Animating With Layers: Intro To After Effects (Part 2) | Morgan Williams | Skillshare

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Animating With Layers: Intro To After Effects (Part 2)

teacher avatar Morgan Williams, Animator / Educator

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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.



    • 2.

      Project Folder


    • 3.

      Importing Files


    • 4.

      Project Window


    • 5.

      Working With Video Layers


    • 6.

      Adding Effects To Layers


    • 7.

      Image Layers And Blend Modes


    • 8.

      Animating The Moon


    • 9.

      Working With Text Layers


    • 10.

      Auto Bezier Keyframes


    • 11.

      Animating Type


    • 12.

      Animating Effect Properties


    • 13.

      Adjustment Layers And Mask Basics


    • 14.

      Working With Solids


    • 15.



    • 16.

      See You In The Next Class!


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About This Class

Have you wanted to try creating animation or motion design in Adobe After Effects but been put off by it’s complexity?  Have you tried After Effects but not sure you’re really “getting it”? Then this series of classes is for you!

Intro To After Effects Part 2 is the second of a four part series to introduce Adobe After Effects to aspiring animators and motion designers with little or no experience with the software.  If you haven’t yet taken Intro To After Effects Part 1, you’ll want to make sure and start with that first class as we’ll be building on the lessons from part 1 in part 2.

Perfect for Graphic Designers or Illustrators with an interest in animation or motion design, this series is a comprehensive survey of After Effects fundamentals that will give you a real understanding of the software and allow you to begin creating your own unique work with confidence.

Taught by Morgan Williams, an animator with over 25 years of professional experience and almost 10 years of experience as an animation instructor, this class is packed with professional techniques and practices to make your workflow smart and efficient..

But you won’t just be learning about software; throughout the series, software techniques will be connected to the principles of animation and other “bigger ideas” behind successful animation and motion design work, giving you a strong foundation both technically and creatively.

In Intro To After Effects Part 2, we will focus on…

  • Organizing assets in the Project window
  • Working with different types of layers in After Effects
    • Video layers
    • Image layers
    • Text layers
    • Adjustment layers
    • Solid layers
  • Blend modes
  • Working with effects
    • Adding effects to layers
    • Animating effect properties
  • Creating “moving holds”
  • Property key commands
    • “TRAPS” keys
    • “U” key
  • Auto bezier keyframes
  • Mask basics
    • Adding simple shape masks
    • Basic mask settings
  • Completing and rendering a final animation

Students will need access to Adobe After Effects CC2018 (v15) or higher.  CC2018 (v15) is recommended as CC2019 (v16) still has some issues at this time.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Morgan Williams

Animator / Educator


Hi, I'm Morgan!

I'm a professional animator and a faculty member at the Ringling College of Art and Design.

I've been an animator and animation director for over 25 years, creating animation and motion design for numerous clients including Sony Pictures, the BBC, Comedy Central, and WGBH Boston. Since 2011, I have been a full time faculty member at Ringling College of Art and Design teaching and developing curriculum in the Department of Motion Design. In 2015 I began creating online courses as an instructor for School of Motion, and now I'm thrilled to bring my animation classes to the Skillshare community!

I am based in beautiful Sarasota Florida where I live with my lovely wife... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Welcome to Intro to after effects part two. The second part of a four-part series to introduce Adobe After Effects to aspiring animators and motion designers with little to no experience with the software. My name is Morgan Williams and I've been an animator and animation director for over 25 years. And I've been teaching animation and motion design for almost ten years at the Ringling College of Art and Design Online at School of Motion, and now here on skill share. If you haven't taken Intro to after effects part one, you're going to want to make sure and watch that class first because we're going to be building on the lessons from part one here in part two. This series is perfect for graphic designers or illustrators who are interested in animation or motion design, and either haven't yet tried after effects or may have tried it and been put off by its complexity. Intro to after effects is a comprehensive survey of the fundamentals of the software, not just to look at one or two specific techniques, so that you'll be able to use this powerful and flexible tool to create your own unique animations with confidence. Throughout the series, I'll teach you professional techniques and practices and make your workflows smart and efficient. As well as connecting what we learn about the software to larger creative principles and concepts and animation and motion design to give you a strong foundation, both technically and creatively. In part two of the series, we're going to imagine that we're creating this title frame for a hip knew werewolf show called Howl. [MUSIC] Along the way, we're going to learn about working with different types of layers and after effects, including video layers, image layers, Text layers, adjustment layers and solids. We'll look at adding and animating effects on layers. Learn a bunch of cool new key commands and a whole lot more. Let's open up after effects and get started. 2. Project Folder: Make sure that you've downloaded the project folder and unzipped that. Then remember from our first class in the series that within the project folder is the project file, the.aep file. Then there's the footage folder which contains the assets we're going to use in the project. Now, just to dive a little deeper into this, It's important to understand the way After Effects works with asset files. When you import an asset or a piece of footage as After Effects reverse to it into an After Effects project, the file doesn't actually go into the project file. What happens instead is that the After Effects project file creates a link to the asset file in the finder wherever it's imported from. So if you have a piece of footage or an asset on your desktop and you import it into your project file, it's going to link to that file sitting on your desktop. Now if you move that file or you delete that file, or you rename that file, After Effects will no longer know where that file is, and when you open that project, you'll get a missing footage warning notice and your project won't be able to play back or render correctly. This is a really important concept to understand about how After Effects works with assets or footage. Now, as long as it hasn't been deleted, missing footage can be relinked by double-clicking on the missing file in the project window and finding the file in the finder on your computer. But this is a waste of time and really unnecessary if you work in a more organized way. In general, the process that you want to use to add an asset to a project is to copy that asset first into your assets or footage folder in your project folder, and then import it into the project. Then if you plan to move your project to another computer or share your project with a coworker, make sure you move the entire project folder with both the project file and the footage folder included. If you work this way consistently, you'll never have any issues with missing files in your project. Once you've downloaded the zip file, unzipped it, you can either double-click on the aep file to open After Effects or do as we did in the first class, open After Effects, choose open project and choose this project file. Once you have After Effects and the project file open, remember that it's always a good idea, as we did in the first class in the series, to do an increment and save to make sure we preserve a version of this project in case we make a terrible mess and we want to start over. Again, I'm going to go up under file, increment and save, and we're going do a save as automatically advancing that version number from version one to version two. Now, let's note that we've already made some color settings to this project that I want to draw your attention to. If we go up under file project settings and we go to color settings, you can see first of all, that we've set the bit depth for the colors at 16 bits per channel, which is up from the eight bits per channel that it defaults to. I recommend that setting in this case because we're starting to use some more sophisticated imagery and effects in this project. We've also set the working space already to sRGB, which if you recall from the first class in the series, is a good way to help maintain your colors when you render. Your colors are still going to shift when you render to some degree, but setting the working space will help to preserve the colors a little bit better. Now again, we made these settings to this project already before you downloaded it. But I recommend if you're starting a fresh project to set your color settings at 16 bit and sRGB, that will work pretty well for most situations. Now I also want to do mention one additional thing with our composition window here, now that we're beginning to work with more complex projects. You might want to change the preview settings in your composition window, especially if you don't have a terribly fast computer. What I recommend is come down here to this little button here with this little lightning bolt on at this little box with a lightning bolt and click on that pull down menu and I recommend that you choose fast draft. It's a good general setting to keep RAM previews and the screen refresh as you're moving layers around running smoothly. For the project we're going to create for this class, we're going to imagine that we are creating the title frame for a title sequence for a cool new TV show about where wolves called How. To create this title frame, we're going to use a combination of video imagery, photographic imagery, and of course, typography. Along the way, we're going to talk about working with these different types of layers. We're going to also look at adding an animating effects to these layers, working with blend modes and working with adjustment layers, along with a lot of other good stuff. Let's do a RAM preview of how title finished here just to get an idea of what we're going to create. We have a fun collage approach here with the time-lapse video of the stars as our background. This overlay of this photograph of the moon tinted to a bloody red and of course our typography for the title. This should be a fun little animation to create. Let's dive in and get started. 3. Importing Files: The first thing we want to do, of course, is create a new composition within our project, create our title frame. So let's go up to the pull-down menu composition and choose New Composition. Note we can also use the command keys, Command N. Because I'm working on a Mac, I'm going to be using MAC key commands. If you're using a PC, remember that when I use the Command key, you'll use the Control key, and when I use the Option key, you'll be using the Alt key. Otherwise, all the other key commands will be basically the same. So let's go ahead and choose New Composition and we'll name it HowlTitle. We want to use the Preset. Mine is already defaulting to this because I've used it previously and after-effects will pretty much always use the Preset you used prior to opening the new composition window here. But just double-check that you're using this preset right here, HDTV 1080 24, 24 frames per second. So we want to choose that and then we want to make sure that our duration is set to 10 seconds. Remember our time code here is hours, minutes, seconds, and frames. So we want 10 in the second position here. Now if you're watching this class immediately after my first class in the intro to after-effects series. This will be set at 06 for six seconds, so you'll want to change that to 10. Mine is already defaulting to 10 because I created the initial finished HowlTitle. Now that also goes for the background color. You may have the purple color that we used in the previous class or some other color if you chose some other color, probably a good idea to return this to its default black. So remember to click on the swatch here, you'll get your color picker and just drag this down into the corner, this corner or this corner doesn't really matter to give yourself full black. So once you have all those settings correct, go ahead and click "Okay." Now because I have a finished version of our project here, I've already imported all of those assets into the project, but I have copies of the photograph and the video so we can quickly review the importing process. I'm also going to show you in the next lesson a cool little trick for importing. So let's start by just importing one of these files. In the next lesson, we'll import the other one and I'll show you that little handy trick. So remember that there's a few different ways that we can import. I can either use Command I, which will launch the Import Dialog Window, or I can double-click in the blank area of the project window here. That's not so useful once you have a very big complicated project with lots and lots of files. But as long as the project is relatively small and you've got some blank space here, a double-click is a quick way to launch that. Another option is to right-click and go down and choose import file. All of those things will launch the same Import Dialog box and you can choose a file to import. So let's go ahead and choose the Stars Timelapse version 1 movie file here. We've already got the version 00 imported, so let's just import this one. So we're going to select that and choose "Open", and we'll import that file. Note that when the file is selected, you get some information about it. The frame rate, the aspect ratio, its duration, color information, compression information. Depending on what kind of file it is, image file here we just get size information, color information, you'll get a different set of information. Now I've also included a library file for the two colors we're going to use the text color and the color we're going to tint the moon. It's really not necessary that you use these exact colors, but if you want to follow along with the class exactly, you can import this library file by going to the library window, clicking on the Menu button here, choosing Import Library, you'll get this little dialog box. You click "Select Library" to choose the location of your footage folder. Then you can choose the AeClass2 library file and click "Open." But again, really not that necessary in this particular case because it's really just two colors and you can just play around and choose the colors that you want. Now before we start putting this all together, we need to still import our image file of the moon, but we also want to stop and take a minute and get our project window a little more organized. So let's take a look at that in the next lesson. 4. Project Window: Now as we're working here, don't forget to save often. You might even want to increment and save once in a while. Just to keep things moving in these videos, i'm probably going to edit out my saves a lot of the time. But don't forget as you're working every time you do a couple of things. Just "Command S" to save, just to be safe. I talked in the first intro to after-effects class about how important it is to stay organized when you're working. We're creating relatively simple projects for these classes, but more advanced after-effects projects can get very complicated very quickly. Staying organized is critical and a habit you want to develop early on. We talked quite a bit in the first-class about staying organized in your timeline window by naming your layers and color-coding them. But we also want to stay organized in our project window. Luckily, after-effects provides a finder like folder structure that makes that easy to do. Note that the project window is in a lot of ways like a finder. You can see already that there is a folder here, the solids folder, and we'll talk more about solids and adjustment layers later. But you can see that there's a solid and an adjustment layer in that solids folder that was actually created by after-effects. After-effects is automatically trying to keep a little bit organized there. But as we've been importing files and creating compositions, they just stack up in this window as we create them. But we can also create folders within here to keep things a little more organized. There's two ways to create folders. I can either go down to the bottom of the window and choose create new folder right there, or again, I can right click here and choose "New Folder". Let's call this folder audio. Let's drag our audio file into that folder. Now we only have one audio file here, but it's still a good idea to make folders for the different types of assets and footage that you have to keep things organized. I'm going to click and drag that audio file into that audio folder. Then let's make one for our video files here. I'm going to right-click new folder and we'll call this video. We'll click and drag our two video files into that folder. Then let's make an image folder and drag our moon into that images folder. Now you can also, if you start to accumulate a lot of compositions, you can make a folder or a precomp folder. We'll talk about precomps in an upcoming class right now because we just have a few, i'm going to leave those free-floating. But right away we've got a much more organized workspace here within our project window. Now, I promised you a fun little trick. We haven't imported our moon image yet. Again, I recognize that we have a moon image here. I'm just imagining that we're building this from scratch. If you've created folders and your working in this organized way. You can actually import directly into those folders, which is pretty handy. We're going to import the other moon image here and we want it to go into the images folder. If I select the images folder first and then hit command i to import, I'll get my import dialogue here and we can select that moon jpg. Now i'm going to pause just for a moment here because there's an important checkbox that we need to uncheck before we import this. That's because we have two jpgs here called Moon-v00 and Moon-v01. This is a pretty common thing that you might have a couple of images with similar names or different numbers to them. There's a little pitfall here that you're going to fall into if you're not careful, can cause some real confusion with beginning after-effects users. Watch what happens when I select Moon Version 1 jpg. Note that down here at the bottom, it automatically checks this importer jpg sequence. What that means is it's reading these two files as an image sequence. Image sequences are basically a way to bring in a sequence of images like a movie, a video file. But we don't want that. We just want a still image of this jpg. We're not going to get that if importer jpg sequence is checked. It's really important to always look for this because depending on how you name and organize your files, this can sometimes default to being checked on because after-effects notice that there were two similarly named files with a number sequence. It guessed that we want this to be an image sequence. It's again, this thing of after-effects, trying to be smart and helpful, which is often really great. But sometimes just like with auto-correct when you're texting, can be irritating. We want make sure an uncheck importer jpg sequence. Keep an eye on that when you're importing images, make sure that's checked off unless you want it to be an image sequence, which means it'll come in as if it's a little video clip made up of your sequence of images, you might do that if you create, for example, a sequence of hand-drawn animation in Photoshop and then import that into after-effects. But in this case we want it unchecked. We're just importing a plain old jpg image. Now let's go ahead and hit open. You'll notice that because we have the folder selected before we hit "Command I", or did the Pull-down menu. It automatically imports right into that folder, which is really slick. Now that won't work with the right-click. This won't function. If you've got this selected, it'll automatically click away from the folder. If you have the folder selected, you either need to use Command I or the pull-down menu Import file. I of course recommend you use the key commands you want to get as comfortable with as many key commands as possible to make your workflow more professional and efficient. Now that we've got our project window all neat and organized, we're ready to start building our project. 5. Working With Video Layers: Let's begin by creating our background. We're going to do that with a stars time-lapse video. Let's tab open our video folder here in the project window and let's grab stars time-lapse version 1. We're just going to click and drag that straight down and drop it into our timeline. We want to make sure we're dragging that straight down into this layer stack area, not into the timeline itself because that would place it actually wherever we put it along the timeline and we want it to start right at frame 0. We want to click and drag that straight down. Right away, let's name this layer because this name is long and unwieldy here. Once again, to stay organized, we're going to hit the "Return" key and we'll call this BackgroundStars. Once we get a few more layers in here, we'll color code them as well. Even though this isn't a very complicated project, it's always good to maintain these good organizational habits. Now, note that our video clip here plays back just like we would expect it to. I can click and drag on the video file to move it back and forth in time on the timeline. I can also choose the in and out point of the layer by clicking and dragging on the edges of the clip like this. There's some other options for editing video with an aftereffect but we're not going to dive too deep into that with this particular class. One big idea to note about video is if you have to do a lot of video editing, you really want to use Adobe Premiere. After Effects is really not a good video editing software. You can do some video editing in After Effects but it is not really made for that. One of the main reasons is that each video clip that you bring in has to occupy a separate layer. So you can't, for example, but multiple video clips together within one layer. So I always tell students that After Effects is great at almost everything but one of the things that's very poor at is video editing, especially complex video editing. If you have to do some complicated editing a video before you say add effects or animation to it, you want to do that in Adobe Premiere and then import that render into After Effects. But we don't have to do any complicated editing here. Now, the other thing that I want you to note about this video clip that we've added to our timeline is, notice that it actually has an anchor point right there in the center. If I tab it open, there's our transform tab and there are our transforms, they're all available to us, all animatable just like our shape layers were. If you remember from the first class, I said that just about every layer and After Effects has these properties available. So I can scale and I can rotate and I can do anything that I can do with any other layer with this video layer. But we're not going to do anything quite so crazy with this. We're going to keep this pretty simple but we do have one issue here which is that our video clip is only eight seconds and 11 frames and we need this to be 10 seconds here for our title frame. Similarly to Adobe Premiere, we do have the ability to alter the timing of a video clip. What we need to do here is to stretch this from eight seconds to 10 seconds, which will slow down the video just a little bit, but probably not enough that we would even notice particularly. With the layer selected, I'm going up to go up to Layer, Time and we're going to choose Time Stretch. Now, just to show you a slightly alternate way of doing this. If you don't want to use the pull down menu from the top, which is a little bit of extra time to move up there, you can also simply right-click on the "Layer" itself. This is a little more direct and you'll have most of the options available to you that you have in the layer pull down menu. So right-click Time, Time Stretch. This is a handy little effect here that allows us to stretch a clip in time and we can do it in a couple of different ways; we can either do it with a percentage so we can make it twice as fast or twice as slow or half again as fast or half again as slow or whatever we want to do. Or we can simply set a new duration, either shorter or longer. We can also hold it or pin it, either at the Layers In-point, Current Frame or the Layer Out-point. We want to hold it in place at the Layer In-point here but we know that we need it to be 10 seconds long. So rather than try to work this out with a percentage, we're just going to type in 10.00 for ten seconds, then we're going to click "Okay" and you can see it automatically stretches the clip to exactly 10 seconds. If we play it back here with a ram preview, it's maybe a little slower than the original clip was but that will actually work to our advantage since we're trying to create this spooky atmospheric vibe. Now, you do want to be careful with time stretching especially when you're stretching a clip longer than it is. If you stretch it too much, you'll start to actually see the individual frames and it'll get stuttery. But a small stretch like this is really not going to be very noticeable at all. Making the clip shorter, of course will speed it up and you can really that as much as you want. Although, be aware that the more you compress it, it'll start to drop frames, so you won't be seeing every single frame in your clip. Now, we've got our video clip in place, and we've got it stretched to 10 seconds. Let's look next at adding some effects to this layer to make it work better for our title frame. 6. Adding Effects To Layers: After Effects just like Photoshop, has tons of effects that we can add to layers in order to alter them in different ways. In this class, we're just going to look at a couple of effects. There's no way I could walk you through every single effect in the menu. You'll want to do some exploring on your own there. But let's look at the basics of how to add an effect and adjust an effect. There's two main ways to add an effect to a layer. With the layer selected, I can go up under Effect. Then you'll see this giant menu with sub menus with all the different effects we have available here in After Effects. If you are familiar with Photoshop, many of these are similar, but there are some different ones and some of the ones you may be familiar with might work just a little bit differently, but you'll definitely notice some old favorites if you're used to using Effects in Photoshop. The first one we're going to use here is color balance HLS, or hue, lightness and saturation. With the layer selected, we simply choose this effect, and it automatically adds the effect to the layer. Now, we'll look at the second way to add an effect in just a second. Let's note a couple of things. Notice first of all, that a new window has popped up, the effects control window up here with the effects controls in them. Notice it is popped up by default as a tab in the same window where our project window is. I can barely see the project window there, but if I click on it, there's the tab for that. If you can't actually see and click on the "Project tab", simply click on these two little arrows right here and you can see you can select back and forth between the two tabs within this one window space here. But let's also note that on the layer itself, if I tab open the layer, notice that a new tab has been added, the effects tab. If I tab that open, there's my color balance, HLS. If I tab that open, here are the same exact controls that are available up here, and they're exactly the same. You can either adjust them here or you can adjust them here. Now, also note that these controls all have stopwatches next to them. You should remember what that means, that means these are all animatable just like our five properties, this is one of those aspects of After Effects that's extremely powerful. Almost everything is animatable, including the properties on effects. Now, if you are animating a property on an effect, you're going to tend to use it down here in the timeline because you're going to be making keyframes and so forth just as if you were animating any other layer. If you're just adjusting the parameters and not necessarily animating, you might want to use the effect control window instead, just because it's a little bit larger and a little easier to access, you don't have to click open tabs in order to get to it, but either way will work. Let's take a look at the other way to add effects to a layer. So to do that, let's actually remove our effect and then we'll also learn how to remove an effect. Notice that the name of the effect is selected, this white box around it. If I click away, click in this empty area that deselects the effect, but if I select the effect and then simply hit the "Delete" key, that effect goes away. Now, how else can we add effects to a layer? The other way that's perhaps a little more efficient if you know the effect you're looking for is to, with the layer selected, go to this window right here, Effects and Presets and you can either dig through the effects. There's our color balance, HLS. Notice it's highlighted because it's the most recent one we used. Or you can use this little search window, again, if you know the name of the effect you're looking for, or maybe the kind of effect you're looking for and you can try some different search terms. If we type in here, color and just start typing balanced by the time we get to L, you can see it comes up with the two color balance effects. The one, of course we want is color balance HLS. Now, with the layer selected, all I have to do is double-click on this and it automatically adds the effect to the layer just as we did before. Now, another thing to note before we go much further here is that I can add as many effects as I want to a layer. You can stack these up. We could also add a blur effect, and then we could add a distortion effect. You'll notice that they just stack up, it's also important to know it and we're not going to get too deep into this with this particular project, but the order of the effects actually matters. After Effects will process each effect in order, this is particularly important when you're dealing with color effects. So you can reorder the order of effects by clicking on them and dragging them up and down and you can alter the order which again, can be very important depending on what kinds of effects you're using. But for right now, let's just go ahead and delete all but our color balance HLS. We have bulge selected, let's delete that. Bilateral blur, let's delete that and just return to our color balance, HLS. Now, what I want to do with our effect here is I want to make this a little darker. I want to try to push the sky a little bit more towards a midnight blue. I'm going to start with the Hue dial. Now, the hue is really powerful because it basically just shifts the entire Hue base of the image. As I spin this around, you can see I can make my sky almost any color I want. Now, we don't want anything quite so goofy as that I just want to shift this a little more towards midnight blue. I'm going to back this up just a little bit. That's probably a little too far. That looks good there, right around minus 10 degrees on that Hue dial. But it's also a little too bright. We also want this again to give it that spooky atmospheric feel, to be a little darker. Let's adjust the lightness down a little bit and just darken that down. Now, as I've darken that down, it's gotten a little gray. So I want to boost the saturation a little bit to bring some of those colors back. Let's just creep that saturation up just a little bit more, so our color is a little bit richer. Before we move on, let's just make a note of what we've done with this effect. Notice the little fx button right here. That's actually a little button. I can click that and just very quickly turn the effect on and off. You can see we've got a deeper richer blue, it feels a little more dark and moody and atmospheric. Let's move on to the next lesson and add our moon image. 7. Image Layers And Blend Modes: Let's return to our project window here. Let's close our video folder tab and open our images tab. Let's click and drag our moon image once again straight down and put it on top of, not below, but on top of our background stars. Now this moon image is huge, 2400 by 2400 pixels, which is great. That means that we can do a lot with it. Let's start by renaming our layer. I'm just going to delete the last part of the name here. Now a really quick note about layer naming. We've changed the names of these two layers, and we're looking at them as their layer name, but their source, the linked asset file has not changed. If I click here where it says layer name, click, I change it to source name and you can see the original names are still here. In other words, the source of this layer is moon version one JPEG. The layer instance of this moon, is called moon. I could have more than one instance of that same asset in this project if I want, I could have three different moons and call them Moon 1, 2, 3. But their source is all going to be that same JPEG. Now let's bring the size of this moon down a little bit. It's clearly bigger than we need it to be. Once again, as we open our transforms, we have our usual five transforms just like we would expect. Let's bring this scaled down a little bit. Just so we can see what we're doing. We're going to keep it relatively big. And we're not trying to create a realistic sky image here. We're creating more of a collage effect. You'll also notice that around this image of the moon is black. Now obviously we don't want to see this black. We want just the moon on its own, and we want to blend it with the background to create that collage look. To do that, we're going to use a blend mode. Now once again, if you are familiar with Photoshop, you should be very familiar with blend modes. But if you are not familiar with Photoshop, and you haven't worked with blend modes before. Blend modes are basically ways of creating different kinds of transparency relationships between layers. We have our basic opacity and just by turning that down, we create a relationship between this layer, and that layer. But blend modes can create a more complex relationship between two different layers. The blend modes are available here under the Mode column. For any reason you're not seeing the Mode column, if you are seeing the switches column which looks like this, just click this little button down at the bottom of your timeline, toggle switches and modes and that will bring up the Mode column. You can see right now the modes of these layers are set to normal. If I click on that little pull-down menu, you can see all the different blend modes. Now once again, I'm not going to have time to go through all the different blend modes with you. They're lumped together in groups, and within each group, the blend modes do somewhat similar things, but there's a lot of them. Once you get to know the general character of each group, then you can play around with the different blend modes given different situations. But to help you out, we've also included for the class that does a really good job of explaining what each blend mode does. It has a nice little image reference for each one. So be sure and download that and check that out if you are unfamiliar with working with blend modes. But in this particular case, because we have a black background that we want to basically knock out. We're going to be using one of the modes in the add group here. The darken group or multiply group. Multiply is one of the most popular and common blend modes. This group will basically make anything that is white or light, transparent, and it'll make it more or less transparent depending on how close to white it is. If it is 100 percent white, it'll be 100 percent transparent. So just to see that, I'll choose multiply here. You can see that all the light areas of the moon have gone transparent and the dark areas are still opaque. This is very effective when you have an image with a white background and you want to knock out that white background. But it also creates transparency all through the image depending on how light it is. But we want to do the opposite, so we're going to be using one of the blend modes in the add group here, I'm just going to use add, and when we choose that, notice that what it does is it takes all of the dark areas and makes those transparent and if it's a 100 percent black, it makes it 100 percent transparent. You can see the black disappears. We've essentially cut out our moon, but we can also see through the darker areas within the moon as well. It's not as if we've cut out the moon exactly, but we've knocked away that black background and now we have a cool blend between the moon and our background. Now let's position our moon a little bit and adjust the scale and then we'll alter its color with an effect. We want this moon in the upper corner here. Because the image is a nice clean square, we have our anchor point automatically right in the center, and so what I want to do is I want to snap that to the corner of our frame. I'm going to move the moon towards the corner of the frame and then right as I get towards the edge, I'm going to hold down the command key. What the command key will do is engage, snapping. Now snapping defaults to being unengaged here, and I can check that on to engage it all the time. But it's a little easier to just use the command key to toggle snapping on and off, for the situations where you need it. What it'll do is it'll snap to the edges or the anchor points of other layers. In this case, it's going to snap to the corner of our video image. As I move towards the corner of that video image, I'm going to hold down the command key and boom, it snaps that anchor point right to that corner, which is really handy. Now let's also bring the size of the moon up a little bit. I'm going to put it at about 85 percent. We're going to animate the scale a little bit later. So it's growing into the frame, but we'll put it at 85 percent to put it about halfway. Again, because we're trying to create this spooky atmospheric feeling for our werewolf show. We want our moon to be dark, and we want it to be bloody, a blood moon. To do this, I'm going to tint the moon. We're going to use an effect called tint. With the moon selected, I'm going to go up under effects and presets, and I'm going to type, tint. There's our tint under color correction. I'm going to double-click on that. What tint does, is basically take the image and actually, let's take the blend mode off temporarily here. We'll put it back on. Let's temporarily turn the blend mode off so we can see what's happening. So when you add the tint, here I'll turn it off and then on, it basically maps the image from black to white to two colors, and it defaults to mapping the black to black and the white to white, which essentially turns the image black and white. Now with tinting, you can put any color you want into these two channels to create any effect you want. But all we want to do is make this moon feel bloody. I'm going to hit the reset button here, it's going to reset to the defaults. The first thing we want to do is leave the black alone because we're using that add blend mode. We want to leave that black the way it is because we want to knock that out. If we put a color in here, then the add blend mode won't knock that out. Let's just take a really quick look at that so we understand it. There we've knocked that blackout. If I put a color in there, suddenly that doesn't knock out anymore because it's not pure black. So we don't want that, we want to leave that as black. All we're going to do is put some color into the white. Now once again, I've created a color already for the moon, but you're welcome to add any color you want. So if I click on the white here, we get our color picker and you can experiment with different kinds of red, blood moon colors. The color I chose was an attempt to match the wispy clouds, or aurora borealis. I don't really know which that is, on the other side here. I wanted those colors to match. I went ahead and used this color right here to create a relationship between those. But again, you're absolutely free to choose whatever color you want. So we've got our moon looking really cool. Now we're ready to give it some animation. 8. Animating The Moon: Now we talked quite a bit in the first class in the series, about eases and about how almost nothing in nature moves without some kind of ease out or ease in. So the vast majority of time when we're animating, we do put eases on our animation. But there are significant times where we might choose not to use eases and use linear motion instead. One of those times is when we want a movement to appear to be a continuous float or drift without a beginning or an end. A good example of this would be the movement of our moon. We want to pretend as if the moon is just in continual motion throughout our scene. We don't want to see it start to move, and we don't want to see it stop moving. We just want to see it continually floating and drifting. In order to do that, we don't want to use eases, because the eases would show us the beginning of the movement when it eases out, and the end of the movement when it eases in. Note that the stars in our time-lapse footage don't do an easing, they're in motion when the shot starts, and they're still in motion as we cut at the end. We want this same feeling with our moon, so the movement starts at the very beginning of the scene, and moves all the way to the end. Right here at frame 0, let's start by adding a rotation key frame here, just at zero rotation. So we're going to first have the moon rotate a little bit. Then we're going to go all the way to the end of our composition, and let's just add a rotation. We want this to rotate in the same direction that our stars are moving, so we want it to rotate counterclockwise. I'm just going to type in minus 25, just to go about an eighth of the way around. Let's take a look at how that looks. There we go, a little faster than the sky, but in the same direction. I don't want it to move the exact same speed as the sky, because then it'll feel locked together and we want to maintain this separation, this collage feeling. Also notice this sense of it being continuous. We've come upon it in motion, we watch it in motion, the scene ends, it's still in motion. There's no sense that the moon is beginning or ending its movement. That's because we're using these linear key frames with no eases. Let's do the same thing with scale. Let's have this gently scaling up a little bit, so the moon is encroaching on us. This'll support this idea of the werewolf where the moon is obviously very significant to the person who is a werewolf. It's definitely going to be encroaching on the life of this person who gets turned into a werewolf. So we're going to have the moon encroaching on our scene. I'm going to start with a scale key frame here, but let's pull the scale back a little bit. Let's pull it back to 80 percent and then we'll have it scale up to 90 percent. That means it'll pass through 85 percent in the middle there, which was the size we set it out for our design. I'm going to use the K key to jump forward to our key frame at the end here on our rotation, and we'll go ahead and type in 90 percent to scale that up 10 percent. Let's run preview that. All right, great. We have, again, that continuous motion of the moon spinning, and growing, coming towards us in an ominous way that fits our theme and our feeling really well. In the next lesson, we're going to look at adding our typography. 9. Working With Text Layers: Adding type and aftereffects is very similar to adding type in Illustrator or Photoshop, you can see in our toolbar menu here, there is a type tool. I'm going to go ahead and select that and when I select that type tool, the character window opens. Again, if you're familiar with Illustrator and Photoshop, this will all be pretty familiar to you, but if you're not, we'll just walk through the basics here really quick. I'm just going to click in our image here to get us started, let's just click and we're going to type in the word hole in all caps. Now you'll notice when we clicked and typed that word, we created a text layer in after-effects, you can see the little t there. It defaults to being coded red, will tweak these color codes and a little bit, and it'll default to regular Helvetica in black at a mediumish size. Now with the type layer selected here, I can adjust all of these as I wish, so I can choose different fonts in the pull down menu here and you can choose whatever font you like for this particular project, I'm going to be using Gill Sans. I'm just going to start typing Gill, you can see Gill Sans comes up. I'm going to start with Gill Sans regular here, and then I'm just going to change this to light. Gill Sans light, and again, please use whatever font you like. By the way, I'm choosing Gill Sans because I like the perfectly circular o, which makes me think of the full moon. It's also a modern-looking font, and this is going to be one of those hip werewolf shows, like the hip young vampire shows. Rather than choosing a serif font, I'm choosing a modern font, then I want that o to suggest the moon. I can also change the size of the font right here by clicking and dragging right or left to make the font bigger or smaller. I'm going to go with 130 just to make it nice and big. We want the type to be a red color to go with our blood red theme here. Now I do actually have a color that we can use. I'll just show you quickly how I arrived at that color and then I'll go ahead and just select the color I've already chosen. You again can choose whatever color you like, but we can change the color or choose a color by clicking on the color swatch right here and that gives us our color picker. But there's also an eyedropper right here and it's sometimes good to begin your colors by sampling from the background that you're using so you can create colors that relate. I'm going to take the eyedropper here, and I'm going to choose maybe one of the colors from my moon here. But it's got quite a bit of gray in it and it's also maybe a little too fuchsia. I want it to be a little more bloody. Once I've sampled that, I'm now going to choose my color picker and now we'll pull some of that gray out and we'll move it a little more towards the oranges to give it more of a blood red color. We started with this sampled color and then tweaked it, that's a pretty good method to work, to keep all your colors related to some degree. As I said, I already choose a color here, If you want to choose the color I used, we're going to need to, eyedrop that color from the library, we want to open more than just one of these windows. I'm going to hold down the command key and click on "Libraries", that'll open all these windows real quick here and I'll scroll down. I'll grab that eyedropper and I'll choose the text color actually went with something that looks like I got even more orangey with that color. Now I'll command click again, close those all up. Now we're also going to use a blend mode in some transparency on this, we let a little of the background show through. Right now, our type is really just a flat color, just sitting on top of the image. Doesn't really feel integrated with the image, doesn't feel blended with the image, that's part of what blend modes are all about. Now, I'm going to use an add blend mode again, because add blend modes tend to bring out a lot of the luminance and color, and that's going to lighten this color quite a bit. Let's go ahead to our text layer and add our ad blend mode, and you can see that brightens it up, notice now how the color actually feels much more like the color in the moon. Just a little tip here, part of the reason I ended up choosing this color is I tweaked the color with the blend mode on. It's not a bad idea if you're going to be using a blend mode to add the blend mode and then play around with your color, since the blend mode is going to affect how that color appears, this is obviously very different than what this looks like here. There's a lot more luminance to it, it's drifted back into that fuchsia area that we have with our moon, like the blend mode, but it's still kind of popping off of that background a little more than I'd like it to for this atmospheric, spooky feeling we want, I'd like it to feel a little more, a part of that starry sky, little more integrated in with the background. Let's tab open our type layer and notice just like all of our other layers, there are our five transforms just as we would expect them to be. Let's take the opacity down just a little bit, let's take it down 10 percent, I'm going to go down to 90 percent, and there now it feels just a little more, a part of that background, a little more set into the space. Now let's look at a couple of our other setting choices here, in our character window, we have the tracking here. Tracking of course, is the spacing between all of the letters within a word or a line of type. I'm going to actually leave that at zero. Up above that we have the letting, which is the space between lines of type, but we only have one line of type here, so we're not going to worry about that. But then over here we have the Kerning and we definitely do want to consider the kerning. The kerning is the space between each letter, you never want to leave the auto kerning settings just as they are, the different shapes of the letters. Almost always mean that you have to individually tweak the kerning. The goal, of course, with kerning is to have a similar amount of negative space between each letter. Those of you who are graphic designers, of course, will be very familiar with kerning, I'm not going to take a lot of time to go into it here, but we definitely need to make a few little adjustments. To adjust kerning, I'm going to click in the type with my type tool to set my cursor in-between two letters. I can adjust the kerning by adjusting this value here, but using key commands is quite a bit easier, with my cursor there between the letters, I'm going to hold down the option key, and then I'm going to click the arrow keys forward and backward to alter that Kerning. I want this a little bit tighter, I want that H a little closer to that O, the way it defaults, there's a lot of space between H and O, so I'm going tighten that up a little bit. By the way, you should always set your tracking first, set you're tracking first and then go in and adjust your kerning. I'm leaving the tracking where it is because I liked the overall spacing and I'm just adjusting a little bit there. I think the rest of these field pretty good. Now we're going to be animating this type layer. Notice that the default position of the anchor point is in the bottom left, just to make it a little easier to animate and want to put that anchor point and the center at the baseline of the type. I'm gonna grab our anchor point tool and I'm going to bring that over, and once again, just like we did with the moon, I'm gonna hold down the command key and that allow me to snap the anchor point to the corners or the center bottom or top or the center of the type. I'm going to get close to that area. I'm going to hold down the command key and snap that into place. Let's just set our initial position for this type before we animate it. To do that, I'm going to go back to our grid structure. Now hopefully you watched and followed along with the first class in the series where we set our 16 by 9 grid. If you didn't, I recommend you go back and watch that, but if you did, then you should have your 16, 9 grid ready to go. I'm going to go under choose grid and guide options and turn our grid on, we want to make sure we have snap to grid checked. I'm going to go ahead and grab our regular selection tool, let's put this down on the first grid, square up from the bottom to give us a little margin on the bottom. Let's start this initially right here tucked into this negative space underneath the telephone pole here. Now I'm going to leave that grid on because that'll help us when we create our animation for our type. But before we animate our type, I want to take a minute and look at a different type of key-frame. We've looked at linear key frames, little diamond, we've looked at easy ease ends, easy ease outs, and the easy eases that is in and out of a key frame. Those are the little hourglass-shaped key frames. But I want to look at one other type of key frame, the auto bezier keyframe. Let's look at that in the next lesson. 10. Auto Bezier Keyframes: So to take a look at AutoBezier keyframes, let's go ahead and double-click on the AutoBezier composition in the project window. Double-click on that to open it. What I've got set up in here is very simple. It's a little square, animating across the frame, and it's animating in two pieces, the first being very, very fast, so you can see the spacing between those frames very, very wide there. It's going to move very, very quickly, and then it's going to hit this keyframe here, right in the middle, and then it's going to slow way down. It's also a good example of timing and spacing. We're moving the same distance between these key frames. Our timing is much shorter, making this movement very fast, and then from here to here, our timing is much longer, making the movement very slow. Now when you have this radical change in speed, you tend to get a clunk or a jerk, at the keyframe where that velocity changes. So let's take a look at that. I'm going to ram preview this. There you can see that as it changes speed, it really clunks, clunk right there. There's a jerk almost, as it changes speed. Your first instinct as a beginning aftereffects user, might be to use eases to try to smooth this out. Now in some cases, when the speed change is not too drastic, you can use an easy ease in, to ease into the slower movement or conversely, if you're going slower to faster ease out, and that will smooth the transition. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work because the percentage of ease might not be sufficient to smooth out the change in velocity. I'll be doing an upcoming series, going deeper into aftereffects that will address the motion graph editor that allows you to go much farther than the easy eases in controlling speed and velocity in and out of a keyframe. But for right now, before you get into the motion graph, just using a easy eases, you won't have enough control over that velocity change to necessarily take the jerk out. But it will work sometimes, in this particular case, the change in velocity is a little too drastic. So let's take a look at that. I'm going to right-click on this key frame and I'm going to add an easy ease in. You'll notice that the spacing gets closer on these keyframes, but it's still changes very, very radically from that spacing to that spacing, and you'll see we've still have a big jerk when we get to that slower part. So let's ram preview that. You can see it's still jerking. It's better, but it's still kind of jerks when it hits that slower keyframe. Now again, this method, as you have a change in speed from slow to fast or faster slow of using an ease, it will work sometimes. The other thing you might be tempted to try is an easy ease in other words, easy easing in and easy easing out. But that will create a slightly different problem. So let's set this back to a linear keyframe and let's right-click and let's add an easy ease. Now we're easy easing in and easy easing out, so it'll be smoother, but there will be a new issue here. Let's take a look at that. You can see it is smoother. But notice that now it really calls attention to that moment of change because it's almost comes to a stop, and then speeds back up again into the next movement. We have a stop and then an acceleration going forward. So what we're missing here is just a smooth transition from one velocity to another. Depending on the type of animation you're creating, you may want this stop and then start up again, and in that case, the easy ease in and easy ease out is just fine. But what we want is just a smooth transition from one speed to another, and in a way we've almost called more attention to the change in velocity here. So in order to give us that smooth change in velocity, what we want to use is an AutoBezier keyframe. Let's set this back to a linear keyframe by command, clicking on it. So what is an AutoBezier keyframe? What an AutoBezier keyframe does, and the term Bezier has to do with its effect on the motion graph, and we're not going to dive into the motion graph in this series, since this is just an introductory series. But the AutoBezier basically takes the velocity coming into a keyframe and matches it with the velocity coming out of the keyframe. It brings the two velocities together. So at the point of that AutoBezier keyframe, the speed coming in and speed going out are the same, but it doesn't create a full ease in or ease out, it just brings the velocity together, to meet the velocity coming in and coming out in the middle. Now this works very well to smooth out changes in velocity where you don't want a full ease in or a full ease out or if an ease in or ease out don't completely smooth out the change in velocity. So let's take a look again at this without anything on that keyframe, just linear, remind ourselves of the problem here. So there's that big clunk, that snap into that change in velocity. Now let's add the AutoBezier keyframe and we do that by command clicking on the linear keyframe. So command click, and we get this little circle, this little circle shape, and that circle shape tells us we have the AutoBezier keyframe. So now you'll see that we have a much smoother transition from one speed to the other. It's still a pretty radical change, but it's a much smoother transition from one to the other. We almost don't have a sense that there's a keyframe there. It just changes speed smoothly from one to the other. Now, I grant you that these differences are very subtle, but being able to see and understand and be able to control the subtlety of your movement, is really what separates the professionals from the amateurs in the world of animation and motion design. So it's really important to examine these subtle differences carefully and start to really train your eye to really see the differences between these subtle changes in speed, velocity, ease and so on. Now let's move on to the next lesson, where we're going to animate our type, and we'll put these AutoBezier keyframes to work creating a moving hold animation on our type. 11. Animating Type: Let's jump back to our Howl Title Frame here, and let's create some animation to bring our type on and bring our type off. Let's start by giving us an audio track to sync to. Remember as we talked about in the first part of the series, how important it is to always sync to a track. Now, this track doesn't have a very, very strong rhythm and we're just doing a little bit of animation. But even with simple animation, we want some relationship to that track. Now, I've already timed out the track in the finished version. So just to save a little time, let's just copy and paste that over. Let's go to Howl Title Finished. Let's grab the music layer here where you see I've made some markers. Let's command C to copy that layer, go back to our current project here, and command V to paste. Let's click and drag that down to the bottom of our stack. Now, as we're starting to accumulate more layers here, let's go ahead and also color code some of these. We're going to create a little rainbow pattern here just to separate our different layer types. You can choose whatever layer colors you like. I always like to have fun with the layer colors a little bit and create some pattern. So we'll just do a simple rainbow pattern here. Coming up from green, we'll change our two image layers, our background stars, and our moon. Since those are both image layers of video, and photography. Let's make those the same, we'll make those yellow, and then let's make our text layer orange and then we'll add two final layers on top, we'll color code those red. Again, you can choose whatever color you like. After Effects does have default colors for different layer types. So you can use those as well until it starts to get a little unwieldy, then you might want to start thinking about color coding in a way that helps you organize your project. Now, just taking a quick look at our music here, I just have marked off a couple of beats based on these little notes that you hear. So let's open the Waveform and you'll remember, of course, that we covered this in the first part of the series. So if you want to know how to time out a track and make these markers, you're going to want to watch Part 1 of the Intro To After Effects series, but you'll see that we have these simple beats through the audio track. Let's run a preview and just have a listen. We just have these keyboard notes hitting on these long slow beats, and they're very easy to see in the waveform. But that'll give us a basic pattern to follow for the animation of our type. You'll also notice that I've added a little bit of animation to the audio levels, just to create a fade out here at the end. The beginning of the track here is the actual beginning of the track, that works well to bring us into the track, but, we've interrupted the track, which of course goes on for a couple more minutes, with our short little 10 second piece, and I've just added a little fade out here at the end, dropping the volume down to nothing at the end here. So we'll use these simple notes to time out the animation of our type. Now let's talk for a moment about the animation of our type. What we're going to do is slide it in as it's fading on, and then hold it for a while so we can read it, and then we're going to slide the type off as it fades out. The concept behind this type animation is a sense of creeping and sneaking. We're going to sneak the type on and sneak the type off, imagining the movement of a creeping werewolf. Now when we animate type and motion design, there's a couple of ideas we want to think about. First of all, we want to make sure that we never interfere with readability. We always want to be able to read the type while it's on the screen. When you're animating type on and off, depending on how you're animating the type on and off, it's usually not the time where our audience is going to be able to read the type clearly. The audience is generally going to be reading the type after it appears and before it disappears during the time it's holding on the screen. But another big general idea in motion design and animation is that we rarely want movement to completely stop. We don't want the frame to ever stop moving completely. Now, with type, we can sometimes get away with stillness for a little while in-between it moving on and off. But it's often more desirable and creates a little more visual interest if the type continues to move just a little bit, even during the period that it is holding so we can read it. That small motion where we are holding on the type so we can read it, but it's also still moving a little bit, I like to call a moving hold. A moving hold is actually a term used in traditional character animation, which is my background, and the concept is very similar. The idea is you never want your character to completely stop moving, even when you want the character to hold in a pose so the audience can read that pose clearly, just like we want our audience to read our type. So you have the character hold a pose, but move just a little bit, a moving hold. That's very much the same idea we're going to use with this type. We're going to move it in quickly, then we're going to hold on it so the audience can read it, but move it just enough to keep it alive, and then we're going to move it off quickly. We're going to use those auto BCA keyframes to smooth out the transition between the faster movement coming in, the slower movement of the moving hold, and the faster movement going out. Let's create our initial animation with our type. We're going to begin by a position movement to slide the type into position, then we're going to float it for a little while in that moving hold and then slide it out again and we'll add opacity and some other effects afterwards. So let's go to our Howl Layer here, our Type Layer, and let's use our J keys to jump back to our first marker. We'll use this first note in the audio as a sync point to bring our type on screen. Now, we're going to go ahead and animate position here, but I'm going to teach you another quick set of key frames that's going to make this a little bit easier. Now, up till now we've been accessing our transform properties by tabbing Open The Layer and then tabbing Open The Transform tab to get to our transform properties. But we can use key commands to jump to these a little more easily and it's both a little quicker. It also saves us some screen real estate here in our timeline. It's an easy set of key frames to remember. You just have to remember the word TRAPS; T-R-A-P-S, TRAPS. Let's walk through those letters and see how they work. I'm going to select our text layer here and let's start with the T in traps. If I hit the T key, notice it opens just the opacity property. Now, why isn't it O? Well, that's because O is used for a different purpose. They had to use a different letter other than O. The way to think about it is, T for transparency, i.e, opacity. T for transparency, and that opens the opacity property. If I hit T again, it closes that property. R of course, is rotation, open and close rotation. A is of course, anchor point. A opens and A closes the anchor point property. P is position, open and close position. S is scale, open and close "Scale" with the S key, T-R-A-P-S, TRAPS, transparency, rotation, anchor point, position, and scale. Very easy to remember and a great quick way to work. Now in just a little bit, I'll show you another key command once we've added a few keyframes. Now in a minute, I'll show you another handy key command once we've added some keyframes here. Let's go ahead and hit the "P" key because we're going to first animate position and let's do a little animating backwards here actually. Rather than start on this first marker, I should have jumped to the second one so that's "K" forward to the second marker and let's add a keyframe right there at this first position that we've created. Then let's "J" backwards here to where we're going to want our animation to start and let's click and drag our type back one whole grid square right to there. We're going to animate on with that first grid square. Notice we're not overlapping the power line here, so we're not creating any ugly tangents there. We're still within this negative space so we're going to animate on to this point. Then we're going have the type sit during its time of readability. But again, instead of having it just stop, let's keep it alive with that moving hold idea. But we want them moving hold to be quite slow so the movement is very subtle that way it won't interfere with the readability of the type. Let's go forward two of these markers so we're going in twice the time and let's have it go half the distance, so it'll be much, much slower. Now I will just drag this forward to the next marker here so we'll just drag this forward half a grid square and snap it to that point. We're going half the distance in twice the time to make that really nice and slow. It's just a float, just a drift, a moving hold. It's holding basically in this position, just moving a little bit and then let's have this animate off. We'll have it go the same distance, but maybe a little shorter to make it a little quicker. That's partly because we're running out of time here, but also to give this idea again of sneaking and hiding, almost like we've spotted the type and the type is realized it's been spotted, and just like a werewolf sneaking around, it's going to quick duck away and hide. We'll go a shorter distance here let's just go to nine seconds here. But we'll have it moved the same distance, a full grid square over to run away and hideaway. Now let's ram preview this right now, and we're going to definitely see those jerks as the velocity changes. There's our moving hold, and then off it sneaks. Now we haven't added the ampacity animation obviously. But you can see how that really clunks when it hits that point where the velocity changes, and then here again, jerks forward as it moves forward. Again, we could potentially use and "Easy Ease" in on this keyframe and an Easy Ease" out on this keyframe. But with this change in velocity, we're probably still going to have a jerk right there. This is a perfect time to use the Auto Beziers keyframes to really smooth this out. Let's add those Auto Beziers so I'm going to command "Click" to add that little circle shape and command "Click" on this keyframe here to add the circle shape there. Just to be safe, let's also add a hold keyframe at the end of our sequence of animation. We don't really need to do that too much here, but I always like to practice these good habits, just getting these habits just in case client comes back, wants to make a change, something changes. If you're always practicing these good safety techniques, then you have much less to worry about down the road. Let's go ahead and command "Option" click just to put a hold at the end of that keyframe so now let's take a look at our movement and we should have much better transitions in and out of that moving hold. Much smoother much nicer so we're smoothly transitioning in and out of that moving hold much more gently. We've lost those little jerks and jumps. Now we also want this to fade on and fade off, so it's appearing from the night sky, disappearing into the night sky again, echoing this bigger concept of the werewolf and because it's going to fade in and then out, we're not adding eases to the first and last position keyframes, just like if the type was entering and exiting from outside the frame, we want the type to appear already in motion as it fades in and continuing to move as it fades out. We want linear keyframes there so let's add some opacity keyframe. I'm going to pay ahead here to this first keyframe and then I'm going to "K" forward again to the second keyframe because this is where we want it at full opacity, which if you remember, isn't a 100 percent, it's at 90 percent. Now let's select the layer again and hit the "T" key for transparency or opacity and let's go ahead and click the stopwatch to add a keyframe here at 90 percent. Now I'm going to teach you one more cool key command here. We've now have keyframes on opacity and position. I want to be able to see them both because I want to sync the opacity keyframes with the position keyframes. But I also want to keep saving my screen real estate here as I've been doing with the T-R-A-P-S, TRAPS, key commands. I'm going to use the "U" key. The "U" key is one of my favorite key commands and after effects, I use it constantly all the time along with TRAPS, along with T-R-A- P-S. What the "U" key does is when you select a layer that has keyframes on it and you hit the" U" key, what it will do is it will open only the properties with keyframes on them. Now, this is crazy handy particularly when you're editing keyframes. Say you've set some keyframes and you want to go in and mess with them a little bit. This allows you to open only the properties you need to see, only the properties you're working with and no others, saves a lot of screen real estate and keeps you focused on what you're working on rather than having to look at a lot of different properties. Very, very handy, the "U" key hitting that again will close the layer up so "U" key to open all keyframed properties, "U" key to close keyframes properties. Handy, let's hit the "U" key and now we can use our "J" and "K" keys we will use j to jump back, and now we'll set our opacity here at zero. We'll jump forward, jump forward again to our next keyframe here, we'll set our opacity keyframe again at 90, and then we'll jump ahead to our last keyframe here and set this at zero again. Now, let's also put a whole keyframe at the end. Let's also put a hold keyframe on this keyframe too, because it's holding this value of 90 percent. Right now, it is not shifting in any way. But there are certain situations where after-effects will create strange little drifts in your values, even between two keyframes that are the same. It won't happen all the time, but it does happen under certain circumstances when you create your keyframes in certain ways and if it ever happens, it can be very frustrating, especially if you're not familiar with what's happening. Just to be on the safe side, and I'm a big believer in operating on the safe side. Command option "Click" will add a hold, so we're holding this value of 90 until we hit this second keyframe, and then now it'll animate down to zero. Let's take a look at that animation again, great, and we have nice sync to the soundtrack. It's very simple audio, it's very simple animation, but even that little bit of sync is so important whenever you have the opportunity to sync, to attract, do it. Now we've definitely got a fun spooky, sneaky feeling with this type, which is what we want. But I think we can accentuate that even more with a blur effect on this type. It's really as if the blur is emerging from the night, the way our spooky werewolf will emerge from the night so let's add an animate, a blur effect in our next lesson. 12. Animating Effect Properties: At this point, we can go ahead and turn our grid off. We're not going to need that coming up. Let's go ahead and toggle off our grid. Let's add a blur effect to our type. The type emerges not just with opacity, but also solidifies, add to our spooky atmospheric feeling, almost like the type is coming out of the mist. With our Type Layer selected, I'm going to go up under effects and presets and I'm going type in blur. We're going to use the Gaussian blur. Go ahead and double-click on the Gaussian blur to add that to our layer. You can see our effects control window opens with the Gaussian blur on it. Now I don't want the type blurred after it fades in, but I wanted to start blurring. Now to animate a property on an effect, we use the same procedure we use to animate any property. We start by clicking on the stopwatch. Now I could tab open the effect here and hit the stopwatch right here on the timeline but a little quicker way to work here is to start by hitting the stopwatch up in the effects controls. I'm going to go ahead and click that, which is got our setting at zero, which is what we want at this point in the animation. Then I'm going to come down, select the layer, I'm going to hit the U key and that will now open along with position opacity, the blurriness property. Remember, the U key will open all keyframes properties. Right away we have just what we need here, we don't have to mess around with a lot of tabs and nonsense. We also are still saving ourselves a lot of screen real estate because if we add all the transforms open and the effects tab and the Gaussian blurred tab with all of its properties, we'd be using up quite a lot of real estate, whereas now we just have these three items is very handy. Now let's J back and we can't see the type at this point. Lets just temporarily change this opacity value back to 90, just so we can see what we're doing with the blur. Let's crank this blur up quite a bit. So I'm going to add blur. It's taken me a long time to crank this up. If you want to speed up when you're sliding on any value, clicking and dragging on any value at all, if you hold down the Shift key, it'll jump by a factor of five, I believe, and we can move it a lot more quickly. Let's jump it up to around 100, and in fact, I'm just going ahead and type 100 in. Now you can see it's misty and fuzzy, almost just like our clouds or our Aurora Borealis here. We're trying to match that feeling of misty murkiness. So our type will just emerge out of that. Cool, that's a nice feeling. Now it's animating into solidness here with our type at full opacity and unblurred. Let's return our opacity to zero here and let's set the rest of our keyframes. Let's go forward and we'll set our blurriness keyframe here again at zero. Then we'll jump to the end. Now let's just copy and paste this first keyframe. So I'm going to select the keyframe command C, command V to copy and paste that blurriness set at 100 there at the end. It blurs out along with the fade out at the end. Now, let's also, because we want the timing also to be smooth here, let's command click to add our auto beziers on our blurred as well and command option click to add our hold keyframe just to make sure we hold that blurriness value all the way through. Now, why didn't we put an auto bezier on the opacity? Eases or auto beziers on opacity generally really, really hard to see. In some extreme cases I've used them, but in many, many cases you can barely see the difference, especially just with easy eases. Once you start getting into using the motion graph editor, that's more likely to be useful but in this case it's really not going to create any discernible difference so I'm just going to leave that. If you want, you can add an auto beziers to these two if you'd like to and see if you can see any difference. I think it's pretty negligible. I probably didn't really need to add it for the blurriness either but the blurriness is a little more of a noticeable effect. It's probably a little more noticeable than opacity. Let's take a look at what we have here. Awesome, very spooky. Really looks like that how is part of our whole environment, since it matches those wispy clouds or that Aurora Borealis, it has a very similar color, a similar feeling. Now we've got that great spooky, sneaky, sneak in and sneak out feeling, so our type is acting like our werewolf. Let's put a command option, click Add and hold at the end there as well. Again, I like to play safe whenever possible and just get into those good habits. We're almost done with our little title frame here, but I'd like to accentuate the moodiness of the frame just a little bit more with a vignette around the edge. To do that, we're going to use an adjustment layer. Let's take a look at that in the next lesson. 13. Adjustment Layers And Mask Basics: Now, as I said, I want to add a vignette to this scene. In other words, so that the edges of the frame darken to add to our moodiness and also create a little more shaping in the frame. Our night sky background is all even pretty much as a little bit of a gradient going up, but the vignette will give it a little more shape and a little more mood and atmosphere. Now, to create this vignette, I want to darken everything in the frame, all of our layers all at once. Any time you want to add an effect to multiple layers, it's a good idea to use an adjustment layer. Now this is another element that will be familiar to those of you who are familiar with Photoshop. They work in a similar way, although there are some significant differences. An adjustment layer is essentially an empty shell to hold effects. When you put an adjustment layer on top of one or more layers, it will effect with whatever effect you put on it, any of the layers beneath it. Let's look at how this works with our vignette here. I'm going to go ahead and tab closed my type here and I'm going to deselect by clicking in the blank area of my timeline. Let's go up under "Layer," "New," "Adjustment Layer" and also see option Command Y will also do the same thing. I'm going to go ahead and create that adjustment layer and initially nothing's going to happen because again, an adjustment layer is just an empty shell that we can add effects to. I'm going to name this layer right away, Vignette, so we know what it is and what it's going to do and let's color code it red. What we want to do is darken the edges of our frame, we want to darken all of the layers together. Let's start by creating that darkening. What we're going to use is a levels adjustment. I'm going to go up under effects and presets and type in levels. You can see "Levels" here under "Color Corrections." Go ahead and double click on that, to add levels. Levels should be very familiar to those of you who are proficient with Photoshop. Levels is a very powerful tool that essentially allows you to change the exposure of an image. It's designed for photography and video, but also works very well on illustrations. For those of you not familiar with how levels work, and by the way, if you have a cramp situation like this where you can't see all of the controls in your window, go to the edge of the window. You'll see a little double-arrow-bar symbol and I can click and drag and I can snap that open there so we can see our whole control set here. You'll see two little charts here, a histogram of all of the colors within our image. This represents the input, in other words, what the image looks like as it is. Then we have an output which allows you to map the input colors across the spectrum from dark to light. Now you can adjust both input and output. In many cases, when you just want to adjust the overall exposure of an image, you're usually going to leave the output set as is. In other words, you want a full range from dark to light. Now, that would be different if you were trying to, say "Reduce contrast," then you would actually pull away from the black at the bottom or away from the light at the top. We want our full contrast range here. We don't want to make the image flatter and less contrasty. We just want to darken it as if it's a darker exposure. Instead, what we're going to do is we're going to change the input level. We're essentially going to say, "Take a lighter color, lighter in the spectrum and map it to black to darken the whole image." I'm going to grab this little slider here and I'm going to slide it forward and I'm going to dark and our whole image. You can see it's as if we are making the exposure of both our moon image and our background darker. It even affects the type, so everything has been darkened. Now that's cool and everything, but we want a vignette. We don't want the entire image dark. We just want the edges of the frame dark. To do that, we're going to use a mask. Now, masks in After Effects can get very complicated. We're going to learn the basics here. A mask basically allows you to cut a shape out of a layer or a hole in a layer. In this case, we're going to cut a hole in the layer to allow our background to show through in the middle. The layer we're going to cut a hole in is our adjustment layer. We're going to cut a hole in the adjustment layer to see through our normal image without the effect on it. A mask is a vector based tool and you can actually draw masks, hand draw them with the pen tool, but you can also use the shape tool to draw masks with basic vector shapes. With our adjustment layer selected and it's very important that we have that selected because if we don't have the layer selected when we use the shape tool, we'll just make a shape. But what we want to do instead of make a shape is cut a mask in our layer. We want this layer selected. We're going to go up and we're going to grab the ellipse tool and I'm going to click and drag on that adjustment layer and I'm going to draw an ellipse. Now again, I wouldn't have drawn a mask on the layer. I would have just drawn an ellipse shape had this layer not been selected, but because the layer was selected, rather than drawing a shape, I draw a mask. That's important to remember whether you are trying to draw a shape or trying to draw a mask if you ever get the opposite, it's because of what you had or didn't have selected. As soon as we draw our mask, the mask tab pops onto our adjustment layer and you'll notice the mask tab says Masks," and then here is Mask One. You can have multiple masks on a layer and you can create relatively complex relationships between them. You can also animate masks, but we're going to look at that in upcoming classes. In this case, all we need is to cut this hole in our adjustment layer. Right now you see that we've actually got the opposite. We've cut a shape out of our adjustment layer, so our adjustment is inside that shape and outside the shape we don't have the adjustment. That's the opposite of what we want. Let's go down to the mask here and notice that it defaults to being an additive mask. In other words, it's cutting a shape rather than cutting a hole. To change that, we just click on this Pull-Down menu and we change it to a subtraction mask and now we're cutting a hole in the adjustment layer, which is what we want. But we also don't want this hard edge that looks super goofy. We want a soft edge, so it just feels like it's gently darkening at the edge. We need to look at the mask settings. We're going to Tab, Open, Mask One, and inside that, you'll see our mask settings and the one we want to use is mask feather. I'm going to click and drag up on this mask feather and I'm going to hold down the Shift key because we need a lot of feather on this mask. I'm going to hold down the Shift key and I'm going to click and drag up and I'm going to go up quite far, maybe around 600 or 700, something like that. Well, that's maybe a little bit much, let's bring it down to 500 there. That's a little bit better. Now, I think I've overdone the effect a little bit. That's a little too dark. Let's pull our input black, back a little bit. Let's tone that down a little, something a little bit more like that. That's better. We have a little soft transition to black at the edges. Now remember, I can turn the effect on and off so I can see the difference or I can turn the visibility of the adjustment layer on and off as well. Either one will allow me to see with and without the effect. You can see how that gives us, again more moodiness, it's a little darker, it's a little more mysterious as these edges disappear into the darkness, really enhancing our moody, spooky feeling. Now the last thing we're going to do is create a fade in and fade out at the beginning and end of our title frame, to polish it off. Let's look at that in the next lesson. 14. Working With Solids: Let's go ahead and tab closed our vignette layer here, and let's create a fade in and a fade out. Now, all of these layers are set over a black background. You might think that to create a fade in and fade out, what we want to do is animate the opacity of the layers from 0-100. But there's a problem with that in that because we have multiple layers, blend modes, different things happening. If you try to animate the opacity of every layer, It's very likely that you'll end up with some very unusual effects that you didn't plan on because of the blend modes, adjustment layers, whatever is going on. Things are going to behave not necessarily the way you want them to. Now with our simple little scene here, it may not be that bad, but the more complex your compositions are, the more impossible it will be to try to animate the opacity on every single layer. In upcoming classes, we're going to take a look at pre-comping, which would solve some of these problems. But there's also a really simple way to create a fade in and fade out and a multi-layer composition, and that is by using a solid. If you remember from part 1 of this series, a solid is a layer that's just a square or a rectangle of any size or any color. This is a perfect example of the situation where there's very simple but very useful layer comes in handy. Let's start by adding our solid layer. Once again, we're going to go up under layer. New solid, also Command Y, and we'll get our solid settings dialogue box. We can name the solid right here. I'm going to call it fade in, fade out. I want it to be the size of our frame, which is 1920 by 1080. If you don't have 1920 by 1080 in your width and your height, and you want your solid to be the size of your frame. You can just click Make Comp Size and it'll automatically make it the size of your comp, which is handy. But you can type any numbers in here you want. You can make it a square, you can make it a rectangle of any size. Down at the bottom here, you have your color picker, your standard color picker. What we want is black. If for any reason you don't have black here, click on the color picker and just make sure that you have black, that you're down in one of these two corners. Then click Okay to add the solid. You can see that the solid just pops in on the top layer here. Notice that it defaults to red, which is handy because I want both of these layers, which are not really layers containing any imagery. One is our adjustment layer with our effect. One is just a black solid to create our fade in and fade out. Want those to be marked with the same color. Now all we have to do is just animate the opacity of this solid. What this'll do is eliminate any surprises if we try to animate the opacity on all of our layers, it's also less work because all I have to do is animate one opacity property rather than a bunch of opacity property. That also saves us some time. Let's go ahead and hit the T key to open our capacity property, we will start the opacity here at 100, and let's just go ahead to one second in. Let's type one second fade in, and we'll just animate that down to zero. Let's Command Option click to add a hold key frame there just to be safe. Then we'll go ahead to nine seconds, one second before the end. Hit another key frame there, it automatically becomes a hold. So Command click to turn that back into a linear key frame, and then we'll go to the end here and type in 100 to fade this out. Let's ram preview our finished title frame. Very nice. Great. We're all ready to render our project. 15. Rendering: Now, we looked at the render procedures in the last class, but let's just review them quickly here. With our composition selected, we're going to go up under composition, add to Adobe Media Encoder Q. Remember to be patient while Adobe Media Encoder Q starts up and adds your composition to the queue. It will sometimes take several minutes. Once the Media Encoder Q opens and it's added, your render to the queue, click underneath preset here, and again, be patient as the dynamic link connection is set up and you'll find yourself at the export settings. You can change the output name if you wish, or the location that it's rendering to. I'm just going to leave it defaulting to the name of the composition and rendering into the AME Folder automatically created within my project folder. I'm going to come down to the video settings here. Scroll down and we're going to change the bit rate encoding to 2 pass. We're going to change the target bit rate to eight, and the maximum bit rate to 10. Once we've done that, we'll click okay and when we're ready to render, hit the green render button. Remember to be patient while you're rendering. Render time will be different depending on your project, and the speed, and the setup of your computer system. 16. See You In The Next Class!: I hope you've learned a lot from the second intro to After Effects class. We've talked a lot about working with different types of layers in After Effects. We've looked at image layers, video layers, text layers, adjustment layers, and solids. We've also looked at how to add an animate effects and how to work with blend modes. We've learned about auto base A key frames, and the value of adding moving holds to text animation. Along the way, we've created a cool title frame for our new imaginary well off show. Now, of course, if you want, you can make up your own TV series, movie or video game or use your favorite existing show, movie or video game and create your own title frame. But whether you follow along exactly with me or whether you did your own thing putting this project together, I'd love to see what you come up with and I know your fellow students would too. Remember to render and post your title frame. We'll continue our exploration of After Effects in part three of the series. Thanks so much for watching, and I'll see you in the next class.