Compositing Lecture 1
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Preparation to working with After Effects:
      Make a folder on the TempStorage drive with your username
      Save all files to this folder (must work local files with AfterEffects)

In Maya make sure you have set your render globals to the following before rendering:
      Animation Ext: name.#.ext
      Image Format: Tiff [tif]

For DVD 4:3 resolution:
      Image Size Preset: CCIR 601|Quantel NTSC
      720 x 480
      DAR 1.333
      PAR 0.900

For Anamorphic 16:9 resolution:
      Image Size Preset: CCIR 601|Quantel NTSC
      720 x 480
      DAR 1.778
      PAR 1.2

After Effects
      Projects (.aep) - only one can be opened at a time
      holds all the pieces of your animation

Importing your Maya rendered files:
(import only creates a link to the file *Don't move or rename source files or layers!)      
Move all your files to the local drive and put them all in organized folders

      File - Import - File
      Select first file of the sequence
      Change Import As to Footage
      Click TIF Sequence
      Open
                  
In the Project window you can rearrange the order of files by dragging them up or down.

File information is next to the thumbnail image in the Project window
      (information varies depending on the file type)

Save your Project - File - Save As
      Name it and save it in the same place as your Photoshop file
Working with Compositions
Composition Menu
      Select New Composition
      Composition Settings
            Name the file (username_comp)

Presets: NTSC DV 720 x 480 or NTSC DV Widescreen
      Frame Rate - 29.97 or 30
      Resolution - Full
      Duration - specify how long you want the piece
            0:00:06:20 = 0 hours, 0 minutes, 6 seconds, 20 frames
      OK
      
The Composition window:
Shows the digital video
You can drag files from the Project into the Composition Window (it snaps in place)
      
Composition Settings
      Composition - Composition Settings
            Can change resolution or duration

Timeline
      Numbers in Blue on top left = current time
       Top of timeline sliders:
             Top one is entire view (whole animation)
             Next slider is work area (the area you want to work in and see as preview)

Moving (Transforming or Animating the layers):
      Select the Layer
      Open the Arrow next to the layer in the timeline
      Open Transform
      Move the Timeslider to the End position of the animation
      Click the stop watch (turns on keyframing and sets a key)
      Move to the Start of the timeline
      Move the layer off the screen by dragging it in the Composition

To watch the animation
      Hit the space bar to start and stop
            
To do Ram Preview
      Composition menu - Preview - RAM Preview
      Use last Arrow (with the lines before it) in Time Controls to get a RAM preview
      Set the Resolution to half in the TimeControl Window to get a longer preview
      (Make sure Composition - Preview - Audio is checked)

In the TimeLine:
Can change the order of the layers
      Drag a layer by its name to a new position

Can effect the visibility and moveability of a layer
      Click Eyeball - visuals ON/OFF
      Click speaker - audio ON/OFF
      Click circle - turn all others OFF and only show this layer
      Click lock - can't effect this layer with changes

Can click the Layer Name to see the Source Name
      Select name and hit RETURN then change the name then hit RETURN again

Useful Keys in the TimeLine
      a - anchor Point (effects rotation and scale)
      p - position
      r - rotation
      s - scale
      t - opacity

Home - go to beginning of timeline
End - go to end of timeline

Useful Buttons in the TimeLine
      Zooming in and out (Bottom of Timeline):
      Little mountain = zoom out
      Big mountain = zoom in
      Slider = zoom adjustment

Navigating in the timeline:
Can jump to a new location by typing in a new number (blue numbers on left)

Changing values in the Timeline:
      Open the transform of a layer
      Can click the number next to Position, Scale, Rotate, etc and change the number
      Can hold the mouse down over the same values and drag to the left or right to change the value
      Can doubleclick a keyframe to change the value
      Select the keyframe or object and use the Arrows on the keyboard

Animation tips:
Clicking the Stop Watch turns keyframing on - then any change you make after that will automatically become a keyframe.

If you enter a value and the stop watch is not clicked, the value will remain in effect for the entire duration of the layer.

Set a keyframe for important information (scale, rotate, position, etc) at its final resting state then work backwards setting keys for changing values.

When dragging objects (after you have held down the mouse) hold down the Shift to constrain the time indicator to jump to keyframes

Keyframe Navigator:
After turning on the stopwatch you will see a box on the left. After setting keyframes, this area may contain one or two arrows. The arrows allow you to jump to keyframes. The box tells you there is a keyframe there (checked = keyframe). Unchecking the box removes the keyframe.

If you want to place a key frame but you do not want to change the value, copy and paste the keyframe to a new position or go to a new position on the timeline (after the last key) and click the checkbox on the left next to the arrow. If you click this box in between two keys, it will interpolate.

Copy and paste keyframes
      Select the keys by dragging a box around them
      Edit - Copy
      Select the layer you want to paste them to
      Edit - Paste
*Can copy the value of a layer with no keyframes- select the iBeam on the layer and copy and then paste it to an iBeam on a new layer.

Selecting Keyframes:
      Click the keyframe
      Click the first then shift click to get the next ones
      Drag a box around the keyframes
      Can click once on the Name of the value (ex: Position) and then all keyframes are selected.

Deleting Keyframes
      Select the keyframe(s) and hit Delete on the keyboard
      Use the keyframe navigator arrows and get to the key and then deselect the box.
      Deselecting the stopwatch erases all keyframes (you must UNDO to get them back) turning on the stopwatch again does not get the keyframes back.

Moving Keyframes:
Select them and drag them to a new position

The Motion Path:
When you select a layer that has keyframes you will see a motion path. The dots are the frames (the closer they are, the slower the animation). In the Composition window, you can select any keyframe and move it to manipulate the path.

You can manipulate the bezier curve by getting the pen tool and pulling the box on the end of the line to effect the weight or pull of the bezier, or adjust the angle to effect the direction of the curve.

On the curve hold Control key? (on PCs) and you can add new keys using the Pen Tool. This tool is also available from the Tool Palette.

To adjust the object in the Comp window:
      The filled in boxes will resize
      The open boxes will scale in one direction
      The center circle is the Anchor point

To move an anchor point (circle with X through it):
      Can move it the same as you would the position using the drag over the numbers method (notice it effects the position)
      OR doubleclick the layer to open the Layer window
      Choose the Anchor Point Path from the Arrow on the top right side of the window
      Then you can move the anchor point around

Flipping a graphic using the Scale
      Select layer
      Set the pivot point to one side of the object
      Set keyframe on the start value
      Go to end frame and enter a negative number on the Scale

Rotation
      Select the layer and hit R
      Click the Underlined numeric value to open the dialog box
      You can enter the # of revolutions and the degrees of the rotation

To get a layer to rotate in relationship to a path:
      Make an animation using Position (this creates the motion path)
      Select the layer and Layer Menu - Transform - Auto-Orient Rotation

Reversing the animation of a layer.
      Select the keyframes
      Animation - Keyframe Assistant - Time Reverse

To do a Preview:
Make sure you have slide the work area slider to the section you want to Preview
      Move top slider on timeline
      Turn on/off all layers you want to see /not see
      Click the RAM Preview Button (or hit 0)
            it runs through once putting it in memory and then plays fine
      May have to set the Resolution to half

To do a regular preview hit the Space Key

Can preview as a wireframe to get faster playback (good for studying motion)

Set the Preview Options:
Composition - Preview - Wireframe Preview

To change total time of animation:
Composition - Composition Settings
Effects
      The order of the effects is important
      Put the effects you want to happen first on top
            (things that alter the image on top)
            (things that add extras like glow on bottom)

Each Layer with effects has a tab in the Effect Control window

Using the Keying Effect
      Select a layer with an image or movie on it
       Effects - Keying - Chroma Key
      Use the Eye dropper to pick a color
      Change the Color Tolerance, Edge Thin, and Edge Feather
      Try Color Range and Luma Key

Color Adjustment Effects
      Adjust - Brightness and Contract, Color Balance, Hue/Saturation
      Image Controls - Colorama, Change to Color, etc.

Making an Adjustment Layer
Adjustment layers have effects applied to them and they effect all layers below them
Layer menu - New Adjustment Layer
Move it to the correct layer position and apply effects to it

*Try lots of filters but beware of cliche filters and too many filters