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Sketching with After Effects

CreativeCOW presents Sketching with After Effects -- Adobe After Effects Tutorial


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Rob Mize shows how to use After Effects to create the effect of sketching images onto the screen. Created from your video or other images, the sketch can then animate as rolling footage. This is a fun and versatile effect that requires no 3rd party plug-ins.



Play Video TutorialDownload Project Files



Comments

Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Søren Storm
That was AWESOME! Will make use of this! :-) Thank you!
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Gabriel Flores
You save me Rob Mize. I was looking to create this effects for long time for a project I am working on. I almost buy an effect that makes this kind of sketch but now I am free to go.

Thanks a lot. I did not try it yet, but I now it will work perfect.

Where I can find more of yours tutorials?

Gabo
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Kira Pogge
Thanks for the great tutorial! I too am interested in having a still image sketch itself. Is this possible!?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Kira
@Kira Pogge
by Rob Mize
Hi, Kira...

Yes you can sketch a still image; in fact, it almost has to be a still. You'll notice on the tutorial I used a time remap to freeze the footage until the sketch was complete. Just use the same techniques with whatever source you want to sketch. Good Luck.

Rob Mize
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Gandhi Firmansyah
hallo sir ,

i like your tutorial ,it make me easy to practice :)
may i live chat with you ?? i need help more .i got a difficult on making sketch
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Márton Maráz
Hi Rob!
What's the title of the song playing at the beginning? I need it for a home movie :)
Thanks in advance!
@Márton Maráz
by Denise Waller
Hi Marton,

Did you find out what the song playing at the beginning was I would like to know also?

Dee Waller
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Michael Peterson
Well I finally figured it out, dumb really the trkmat item wasn't on the work area so I couldn't change it to alpha channel. I had to change picture and then had to do a little paint work to the cartoon effect to get enough lines to be seen for the mask. That worked well. I also pulled it over into sound booth to do some work on the audio, this was after I made an avi out of it, that worked well also, starting to think I getting smarter (not). I use this adobe suite maybe every couple months and forget where every thing is. I am not really good at it but do like to play. Here is a link to my completed trail of this project. This is what I'm good at. I rescued this from a bone yard in the early 80's and made a race car out of it. Yes I love to drive it.
https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=147df29569a72649&resid=147DF29569A...
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Michael Peterson
Hi again , what I mean by the view in my previous post is the view of the very thick lines which covers not only the cartoon lines but the strokes lines around those lines. In my jpeg the drawing of the strokes is so bold it looks terrible. In your video you apply the alpha in the time remap which shows the under lying cartoon instead of the stroke effect. I haven't been able to figure out how to do that. I'm an old guy and things come very slowly, this is all new to me but they say if you find something challenging it will keep you young. This sort of does that for me. I would be glade to show you the files but as of yet haven't figured that out either.
@Michael Peterson
by Rob Mize
Hi, Michael... remember the strokes are only there to provide the Alpha channel that reveals the lines in the cartoon effect, as the strokes are drawn on by the animation of the End parameter. The cartoon layer should be directly under the stroke layer. Set the cartoon layer TrkMat (Track Matte) to Alpha. The visibility (the eyeball) of the stroke layer should be Off. Hope this resolves the problem... Don't give up... I'm an old guy myself. Please keep me posted on your progress.

Rob Mize
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Michael Peterson
I have enjoyed the lesson but find myself lost for an answer. Time remapping is not available for a still so when it comes to setting remapping to alpha it is also not there. The view you say is not the view we will be working with is my only view. I have tried several adjustments to the cartoon fx but if your not workin in the right spot to begin with your still at a dead end. Hope this makes sense to you.
@Michael Peterson
by Rob Mize
Hi, Michael...
Not sure of the exact nature of your problem, however:
You are correct... Time Remap is only necessary when using rolling video as the effect, as I've done it, the actual sketching will only work with a still image.
Not sure what you mean re: the view and "working in the right spot". You can apply the Cartoon effect to the layer at any point on the timeline.
I'll be glad to look at your project files... let me know how it's going.

Rob Mize
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Rob Mize
Hi, Josh...
You can, in deed, do this with a still image, in fact, it has to be a still. You can't do the sketch of rolling video because the masks/strokes would change with every new frame. You'll notice that In the tutorial, the video only rolls after the sketch is complete.
Good Luck.

Rob Mize
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Josh Sanchez
Hello
I am a beginner with after effects. I was wondering if there is a tutorial with a still image rather then a video. What I am trying to do is that I created a sketched jpeg image of a house with Archicad. What I want to do is create an animation of the house being slowly sketched. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Rob Mize
Hi, Martin...

Glad you found the effect useful... there's a lot you can do with it... nice use of the sketch.

Rob Mize
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Martin Dunne
Hiiii Rob...I just wanted to tell you thanks for the tutorial on how to do this. LOVE YOUR WORK you are amazing. Its my first time using after effects, you really helped my project. Check out the video if you like, the sketch effect is at the end, thanks again.





Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Chip Mochel
Rob,
First, thanks for making this tutorial available. Second, FYI I am a novice to After Effects who looked long and hard to try learn how to do exactly what you are showing in your tutorial..only for a still photo. I have taken the Lynda.com essentials course for this program simply to learn how to do this one effect. I have AE as part of the Adobe CS5 Mater Suite and am running it on a new full boogie iMac so I don't think my issue has anything to do with hardware or software....just dumbware.

To begin I am trying to use your tutorial to simply sketch a single still frame photograph...that's it, not a video. As hard as this might be to believe I probably now have 30 hours over two weeks into watching your video over and over and over, carefully watching and dissecting every single frame of it trying to make it work for me. I have gotten to the point where I have two problems.
Problem One:
When you are through with your sketch effect you say "now let's see how this is actually going to work for us" At this point you go to the video layer and change the Track Matte to "Alpha Matte Strokes". When you do I noticed that your strokes layer automatically turned off. Then you explained that we should now "not see strokes from the strokes effect but as they animate on they are providing the alpha-channel that reveals the edges from our cartoon effect". When YOU do this the broad double stroke animation seems to turn to the thinner "edge only" stroke and it does so on your VIDEO layer with your STROKES layer turned off. When I perform the same task of changing the Track Matte of my Photo Layer in this fashion my broad double stroke effect remains unchanged. The animation works but only on the Strokes Layer with its thick double line type thing remaining. If I turn off the Strokes Layer and turn on the Photo Layer I get flashes of bits of the sketched drawing but not the sketch animation itself. I see only flashes of partial finished sketch images. With both layers on the Sketch Layer seems to over ride the Photo Layer and I see the thicker animation working just fine, but again it doesn't appear to be the edge only animation I supposedly turned the "alpha Matte Strokes" on for. That is I don't think I am switching to reveal only the edges effect you say should be happening. I am seeing the double line cartoon effect made to look like a single line by virtue of the broadness of the brush size....I think, yes?
Problem Two:
When I copy the Photo Layer to use it for the fade in from sketch animation to regular photo it positions itself starting at frame one as the photo. Frame two and all subsequent frames have it doing all sorts of crazy things from blowing up to bits of the photo to stating the image file number, etc. I can't even get to the point where I move it down the time line and put in key frames and alpha channel fades to make it come in near the end of the sketch effect. It just goes crazy. It seems obvious that I need to click some button to make a still picture stay a still picture over a time line I just don't know what button that is and have been unsuccessful through trial and error to find it.
Sorry for the long question. Can you point me in the right direction on these two issues?
Not sure how I see a possible reply from you. I probably have to check back here. My direct email address is: chip353@verizon.net
Thanks again for the tutorial.
Chip Mochel
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Peter Windsor
Thanks Rob

It worked! Memo to self:- Pay more attention to lessons.

Sometimes I can be so dumb.
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Rob Mize
Hi, Peter...
I'm trying to envision exactly what is happening with your project, but it sounds like the duplicate layer of your footage - the rolling footage with the cartoon effect - is still set to TrkMat Alpha. It should be set to None. Let me know if this helps.
Regards,

Rob Mize
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Peter Windsor
Hi Rob

I am a newby to after effects cs5 using windows 7 and used your tutorial in a video I am doing for my wifes birthday. All goes well until the movie starts moving and i get the background and nothing else till the fade comes in and the characters start moving. Is it something to do with the layers?

Peter
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Rob Mize
Hi, John...
Since the cartoon effect was introduced with CS4, your CS3 may not handle it well... how did you add it to your effects? The number of masks also impacts render speed. At any rate, that effect is, in fact, a memory hog. While composing, I sometimes lower my comp resolution and quality setting to compensate. Sorry I can't offer a better solution; however, I would recommend checking the Cow's AE Forum regarding the best preference settings for your hardware.

Rob Mize
@Rob Mize
by John James
Sorry Rob, Mis-type, It should have read CS4 not CS3. Will check out the Cow for preference ideas. Thanks again for your help

John
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by John James
Hi Rob

Great tutoria, but I would like to opick your brain.

I have been able to reproduce using some .mov footage, but I am having trouble sketching a 2 tone still image



I have tried using a single layer jpeg and multi layer psd, but all I get is a 1 frame transition from empty screen to fully drawn

Is there a special technique for using stills of this type

Thanks

John
@John James
by Rob Mize
Hi, John...
The type of image should make no difference. I would look at the Generate > Stroke effect to ensure the End parameter keyframes are at 0 and 100%. If that isn't the problem, I'll be glad to look at your project if you want to send me the aep file. Let me know how it works out... good luck.

Rob Mize
@John James
by John James
Thanks Rob

I have now encountered another issue. Whenever I try to use the cartoon effect, my machine slows to a crawl. Each parameter change can take ten minutes to render. It only seems to be the cartoon effect that causes this. I have applied the other effects without cartoon and they run as expected.

Other projects, run flawlessly without affecting performance. I am getting frustrated now, as I would like to master this simple effect.

I am using CS3 on Win 7, dual core 2.4ghz with 3 gig ram. CPU usage goes to 100% and Ram to 90% + when processing each step
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Dave Fleming
Thanks Rob, as I suspected, I missed that part. Working fine now! One more question: Could I edit a parameter to give me more of a "rough sketch" look? I appreciate having all the detail available to me, but the look I'm after is a bit rougher and unfinished. I'm guessing that the brush strokes would get larger, and I'd almost need to trash half of the masks that were created. But, when you're dealing with several hundred masks, that can be a needle in a haystack. Any suggestions?

df
@Dave Fleming
by Rob Mize
Hi, Dave...
I would experiment with the parameters of the cartoon effect... the detail, edge and advanced settings. I also got some interesting results by adding the Stylize > Roughen Edges effect and adjusting those parameters. Remember, the stroke effect is there only to provide the alpha channel to reveal your cartoon edges.
Click on a mask to highlight it on your layer, then revise or delete it as desired. Sounds like an interesting project... I'd love to see it.
Best regards...

Rob Mize
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Rob Mize
Hi, Dave...
It sounds like your diagnosis is on track. Once your sketch is completed, trim both the sketch and track matte layers to that completion point. Your rolling footage will begin 1 frame later as a duplicate layer, with the cartoon effect, but without a track matte. Checkout the Sketch comp in the project files and let me know if that helps.
Thanks for your interest.

Rob Mize
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Dave Fleming
Hi Rob,

I was a bit rushed today when I watched your tutorial, so I may have missed something...when my video re-animates back to a live action sketch, the strokes disappear as my subject moves. Almost like it's obeying the original masks and not showing anything outside of them?

Dave
Re: Sketching with After Effects
by Rob Mize
Kenneth...
I could not include the video file because of copyright restrictions. However, along with the backgrounds, sound fx and aep file, there is a photoshop file that serves as a proxy for the video.
Hope that helps.

Rob Mize
Re: Tutorial: Sketching with After Effects
by Kenneth Rapp
most of the files seem to be missing from the project.


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