American in Spain

Learning After Effects

January 28, 2010

thumbI've been playing around lately in After Effects, which is more or less "Photoshop for Video". After Apple's dumbing down of iMovie (Apple dumbed something down? Imagine that!) last year, it's refreshing to get back to editing videos with an actual timeline and keyframes.

Our little primate specimen decided that everyone should be up and active at 7:30 AM every day this week, so I've seen every sunrise so far. Monday's was beautiful, but I just enjoyed it without recording it. On Tuesday, I actually got out the camera and recorded the area of the horizon where the sun appears. And on Wednesday and today the sky was gray and boring for the sunrise. What's interesting is that I recorded two sets of five-seconds-apart shots, stopping the intervalometer for about 45 minutes when the sky turned gray. What's cool is that I was able to blend between the earlier footage and the later footage in an almost unnoticeable way.

Some of the features of this video that I did not know how to do until I created it:

  • Text that follows a curved path
  • Animated text that disappears when it leaves a feathered mask area
  • Creating a timelapse solely in After Effects (It's as hard as dragging in a folder containing the jpegs.)
  • Panning and zooming within a timelapse video
  • A seamless blend between two shots
  • Adding a soundtrack in After Effects

The video is frustratingly short at about 12 seconds, but it was just for practice, as I said. It could be the start of a cool video, though. Here it is in 1080p if you have some bandwidth to kill and a hankering for high quality.