Friday, 1 October 2010

Getting to Grips with After Effects

Over the last two days I've taken a crash course in Adobe After Effects, I can now say that after these last two days I feel much more confident in designing and creating an title sequence for "In The Miso Soup". I've learned such skills as importing images, working with compositions within compositions and most importantly making 2-dimensional images appear in 3-dimensional space. I've also learned how to make simple animations by adjusting certain qualities of an image through the time line. Below you'll find my first attempt at making a 2.5 dimensional sequence:

For this short sequence what I did was take the image to the right and seperate it in to different layers but sellecting and cutting, once the components (The leaves, the girl and hanging man) were all seperate from the background (The trees and the road) I used Photoshop 5's content aware tool to fill in the areas with holes and touch up other areas using the clone stamp and paintbrush tools. With the background and components all touched up I then save them all as different PSD files with transparent canvases. This means once it's imported into After Effects it'll appear as just that either the girl, hanging man etc. I then arrange the pieces accordingly after selecting the 3D node in the layer properties, the next step is relatively simple as I just animate the objects to move very subtlely be it in 2-dimensions such as right and left or in 3-dimensions by adjusting rotation values. By adding a camera and lighting I can make it look more 3-dimentional as with added perspectives of a moving camera and shadows from a light will help re-enforce this effect.

Next I created a brief animation of some birds flying off the screen. This was completed by first creating an animation of a 2-d bird flapping it's wings usng the object manipulations tools found in the layer's own properties and a looping code, I then created a new cmposition in which I imported the same animation of the bird several time, adjusting size and the tracks on which it would move. Overall this was useful as it showed how handy it can be to have compositions work within one and another as this will allow smaller animations to take place in larger onces without have to create a tiny animation that might interfere with the main one, you can see the bird below:

I found the last two days to be massively engrossing and useful and I can't wait to start creating a title sequence with this knowledge. I'm also very keen to try create some 2.5D comics using scans from my own personal collection as I would love to see how something like that would turn out, with the technological advances with CS5 in both Photoshop and After Effects it seems animation is fast becoming much easier than it ever was! I can't wait to sin my teeth into more!

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