LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Animating a Butterfly

Animating a Butterfly
CreativeCOW Adobe After Effects Tutorial


Animating a Butterfly in AE 5.5

Marek Doszla
La F@KTORY, Paris, France
marek@lafaktory.com ~ http://www.lafaktory.com

©2003 Marek Doszla and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
In this tutorial, Marek Doszla shows how to animate a butterfly in After Effects 5.5 starting from a digital picture. Marek puts it in the category of "After Effects experiment", however he uses some sophisticated features of After Effects as 3D space, expressions and time remapping that could be useful to beginners or even advanced users in motion graphics.

Movie link Project sit Project zip

---Creating the Butterfly in Photoshop---


At this season in Paris there are no butterflies and I wanted my butterfly in red so I needed to ask the permission to use an existing picture.

It comes from Liang-Wu Cai , he took this wonderful butterfly picture at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Concord, MA. in August 2, 1997" .
The link to his page is here : http://web.mit.edu/cai/www/jpg/closeup/butterfly.html

In Photoshop I used a rulers guide, (blue vertical line)
that will make up the axis of symmetry (left-right)
and will serve later as reference to spread out a little bit the wings of butterfly as I had separate them from the body.

After erasing the background, I've created 3 layers which holds separately: body, left wing, right wing.

As you see on screen shots on the right, wings were spread out with rubber stamp to "stick" to the blue line of symmetry.


---Importing the Butterfly into After Effects---

In After Effects, import "butterfy.psd" file as "Composition" (see right screen shot)


After the import, we end up in Project window
(see screen shot above), with a folder with 3 stills related to 3 layers in Photoshop file and new After Effects composition that holds already these 3 layers in time line (see screen shot below.)



---Setting Up the Butterfly Comp---

Go to the composition settings (see screen shot to the right) and make more room for the butterfly , let's say: 600 x 400 pixels (for flying butterfly needs more space ) and make the duration of composition to 1 second (we will see after how to expand the "life" of butterfly to ANY duration we need)



In timeline (see screen shot below) make all 3 layers "3D" clicking in 3D box column, also check high quality display.




shutter angle = 0 = no motion blur at all
Go again to the composition settings and choose "Advanced" tab (see screen shot below) . In rendering Plug-in choose "Advanced 3D" and specify 360 for "shutter angle" as we want high motion blur


shutter angle = 360 = highest motion blur

---Setting Up the Butterfly Wings Anchor Point---

As we are going to rotate wings in space to make them fly, we need to shift their anchor points toward the axis of symmetry. In After Effects we can use "rulers guides" (thanks Adobe). Select left wing layer in time line. Using "Pan behind Y" tool (see screen shot), move it with mouse towards "center of gravity". Redo the same for right wing. Now we are ready to animate the butterfly


Before

After

---Animating the Butterfly Wings---

We are going to rotate butterfly wings in 3D space along Y (green arrow) axis so the better view to work with is Top view.
Enable Y-axis key-frames in timeline for wings. We need only 3 key frames during 1 second. See screen shots below.


WINGS KEY FRAMES for Y-rotation
at time code 00:00 and 00:24
WINGS KEY FRAMES for Y-rotation
at time code 00:12


As wings overlap the body, we need to shift body position in Z direction about 10 pixels (see blue highlights on screen shot below). Enable motion blur and make preview in custom view. Butterfly flies already, sure in place, we are going to let it fly using trajectories and the camera in the next step. We could also animate the body by rotating it in X or Z axis.




---Looping the Butterfly in Time---


Now we have a flying butterfly during 1 second and we will use it in the new composition during let's say 15 seconds.
There is a trick to loop a composition (thanks to Dan Ebberts here at COW forum) :

Pre-comp the comp you want to loop into a new comp that is long enough to hold all the loops you want. Enable time remapping for the new comp. Type "rr" to reveal the keyframes. Set a keyframe at the last frame of the loop. Delete the keyframe at the end of the comp. You should now have keyframes at the start of the loop and the end of the loop. Enter this expression in the time-remapping property:

loop_out("cycle",0)

That should do it.

If you use the method I described, you'll lose the first frame of your loop after it plays through once. If that's important, you need to add one more keyframe after the one at the end of the loop and set its value to zero. loop_out("cycle",0) behaves better if the last keyframe is identical to the first one.

I've found a work around to this solution: (see the screen shot below), I don't have 100% of speed but I'm close to it and I manage with 2 key frames. From now, I've created a new composition with duration of 15 seconds and thanks to expressions I could layout the 1 second butterfly animation to any length, simply by dragging its right handle in timeline.




Explanation: loop_out("cycle",0)


In order to understand what really does loop_out("cycle",0) I'll try to explain it here: If we convert an expression to key frames we will see periodical "use" of frames from 1 second composition within "outlasting" composition.







---Animate the Butterfly in 3D Space and in Time---


From now there are 100,000 possibilities to animate the butterfly comp within After Effects 3D space. Here, I've just added a camera without animating it, instead I've animated position and rotations of butterfly. Butterfly flies with the constant speed defined in its composition of 1 second.



For more fun, I've duplicated previous "comp1" of duration 15 seconds into "comp1*" for which I've extended duration to 25 seconds, so I was able to do some time remapping. In "comp1*" I could speed up or slow down the butterfly in order to achieve another result.





Conclusion

I didn't pretend to achieve a simulation of real butterfly, it was just a great fun to experiment with wonderful After Effects, I hope you've enjoyed my tutorial...

Marek Doszla
www.lafaktory.com


Feel free to discuss this tutorial in the After Effects forum at CreativeCOW.net.



If you found this page from a direct link, please visit our forums or read other articles at CreativeCOW.net



Related Articles / Tutorials:
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 1 - Blend Modes

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 1 - Blend Modes

Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for the best look behind the technology of blend modes that you've ever seen. This isn't just for graphics and VFX, but for video editors too -- anyone who puts anything together, and wants to learn more about HOW images combine at the most basic level, in a way that applies to every application you might use, whether Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple FCPX, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve, VEGAS Pro, and yes, graphics and VFX programs like After Effects, Motion, Fusion, Nuke, Scratch, and many more.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Disintegration VFX in Adobe After Effects

Disintegration VFX in Adobe After Effects

Join VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio for a classically energetic Adobe After Effects tutorial combining difference mattes, displacement maps, edge glows, and compositing tricks to dissolve (or explode!) one element in your frame while leaving the rest alone.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects: Common QT & Export Problems & Solutions

Adobe After Effects: Common QT & Export Problems & Solutions

Problems with Adobe After Effects? Can't import or export QuickTime videos? Exports too big? Missing codecs? AE guru and VFX whiz Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio has the answers you're looking for to make every project come to completion more smoothly, including a comparison of exported file sizes for common codecs.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects
Fancy Title Animations In Adobe After Effects -- FAST!

Fancy Title Animations In Adobe After Effects -- FAST!

Follow along as VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger shows you how how to quickly create professional-looking animated text elements using the free presets that are included with Adobe After Effects, customizing them to suit your needs. Tobias will also show you how to apply masks to your text layers to have them appear from behind other elements.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects
Remove People from Moving Video in After Effects with Mocha

Remove People from Moving Video in After Effects with Mocha

Learn how to remove a person from a moving video using the Remove module of the Mocha Pro plug-in for Adobe After Effects! In one of his most epic tutorial's yet, Surfaced Studio's Tobias Gleissenberger then adds a bonus Beam Up effect using some of the great filters from the Boris Continuum and Sapphire collections.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects
Basic Clone Effect Interaction - After Effects Tutorial

Basic Clone Effect Interaction - After Effects Tutorial

Want to take your CLONE EFFECT to the next level? Want to know how to make your clones INTERACT? Tobias Gleissenberger shows you how.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects: Glitch Effects Without Using Plug-ins!

Adobe After Effects: Glitch Effects Without Using Plug-ins!

Join VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger for a fun, high-energy look at how to create all sorts of digital noise, glitch, and other disturbing video effects with any version of Adobe After Effects, without using any plug-ins!

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects Energy Ball

Adobe After Effects Energy Ball

In his latest high-energy Adobe After Effects tutorial, VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio combines a variety of effects to create the pulsating energy ball, composited with motion tracking, optical flares, and more.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects
Stabilize 360 Video with Mocha VR

Stabilize 360 Video with Mocha VR

In this intermediate tutorial, Mocha Product Manager Martin Brennand takes you through smoothing the horizon in a Samsung Gear 360 shot using the Reorient Module in Mocha VR. Jittery 360 video footage can be made more watchable by stabilizing with Mocha’s planar tracking tools. The tutorial is done via the Adobe After Effects plug-in, but the techniques apply to all versions of Mocha VR.

Tutorial
Imagineer Systems
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects April 2017 New Features

Adobe After Effects April 2017 New Features

The April 2017 release of Adobe After Effects (version 14.2) is packed with new features, and Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio is here to show you the latest and greatest. Highlights include the Essential Graphics panel and Motion Graphics templates (with Adobe Premiere Pro integration), the addition of Lumetri Scopes and Color Correction effects, new effects organization, the Camera Shake Deblur filter and more.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
MORE
© 2018 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]