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«PROFESSIONAL USER GUIDE © 2007 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Copyright Adobe® After Effects® CS3 User Guide for Windows® and ...»

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• To set the level of the left and right channels together, drag the center slider up or down.

• To set the level of the left channel, drag the left slider up or down, or type a new value in the levels box at the bottom of the left slider.

• To set the level of the right channel, drag the right slider up or down, or type a new value in the levels box at the bottom of the right slider.

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Work with parent and child layers To synchronize changes to layers by assigning one layer’s transformations to another layer, use parenting. After a layer is made a parent to another layer, the other layer is called the child layer. When you assign a parent, the child layer’s transform properties become relative to the parent layer instead of to the composition. For example, if a parent layer moves 5 pixels to the right of its starting position, then the child layer also moves 5 pixels to the right of its position.

Parenting is similar to grouping; transformations made to the group are relative to the parent’s anchor point.

Parenting affects all transform properties except Opacity: Position, Scale, Rotation, and (for 3D layers) Orientation.

A layer can have only one parent, but a layer can be a parent to any number of layers in the same composition.

You can animate child layers independent of their parent layers. You can also parent using null objects, which are hidden layers.

You cannot animate the act of assigning and removing the parent designation—that is, you cannot designate a layer as a parent at one point in time and designate it as a normal layer at a different point in time.

When you create a parenting relationship, you can choose whether to have the child take on the parent’s transform property values or retain its own. If you choose to have the child take on the parent’s transform property values, the child layer jumps to the parent’s position. If you choose to have the child retain its own transform property values, then the child stays where it is. In both cases, subsequent changes to the parent’s transform property values are applied to the child. Similarly, you can choose whether the child jumps when the parenting relationship is removed.

Dragging the pick whip in the Timeline panel to designate the planet layer as the parent to the saucer layer Note: To show or hide the Parent column in the Timeline panel, choose Columns Parent from the Timeline panel menu.

Angie Taylor provides a character animation tutorial that shows how to use parenting and expressions:


Guy Chen provides a simple project that demonstrates the animation of several 3D layers arranged as a cube, controlled by a parent null layer: www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_guy3dcube.

• To parent a layer, in the Parent column, drag the pick whip from the layer that is to be the child layer to the layer that is to be the parent layer.

• To parent a layer, in the Parent column, click the menu of the layer that you want to be the child, and choose a parent layer name from the menu.

• To remove a parent from a layer, in the Parent column, click the menu of the layer to remove the parent from, and choose None.

• To extend the selection to include all child layers of a selected parent layer, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the layer in the Composition or Timeline panel, and choose Select Children.

• To make a child layer jump when a parent is assigned or removed, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you assign or remove the parent.

• To remove a parent from a layer (i.e., set Parent to None), Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the child layer's parenting pickwhip in the Timeline panel. Alt+Ctrl-click (Windows) or Option+Command-click (Mac OS) the child layer's parenting pickwhip to remove the parent and cause the child layer to jump.

AFTER EFFECTS CS3 159 User Guide Paul Tuersley provides a script for duplicating a parent layer and all of its children, preserving the parenting hierarchy: www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_paulduplicateparenting.

See also “Work with columns” on page 18 Create a null object To assign a parent layer, but keep that layer from being a visible element in your project, use a null object. A null object is an invisible layer that has all the properties of a visible layer so that it can be a parent to any layer in the composition. Adjust and animate a null object as you would any other layer. You use the same commands to modify settings for a null object that you use for a solid-color layer (Layer Solid Settings).

You can apply Expression Controls effects to null objects and then use the null object as a control layer for effects and animations in other layers. For example, when working with a camera or light layer, create a null object and use an expression to link the camera or light's Point Of Interest property to the null layer's Position property. Then, you can animate the Point Of Interest property by moving the null object. It is often easier to select and see a null object than it is to select and see the point of interest.

A composition can contain any number of null objects. A null object is visible only in the Composition and Layer panels and appears in the Composition panel as a rectangular outline with layer handles. Effects are not visible on null objects.

❖ Select the Timeline or Composition panel and choose Layer New Null Object.

Note: The anchor point of a new null object layer appears in the upper-left corner of the layer, and the layer is anchored in the center of the composition at its anchor point. Change the anchor point as you would for any other layer.

If a null object is visually distracting in your composition frame, consider dragging it out of the frame, onto the pasteboard.

Guy Chen provides a simple project that demonstrates the animation of several 3D layers arranged as a cube, controlled by a parent null layer: www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_guy3dcube.

See also “Using Expression Controls effects” on page 555 “Work with layer anchor points” on page 154

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• To render a composition with its visible guide layers, click Render Settings in the Render Queue panel, and choose Current Settings from the Guide Layers menu in the Render Settings dialog box.

• To render a composition without rendering guide layers, click Render Settings in the Render Queue panel, and choose All Off from the Guide Layers menu in the Render Settings dialog box.

See also “Work with render settings” on page 597

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F G H Brainstorm dialog box in Randomness mode A. Original composition (original in center tile when using Brainstorm on single numerical value) B. Maximize Tile C. Save As New Composition D. Apply To Composition E. Use In Next Brainstorm F. Randomness control (Spread control when using Brainstorm on single numerical value) G. Back and Forward to previous and next generations H. Playback controls

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You can use Brainstorm on any property that has numeric values or options in a pop-up menu in the Timeline panel.

Examples of properties on which you can’t use Brainstorm are Source Text, Mask Path, and the Histogram property for the Levels effect; however, you can use Brainstorm on the properties of the Levels (Individual Controls) effect.

Brainstorm operates on all selected keyframes. For a property with no keyframes, Brainstorm operates on the global, constant value.

If you use Brainstorm on a single one-dimensional property (such as Opacity, but not Position), the Randomness value that controls the amount of variation (mutation) is replaced by a Spread value. The variants that are presented in the Brainstorm dialog box are then not random, but represent a range of values around the central value. The original composition appears in the center tile of the dialog box, and you can only select one variant on which to base the next Brainstorm operation.

Though you can’t directly use Brainstorm on expressions, you can use Brainstorm on the properties of Expression Control effects, to which expressions can refer.

1 Set a work area and region of interest for the duration and spatial area of the composition that you want to preview during the Brainstorm session. (See “Set the work area” on page 112 and “Work with the region of interest” on page 111.) 2 Select one more properties or property groups in the Timeline panel, and click the Brainstorm button at the top of the Timeline panel.

The variant compositions all play in the Brainstorm dialog box simultaneously. Controls for each variant are only visible when the pointer is over it. Use the playback controls at the bottom of the Brainstorm dialog box to play, pause, or rewind the previews.

3 In the Brainstorm dialog box, do any of the following:

• To get a better look at a variant, click its Maximize Tile button. Click the Restore Tile Size button to return to the grid view of all variants.

• To show or hide the transparency grid, click the Toggle Transparency Grid button at the bottom of the Brainstorm dialog box.

• To mark a variant for inclusion in the next Brainstorm operation, click that variant’s Include In Next Brainstorm button.

• To save a variant as a new composition in the current project, click that variant’s Save As New Composition button.

• To increase the randomness or spread for the next generation, adjust the Randomness or Spread value at the bottom of the Brainstorm dialog box. Make this number small for precision work; make it larger for experimentation and exploration.

4 (Optional) To create another generation of variants from those marked for inclusion in the next Brainstorm operation, click Brainstorm at the bottom of the Brainstorm dialog box and return to step 2. If you click Brainstorm without marking any variants for inclusion, the Brainstorm operation is repeated using the same input as the current generation.

If the Brainstorm operation uses Randomness, the variants marked for input into the next generation are included unchanged into the next generation, and remain in their positions in the dialog box. If the Brainstorm operation uses Spread, only one variant is carried into the next generation, and it appears in the center tile.

Repeat this cycle until you have found the variant that you want to save as the current composition.

AFTER EFFECTS CS3 163 User Guide You can move back or forward a generation by clicking the arrow buttons on either side of the Brainstorm button at the bottom of the Brainstorm dialog box. If you move back a generation and then perform another Brainstorm operation, the later generations are lost.

Note: Press Esc to close the Brainstorm dialog box.

See also“Work with layer properties in the Timeline panel” on page 152

Blending modes Change a layer’s blending mode Blending modes for layers control how each layer blends with or interacts with layers beneath it. Blending modes for layers in After Effects (formerly referred to as layer modes and sometimes called transfer modes) are identical to blending modes in Adobe Photoshop.

Most blending modes modify only color values of the source layer, not the alpha channel. The Alpha Add blending mode affects the alpha channel of the source layer, and the silhouette and stencil blending modes affect the alpha channels of layers beneath them.

You can’t directly animate blending modes by using keyframes. To change a blending mode at a certain time, split the layer at that time and apply the new blending mode to the part of the layer that continues. You can also use the Compound Arithmetic effect, the results of which are similar to those for blending modes but can change over time.

Each layer has a blending mode, even if that blending mode is the default Normal blending mode.

Note: To blend colors with a gamma value of 1, choose File Project Settings and select Blend Colors Using 1.0 Gamma.

Deselect this option to blend colors in the project’s color space. (See “Linearize working space and enable linear blending” on page 244.) Blending modes for multiple masks on a single layer are called mask modes.

Some effects include their own blending mode options. For details, see the descriptions of the individual effects.

• To cycle through blending modes for selected layers, hold down the Shift key and press - (hyphen) or = (equals sign) on the main keyboard.

Note: This is a great way to experiment with the appearance of various blending modes.

• To apply a blending mode to selected layers, choose a blending mode from the menu in the Mode column in the Timeline panel or from the Layer Blending Mode menu.

• To show the Modes column in the Timeline panel, choose Columns Modes from the panel menu, or click the Expand Or Collapse The Transfer Controls button at the bottom left of the Timeline panel.

–  –  –

Blending mode reference All blending modes described in this section are available for blending between layers. Some of these options are available for paint strokes, layer styles, and effects.

For in-depth information about the concepts and algorithms behind these blending modes, see the PDF reference material on the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/learn_general_blendingmodes.

Blending mode gallery

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• The underlying color is the color of the composited layers below the source layer or paint stroke in the layer stacking order in the Timeline panel.

• The result color is the output of the blending operation; the color of the composite.

The stencil and silhouette blending modes use either a layer’s alpha channel or its luma values to affect the alpha channel of all layers beneath the layer. This differs from a track matte, which affects only one layer. Stencil modes cut through all layers, so that you can, for example, show multiple layers through the stencil layer’s alpha channel.

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