After Effects for Beginners: Mastering Animation Basics | Lucas Ridley | Skillshare

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After Effects for Beginners: Mastering Animation Basics

teacher avatar Lucas Ridley, Professional Animator

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.

      Mastering The Basics


    • 2.

      The Workspace


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Parent Animation


    • 5.

      Mask Animation


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Export The Animation


    • 8.

      Running Out Of Disk Space


    • 9.

      Change This Preference Setting


    • 10.

      Color Libraries


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About This Class

If you've never opened After Effects before this course is for you. It is the first in a series of courses for beginners so get ready now and take my more advanced courses after you finish!

We are going to start simple and master the basics in this course of the series for beginners. In this course, you will learn how to:

  • import your own assets
  • animate them
  • create your own designs with solids and masks
  • learn how to avoid beginner mistakes and roadblocks
  • become familiar with hotkeys (you'll have a downloadable cheatsheet)
  • render your animation

By the end of the course, you will have a fundamental understanding of After Effects while avoiding the common problems beginners get stumped on solving that creates a roadblock for new users advancing in the program.

I look forward to seeing you in class and after finishing this course, join me in the next installment of the series After Effects for Beginners: Typography which should be released by April 6th, so click follow on my profile for update notifications. The course installments after Type will most likely be Motion Graphics, Visual Effects, and Character Animation. In the meantime, I have several other more advanced After Effects courses you can take as well:

Meet Your Teacher

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Lucas Ridley

Professional Animator

Level: Beginner

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1. Mastering The Basics: Hi and welcome to this class, After Effects for beginners, mastering the basics. My name is Lucas Ridley and I'll be your instructor. This course is intended for anyone who's never used After Effects, who wants to have a fundamental understanding of how to use the program and create their own animations. That's what you'll be able to do by the end of the course. This is the beginning of a series of courses I'm going to create to teach you how to use After Effects. If you have opened After Effects, check out my other more advanced After Effects courses. In this class we're going to work together to create this project,by the end of the course, we'll be able to render your own movie file. I've included the project files you can download them and follow along. Thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing you class. 2. The Workspace: Welcome to this first lesson on After Effects. Let's jump right in at square one opening the program. I have it pinned to my taskbar down here, so I'm going to click the icon, the splash screen will load, and then we'll jump into the After Effects workspace. I'm using After Effects version 2020 but the core fundamental features of After Effects has not changed in over 10 years. So you should be able to follow along no matter what version you're using. This home window I tend to just close unless I'm opening one of the most recent projects I've worked on so I'm just going to close this here. Let's just make sure we're all starting on the same page and reset the workspace. You can always go back to this too in case you accidentally click and drag something and dock it somewhere else and now everything is screwed up and you don't know what you just did. You can always go to Window, Workspace, Reset Default to Saved Layout. Now we're back to where we started we should all be on the same page and have a very similar looking workspace. There's a couple of different windows here. You can see the blue outline highlights every time I click over a different one. There's basically four main areas. We have the viewer here, which is going to be where we see the work that we do the actual video or photos that we use or motion graphics we create will appear right here. Then the layers we use to build those compositions are going to be down in this bottom part and those are going to appear as layers here. The assets that we use for that are going to be stored and organized in this area, this project window and then on this right tab we basically have different ways we can use effects and control properties in our project. Like the fonts, the colors of things, all that type of stuff. If all of yours look a little bit different than mine, you can always get to that and change these compositions by either right-clicking and closing panels or you can open new ones by going to Window and you can see with these check marks which ones are turned on. When you create a project you're going to do one of two things, you're going to either create your own work from scratch through solids, text, your own motion graphics and, or you're going to be importing footage or video or photos to use. Let's start with that very basic workflow of using After Effects by importing a photo. There's a couple different ways to do it, there's usually a hotkey and maybe two or three different ways to do the same thing in After Effects like this. We can either right-click and go to Import and go to File and this is what you're going to use 99 percent of the time. So don't get too bogged down by all these other options for the moment. As we go through the course you'll learn other ways to do things but just focus on the things I'm showing you now and trust that you're going to learn what you need to know for the rest of the course later on. This is just the intro level stuff so that we can get started. I'm going to say Import and I'm going to click the picture that I want an import that. Now we have it listed here, we can see the information, we can resize this to see other aspects of it. It's also listed here, the dimensions and now what do we do with that? We need to put it in a composition. To create a new composition, again, there's a couple different ways to do that. You can hit Control N which is the hotkey. My most favorite hotkeys don't worry about remembering those right now they're on a sheet that I provided in the downloadable course materials. You can also click this button right here which is fairly new in the last few years of life After Effects, because it's one of the most common things you got to have a composition to even work in the program so they put front and center right there. The other way I like to do it, is to create new composition with this little button down here because I'm started. Let's create a new composition by clicking that we have the settings. The settings I like to use are HDTV 1080 24 and 1080 means it is high definition 24 means the frame rate which is common to the United States for animation. This harkens back to TV standards. If you're in Europe you might be more familiar with using 25 frames per second. I'm going to leave this as is because all of these settings we can change after the effect. If you have a checkered view right here, don't fret. All that is is just this little toggle button down here we can toggle transparency on or off. This is black because that's what was in our composition settings. If I hit Control K I bring that back up. You can also get to composition settings by going to Composition Settings here and of course see that hotkey. We can change the background color if we wanted with this. I'm just going to leave it as is but just don't worry if you have a checker. That's just to show a personal preference if you want to view transparency through this or through black so don't worry too much about that just yet. Now we have an empty composition there's nothing in it but we have this photo. There's two ways to bring in the photo, either click and drag and drop it here but then the anchor point the middle of the image is going to be wherever I let go. I don't like that I want it to be centered. I don't want to have to click more buttons as I go through and align stuff after the fact. So I like to click and drag it and drop it in the composition timeline down here. We can see that the image is way too big for our HD because we know from looking at the dimensions, it's much bigger than HD. Let's run through some of the transform hotkeys that you'll be using very common, and they're easy to remember because it's the first letter of each of the words. For position we have P if I click P with this layer selected I'll get the position attributes, which I can adjust here. I can also separate these values if I go to right-click the position attribute and then I can go to separate dimensions. I can also get to rotation by hitting R and then I can get to scale by hitting S and that's what we need to adjust this. Exchange link just means it's going to move uniform together in the x and y values. I'm going to leave that on and then I'm going to click and drag the number. This is how you change almost all the values in After Effects if you don't want to type them in. It gets a little difficult to click and drag here so I'm going to hold down control and that's going to slow the value change down. So I have finer control over what it's doing. If you want it to move a greater value just hold down the Shift while you click and drag. We've gone over the most basic features and workflows and the workspace attributes that you're going to encounter when you work with After Effects. In the next lesson we're going to get into some of the most fundamental animation, tools and principles so that you actually have something to watch. Because right now this timeline if we click and drag the timeline nothing is going on. We have a static image and there's no animation. So let's learn a little more how to use After Effects in the next lesson. Thanks for watching. 3. Animation: This lesson, I want to introduce you to animating in Aftereffects. Let's bring in another image that we're going to animate on top of this one, it's going to be a stamp and we're going to put it right here. Let's right-click on a project window. Could import file and bring in this P and G of the stamp. Hit "import" and click and drag it over our composition and let go. You can see it's a little big. I'm going to hit "S" on my keyboard with a layer selected and then scale the image down by clicking, dragging these values. Now the image is black and so it's a little hard to see. I want to invert the colors. Let's introduce you to the first effect. You can just type in effects up here that you want to find. It's hard to find exactly the one that you want to do. You don't have this library of effects memorized in your head, so I highly recommend using the search function a lot. I'm going to type in invert, and I'm click and drag invert over the stamp. Now, I want to make sure my timeline scrubber is somewhere in the timeline that's not the beginning, because I want the key-frame to be in position. I'm going to go to the one second mark, which you can also change the display of that by control clicking these numbers here by going to frame numbers or seconds. Let's set a key frame on position and scale because I want the stamp to come in and slam onto our image. To add position to this view of our attributes, I'm gonna hold down "shift" before I hit "P". I'm holding down "shift" and I hit "P". Now you can see it's added to this. Anywhere you find these stopwatches, that means that's an animatable attribute. That is something you can key-frame and animate. I'm going to set a key-frame on both of these and activate their stopwatches. We've saved the end position, that's where it's going to end up, let's go to the beginning where it's going to start. Let's scale this image up beyond where we can see it, just clicking, dragging the scale. I want to get it to a place where we can't see any part of it. The x-values here on the left, the y values here on the right for position, I'm just adjusting those, scaling up, readjusting those. You can also just click here. One important thing to note is if I didn't want to accidentally select the background, I could just lock it right here. I'm going to lock that just to make sure I'm not accidentally selecting the background. I'm going to scale this up. It's all over where we can't see it and that looks pretty good. I'm going to hit "Space-bar" on the timeline and we can see this little green line here means it has cached the playback and then it can play it back in real time or pretty close to real-time, once it's cached it. Now we're getting the slam effects of the stamp. That's our first animation. In the next lesson, we're going to cover even more aspects of animation and organization. Thanks for watching. I'll see you there. 4. Parent Animation: Let's learn a little more about organizing our scene and what parenting is. Let's first organize. Now, you'll notice we can no longer see our project window here because we had applied an effect to this layer, so where's the project window? It's actually hidden here. We can click and drag this out to see it or if this is collapsed too far down, you can click these two little arrows here to see what other windows you have opened there to switch back over to the project window. We want to rename something, in After Effects, to rename anything you have to press ''Enter''. Do not double-click it, it won't work. That was one of the most common mistakes I see in students, is they go to a layer, they'll double-click it and then the window changes what just happened, where do my animation go? I'm clicking, dragging the timeline and everything's disappeared, what happened? What happened is you went into that layer view. You can see up here, it actually added a tab and a viewer so we could go back to the composition window, everything is the way it was, everything's fine. You can either close this down or just click this tab over here. That's one of the most common mistakes you might make when you first start out. Instead of double-clicking, don't double-click, you want to hit ''Enter''. I'm going to close that and I'm going to hit ''Enter'' to rename a layer. I'm going to call this Stamp and then I'm going to click the background image, which I can't because it's locked, so I'll unlock it, and then hit ''Enter'' and call it BG. Now it's very organized and I'm going to close that down and then I want to click and hold down ''Shift'' to select all of these and put them in a folder. I'm clicking dragging them on the folder icon. Now I'm going to say something like shot 0010, which is a naming convention for shots. Let's imagine this is like the first shot in a little slideshow or something, little video I'm putting together for a travel video. Now everything is very organized. Another way to organize things is through color. I can change the color, let's say, of different objects. Let's say this is an animated objects, I want to color all the layers that are animated yellow. I can also go back through and click on this and say Select Label Group, so if there were multiple layers that were animated in yellow, like let's say I duplicate this layer by holding down ''Control D'' and tapping ''D'' a couple times, now I have a bunch of layers. I want to select all the animated layers so I can click the ''Color'', go to Select Label Group, it'll select all the colors of that. I'm just going to delete those layers. The next thing I want to do is talk about parenting, because when we playback our animation by hitting ''Space Bar'', it doesn't feel like it hits the image, so I want the image itself to impact. For that to happen, the stamp needs to follow along with it. What I want to do is take the background image and animate that as well so it will have an impact if I click and drag, it will get stamped down, like that. I need to animate scale, but problem is, this image is not following it. Why is the image not following the stamp image? It's above it, we can see it above it, but for to follow it is a different thing. We want to make sure you're in this type of a view where you can see these effects and attributes. If you can't just hit ''Toggle Switches and Modes'' down here. This shows the track mats which we can talk about in more advanced lesson, it doesn't apply to us right now. Just make sure you're on this. This allows us to parent and link. It says it right there. We either select the layer from the drop-down menu we want a parent to, or we can click this little curly cue thing and then drag over the layer and let go of what we want to parent to. Now, when we scale down and we animate this other image will follow along with it. The animation still remains of what we've already done, it will just now also follow this parent. You might see one of the first problems we're encountering is the fact that we ran out of image if we stamp it down like this. Let me introduce you to another effect called the Motion Tile effect. We're just going to use this to extend our image. I'm going to click and drag it over the layer and let go. Now, when we scale this down, we can use this effect to help us out. I'm going to hit a start point for the scale and I want that key-frame to be one frame after this stamp hits. Let's go to this stamp, and one of the most important shortcuts you're going to learn is you pulls up only the animated aspects attributes of a layer. I want this key-frame to be one frame after that. I'm going to hold down ''Control'' and ''Arrow'' and go forward one key-frame. Now I'm going to click and drag this and have it match that scrub time because now I know that scrub head is one frame after this one. Now, we have the start position, let's go forward to key-frames. I'm going to hold down ''Control'' and click and drag the scale values and you can see the problem here is we're running out of image just on these sides. I'm going to go to the Motion Tile effect that we've added and increase the output width. Now we have increased the edges of the image, but it's the wrong side. It's using the right side of the image on the left side. So we want to mirror, so I'll go to Mirror, and now we have this fake extension of the image that we can use just for this scale effect. I'm going to hold down ''Control'' and press the ''Arrow Keys'' to the right a couple of times, maybe three frames, and then I'm going to click and drag that first key-frame, paste it and I'm going to ''Control C'' it and ''Control V'' it. Now we're back to that end frame, the start and end, it slams down. Let's play it back and hitting ''Space Bar'' slams the stamp town. I want to do one more key frame, this is called an overshoot. I'm going to go forward again, ''Control'' and ''Right Arrow'' one, two, three. I'm going to set a key-frame just by clicking this little button over here to add a key frame and the value is currently at. I could either copy paste it, or I could just select that because I wanted to maintain this value right now. Now go back to the previous key-frame, the shortcut for that is ''J'', the shortcut to go forward is ''K''. Now we'll do it to any key-frames you have visible. We'll also do it up here, even though I don't have that layer selected above it, it's also going to jump through those. I only go to the second last key frame and I want this key-frame to go scale in the opposite direction we've already gone. That's called an overshoot, I want it to overshoot the end position. It's a little hard to see, but if we go to this, we could see it's 33 percent, we get subtracted by 35 that's two percent. That gets us a little complicated to figure out what we should change this value by. An easy way to do that is to go into the graph editor. Now, we can visually see what the changes are over time. There's two ways to visualize this, there's a value and the speed. You can change that by clicking this button down here and going Edit Speed Graph or Edit Value. I usually like to stay in value just because that makes more sense to me. These numbers correspond with these numbers and it's over time, so value change over time. We can see it changes value at scales in here and then it comes back to what we've set the home-base scale at. But I want this to overshoot, I don't want it to stop right here, I want it to go above this. I'm going to click and drag this and hold down ''Shift'' and make sure it's snapping, just go a little bit higher. If I go to the right or left, it's going to pop to the other key-frames. I just want to make sure I'm going up and down and staying on this key-frame. I want to make sure too, this an animation principle, I'm not going any greater than this distance. That's why I'm going such a small distance because it's just energy retention over time. It's just like an animation principle. It's like a bouncing ball, it's not going to bounce higher the second time than it did the first time, it's always going to go lower. It's the same idea here. When I hit ''Space'', we have little bit of a settle overshoot there. I can increase that maybe a little bit more. Obvious it's a lot better than what we had before. It's just a very small subtle animation change, so I can click the Graph Editor icon to go back off. The other thing I can do if I wanted is to enable motion blur because the stamp is moving very quickly. Let's say I want it to feel a little more realistic, that something moving that fast would be blurring, if it's moving back quickly, all I have to do is go to the stamp layer and turn on the Motion Blur effect for that layer by clicking that. Now it will turn on the motion blur effect. It will take longer to render, you can see the preview. Now you can see it blurring in the direction that it's moving so it'll feel a little more realistic for the speed it's moving. I think maybe the scale doesn't need to be a frame late, we can just click and drag everything and move it forward so that these all line up. That's probably the right call. I feels like it's timed correctly and that's stamping and hitting that image. We've learned a lot in this lesson, we've learned another effect, we've learned how to do all these shortcuts and organize our compositions. In the next lesson, I want to introduce just some of the other basic things you're going to encounter an After Effects when you start out, and that's solids and masks. You can create your own assets right within After Effects. Thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing you in the next lesson. 5. Mask Animation: Welcome back. Let's get into masks and solid shapes. Let's create something from scratch and animate it. I want to create a Looney Tunes style end screen, where Porky Pig says, "That's all folks," because this llama photo-bombed this image I took when I went on this trip, and it just reminded me of Porky Pig in the end of Looney Tunes. So let's create that on our own. I'm going to right-click either here or in this area. Again, I like to do it here, because it's less likely the more layers I get I'm going to run out of room to right-click, so I just have gotten in the habit of doing it in the viewer, and I'm going to go down to "Solid". So this is how you create all the different kinds of things you can create in After Effects. We'll go through all of this stuff in more advanced later lessons, but I just want to give you a taste of what you can create on your own without having to bring in other images, and how to animate masks and create paths. These are important aspects to a fundamental learning of After Effects. I'm going to create a solid by clicking it and again, all of these things I can change later as well, but I like the red solid here, you can grab the same values if you want to and just hit "OK". So now we have this big red screen, what's going on with that? It's because of the top layer, if we want it to be below the stamp, we could drag it down here, we could reorganize our layers, but what we want to do is start with a solid color of the base of the image that we want to create. So let's go up to these tools we haven't really talked about much yet, and we'll go through these in more detail, but the two main ones you're going to use for creating your own assets from solids is the pen tool and this shape tool here. If you click and hold it, you can get different shapes. We're going to use the circle tool, the Ellipse tool, but let me also just really touch quickly on the Pen tool. If you hit G, you can pull that up as well, that's the shortcut. You can click, either a single click will make a point, or you can click and drag so you get handles. You can change these after the fact as well. Nothing's really happening yet because I haven't closed it on the solid, but it's creating a mask, so it's creating this different shape and I can hit Control and click out here to end it. I could also hit Escape and I can subtract points. I can also go to the selection tool by hitting V, and select one of these to bring up the handles. I also add points by going back to G and selecting anywhere on this path, and it will create handles that are in line with the path that exists. Now if I hit Alt and select one time, it will make the tangent handles go away. If I hold it and click and drag, I can make new ones. So those are some of the basic functions of this. I could also hit V to go back to the selection tool or you can also get to it up there, and you can double-click on this to get transform handles and transform it however you like. You can hold down Shift to do a uniform scale. You can also rotate it. You can see how the cursor changes if I hover the mouse over the edge, it can rotate this object. So that can be helpful and it will do by this pivot point. Let's say I have this odd object here, and I don't know if that's centered correctly. There's a couple different ways you can do this. You could hit Control, Alt and Home and it will move the pivot point to the center of the object. Let me move all this stuff over to the right. So I'm just clicking and dragging these points with the selection tool. Now, if I select the layer, we can see the pivot is there, that's not really the center. If you want to center it, I can hit Control, Alt and Home. Now we'll try to center based on the bounding box of this object. Now, to do this manually, I can hit Y to select the "Anchor Point Tool", that's also this little button right here. It's also called the pan behind tool, which I don't use because you use it as an anchor point tool. If you hold down Control, it can snap to the corners or the bounds of this, but just to make sure it's in the center, you could also Control, double-click this, it'll snap it to the center of that. So Control, Alt, Home or Control double-click the tool itself will center it. So where does this shape live? How do I see this? What's going on here and can I animate it? Yes, you can. I'm going to hit V, just get back to the selection tool and select the "Layer" I want to hit M for mask. So I'll bring up the masks. Now you can see we have a stopwatch next to "Mask Path". If I click that, it's going to make a key frame and if I go forward and start moving these around, either individually, so I deselect the "Mask", then I can select individual points. So if I have the whole thing selected, you do through double-clicking, I can hit Enter to finish that transformation or I can select somewhere else to deselect it, re-select the layer and now can select individual points instead of the whole thing. So there's a little deselection, re-selection going on to be able to go from selecting the whole thing to selecting individual points. Now, I've moved this all around and you can see as soon as I do that, it's going to set a key frame, so now it's morphing between these shapes. This is how you can affect solid layers, create your own animations from solid shapes, and create key frames on solid layers. So that's just a quick overview of that. Select a "Layer", the mask layer that is underneath this and just hit Delete and what we want to do for this effect is create the Porky Pig, like we're looking down a tunnel effect if you've ever seen the end of Looney Tunes. So I'm going to click the "Ellipse tool" and I'm going to hold down shift to make sure it's a circle, otherwise it's going to be an oval. So I'll hold down shift and then I'm going to hold down Space bar because it's not over the llamas face and I want it to be over the llamas face exactly in the center. So I'm going to hold down Space bar while I'm still holding down shift, let go of Space bar and then keep dragging. So you can rearrange this as you need it. Now, once I have it in a decent spot, I can't really see it, so I'm going to have to let go and live with that, so it's the inverse of what I want. Now, we go back here and we already have the mask open, if we don't again, we can hit M. If you double-click it, it'll bring up all the attributes. If you double-click M on your keyboard, it'll bring up all the attributes for masks. Now we have this little drop-down menu. We can choose subtract instead of add. I'm going to subtract that shape from the solid color and that looks like it's pretty much in the center, but just to double check, I can move this cover around. Now, the trick to the one I already showed you is if we try to center this now, it's going to center based on the filled area. So when I hold down control and double-click this and it's centering the anchor point based on the fill. So I want to make sure that it's to center with the add on. So now watch the anchor point jump to the center of our mask, that's one little trick to keep in mind. Now, we go back to subtract and now if we go to S for scale, it will scale from that circle. We have our first circle, and we want to create a bunch of these, but first let me introduce you to some layer styles that's going to help create this three-dimensional effect for each layer. If I right-click on this layer, I can go to "Layer Styles" and go down to "Inner Glow". Now, Inner Glow, it doesn't show up very well, but you can see this very subtle glow here. I want to make that a little greater, let me hit Shift, question mark to get that to fit and now, since we added layer styles, there's all these options down here. Let's go to the "Inner Glow", and now we have all these options and you can see, you can rearrange this to bring it up. So we can change the size of it, so as to increase the size. I'm going to hold down Control as I drag, then now we have this nice glow effect happening on the inside edge. Now, when I duplicate this by hitting Control B, I'm going to scale this up, say, by 120. We want a shadow to occur between these layers, so I'm going to add another layer style to this by right-clicking going to "Layer Styles", and go to "Drop Shadow". Now, let's effect this new effect we've got. Let me also just show you a quick little tip. It's hard to see all this because our mask outline is going on top of all this, so just to stop that visualization, we can toggle it right here. Now, you can see that line turning on and off for the circle of the mask. So let's change the Drop Shadow for this, so it's a lot bigger. Let's increase the size, and let's increase the distance and let's increase the spread. Actually drop the distance back down to zero so that it's centered around our circle, set it off to one side, which you could change with this angle here. If we increase the distance again, we can change the angle of the drop shadow, which I guess is an okay look to have it directional, but I like it to be zeroed out. Now, when we duplicate this layer, we have these layer styles are already applied, so I can just hit Control D, hit S, now let's go 140. Now, let's hit Control B, hit S, and hit 160, so I'm just going by 20 increments. Control B, S, D. I think if we had referenced up, I think each one scale's a little bit greater than the last one. let's just increase it by five each time,145,160, that would be now 170, instead of 180 that now would be 195. That it's not exactly the same each time. Let's do one more duplicate control D then S. It's going to be 30. let's go to 225. Now as we scale this up, I'm going to just shift select and then I can collapse all of these layers down. As we scale these up, you can start to see some what's called rasterization here these edges aren't very clear because we're scaling this image up. If you look at the first one, this is a very clean edge. If you look at the last one, it's not very clean. That is because of Rasterization, All right. We are increasing the size of the pixels as we scale this solid layer up. There's a way to fix that, but let's make it even more of a dramatic problem first. I want to scale this up, so I only want to animate one thing. Let's pair all of these by shift, clicking all of them. Then let's pair them to the first one. Now all we have to do is animate one layer. I'm going to go in time. Let's turn all of these off. Just to see or we can solo the bottom two instead of turning all the ones above it off. Because I want to see where this finishes. We could also hit these two bottoms and hit U to bring up the keyframes to see where they end. I want to turn off motion blur because it's taking a long time to render and it's not improving it that much to take up that much more time. Somewhere in here I want this effect to start to scale in. I'm going to hit a stopwatch on scale here. I'm just going to click and drag this keyframe out somewhere. That's going to be the end position. Then I'm going to increase the scale of this. It's going to scale from the pivot of the lamb head because we did that from the very beginning, we centered the pivot on the circle. As we scale it up, you might be able to tell, you can see how pixelated this starts to get. That is because it's getting rasterized. The way to have constant rasterization on is this button right here, this column of buttons. I want to do that for all the layers. I want it to constantly rasterize. You can see it. For vector layer continuously rasterize is what it says. The difference between vectors and a rasterized image is the fact that if you take a vector image or even let's say text, you increase the font. You don't see pixelated edges on text if you increase the font because it's a vector, all right. But if you increase like the scale of these pictures, that's a rasterized image. You're going to start to see pixels of that image. Now when we are creating the solids, that's just a solid color that we created. We should be able to control these paths and how clean those paths are that we created. If we click this and turn on the constant rasterized you can see now we have a super clean edge that we didn't before. Let me just toggle that on and off. You can see that change. That's very important to know once you start to work with after effects a lot more. The significance of that, because you're going to notice that problem more and more. I'm going to go back to this layer hit U to bring up scale K to jump to that first keyframe. I just want to finish scaling this up out of frame. Let's hit Space bar. We have our Looney Tunes rings come in. That's all folks. Sorry, I laugh at stupid stuff. I want this to slow in. Let's select this keyframe, hit F9. If you're on a Mac, that'll be probably function and F9, you can also change the ease in and ease out, not just to the graph editor, but through the keyframe velocity. Let's take a look at that real quick as well. We'll likely go even slower but let's say, I don't want to mess with the graph editor right now. I want to stay in this view. Click on this keyframe. But to keyframe velocity. If you didn't want to press F9, Another way to do this is going to keyframe assistant and click easy ease and you can see the hotkey right there as F9. But now that we've done it, I want to go to keyframe velocity and I want to change this percentage. If it was a linear relationship, it would influence at 0 percent. It's just sets the influence that easy ease at 33, that's the default. But I like 66. Even though there's no outgoing velocity because this is the end frame. I just change a habit anyways. I hit OK and now we have a much smoother and slower end animation to that key frame. Even though you can see the icon itself hasn't changed the actual graph. We looked at the graph editor, the plateau has gotten a lot greater. See how that slows and a lot more. Look at the graph editor and we hit undo. We can see that change from this is basically a 33 percent influence of this handle to 66, you can see it almost doubles, you can see it goes from this grid to that grid. Now on the graph editor, we could do this manually. I click and drag this. I'm holding Shift to make sure it's, in line here. I'm not going out a line in some way. I'm holding down shift and I can influence it even more. What you're trading off is it has to speed up somewhere else if it's going to slow down later. It's actually going to go faster at the beginning unless I move the keyframe earlier in time. That's going to be the trade off using those handles. You can see it has to go faster to make up the time that you're slowing in later. You may have to move keyframes around. After you do something like this. When you realize, hey, I don't want to start that fast, but I do want it to continue to go and slow. That is masks, that is layer styles, that is animating, that's keyframe velocity, That's, a lot of different things to throw at you, but I want to give you enough tools before we jump into any very specific advanced projects that you can start to play with this stuff on your own and come back to the projects that we're going to do and these advanced lessons following this introductory couple of lessons here with this project. Thanks for watching. I look forward to seeing you in the next lesson, where we will dive into more specific advanced topics individually. Thanks for watching. Bye. 6. PreCompositions: In the next few lessons, I'm going to jump into some settings and quirks of using After Effects, but before we do that, I wanted to briefly cover PreCompositions. In the other courses in this After Effects for Beginners series that will come after this course, we will delve deeper into PreCompositions but let me briefly cover it here now. You notice how we grouped all of these into a folder and when we created that solid now it created a new folder here for solids. Now, to do the equivalent thing in the composition workspace here because now we are getting a lot of layers is to do a PreComposition. If we shift-select all of these, and right-click and go to pre-compose or we could go to layer PreCompose or control shift C, we can group all of these into it's own composition. Typically, you want to move all attributes into the new composition and adjust the composition duration to this time span of the selected layers. If these didn't run the whole length of this or we want it to go more later we need to adjust those in the composition settings of that PreComposition later. To pre compose this, it just gives you this default name, so you want to make sure you're staying organized. I'm just going to call this Looney Tunes circles and hitting enter, and not double-clicking. It's a little more organized but the downside to this is you have to double-click this to go into that composition, it's added a new tab of that composition here and now we have the animation living inside of this. Compositions and PreCompositions are an important aspect of After Effects we will encounter again and again, but I just wanted to show the equivalent of putting something in a folder in this area as we start to add more layers is PreComposing it but again, the disadvantage of that is those layers disappear in a sense, and you have to start to animate them in another viewer and another composition. We'll talk about that more in later lessons, but I just want to introduce that as a concept early on so you start to get comfortable with that. Now, let me show you a few handy features if you do have PreCompositions and how to view those, because it can be a little tedious to have now the animation stuck in this composition and you can't see how it is relating to the other composition. There's a couple different ways you can get around that. The first would be to go back to this composition and to lock this viewer here. There's a little toggle to lock this viewer and then when we switch over to this PreComp, the view space will stay on the composition where we had locked this. So we can see it says comp 1 and that is comp 1 here and now we are in the PreComp, even though what we're viewing is Comp 1. We could change the animation on this, if I hit U on this layer, I can pull up these key frames and it will take a minute to update, so if I click this key frame and drag it, you can see it update in the view-port that the animation has changed in composition one, even though we're in PreComp one. I'll do that, let me show you the other way we can do that. If I unlock this, it's going to jump to this PreComp one viewer. Another way to get around this is to add a new viewer, so if I right-click and go new viewer, and now we have two viewers side-by-side. You can see that it locks this one, so if we were to change one either by clicking on the pre comp one here and the layer panel or in the viewer, there's a PreComp one here as well, we can click that and go to that PreComp while seeing it here. We can get a side-by-side view by opening up another viewer. Those are the two ways to look at PreCompositions while animating them in different viewers and that's two ways to do it. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next lesson. 7. Export The Animation: Now, that we've created our animation, let's learn how to export it out of After Effects as a render. The first thing we need to do is, define what we want to export, we want to have the right composition open, and we want to have the work area defined, where we want it to render. That's this little gray bar here. The shorthand for this is, if you hit "B", that'll set the beginning, if you hit "N", that will set the end. We can drag that back out to be the bounds. You can also "Double-Click" it, and it will go the whole length of the available layers or end-review. What I want to do is set the end point to exclude the Looney Tunes portion of our animation. I'm going to set it there, I'm going to hit "N", and I like to use the shortcut "Control+M" to send it to the "Render Queue", or you can do it manually by going to composition, and go down to "Add To", "Render Queue". You can see "Control+M" is the shortcut. I'm going to hit "Control+M", and it changes our view down here to the "Render Queue" and it's added that tab to the composition window. Now that we have our comp, we need to specify, where to output this. I'm going to click on the word and phrase not yet specified, click on that, and it'll open up a location for that. I'm going to say, "That's okay", I'll hit, "Save," and I want to change the settings for this, and there's two places to do that, and they do two different things. The best settings area is another place where you can customize the start and end ranges. You can also see what the duration of it is going to be, you change the frame rate, even though you're working in 24 frames a second, you want it to be 30, you could do that here as well. I typically don't ever opened this, and I just leave it as is. The one I use the most is this, and that's how we set the file type, that's how we set the codec we're going to use. For this, I want to use the "Quick Time Format", and I like to use the "Video Codec", "Apple Pro Res 422 LT". This depends on what codecs you have installed on your computer. You might not have this one. You could also use something like the "Animation Video Codec". This is a lossless format, meaning it's as high-quality as you can get, it's not going to compress anything. In some settings of different codecs, we could set the bit rates. I don't believe we have that option in most of these because they are a lossless setting so we can't compress them in any way. Let me choose "Animation". When I choose animation, I have a few other options available to me. I can actually render an alpha channel with the color as well. That's something to keep in mind, if you need transparency in your output, even if it's a video file, you could include transparency, and that's how you do that. You can also enable or disable audio. I'm just going to say, "Audio Output Off", because there is no audio in this export, and I'm going to hit "Okay". Now all we have to do is hit "Render", and we have begun our render, it's going to play through, and if it's already cached it in the memory, it'll go through this very quickly. Now your assignment is to do this yourself. I would like to see what you come up with. You can use the assets that you've downloaded for this Course Project to recreate this exact same project, or I encourage you to go out and take your own photos, take your own stamps, or do your own type of animation using the new skills that you have. I look forward to seeing those in the class project and assignment area. Thanks for watching, and I look forward to seeing your work. 8. Running Out Of Disk Space: You've started using After Effects, and your computer is running out of disk space. Why is that happening? What's going on? There's one place to control that, and you can go to edit, purge, all memory and disk cache. What that's going to do, is it's going to delete all the disk cache, and that's what this little green line is here. We've been pressing space bar and the timeline, and previewing all that stuff. It has to preview and save those files somewhere and it can add up. You can clear this disk cache as often as you want, and someone just hit okay. If you notice that this green line is going to disappear, and it has to re-preview this because I just deleted all of it. The other preference you can adjust to control what is that maximum amount if you keep running out of disk space on your computer, is under edit preferences, and go to media and disk cache. This is where you get to set the maximum disk cache size. Mine's pretty big because I have a ton of room and you can choose the folder, and you can also do the same operation we just did right here, empty disk cache, and it's only 15 megabytes now down from seven gigabytes because we just did it. I'm going to hit okay again, and hit okay, I like it at 90 because I have plenty of room, but reduce that number if you're running out of disk space. Yes. 9. Change This Preference Setting: Before you begin doing a lot of animation, let me show you the one preference you want to change. We're back into this file, and instead of the stamp slamming into the picture, I just want to animate it in coming in from the side. I'm going to set an end position. I'm going to go back to the beginning, and let me drag it over here. You can see the path that's going to take. Now, instead of it coming in and just stopping suddenly, I want it to settle. I wanted to overshoot the end position by a little bit. I'm going to go back here to create a new end position. We have two of the same end positions. But I want to go to this one, the first one, and have it go a little past the end position. It goes past and settles back. Now watch what happens to this path of motion here. When I just barely move the x value. See how now the path of motion, gets shot way out here. In between these two end keyframes, it's interpolating very far. To visualize what's happening, let me just drag this keyframe down. It's creating a bezier handle like it does with the masks path. You can see this little pink dot right here. As soon as I click that and drag it, you can see I can affect the path of motion of this. But once you get close to this, it gets hard and you're affecting the other side. There's a couple of ways to address this. You can hold down Alt, and then just have it basically be right on top of the keyframe. That would do it, and I could go however far I want now and it's no problem, or spacing out and going further than I want it to, because let's just say I want the overshoot to be really small onward to be, maybe that much. You can see it just keeps going. It keeps extending past where I wanted to end the settle. That's a major problem. What's happening is it's creating an auto bezier and that's the default preference in After Effects. I could also go to keyframe interpolation. For spatial interpolation, I can change that to linear I hit "Okay." Now you can see it fixes that issue. Now to do this in preferences, we just need to go to edit, preferences, general. We'd check this on right here. Default spatial interpolation to linear. Let's check that on, hit "Okay." Now, because this project was began, and these layers were created with that off. All these keyframes are going to have that spatial interpolation. We would need to go through individually, and change the keyframe interpolation of these back to linear. But if we were to create a new solid, and let me just change the color here. Pull up P position, and let me just move this to where we can see it, and do the same idea and just make another key frame here. Oops, and the second to last keyframe, I want it to overshoot. Now, it goes exactly where I want it to. Is not overshooting the overshoot going past it. It will work for any new object after you set that preference. For any ones that currently have it, all you have to do is right-click and go to the keyframe interpolation and change it to linear. But from here on out, you won't have to do that. You just check that one box, one time and every project now will do exactly what you expect it to do. As far as the spatial interpolation to watching. 10. Color Libraries: Color is important to all design, all motion graphics, all typography. To keep consistent colors and create new themes from colors, Adobe has a really nice online tool that I recommend you use. It will sync to your libraries here so you can create color themes and add to it and it will update here what you do on their website. If you go to their website, and you have an account, you can save a theme, you can adjust all this stuff and save this to whatever library you want. Now, you can see these themes here. You could add a new library and change these libraries to be dovetailed. Now you can see these colors here. I could change and save to this folder if I wanted to, but there's some really nice exploration and inspiration you can get from this website, and then sync that with your color library over here so that you can maintain consistent colors and bring the inspiration from this website over into your projects. Thanks for watching this short course on mastering the basics in After Effects. Now your next step is to finish the assignment for this course and then move on into the more advanced classes. The next one in the series is typography, where we will learn more advanced features of After Effects and how to do our own custom type animation as well as many other interesting features in After Effects that will build on your knowledge that you've learned in this course. I look forward to seeing you there so you can learn how to animate text and type inside of After Effects. Thanks for watching.