Recently I’ve decided to broaden my horizons and utilize Adobe After Effects to enhance my film project on plastics in the ocean, and I must say, it’s like being a little kid all over!
First and foremost, After Effects (AE) is far more powerful than most average users will ever even begin to realize. There are YouTube tutorials for doing just about anything, and most users will blindly just go thru those specific steps in order to get their desired result, not realizing what many of the settings can even do.
I quickly realized though that most of those steps are essentially the basic building blocks of most motion graphics, and you need to think of them more like ingredients in a recipe. Let’s use flour for an example, you can use it to give fried chicken a crispy battered coating, and you can use it to bake a moist and fluffy cake, it all depends on how its used, but in the end it’s exactly the same ingredient no matter what the final result is.
So in After Effects you have a timeline, and you have a ton of adjustable parameters, from the simple stuff such as opacity, position (x,y,z), rotation and scale, to more complex parameters for 3D presentations such as orientation (x,y,z), adding trim paths, and even applying a variety of effects to each layer. And you can adjust all of these parameters over time, for example, setting opacity to 0% at the start, and 100% 3 seconds in will give you a quick fade in of that layer. Some of these parameters also include equations, for example in the rotation parameter, you can select how many rotations the object will do and the final angle it will end with. Paths (and trim paths) are worthy of an entire other post, but I will say they are extremely useful in animating some movements, and revealing elements.
In my current project, I am incorporating only some “flat” screen footage, being that the video is a 360° film, and I want the user to be immersed in the experience. Working in this 360 degree realm has given me the opportunity to do 3D objects within that 360° sphere of view. Essentially I can make things fly out of nowhere, hover in the sky around you, while leaving you with the ability to look around in every direction, and have everything I added not become distorted in the 360° realm.
An easy example to help you understand this is inserting a basic box. If you just used your basic editor to overlay a box onto 360° footage, the box would appear to wrap around you when viewing in 360° mode, instead of appearing as a floating square box in front of you. It takes some special software from Mettle called Skybox Suite in order to compensate for the 360° wrap. This is where orientation parameters become critical as you can now place any composition, anywhere you want, angled however you want, within your 360 degree world.
I’m going to post some examples as I work thru some footage for my project, just to give you an idea of how much more you need to think outside the box, because you are literally outside of the box now. So stay tuned!
360° is here to stay, and it’s just in its infancy.