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Adobe After Effects CS5 : Adding transparency & Rendering the composition

1/17/2012 4:32:24 PM
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Adding transparency

Many TV stations display logos semi-transparently in the corner of the frame to emphasize the brand. You’ll reduce the opacity of the ID so that it can be used this way.

1.
Still in the Destinations Timeline panel, go to 2:24.

2.
Select the destinations_logo layer, and press T to display its Opacity property. By default, the Opacity is 100%—fully opaque. Click the stopwatch icon () to set an Opacity keyframe at this location.


3.
Press the End key or drag the current-time indicator to go to the end of the time ruler (2:29), and change the Opacity to 40%. After Effects adds a keyframe.


The logo appears, the words travel Europe fly in, and it all fades to 40% opacity.

4.
Watch a preview of your composition by clicking the Play button in the Preview panel, by pressing the spacebar, or by pressing 0 on your numeric keypad. Press the spacebar to stop playback when you’re done.

5.
Choose File > Save to save your project.

Rendering the composition

You’re ready to prepare your travel show ID for output. When you create output, the layers of a composition and each layer’s masks, effects, and properties are rendered frame by frame into one or more output files or, in the case of an image sequence, into a series of consecutive files.

Making a movie from your final composition can take a few minutes or many hours, depending on the composition’s frame size, quality, complexity, and compression method. When you place your composition in the render queue, it becomes a render item that uses the render settings assigned to it. While After Effects renders the item, you are unable to work in the program.


After Effects provides a variety of formats and compression types for rendering output; the format you choose depends on the medium from which you’ll play your final output or on the requirements of your hardware, such as a video-editing system. You will prepare this animation for two formats so that it can be used for broadcast purposes as well as on a website.

Exporting broadcast-quality output

You’ll start by rendering and exporting the composition so that it can be broadcast on television.

1.
Do one of the following to add the composition to the render queue:

  • Select the Destinations composition in the Project panel, and then choose Composition > Add To Render Queue. The Render Queue panel opens automatically.

  • Choose Window > Render Queue to open the Render Queue panel, and then drag the Destinations composition from the Project panel onto the Render Queue panel.

2.
Choose Maximize Frame from the Render Queue panel menu so that the panel fills the application window.


Tip

The keyboard shortcut for the Maximize Frame command is the accent grave (`) character, which shares a key with the tilde (~) character.

3.
Click the triangle to expand the Render Settings options. By default, After Effects renders compositions at the Best Quality and Full Resolution. The default settings are fine for this project.

4.
Click the triangle to expand the Output Module options. By default, After Effects uses lossless compression to encode the rendered composition into a movie file, which is fine for this project. But you need to identify where to save the file.

5.
Click the underlined words Not Yet Specified next to the Output To pop-up menu.


6.
In the Output Movie To dialog box, accept the default movie name (Destinations), select the AECS5_CIB/Lessons/Lesson02/Finished_Project folder for the location, and then click Save.

7.
Back in the Render Queue panel, click the Render button.


After Effects displays a progress bar in the Render Queue panel as it encodes the file, and issues an audio alert when all items in the Render Queue have been rendered and encoded.

8.
When the movie is complete, choose Restore Frame Size from the Render Queue panel menu to restore your workspace.

Exporting a composition for the web

The production manager at Destinations wants to use this travel show ID on the station’s website as well. For that purpose, you need to render and export the composition as a SWF file. The SWF format is a widely used vector graphics and animation format for the web—a compact, binary format that can contain audio and vector objects. Web browsers with the Adobe Flash Player plug-in can play SWF files.

Before exporting to SWF, you need to adjust the composition a bit for online display.

1.
Select the Destinations composition in the Project panel, and then choose Composition > Composition Settings.

2.
In the Basic tab of the Composition Settings dialog box, choose Web Video, 320 x 240 from the Preset menu, and then click OK.


After Effects applies the new web-appropriate resolution—320 x 240 pixels—to the composition. As a result, both the parthenon and destination_logo layers are about twice as big as the composition, which is now smaller, has a different aspect ratio, and has a different frame rate (15 fps). So you need to reposition and resize the layers for the new output medium, including moving the logo to the top of the composition.

3.
Open the Destinations Timeline panel, select the parthenon layer, and press Ctrl+Alt+F (Windows) or Command+Option+F (Mac OS) to fit the layer to the composition size.

4.
Go to 2:12, which is when the logo starts to fade in at the new frame rate.

5.
Select the destination_logo layer in the Timeline panel, and then press P to reveal its Position property.

6.
Change the Position values to 50, 204 to move the logo to the top of the composition.


Now, you’re ready to render and export the composition to SWF format.

Note

SWF files can be played directly by Flash Player. You can render FLV files that can be published online, but an FLV file must be embedded in a SWF file to be played by Adobe Flash Player.


7.
With the Destinations composition selected in the Project panel, choose File > Export > Adobe Flash Player (SWF).

8.
In the Save As dialog box, accept the default filename (Destinations.swf), select the AECS5_CIB/Lessons/Lesson02/Finished_Project folder for the location, and then click Save.

9.
In the SWF Settings dialog box, choose Medium from the JPEG Quality menu. This setting preserves image quality nicely but also reduces the file size somewhat. Leave all other settings at their defaults, and then click OK.

Note

After Effects exports text layers to SWF as vector graphics. Some layer types and layer switches are not supported, such as 3D Layers, 3D Cameras, and 3D Lights. Nested layers are rasterized. For more on SWF export, see After Effects Help.

After Effects displays a progress bar as it renders the file and exports it to SWF format. It also saves a report in HTML to the same folder as the SWF file.

10.
Choose File > Save to save the final file.

11.
In Explorer (Windows) or the Finder (Mac OS), navigate to the AECS5_CIB/Lessons/Lesson02/Finished_Project folder.

12.
Double-click the HTML file, which has an .htm or .html extension, to open it in your default web browser, and preview the SWF file by clicking the link on the page. This Flash animation could be used as part of a splash screen on the TV station’s website, or as part of an ad, for example.

Congratulations. You’ve created a travel show ID and watermark.

 
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