In this fundamentals course, you will get comfortable with the After Effects interface so you can start working efficiently inside of the program. You will learn how to get the most of the tools inside of After Effects as well as applying effects to your footage. Next, you'll review how to color correct footage and how to mask areas successfully and easily. You'll also learn about Motion Tracking, Chroma Keying, and Rotoscoping in this course. Software required: After Effects CC.
Chad Troftgruben is a freelance animator and screencaster who specializes in Animate CC, Moho, After Effects and Premiere. He has been working with Flash since 2002 which resulted in the creation of several cartoons for both entertainment and commercial purposes.
Applying Basic Effects to Footage (music) In this lesson, we're going to focus in on how to apply effects and presets to your footage in After Effects. So first, we'll need to gain access to these effects, so how do you do that? Well, if you're using the Standard workspace, you'll find your effects on the right, right here. You can also, if you wish, go up to Effect, and gain access to all the effects right up there. If you don't see the Effects panel on the right, you can always come over here to your workspace and choose Standard, and make sure it's reset, or you can go up to Window, and then choose Effects & Presets right here. So once you see the panel, you can go through here, and let's just click on some here. If we click on Channel, as an example, you can see we have all sorts of different effects inside of that. So the Channel is just a category. All of these right here are categories. So if you want to do some color correction, you'd go into the Color Correction category, and then choose the appropriate effect that you want to work with. In this lesson, we'll show you how to apply effects, change the settings of effects. In addition to that, we'll explore some popular effects and see how they can be used to enhance footage in After Effects.
Creating and Modifying Masks (music) Masking is a very important part of the After Effects process, especially when you start working with more complicated footage. As an example, we have a piece of footage of our hero, or character, here on a skateboard, and if I page forward you can see that he is just skateboarding along. Well, what if we decide with this footage we want to go in and add an explosion into the background? That way he's skateboarding away from that explosion. Or maybe we want to replace the background entirely, but we want to keep him? Or maybe we want to go a different route entirely, and we want to mask something out. Maybe we don't like this object right here in the shot, and we have a clean matte, as it's called. Basically we have a shot without him in it, but we have the same scenery, and we can go in and mask that object out and put in what is called a clean matte. All of these examples, plus many more, are possible with masking in After Effects. At first, it might seem pretty complicated going in and trying to mask footage out, and it can be quite a process. Usually when you start a process like this, you set the film up in advance so it's as easy as possible to mask out. However, there might be cases where that's not doable, and you have to make do with what you have. But the process itself is pretty simple, and I'll be showing you all the basics of masking in this lesson.
Applying Motion Tracking (music) In After Effects, we can easily track footage, so what does this mean? Well, let's say you have a piece of footage and you're panning across a landscape. Or maybe you're walking along and there are some bumps along the way, and you can see this with the camera, and your goal is to take some assets and stick it into the footage so it looks like it belongs in shot. Well, the problem is, if you have a pan or if you have bumps in the footage, going through and manually keyframing everything can be quite a challenge. Even if you get all the keyframes in, it's still very hard to track all the motions the camera may provide. Luckily, you can do what is called Motion Tracking, in After Effects. So as an example, I could come into some footage, and I could track an object, let's say a hill or a tree. From there, I can use that data and put it onto another asset, so that asset then follows the same motion as that object on screen. So all the pans, all the bumps, will be accounted for, and you won't have to do anything manually, and in the end, I believe you'll find that it gives you better results. You don't just have to implement assets into your footage either, you can also use motion tracking to stabilize shots, among other things. In this lesson, we'll be taking a look at the basics so you can get up and running with Motion Tracking.
Chroma Keying and Rotoscoping (music) One of the many things that After Effects is great for is keying out colors in your footage. This is called Chromakeying. So why would you ever want to chromakey? What practical purpose does it serve? Well, the best example is if you have an actor in front of a green screen, as you can see right here on screen. What we can do here is remove the color of that screen and then place, let's say, an image or some other footage in the background. So, essentially, we can transport our actor to another world, or just to, let's say, another space, maybe he's outside somewhere, he's in a cave, he can be in the city, he can be anywhere he wants, as long as you're able to key things out and then go in afterwards and ground everything with color correction, you can really do a lot of things with this effect. And I'm sure you've heard about this technique before, especially in big-budget films. Luckily for you, you don't need a multi-million-dollar studio, all you need is a camera, a green screen, an actor, and After Effects.