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Jim Krause | Classes | P354/J560 Program Graphics & Animation

Lab 6


  • Share Midterm Project ideas
  • Did you watch How to Use the Graph Editor? Understanding how to access and use the graph editor is vital to doing many tasks in AE
  • Finish Bouncing Ball Exercise
  • [short break]
  • Sun Earth Moon in-class Exercise
  • Masks
  • Effects
  • Intro to Typography

Share Midterm Project proposals

Review spatial and temporal keyframe interpolation

Review Accessing and Using the Graph Editor

  • How to Use the Graph Editor (Skillshare)
  • A parameter (E.g. position) must be selected for the Graph Editor to function.
  • Choose the "graph type" you want- in this case it's likely "speed".
  • The X axis is for time (just like the timeline). The Y axis is velocity. At the bottom is 0 pixels for second (stationary) and as you move farther up towards the top, the speed increases.

Multi-Part In-class exercise

Part 1: (Earth, moon & sun)

  • Import the supplied 1280 x 720 photoshop document (ZIP file) as a composition. Make sure it's at least 10-seconds long. See if you can make the moon rotate around the earth and the earth rotate around the sun. (Celestial objects not to scale!)
  • Hint: You only need to animate one parameter! (The project can be done with just 4 keyframes.)

Masks in AE

You can use simple masks to isolate parts of a layer. These can be feathered and animated over time in interesting ways.

You can access masks in the Comp window (if the masks switch is turned on) or better yet, through the layer window. (To get to the layer window, double click on the layer in the timeline.)

Masks are useful for quick & dirty “text builds" (E.g. revealing one bullet point at a time). Dog Haikus TIFF

Be sure you know how to:

  • Create, remove and feather masks
  • Precompose layers
  • Duplicate items (comps, layers, etc.)
  • Split layers


Similar to Photoshop, the effects are organized into categories. Effects are applied to a layer (remember layers can contain comps, images or audio). Some effects can be manipulated by the properties of other layers.

Effect Categories

  • 3D Channel
  • Adjust - lets you alter levels, brightness, contrast & color.
  • Audio - provides limited audio effects
  • Blur & Sharpen - focus effects
  • Channel - lets you tweak the color channels
  • Distort - manipulate & distort the layers image
  • Expression Controls
  • Image Control
  • Keying
  • Matte tools
  • Noise & Grain
  • Paint
  • Perspective
  • Render
  • Simulation
  • Stylize
  • Text
  • Time
  • Transition
  • Video

To view effects in the Timeline, select the layer, then press E. To view the Effects Control Window (a floating window), press Shift-Apple-T (or Shift - Control - T).

To set initial keyframes in the Effect Control Window click on the Stopwatch icon or Option - clicking the name of the effect.

A number of 3rd party companies (Boris, Trapcode, etc.) have built their business around supplying effect packages for After Effects. These can be purchased through places such as Toolfarm.

Using Solids

Solids can be useful for applying effects to (E.g. Gradient Ramp). Create a solid layer and apply a Gradient Ramp. Now try animating the gradient ramp.

Part 2: (Mask & Effect)

Add the following to your Sun Earth Moon comp:

  • Solid
  • Mask (applied to solid)
  • Text
  • Animated effect

Render out an H.264, MP4, or Apple ProRes 422, square pixel version called "your IU username". Upload it to the proper Canvas assignment.

Introduction to Typography

Review how to create and animate text.


  • Design and animate a graphic with a specific purpose suitable for TV. (This could be the opening of a show, an ad for a specific cause, event, or product, or an inspirational message. Be sure to put design principles to work (Rule of thirds, C.R.A.P., etc.)
    • Be sure to state the specific objective on your critique form. (E.g. After watching this ad, viewers will want to visit my website and download music.)
    • Use at least one animated mask.
    • Incorporate at least one animated text parameter from AE. You must animate a text parameter, such as tracking, NOT just the basic transform properties such as scale or position.
    • Incorporate at least one animated effect from AE. (Animate the effect's parameters)
    • Use the P354 critique form. Be sure to describe what text and effect parameters you animated.
    • Upload an H.264, MP4, or Apple ProRes 422, square pixel version (called your username) along with your critique form to the appropriate Canvas assignment. (You can zip them together into one folder if you wish.)
  • Midterm project pre-production. Proposals are due Tuesday. Completed midterm projects are due Thursday.
  • Read Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 21 in the Meyer book.


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