|Part Two: Creating Cogs and Gears in AE|
|CreativeCOW Adobe After Effects Tutorial|
South Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
©2003 Chris Zwar and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
This tutorial from Chris Zwar is a bit of a one trick pony, but its a trick thats worth knowing. Cogs and gears are nice looking design elements and are popular in all sorts of backgrounds. If you do a search on the internet, its easy to find a range of techniques for creating cogs in Photoshop and Illustrator, and Illustrator even comes with a few included. This is part two of a four part series.
|No Movie for this part||Project files .sit||Project files: .zip|
In our first tutorial, we saw how the Path Text effect can be used to create cogs of different sizes that can be animated with each other.
This tutorial shows how exactly the same technique can be combined with a range of textures to create cogs which look nice as well.
The textures included with this project were downloaded from various Internet sites which offer free textures. If you want to find your own textures, just go to Google and do a search for texture free and youll find heaps of useful links. Or you could run around with a Digital Camera and make your own.
Once again, the font which you use to make your cogs is critical in determining their final appearance; so dont feel restricted to Arial Black. However, all cogs which you intend to animate with each other should be constructed from the same font.
Open up the project file we created in Part 1. (Or download the project files from the green bar above and follow along.)
This time our cog will have 36 teeth, so create a new composition which is 320 x 320 pixels in size, with square pixels.
Add a solid the size of the comp. This time, well be building up our cog from different layers, so to keep things organized name the solid teeth.
Exactly as we did in our first tutorial, copy and paste the path text effect from our first cog, and when the dialogue box appears select the Arial Black font and type in 36 capital Vs.
In the path text effect settings, change the centre of the circle to be 160 x 160, which is the centre of our current composition. Change the X value of the tangent to be 160 as well, so we only need to change the Y value to alter our circle.
All our Vs are wrapped around the centre so drag the Y value of the tangent until we get something which looks more usable.
Because we need accuracy, ensure the layer is set to best quality.
When you think youre getting close, zoom in to 200% to ensure the spacing is just right.
This looked OK at 100%, but at 200% we can see it isnt perfect.
A value of 295 for the Tangents Y position fixes everything up nicely.
So the teeth of our cog now look like this:
Once again, well add a new mask, change it to a circle, scale it to fit inside the teeth, and apply the stroke effect with a brush hardness of 100%. All of these steps were detailed in the first tutorial.
Now that we have our shape, we can add some texture.
I chose a fairly weathered looking metal texture, which I dragged into the composition, under the Teeth layer.
All we have to do is set the Teeth layer as a track-matte for the Metal texture.
Which gives us this:
Using this basic process, we can quickly begin to build up a nice looking cog.
I decided to add a central hub made of a different metal, so I added a new solid and called it Hole in Middle.
Apply the stroke effect, set the brush hardness to 100% and adjust the brush size to suit. In this case, Ive used a separate stroke effect for each mask so that they can be different sizes. You can choose which mask is being stroked in the pop-up menu.
In the same layer the Bracing layer duplicate the Path Text effect which we used to create our Xs. This time, type some bullet points 12 is a nice number. On a Mac, theyre option-8, Windows, alt-7.
Because were using white for the solid areas of our cog, and black for the holes, we need to change our track matte method from alpha to luma. When we use an alpha matte, the back areas are still considered solid, theyre just coloured black. When we use a luma matte, the black areas become transparent.
If you think that these cogs look a bit ordinary, then move onto the next stage, where we use exactly the same techniques to make more decorative looking cogs.
In part one, we look at the basic concept behind making cogs in After Effects, using the Path Text effect. This will demonstrate our trick in detail.
In part three, we extend the same techniques to construct a worm gear.
And part four demonstrates how we can use simple expressions to create amazing animations using the parts we created in parts 1, 2 & 3.
--- Chris Zwar
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