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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Intro to Adobe After Effects
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Layers

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Layers 0:05
    • Understanding Layers
    • Switches and Blending Mode
    • The Type Tool
    • Creating Solids
    • Creating Shape Layers
    • Creating Mask
    • Adjustment Layer

Transcription: Layers

Hi, welcome back to educator.com. This next lesson is on layers.0000

First thing you have to do is understand layers.0005

The layers in After Effects are very similar to Photoshop.0008

where each layer has a set of properties and values and you can make all the controls and what not in there.0011

So, let us go over to After Effects real quick.0019

So, here we are in the layers, palette here/timeline.0021

It is kind of like having Photoshop combined with an editing program.0025

So you can see here as I click on each layer that highlights the actual bar here which represents layer itself.0030

And you can move it around like in editing program. And all the values are here.0037

Now, depending on what you are working on you can pull up columns or have them show or not show.0042

In the columns menu here you are going to hit control columns.0049

And in this case we have some things turned off and turned on.0053

If I want to turn off the modes, the blending mode it disappears.0057

You kind of save space here. It just depends on the project you are working on.0062

Let us open that back up again, columns, modes. We have our mode showing here.0066

So, you know when you open up a layer. 0072

This is where we are going to be setting all of our key frames once we get to the animation. 0075

Anchor point, position, scale, rotation, opacity.0079

When we add a filter it will show up in here.0082

So, this is, again, this is where are all of our layers. Where all the magic happens. 0086

Where we control things. Making them in the 3D layers, motion blur, blending modes.0089

So, you are going to spend a lot of time in this menu here and, again, you are going to see over to the side.0096

The next is switches and blending modes.0108

Let us jump back to After Effects.0112

So, again, like in Photoshop we can change the different blending modes.0114

I will show you a quick example here.0119

If I open up this pre-comp here. Let me open up my blending modes.0121

As you can see a new composition. Where are all my blending modes?0126

Well, you want to control click columns. Open up the modes and here we have our modes.0129

So, for instance, here is this wall hit. Let me find a bullet holes.0136

So, I will go to this one right here. Layer six is our bullet hole one.0146

And if I want to quickly show you the blending modes here similar to Photoshop. Turn this back on. 0152

So, here is this layer here. So, let us say right now it is set to normal.0162

I want to make a dissolve. I kind of zoom in here. 0168

I will go to full resolution and you could see the changes with each setting, darkened as this.0173

You are going to be in here a quite a bit too.0183

So, you have a lot of control. 0185

Again if you are familiar with Photoshop, you are going to have some fun in After Effects. I guarantee you.0187

Let us put this back on normal.0193

Another layer aspect is the type tool. 0196

Now, the type tool we can do an entire lesson on. But for now, let us just briefly play with the type tool.0202

So, over here, if we go to our titles here and this sequence here. 0209

Let us just double-click that and we get this comp here.0217

Let us see if we can do a quick little RAM preview hitting zero on our keypad.0223

Now, you can see the text coming in here. This text was created within After Effects with the type tool.0228

So, let us just create a new composition, Command-N. Here we have a blank canvas here.0235

Let us turn this to black, Command-K. And let us create some text.0243

So, what we want to do, we have our type tool here. Click that. 0254

And again, it is a lot like Photoshop. You have a text box. 0259

I have my character palette, my paragraph pallet up here on the right side and let us just type in educator.com.0264

Now, you can see, I have to do some resizing here. I can grab this text box here.0280

I think right now is set to -- let us select everything -- to bold. Take off the bold.0287

I have Helvetica medium for now. And what you want to do is you can just hit the enter button which says OK, that is what I want to do.0293

We are going to go back to the move tool here or hit the letter V and we can just move this here.0305

So, here we have some nice text. Let me show you some presets and how to get. You can animate in, animate out.0311

Let us go back to this here. So, you can create as many of this as you would like.0322

You can duplicate this, Command-D and you could go back and pull this below there and you can give this a new name.0325

You have to reactivate it. You have to click the layer or you can just select the type tool and select that, the actual text.0336

Test layer you can back up. Fix our mistake there, click enter. 0349

Now, over here to the right. You still have all your text options here.0357

If I select this again, back to our text tool. Now, we can go over here, we can change the color.0363

If you keep this active here you can actually highlight inside the text, the font menu here.0374

And we can, using the arrow keys, we can toggle between all the different fonts.0381

I am kind of a font addict myself. I can never have enough fonts. 0385

You can change the actual size of your text. You can align everything up, down, bigger or smaller, taller.0389

You have different stroke options here.0408

If I want to turn my stroke line on. I will go to nice white stroke. 0411

I can increase the size of the stroke.0416

I, of course, have bold, italic, capitols. So, it is a pretty powerful tool, I must say.0422

You will definitely be using that quite a bit in the future.0431

So, another aspect of layers. We have solids, creating solids. 0436

We could stay right in this for now.0446

A solid is another thing that is generated within After Effects.0448

So, let us say you want to put a white card on this, for instance.0452

We can go to layer, new and solid. And it is going to create a solid right in the composition.0460

So, it is basically a white card more or less. And there it is.0471

Now, this is like a sheet of paper and you can grab this and move it around.0476

So, it stays that the size of wisdom that comp settings we first created it.0482

But you can still resize the solid anytime you want. 0487

Solids come in handy for all kinds of things. Solid will be your best friend as well.0492

Command-Y is the quick command to create more solids. 0499

You can change the color of the solid. Color this here.0501

You can bring solid in. Zoom back in here. 0507

You can create a solid at any size. Let us say you just want a very small solid for some reason. 0517

Layer, solid and you can change to, you know, 50 pixels by 50 pixels.0525

You are probably thinking what are you doing? What are these for? 0535

You can use the solid for pretty much anything. So, let me delete some of these.0540

before we go to the next thing. So, solid is, like I said, you can use these for covering things up. 0547

There are times where I will get a piece of footage and let us say the footage. You can put this underneath layers.0553

The footage it will just be like a 4 by 3 size and I need more white or black on the sides.0566

You can just create a quick solid and add to the left or right. You can mask things, which will get into next.0571

That is just basically how you create a solid. It will make more sense, I guarantee you.0581

Another aspect of layers are the shape layers. Let us create a shape layer. 0585

So, as you can see we have a blank, empty composition here.0592

Shape layer is nice because they are generated within After Effects.0597

So, we can do here is we can click the lips tool. We can click and drag and here we have the lips.0600

So, if you notice like now we have a shape layer. It automatically creates a layer. 0610

And it just places it here in your composition and we have all these options now. 0615

So, for instance, here is the lips. We still have our transform options here. 0622

But, for now let us just check out this lips, path, stroke, fill, transform.0626

So, what we can do here is we can open this up and you can resize this here.0633

As the stroke options here. 0637

If we want to make the stroke bigger. 0640

If we want to take off the stroke. Go to zero.0643

It is pretty powerful though. We have the fill color. 0647

You can actually change the fill from one color to another, setting key frames.0652

There is all kinds of shapes in here. Play around with it.0658

We have the start tools nice. Move this around here.0662

You can change the color right here in the top menu if you would like.0670

You can always use the top menu, like Photoshop or the actual menu inside the layer itself.0673

So, these are great tools. You are going to use these once in a while or maybe all the time, who knows.0682

Let us jump back over here.0688

So, masks. Masks are something that you will probably need on a regular basis as well.0691

It is similar to like a last linked something out of the scene in Photoshop.0699

Let us create a new composition.0704

So, let us take a layer from our elements over here and let us add this Western town here. Command-/. 0708

I am going to shrink this down a bit so I am going to open up the properties. Here we go.0724

Here is our Western town and let us just add this wood wall in here.0731

Again, you can hit Command-/ to get this into the comp or you can drag it over manually.0739

So, let us say, for the hack of it. We want to have this wood texture in our background instead of the sky.0748

So, let us put this behind our Western town and let us turn this off for now. This wood wall.0754

And so, the mask tool is similar to the pen tool in Photoshop.0763

So, you are going to click this tool here. Here is our pen tool and we are going to create a mask.0771

So, let us just say I want a mask, a really rough, raw mask here.0775

I am going to click on top of my horizon line on the Western town document here and it creates a mask.0779

So, in this case, it is leaving the sky not the town.0791

What it did is here is our Western town layer. If you open this up it is added the mask.0799

If I click invert, it inverts the mask here. Let us even click on our transparency grid there.0805

So, it temporally removes the actual background. You can set key frames later on.0812

So, let us say we want to do it sort of the opposite way where we actually want to. Double-click this.0820

Let me delete this mask. You just click the word mask and you hit delete.0829

Let us say we want to reverse that. Let us say I want to not invert the mask. 0833

I would go like this. I would just start click in my horizon line again, there.0839

So, it works back with that. I do not have to click on invert, in there.0847

Again, I could go back. Now, If I want to turn on my wood wall it shows up in the back there.0850

Now, of course you can go back in with your masking tool and you can perfect your mask, refine it. I like to zoom in quite a bit. 0858

Masks, again, are like your handles in Photoshop. You kind of click and drag.0871

I hold down option and I pull through a few of my handles here.0876

Now, let us say we get the mask nice and perfect, how we want it.0884

You can always move this by hitting command and the actual. That is your point, pull this open.0891

Now, let us say i want to temporarily take a look at this. You can click the visibility button here. 0903

That is nice. Now, let us say I want to make the mask with a little more blur on the edges here.0911

I am going to open up that mask property and I can feather the mask.0921

So I can give it maybe 28. A little much, back it off.0926

You can see it has all these great properties. 0932

You can even drop the opacity, here, of the mask. You can expand the mask. 0934

So, in this case it is getting bigger or I can decrease. I can expand, I can contract, basically.0942

So, masks are a great way to, sort of, subtract or add something to a saying.0951

You will be using masks all the time.0961

Adjustment layers. Adjustment layers just like in Photoshop.0966

Let us go back to that same composition.0971

An adjustment layer is a layer that we create. Go to layers, new, adjustment layer. 0975

So, the filter usually filters. 0981

Depending on what you are doing with your project you can add effects just to that one adjustment layer.0988

So, it does not affect the layers below it.0994

So, in this case, let us say we want to have a little bit overall blur to this town here.0995

We are going to go to effect, blur, and scouting and let us give it a nice tug to the right here.1001

And you can see it is affecting just this adjustment layer. You will even say adjustment layer.1013

You can rename that if you want. So, let us turn this off temporally.1019

So, you can see it is just affecting the adjustment layer. I can open that up.1024

There is my effect and there are all the values there.1027

Now, I still have transformation options here if I wanted to drop the opacity down a bit.1034

Let us put the opacity back up.1047

I can even create as many adjustment layers as I want.1051

Sometimes when I am trying out effects I am not sure if I want them.1055

I will make several adjustment layers. I will make new, adjustment layer.1059

Let us see, if I want to have more contrast. I am going to brightness and contrast.1064

And I will just give it a nice tag here, Brightness. I will even drop the opacity back down on this layer here.1071

Again, I think if you are doing this kind of a thing or experimenting with adjustment layers.1082

You might want to rename them. Rename your layer here, hit return. 1087

This was the blur layer. This was the contrast layer.1096

So, that, it kind of gives you an idea. 1101

Well, again once you start getting these layers built up in here it is hard to keep track of what is what.1105

So it is fun. It is a lot of fun and that is layers.1112

Thanks for watching educator.com. I look forward to seeing you again.1119