The essential trick to paste multiple paths to After Effects Shape Layers at once.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | March 13, 2008
So what's so interesting about a feature we've had for eons? We all know you can copy and paste vector paths from Illustrator to After Effects as mask paths and motion paths (you did know that, right?). But with the new Shape Layers in After Effects CS3, you may run into a little snag when trying to paste paths to shapes.
(Note: After Effects CS6 has introduced a new menu function to convert Illustrator files directly to shape layers. The tip below applies if you are still using an older version of After Effects, or want to convert paths in a selective fashion.)
Adobe is giving us a peek at what is on tap for the next version of After Effects.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | April 03, 2013
On the heels of their Refine Edge sneak peek last week and just a few days before NAB, Adobe is releasing more information about some of the cool technology we may see in the next generation of their other pro video tools – including After Effects (now known to be After Effects CC, to be released June 17 2013). Adobe has given some folks like us the opportunity to work with these features in advance, and we wanted to share our thoughts with you.
A series of videos demonstrating how to put the new features to work.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | April 11, 2011
Just one year after the release of After Effects CS5, the AE team has cooked up a very nice update with some significant new and updated features (plus a lot of nice small ones as well) that will be of interest to both motion graphics and visual effects artists. To share our take on these with you, we've worked with AdobeTV who is hosting a series of videos we created on how to take advantage of our favorites among the new features. These are embedded over the next few pages, along with some quick comments about the new features. These movies include:
Different video systems have differing internal definitions of "black" and "white."
By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 17, 2000
It would seem like a simple concept: "black" is the darkest color you can have; "white" is the brightest color. However, not all video hardware and software think this way. Quite often, systems can go "darker" than black and "brighter" than white, allowing safety margins for certain situations. This means that some systems uses different values for black and white than others. This can cause a lot of problems for a video editor or artist who uses a variety of tools during a production, because images may shift in relative brightness and contrast for no apparent reason. Compounding this problem is a lack of accurate information about how to manage these shifts. But if you ignore them, the results can range from washed-out images to illegal color values.Therefore, you will need to take it upon yourself to be aware of the black and white definitions that different systems are using, and to translate between them as needed. We will also discuss the oft-confused analog concept of "set up" and how it relates to these digital values. It initially requires a bit of a mind-twist, but will pay off in the long run. We will be using After Effects for some of the examples later in this article, but these concepts apply to all systems - so read on...
Reviewing this underused feature which got a major update in CS5.5.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 02, 2013
As we mentioned recently, we've been updating our After Effects Apprentice video courses to reflect changes in the third edition of the book, and in particular new and enhanced features introduced in recent versions. One such feature is Depth of Field blur for 3D cameras in After Effects. AE has supported this feature for years, but few have used it as it was slow and had poor quality to boot. In After Effects CS5.5, this feature finally received a much-needed overhaul: It's faster, it looks much better, has many new parameters to control the look of the blur, and also received some handy utilities accessed through the Layer menu which make it easier to tie the focal plane to target layers. These are all demonstrated in the movie below:
Starting with initial poses, then separating the camera’s dimensions to craft a smooth move inbetween.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | February 09, 2013
In each edition of our book After Effects Apprentice, the last chapter is a project that brings together skills learned throughout the book, applied to a real-world scenario such as creating a show opening title. For the third edition of our book, we chose the example of creating an open (plus lower thirds and more) for a medical special, with particular emphasis on the technical and design process we go through when building something from scratch to a client’s specifications. The video training version of this chapter has recently been released on Lynda.com, and we want to share the free movies that are available from it.
With the After Effects Roto Brush, some assembly is required.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 13, 2013
Does it drive you crazy to see somebody use something the wrong way, then declare it doesn’t work? That’s how I feel about the Roto Brush tool introduced in After Effects CS5. This semi-automated tool helps you separate the foreground (i.e. an actor) from a complex background (i.e. not greenscreen) - “all” you have to do is make a couple quick brush strokes defining where those areas are. Well, not exactly. But when you follow the correct process, it can work rather well, and save you a lot of time in the process.
UPDATED: Ever pulled your own hair out trying to key or rotoscope hair or other soft edge details? Help is on the way.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | March 26, 2013
Adobe recently posted a video called The History (and Future) of Rotoscoping in After Effects. It gives a quick overview of how masking has evolved over the years in AE, as well as Paint and Roto Brush. At the very end, it teases a new technology called Refine Edge that seems to magically create a detailed alpha channel around the hair of a dancing girl. Adobe has given me the chance to work a bit with Refine Edge, and invited me to share my initial thoughts with fellow users. (Just so we’re clear up front, I’m receiving no compensation from Adobe for this; these are my honest reactions and advice after using it.)
This underutilized, recently-added feature provides numerous ways to enhance your footage.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | November 19, 2010
As a motion graphics artist, one of our favorite tricks to enhance an uninspiring clip is not to use effects, but instead to combine it with other clips using Blend Modes (also known as Blending, Composite, or Transfer Modes). Modes provide simple, high-quality ways to drop out the black or white background in a clip, enhance its saturation and contrast, give it a tint, and add lighting effects or a filmic glow in post. I call it our "secret sauce" to create rich, layered imagery you don't normally see created in an editing program.Happily, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 added support for Blend Modes, allowing editors to enjoy these sexy results without having to set them up first in After Effects. In this article, I will show you how to apply Blend Modes in Premiere Pro CS5, what sort of results are typical for different groups of modes, and give you some application ideas.
The latest version has several significant new features.
By Chris and Trish Meyer | April 12, 2012
Upon the release of After Effects CS5 in 2010, Adobe tried an interesting experiment: Part of the After Effects engineering team was split off to start work on major new features for CS6 with a 24-month time horizon, while the rest started work on AE CS5.5 before joining their compatriots in 2011 to also work on CS6. In addition, Adobe has a separate Dynamic Media Advanced Product Development Group, which has produced such major new features as Roto Brush (CS5), Warp Stabilizer (CS5.5), and the new 3D Camera Tracker (CS6).
As a result, After Effects CS6 is an important new release that has something for nearly every AE user. We're going to explore a number of those features here, starting with the most visible new one - the Ray-traced 3D rendering engine - and then moving onto the 3D Camera Tracker, Rolling Shutter Repair, Variable Mask Feathering, the Global Performance Cache, and other interesting bits. We'll be sharing pros, cons, preferred workflows, gotchas, and a number of tips that we hope will get you up to speed with this new release.