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Background Creation Tips and Tricks:The DNA Background

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Background Creation Tips and Tricks:The DNA Background
A CreativeCOW Preparing Graphics for Video Tutorial


Background Creation Tips and Tricks:The DNA Background

Dean Velez Dean Velez
The Anvel Motion Graphics Courseware for After Effects
Atlanta, Georgia

©2005 Dean Velez and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:

There are many ways to create backgrounds in After Effects and many of us have our own special ways of doing this. Please join Dean Velez creator of "The Anvel Training Program for Motion Graphics" in a 5 part series as he shares some of his different methods. In this part one, Dean uses cloud layers created in Photoshop and applies filters to create a DNA strand look.

movie Project files

PLEASE PREVIEW THE WEBBKG.MOV ANIMATION BEFORE STARTING. Download movie and project files from the orange bar above.

This tutorial is built on a simple principle. After Effects sometimes needs footage to really make it cook. In this way we can look at using Photoshop stills as the catalyst to make an original animation.

The recipe consists of creating 4-6 different rendered cloud layers that are much bigger than the final output. Pick any 1 filter and add it to each layer with slightly different parameters and save.

Import those layers into After Effects and go nuts! Move them around, scale them, rotate them, add different effects to them until you're happy with what you have.

Remember...we're artists, this job is supposed to be fun...so get in there and don't be afraid to get messy!

MAKING THE DNA BACKGROUND: PHOTOSHOP



1. Make new file 1000 x 1000 pixels / 72 dpi / RGB

2. Create 4 additional new layers

3. Double click background layer and name it layer 0

4. Make sure that white is in your foreground color box and black is in your background color box

5. Select filter / render clouds for all layers (5 layers total)

6. Select filter / render difference clouds for layers 2 and 4

7. Turn the eyeball off for all layers

8. Select bottom layer 0

9. Select filter / texture / stained glass

10. Set the Cell to 10, Border to 4 and Light to 3

11. Select layer 1

12. Select filter / texture / stained glass

13. Set the Cell to 15, Border to 8 and Light to 4

14. Select layer 2 (this will be the first difference cloud layer)

15. Select filter / texture / stained glass

16. Set the Cell to 30, Border to 16 and Light to 10

17. Select layer 3

18. Select filter / texture / stained glass

19. Set the Cell to 5, Border to 2 and Light to 5

20. Select layer 4 (this will be the second difference cloud layer)

21. Select filter / texture / stained glass

22.Set the Cell to 10, Border to 5 and Light to 10

23. Rename all layers starting from the top DNA 1 - DNA 5

24. Save file as DNA BKG


MAKING THE DNA BACKGROUND: AFTER EFFECTS



PLEASE PREVIEW THE DNA BKG ANIMATION BEFORE STARTING



1. Open After Effects and select file / new file

2. Import DNA BKG as a composition

3. Double click on the composition icon

4. Select composition / composition settings

5. Set its composition settings to the preset NTSC-D1, 720 x 486 and set the duration to 10:00

6. Switch all of the layers qualities to best instead of draft

7. Select the top 4 layers

8. Set their modes to multiply

9. Set a scale keyframe at the beginning of every layer

10. Select the DNA 1 layer, set a scale keyframe at the OUT 225x225

11. Select the DNA 2 layer, set a scale keyframe at the OUT 200x200

12. Select the DNA 3 layer, set a scale keyframe at the OUT 175x175

13. Select the DNA 4 layer, set a scale keyframe at the OUT 150x150

14. Select the DNA 5 layer, set a scale keyframe at the OUT 125x125

15.
OPTIONAL Select both of DNA 1ís scale key frames - the next step will not work unless both keyframes are selected

16.
OPTIONAL Select animation / keyframe assistant / exponential scale - this will create a realistic camera zoom

17.
OPTIONAL Set exponential scales for all of the other layers scale key frames

18. Select the DNA 1 layer, set a rotation keyframe IN 50 OUT -50

19. Select the DNA 2 layer, set a rotation keyframe IN -40 OUT 40

20. Select the DNA 3 layer, set a rotation keyframe IN 30 OUT -30

21. Select the DNA 4 layer, set a rotation keyframe IN -20 OUT 20

22. Select the DNA 5 layer, set a rotation keyframe IN 10 OUT -10

STEP 1 composition
23. Press 0 on the numeric keypad to ram preview

24. Rename the DNA bkg.psd composition step 1

25. Create a new composition NTSC-D1, 720 x 486, duration 10:00

26. Name it step 2

27. Drag step 1 comp into step 2 comp

28. Switch the layers quality to best instead of draft

29. Duplicate step 1 3X

30. Rename all layers starting from the top step1a, step1b, and step1c

31. Set step1a, step1b and step1c layers modes to difference -
don't worry if the screen goes black

32. Set step1a scale to IN 140 x 140 OUT 200 x 200

STEP 2 composition
33. Set step1b scale to IN 140 x 140 OUT 300 x 300

34. Set step1c scale to IN 100 x 100 OUT 400 x 400

35.
OPTIONAL Select both of step1aís scale key frames

36.
OPTIONAL Select animation / keyframe assistant / exponential scale

37.
OPTIONAL Do this for the step1b and step1c

38. Set the step1a's rotation to +90

39. Set the step1b's rotation to -90

40. Set the step1c's rotation to +180



41. Select layer / new / solid and create a new blue solid / RGB R75 G120 B180 at the beginning of the time line

42. Set its Mode to vivid light

43. Switch the solid layers quality to best instead of draft

44. Press 0 on the numeric keypad to ram preview

45. Create new composition NTSC-D1, 720 x 486, duration 10:00

46. Name it Render Out

47. Drag step 2 into render out comp

48. Switch the layers quality to best instead of draft

49. Rename it step 2 bottom

50. Duplicate it

51. Rename it step 2 top

52. Rotate it 180 degrees

53. Set its mode to add

54. Press 0 on the numeric keypad to ram preview

55. Save it as DNA BKG

56. Render it out as DNA BKG, premultiplied with no alpha (render time approximately 5 minutes)



Experiment with the blend modes on different parts of the project to achieve different results.




Click here for a movie with more examples. These other examples will give an idea of how far you can go with these principles. Each one of these backgrounds were based on the same process as the DNA background...some had more effects and prerenders than others

To subscribe to Dean's AE product, click on the logo to the right.



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