something I want to do is I want to change the color. All pre-comps standard come as this color. I want to change the color just so it looks a little bit different. Let's go and had it be cyan just picking something else. The way I did that is by clicking on this little color square right here, and then it opens up different label options for you. Now when we double-click on our camera, we get into our two cameras that are here. You notice nothing else is here, just our two cameras. Then finally, the other thing we can do is we can go ahead and put our camera pre-comp into our pre-comp folder so that way again, we're staying organized. I just showed you how to do this manually. I'd showed you essentially how to manually rotoscope something. But after effects now has a rotoscoping tool. You can use that, uses the power of Adobe Sensei to do just what we just did, mask something and the movement is incredibly more accurate than me. Let's go into our camera 1 comp we just created. I always like to show you how to do things from scratch so that way you know how to do things from scratch, but now I'm going to show you the shortcut. Let's go into the camera we just created. Here it is. Camera comp. The first thing we're going to do is we are going to remove the mask from the top layer we just created. I'm going to go ahead and click that, remove it. Now, we see our entire camera. Then we're going to go up to the top and we're going to click on the Roto Brush Tool. The Roto Brush Tool is at the very top. You can see it here and it's the little human with the little paintbrush connected to it. The shortcut for it is Option W on a Mac, but because this is a tool I don't really use very often, I haven't bothered to remember the shortcut for it, but Option W. You'll see this turned our cursor into the green circle thing. I'm going to move our play head to a section of the timeline when the camera body is very visible and separate from my hands. I don't want it to be up here, for example, where my hands are still very much there because I want to give the AI a clean shot of what I wanted to track. I say like there, that's probably fine, and now I'm going to loosely click and drag around it with my brush tool, and you'll notice a lot of things are starting to happen. You'll see down here at the bottom it says for best results to change it to full resolution. Let's go ahead and do that just to make sure we're good. Right now I have it set to half. You remember at the top of the lessons I told you, you can change things to a lower resolution until you're ready to get more epic with stuff. Well, now it's time to get more epic with stuff. Here we go? I have drawn around it. You can see it's made of a loose guess on what I wanted to rotoscope. Now, this is actually probably good enough for what I needed to do because again, we don't need this to be amazing, perfect. I have it here. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to hit Play and I'm going to let Sensei do the rest. You see now that blows my mind how fast it did that, it has started to build out making that mask, which is just crazy to me. I'm sorry, it always blows my mind to watch me do it but you see it is more or less created it. Let's now go back to here, and you see we're now in our camera comp. You see how well it's doing it. I mean, just crazy. There is with it off. You see we're losing information because the bottom layer is the linear color key. We're losing information around this main part of the camera because there's bits of that color in there, bits of that hue, I should say. Then we put the top back on. You see it as now really masked it super tight. The Roto Brush Tool is obviously so powerful, so amazing. I've barely even tapped into what it's capable of doing, but you see it did a really good job of capturing our camera. Now, literally what you can do next is repeat this step over and over again. Head backup to your project panel, pick another selection from the multitude of different takes I have in cameras 1, 2, and 3. Go down, add them to your timeline, mask them, create whatever layers you need to. If you want to rotoscope them the old-fashioned way, go for it. If you want to use the Roto Brush Tool, go for it. Keep doing that. You can have them come out of the top if you want. You have them come out of the sides of me if you want, go ham, you can have some of them come up in front of me, if you want. It's up to you, but go through now and do that animation for as many cameras as you want. I would recommend having about at least 10-20 cameras so that way it really sells the look. When you feel like you're ready, your After Effects projects should look something like this. Maybe you had cameras coming in from different angles, from sideways, horizontal, whatever. Whatever you decided to do, yours should look something like this. You'll notice that mine does not have as many pre-comps as yours probably does. Again, pre-comps aren't always needed if you aren't trying to keep things organized. When I originally built this project, I knew that I would be the only one in it. I didn't really pre-comp anything and you'll notice that each of them are doubled up. If I wanted to turn these into pre-comps, similarly to before, highlight both, Shift Command C, Shift Control C on a PC, and then I would do all the same things that I taught you to do in other lessons, and I would keep that the same. Then there you go. I could then go through if I wanted to and pre-comp each of these just to do that. I think utilizing pre-comps and learning to think in terms of pre composition is a really important thing that is the bulk of after-effects as well as pre-comping. With all that being said, as you can see, we've pretty much wrapped up creating our digital moving portrait. In the next lesson though, I'm going to go over a few more interface things that I think are worth noting when you're getting started in After Effects, just some stuff I just want to make sure you know. I'll see you over in the next lesson. 7. Switches, Modes, & Pick Whips: Hello and welcome back. Your composition should look something like this now, again, amazing. Congratulations. I wanted to cover a few more things about the interface with after-effects that I think will be important as you begin to learn more beyond this class. Again, that is my hope for you to continue beyond me. First, I want to explain the layer switches. If they're not showing up for you right now, go down to the bottom and toggle between layer switches and modes. To switch back over to the layer switches mode toggle switches and modes down here at the bottom, click it, and now we are in the layer switches mode, which is what we're going to focus on. The first thing is this little guy right here peeking out in the corner. This is called shy, and this hides your layer in a timeline. You have the master control for your layer switches up here. Let's say that I want all of these top layers here to shy away whenever necessary. This is another way for you to organize your projects, when you're working on certain things, you're not focused on having things open that you don't need to have open. I've clicked enable shy, and when I click up here, it's a higher layers in the shy mode, they're gone. Again, this can be really helpful for again, organizing your project or wanting to make sure that you're focusing on very specific layers as you move through the system. I also want to show you this because a lot of ways that people learn after-effects is by actually buying templates from third-party sites. Adobe Creative Cloud has its own After Effects templates you can buy as well. But usually, the best way to learn after effects beyond a class like this is to buy a template or get a template for free from somebody and then open it up. Usually, in those templates, you'll see that they have their base camp in shy mode and things are missing. If you want to actually learn how they've created something interesting and After Effects, you want to turn off shy and see everything that's possible. I wanted to go ahead and show you that. That way again, as You progress past this course, you can start to retroactively learn different things within other people's After Effects projects. The second thing is this little star right here next to the little shy guy. This little star, you may or may not use it, but this collapses transformations or a continuously rasterized as the layer if it's a shape text or a vector layer. For example, if You bring something in from Illustrator, then generally You'll want to leave this off unless You're really trying to rasterize every layer to get the best image quality. But again, generally, it takes a lot of previewing and rendering power, so most of the time, You're not going to mess with it, but I figured it was worth showing You. This next one next to it, this little dots right here. This is the quality and sampling. Similar to changing things to a lower resolution like I showed You before by clicking here and bringing things down, so that way You're not using so much computing power. You can also toggle between the different modes here to again calm down how much it's rendering and how quickly. There's different modes. This one's at the blending mode, this one's a drafting mode. It just depends on what You want. For most of the things I do, I leave it on the quality that it's at because it tends to work well for me. But if You're noticing that you're struggling with things, then maybe mess with that a little bit. Next is the effects option. This is just a way to quickly toggle on and off any effects that are on a layer. If I turn this off, you see now we have this whole situation, our color key is completely gone. Turn it on, it's back on. This can be an easier way just to see what a layer is quickly without having to go into maybe your effects controls panel and mess with everything that way. The next one is the frame blending layer. You see what this actually have it turned off. But generally speaking, whenever I am working with video files, I tend to turn this on for everything. In the same way that when you're animating, you probably want to have things to have a little bit of motion blur, or even when You're filming traditional content, You usually want to film things to have some motion blur, to have that cinematic look. You can add that to your footage that you bring into After Effects as well. Again, You can toggle it on and off. This all just ties into the believability of whatever You're creating. I think it's worth mentioning and turning it on. Likewise, this next asset, is also the motion blur, and it simulates a shutter and this works regardless of what type of layer it is. Again, all of these had the film motion blur activated on them because they're all technically video files. But say we had other types of layers, solids, and whatnot. We would still maybe want there to be a bit of motion blur whenever we're doing different keyframes and positioning keyframes with them. That's what this is, is just another way to add and make it not look so jarring. Make it look more seamless, give You that motion in motion graphics. Now the next one is called the adjustment layer. Similar to Premiere Pro, anything you do in this layer will act as an adjustment to everything below it. I have yet to ever use this in After Effects, but just so you know, it's there. Then finally the 3D layer, which I talked about earlier on in this class, again, we're only focusing on a 2D space here, but that is something that exists, and you should mess with it more whenever You're ready. Those are all of the layer switches. Now let's toggle it over to the layer modes. There are two modes that will probably look familiar to you if you're coming to After Effects from Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, similar to those, you can blend a layer using different modes. Let's show me right here and let's do the top version of me. Similar to before you can darken me, you see that did something. Here let's make this one go away. Switch just the top one. You can darken me. You can Linear Burn me. You can difference me. These are going to be familiar again, if you're coming to After Effects from Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator, other applications like that, these modes should look relatively familiar to you. The next thing over is the track matte. This can be really helpful when building out shape layers and turning them into masks for other layers, or even texts layers too for that matter. In fact, we're going to go ahead and mess up our project a little bit. I've gone ahead and made all of our layers invisible so we can't see them. You can literally click and drag, by the way, to make all your layers visible, invisible very, very quickly. Right now, I want to go ahead and create a new layer and we're going to make it a text layer, just real quick. So we're going to hit up to the top, two ways to get the text command T. Because remember, T by itself is just transparency, so we're going to hit command T, control T to actually get the text tool. Then we're going to click and let's just type in, 'This class is fun.' Then let's make this big. Let's mess with some of the basic settings of it real quick. I can't seem to highlight a period, that's weird. There we go. Got it. We got there. Let's go ahead and bold it, and then let's just make it like super, really big, so big. Make it two lines as well. You can see I'm just messing with the spacing and all that fun stuff, cool. We've made this superhuman go jumbo, let's make it even bigger. I just want to make sure you all really see it. Then we're going to switch back over to our select tool, move it to the center. So now we have this text. Let's go ahead and turn our background to be an Alpha inverted matte. It basically took out the shape of everything from the text layer. Whenever you're trying to change something, you want to mess with the track matte of the layer below it that you want to change. It's a little counterintuitive, but again, try this out and mess with it so you can see what it does. Now you see I just alpha matte, 'This class is fun,' and all of the background went away, but it has now taken form of the color of the text. So again, this can be really fun and interesting to use when you're doing things like building out texts graphics to do different things, say for a YouTube video, or building out motion text to emphasize different backgrounds of things, experiments, and double exposure. You can start to do a lot of different stuff by using these track matte options that are available to you. Play around with it, check it out. We didn't necessarily use it in our class project, but I wanted to make sure you're aware of that function and what it does. The track matte can be really useful for building out different motion text graphics. In fact, let me know if you're interested in me showing you how to build texts graphics in After Effects, and then turning them into Maggard or template files you can sell, or using Premiere Pro so you don't have to open up After Effects every time you want to change something in your text. Finally, the last thing I want to cover for you all is the pick whip, otherwise known as parent and link. So let's say that I know I'm always going to want each of my cameras to stay aligned with me no matter what I do with me in this comp. Then I can parent pick whip each of them to my main layer, and then whatever I now do to my main layer, it is reinforced by the pick whip. So let me go ahead and demonstrate to you what I'm talking about. Because I just said a whole bunch of stuff, it may not make sense. So here's me, we're going to go ahead and hit the "P key" for position here is me, my comp at the top, I'm moving me around. Nothing else is moving with me. Now, let's go ahead and parent link some stuff to me. There are a few ways you can do it. The first way is you can click, and you'll see every layer is represented in our composition right here, and so I could literally just every time go through and click "to me." That's one way to do it. Another way to do it is to click the "Pick Whip" and choose what layer you want to be the parent layer. So you click and drag, and literally that pick whips it up to the top. Give me a second, I'm going to pick whip everything. No, I'm going to pick whip a couple of things, I'm not going to pick whip everything. Now, whatever I do to this composition layer, the parent layer, all of these other layers are now linked to that parent layer. Whatever I do to it, maybe I change the position of it. So let's hit the "P key". You see now those cameras are moving with it. It's almost as if they're pre-comped with mine, but not necessarily. They are still their own separate layers that have their own thing. In fact, something I can do is, I can click on two of these and change their position again, maybe they'll be lower now, and you see nothing else moved, just those cameras. Then when I move it again though, now that new position of that camera is being scooted over because it's parented to, or linked to the parent layer, which is me. The pick whip can be a really powerful tool for linking different layers together and speeding up your overall animation. Once you do whatever features you want to a layer, especially when maybe creating pre-comps, aren't quite what you need to do, or feel like a bit of an exaggeration, feel like you don't need to do quite as much with that, you just need something to know and respond to something else, the pick whip/parenting is a great way to do that. So check that out, I feel like that's something worth knowing. Again, especially if you end up using other people's templates and things like that, and you're trying to figure out why things aren't working, etc, check the pick whips of your layers to make sure that they haven't maybe parented something to something else and that's why they're not working. That's it for this lesson. I wanted to explain a few more tools that are built into the interface after you had some time to build and play in the software because I figured they'd make more sense to you now that you've messed around in After Effects and built some stuff. So in the next lesson, it's time to export, I'll see you over there. 8. Render & Export: We've built our amazing animation. It does us no good [LAUGHTER] in After Effects alone. It is time to render it or export it. There are two ways you can go about this. You can add it to your render queue, which is basically like exporting something directly out of Premiere Pro, if you're familiar with Premiere. You can't do anything else in the program while it's rendering or if you have the full Creative Cloud suite, then you can shoot it over to Encoder to export and keep working on something else. Let's set it up to render first. Make sure that your workspace, remember that's this top bar here, is adjusted to the area that you want to have rendered. I think I already had set it up to go there. That feels good. Everything looks good. Now I'm just going to go to File at the top and then down to Export and then Add to my Render Queue. You'll see that brings up a new window on top of your timeline. If you've worked with Encoder before, then you should recognize the word queue, meaning that, yes, you can also render a list of things if you're working in multiple comps and have multiple assets that you want to work through. Generally, the default settings are going to export your creation as a.MOV in the highest resolution possible based on your original comp settings. If you want to adjust anything, you can, but if you're rendering straight from After Effects, you're limited on the export settings unless you really know what you're doing and want to manipulate these settings a lot. You can do that by clicking on whatever settings you want to manipulate and then working through those boxes. The main thing I want to tell you to remember in this render queue is to actually figure out for sure where your final video is going to be saved. Depending on what you've done in After Effects now or before, it might save it in a place that to you will seem very random, but it's just based on After Effects' default settings. I'm going to save mine to the desktop, again, that base folder we made at the top of this class and I'm just going to call this Exports. Some people call it renders. We're going to make a folder in there and I'm going to call it Final Export and I hit Save. Let's go ahead and now render this out. Everything I feel is good, best quality settings, full resolution, our sizes there, everything looks good on my end. Use the comp's frame rate, noticing that right here and then Time Span: Work Area Only, is what I have it set to. Then we're going to go ahead and render it out. Here we go. [NOISE] It's done. Now that is a way to set up a render in After Effects itself. You saw mine pretty quickly, again, our final video is only five seconds. Hopefully it doesn't take you too long if your system is a little bit older, but should work out pretty well. Now let's go ahead and export a version of this to Encoder so you can see what that looks like too. File, down to Export, and then Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue. When you do that, that is going to open up Encoder. That brought up Encoder and you see now that my final export from AE, After Effects, is sitting here and ready to be encoded. Similarly to After Effects as well, it's added it to the queue. Once again, you can have things in your queue with Encoder from Premiere, from After Effects, all sorts of stuff, setting things up. I know a lot of motion graphics artists, video producers like myself, they'll work all day on a whole bunch of stuff and then set it all up to render while they go get dinner [LAUGHTER] or something like that. Encoder can be a really helpful tool. If you've used Media Encoder before, it's going to use whatever preset or settings you last used. In my case, as a digital storyteller, video producer, YouTuber, I was using YouTube 1080p preset settings. That's what it's just using now, but you can also change whatever preset it is. If you go down here to the left, you have the Preset Browser. My advice is to type in whatever platform you want your final video to end up on. For example, let's say I want this to end up on YouTube, which I probably would, as I start typing in YouTube, I bring up all the different settings based on different resolution sizes that I could use for YouTube and these are optimized to work well on that platform. Similarly, Facebook, if I type that in, all the Facebook settings. If you're a filmmaker and you put your stuff on Vimeo, Vimeo settings. There are a lot of different presets in here. Again, another one that's pretty popular is Mobile Device settings as well. Maybe something that you want to go to, IG Reels or IGTV. There we go. You could utilize these settings so that way they play pretty well, the video plays well on a phone rather than in a browser of some kind. Feel free to pick your appropriate settings. Again, I'm going to leave mine at YouTube because that's generally what I do. However, you'll notice that this is YouTube 1080p. Remember that our final comp is actually bigger than a 1080p video. Something I want to do is I want to click on this, which is going to open up Dynamic Link. Again, similarly if you are coming to this from Adobe Premiere Pro, what you'll see should look somewhat familiar to you. The one thing I want to do, so that way I make sure that I'm actually utilizing all of the real estate that I've created with my composition, is I want to hit Match Source. Now you'll see we have our 2.5K comp that we created and the resolution matches what it should be. I'm just going to hit Okay. You'll notice now it says Custom because I have adjusted things just a little bit. Similarly to before, make sure you figure out where you're saving this to. I'm going to click on this and then I'm going to save it to the desktop, where again, we have our intro to After Effects folder, Exports. We'll call this Final Export Encoder and hit Save. With that, now you can actually, which you could before, but I'm just doing it now, I'm going to Command S, Control S to save my project. I'm going to quit out of After Effects because I don't need it open anymore. You'll see Encoder is still open and I can go ahead and hit the Play button and have it render out. You actually see it rendered out a lot faster. There you go. You can now share your project down below here on this platform or on social media. If you do share it, feel free to at me. I love to see what you-all create, especially if you end up creating something else, not using my footage, but learning from this class. @HALLEASE.MP4 is my IG handle or use the hashtag HalleaseTaughtMe. I love seeing what you-all do with what you learn. Alright you-all. With that, let's wrap this completely up.