Setting Up Document In After Effects
When setting up my document in AfterEffects I ensured that I selected the appropriate settings – HDTV 1080 25, rather than have the document set up for the exact ratios and aspect of the projected screen in Emma Cons hall, I have chosen this so that I will be able to upload my video to my blog and into a showreel after the performance. I am working at half resolution while creating to avoid lagging and slow performance while I edit.
I set up the document with the background to black, as this colour worked well in contrast to the assets I had created for my image sequence.
By choosing Import > File in AfterEffects, I bring my assets into the project. As I am working with Photoshop (PSD) files, with transparent layers I make sure to import it with editable layer styles in order to retain the transparency.
I have chosen to work within AfterEffects as I am able to create an image sequence that will be high resolution and finished to an industry standard appropriate for the brief , especially as the animation will be played to an audience.
Creating an Image Sequence Using Efficient Working Methods
A working method I developed through during this process, was to create images and assets in Photoshop, retaining layers and saving as a PSD to import into AfterEffects.
Once I have my assets imported I bring them into my composition and begin to manipulate and using Scale and creating key frames using the layers I created in Photoshop.
Using this method enabled me to be able to work efficiently and apply key frames to the separate layers and allowed me to make creative and dynamic compositions.
With this animation that I am creating here, my intentions were to create a gas like effect that mimics the qualities of Neptune and I have employed the use of filters to achieve this. First I apply Displacement Map, create a timeframe and advance the horizontal and vertical for the duration of the clip which gives the impression of movement.
After this, I apply the filter Vegas and chose blending mode ‘stencil’, this breaks up the layer into more of a particle like appearance and alter the segment length and opacity. I apply this to both of the layers in the composition.
After all the alterations and by using timeframes I create an impression that has the appearance more like a gas cloud and moves in a slow, smooth motion that hopefully will mimic the movements in the Neptune piece.
Finally I add a last filter, Scatter and using timeframes I increase the scatter amount as the duration progresses, the result shows the desired effect, the particles look more gas-like and fade from view as the animation finishes.
From the screenshot on the left, you can see the extent of how many different options that I tweaked and experimented with until I was satisfied with the end result. Including; tolerance, threshold, map behaviour, segment lengths and rotation, scatter amount etc.
I repeated this process several times on each segment imported from Photoshop, I adjusted the settings and timing slightly for each individual asset to create a variety of movement, which will hopefully work well with the music and look good on the screen at the festival.
Throughout the process I experimented with different compositions, testing how different layers and different hues looked together in order to capture the essence of Neptune.
By using the colour tools, the scale, rotation, opacity and other tools within AfterEffects I was able to create unique and interesting sequences that responded to the brief.
Setting Up Document In Premiere Pro
To edit together the final image sequence, I worked with Premiere Pro, as this was the best piece of software that enables me to cut the image appropriately to the timings of the audio, apply transitions and finish the project to a professional quality.
I’ve worked within the appropriate ratios so that the image sequence will look dynamic on the festival screen and will be suitable for upload to web later.
I imported my files from the folder I had created to ensure optimal organisation during the making of my sequence.
Organising my clips and files in this way, really speeded up the pre-production process.