Learning After Effects

January 28, 2010 By: erik Category: Experiments, Timelapse, Videos 394 views

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thumbI’ve been playing around lately in After Effects, which is more or less “Photoshop for Video”. After Apple’s dumbing down of iMovie (Apple dumbed something down? Imagine that!) last year, it’s refreshing to get back to editing videos with an actual timeline and keyframes.

Our little primate specimen decided that everyone should be up and active at 7:30 AM every day this week, so I’ve seen every sunrise so far. Monday’s was beautiful, but I just enjoyed it without recording it. On Tuesday, I actually got out the camera and recorded the area of the horizon where the sun appears. And on Wednesday and today the sky was gray and boring for the sunrise.

What’s interesting is that I recorded two sets of five-seconds-apart shots, stopping the intervalometer for about 45 minutes when the sky turned gray. What’s cool is that I was able to blend between the earlier footage and the later footage in an almost unnoticeable way.

Some of the features of this video that I did not know how to do until I created it:

  • Text that follows a curved path
  • Animated text that disappears when it leaves a feathered mask area
  • Creating a timelapse solely in After Effects (It’s as hard as dragging in a folder containing the jpegs.)
  • Panning and zooming within a timelapse video
  • A seamless blend between two shots
  • Adding a soundtrack in After Effects

The video is frustratingly short at about 12 seconds, but it was just for practice, as I said. It could be the start of a cool video, though. Here it is in 1080p if you have some bandwidth to kill and a hankering for high quality.

  • I’m impressed.
    Adobe still makes me stabby, though.

    • I chose After Effects over Final Cut Pro as a platform to learn mainly because of how comfortable I feel already in Photoshop, however, it turns out that very little Photoshop knowledge is applicable in After Effects. Also, it seemed like there were a few more tutorials available for AE than FCP. This AE tutorial site, for instance, is amazing.

  • Very cool. Am now wishing I had something more exciting than Adobe Premiere Elements, to use for messing with video.

  • Apple did dumb down iMovie a bit… at first glance. I really enjoyed the layout of pre-iMovie 08. Recently though I’ve been messing around with 09 and was greatly suprised at all the stuff that is “hidden”. It is a lot more powerful than earlier versions. It’s just laid out differently.

    • iMovie ’09 for video editing is just like iWeb for web page editing. You can make some seriously professional-looking stuff (imagine the Photoshop and CSS work it would take to make a nice reflection under each image in your blog!), but only in the three cookie cutter ways that Apple has decided for you.