March 21st: AE Basics, Interface, and Keyframing, Bootcamp #1

Quick exercise

Make this video, click here, password is: demo

Boot Camp #1

Check out this animation, and this animation And use it as inspiration to create your own “puppet” in either Photoshop or Illustrator, then import it into AE and create a short animation.

The Basics of After Effects

This tutorial is a review of how to set up an AE composition.

What Is Frame Rate? (the following info can also be found here)

Think of a motion picture camera as a relentless still camera, taking many still photographs every second. Movies create the illusion of motion by showing still images in rapid succession. The number of images photographed per second is referred to as the frame rate of the movie and is measured in frames per second (fps). Frame rate describes both the speed of recording and the speed of playback. The more frames recorded per second, the more accurately motion is documented onto the recording medium.

Recording and playback speed are usually the same, though they do not have to be. For example, if you film a rubber ball bouncing on a sidewalk at 24 frames per second, your movie will have 24 unique photographs of the position of the ball. However, if you film at 100 frames per second, there are nearly four times as many photographs of the ball’s position during the same period of time. The more frames per second, the more precisely the exact position of the ball is documented.

Note: If you play back frames at a speed different from the original recording speed, you can create temporal effects such as time lapse and slow motion.

Early television systems selected frame rates based on local electrical standards to avoid electrical interference with the picture. NTSC in North America uses 30 fps (now adjusted to 29.97 fps for color NTSC) based on 60 Hz electrical power. PAL, used primarily in Europe, uses 25 fps based on 50 Hz electrical mains.

Because film cameras are relatively simple compared to video cameras, they allow shooting and playing back with a wide range of frame rates (although the standard projection speed is 24 fps). Video formats are much less flexible, partly because of their electronic complexity and partly because a television is designed to play video at only one frame rate. However, as video technology evolves, many digital camcorders now offer several frame rate choices while maintaining compatibility with existing NTSC and PAL video systems.

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HD will be more taxing on a computer than SD, so you’ll want to consider that before selecting either and SD or and HD resolution. Copied below is a table of recommended formats for the online video hosting site vimeo. Note that the first SD format has a different aspect ratio than the other formats.

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For todays in class exercise you should use the following settings.

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Info about using Shapes in AE

Using easy ease in the keyframe assistant


Preparing your files for After Effects

  1. When importing your Illustrator or Photoshop file remember not to import as footage! This won’t allow you access to all your layers.
  2. Remember that anchor point is different than position even though both will move a layer around your composition. Anchor points change the center of your layer.


The most important thing to realize is that you should clean up your files in Illustrator before you bring them into After Effects, and make sure that they are organized into layers that will make sense for your animation.

This tutorial explains how to prepare your illustrator files for After Effects and how to change them into shape layers. Most of what you need to know is covered in the first couple of minutes- it quickly progresses on to things like 3D layers and nested compositions, which you don’t have to worry about quite yet. One thing to be conscious of is that complex effects like compound shapes, gradient meshes, and live paint won’t translate into shape layers in AE. 


This write up explains how to prepare Photoshop files for After Effects.