The #WeLoveBob idea popped into my head the other day like a stroke of genius and I felt quite giddy. How it happened was that I was playing with my logo design and realised that when I turned it on its side it looked like a little robot. Once I noticed this I had to figure out what to do with it. The idea of making an animation came to mind.
First things first….
I opened up Adobe After Effects, second I opened up YouTube, why you wonder? Well, because I had never used Adobe After Effects before. I knew the principles of animation from using Adobe Flash and creating gifs in Photoshop form years before, so the YouTubes were just a refresher course in a manner of speaking. I spent the morning playing around, learning how to bring #WeLoveBob to life to give him his happy, bouncy, quirky ways.
Like most things in life, nothing ever comes easy. I have added a small video just to show the first few frames of the animation being created. You can see it’s a long process and I am sure the more I use After Effects I will get the hang of it. Just like my other design programmes…
In the video you can see all these different elements:
- Compositions can contain layers generated within After Effects and layers from external files such as files from Illustrator or Photoshop.
- Compositions are composed of a stack of layers in the Timeline panel.
- Layers can be moved vertically to change appearance in the stack, and horizontally to change the appearance of layers over time.
- Layer handles (in Composition panel with selected layer): Click and drag inside the handles to reposition a layer in the Composition panel. Click on the handle to scale or distort a layer. Hold Shift when dragging handles to keep proportions.
- Tools (upper left under menu bar): Press W to select the Rotation tool to rotate layers in the Composition panel. Press V to choose the Selection tool.
- Layer parameters (triangle on the left side of a layer in the timeline): Click on the triangle to open, then open Transform properties by clicking its triangle.
- Quick Access parameters (keyboard shortcuts): Press P for Position, R for Rotation, S for Scale, T for Opacity, A for Anchor Point
- Adjust Layers (using parameters in the timeline): Scrub on parameter values to change parameters. Hold Shift when scrubbing on a parameter to change values 10 times faster.
Creating your first Animation
- CTI (Current Time Indicator) shows what frame you’re viewing in the Composition panel. The CTI also determines where keyframes appear when they are added to a parameter.
- Stopwatch (appears to the left of a parameter): Click on a stopwatch to record a keyframe of that value at the location of the CTI in the timeline. Click on a stopwatch of a parameter with recorded keyframes to remove all keyframes from that parameter.
- Keyframe (typically displayed as a diamond in the timeline) is a method of recording the value of a parameter at a specific point in time on a timeline. Record two or more keyframes (with different values) on an individual parameter to create animation.
- Preview (spacebar): A green progress bar will indicate frames loaded into the cache at the top of the timeline as the preview begins to playback. Look at the Info panel in the upper right corner of the interface to check the playback framerate.
Understanding, Applying and Adjusting Effects
- Effects are extra customisable with settings you can apply to any layer in a composition.
- Effects can be applied to a selected layer by choosing an effect from the Effect menu in the menu bar. Or you can search for effects in the Effects and Presets panel, you can drag and drop those effects from the panel directly onto any layer in a composition.
- Access effects in the timeline on a selected layer by pressing E on the keyboard.
- Effect settings are available in both the timeline and the Effect Controls panel.
- Toggle an effect on or off by clicking the fx button in the upper left corner of the Effect Controls panel, or by clicking the fx button in the switches section of the timeline.
- Delete an effect by clicking its name in the timeline, or in the Effect Controls panel, and pressing Delete on your keyboard.
For now, though, #WeLoveBob animation is just for me and my own work. One day soon I will offer animations for my clients.