Chapter 19 CC18

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Chapter 19 - Pacing

Rhythm is an essential consideration in the production of motion graphics. One of the most common and simple time signatures is 4/4, where four beats are evenly heard over one bar of music and each note is one beat. House Music has a 4/4 beat. This method of counting time can be applied to animation. In House music, the beat is counted in cycles of eight. The rhythm is established and peaks at the fourth beat. It reduces in the next four beats, in preparation for the next set of eight beats. One of the key concepts in understanding animation is visualizing time. Whether you are keeping track of the musical score or graphic frames on a timeline, counting time is important and "seeing" the count is a necessity.

Early experimental animation can be drawn upon as an example of seeing time kept with abstract, basic shapes. The work we will be doing is more like Oscar Fischinger's later work, "Early Abstractions" (1946 - 57). Harry Smith's homage to Fischinger remains abstract, though it is even more layered and complicated. Balance changes over time, shapes change in size and transparency. Rhythm is used to create a sense of predictability within the abstraction.

Exercise 1: Adding Sound Clip and Define Length of Clip

1. Open Adobe After Effects. Select “New Project…” in the startup menu.


2. Select “New Composition.” Name the Composition “Pacing.” Make sure the width is set to 1920 px and the height is set to 1080 px. Set the frame rate by selecting 29.97 from the pull-down menu. Set the Duration to 2.12 seconds which is 0;00;02;12. This is because we will be using an audio file that is 2.12 seconds long. Press OK.


3. Import the sound clip and AI file using File > Import > Multiple Files…


4. Drag the sound clip from the Project Panel to the Layers panel to insert it to the composition.


Exercise 2: Placing AI File, Draw Out Solid, Add Letter “O”

1. Move the AI File to the composition by dragging it to the layers. Move the Circle to the bottom left of the composition.


2. Draw a Solid Circle using the Ellipse Tool and move it to the right side of the composition, centered vertically. You can change the fill and stroke from the toolbar.


3. Select the Type Tool and add the letter “O.” Move it to the center of the composition and make sure its anchor point is in the center using the Anchor Point Tool (Y). Adjust the circles so that all three are roughly the same size.


Exercise 3: Changing Position of AI File, Change Hue of Solid

1. Create an initial keyframe so that you can change the position of the circle. In the layers panel, click the arrow next to the “” layer to expand the twirl down menu. Do the same for the Transform menu, and then click the stop-watch next to Position while the playhead is at the first frame.


2. Move the playhead halfway through the composition so that it is exactly at 1:06 seconds. You can find the time at the bottom of the composition panel. Change the position of the circle so that it is higher than its previous position.


3. Move the playhead to the last frame. Click on the first Keyframe we made in step 1, copy it, and paste it to the last frame.


4. Press SPACE to preview.

5. Select the solid shape and make a keyframe for Color (Contents > Ellipse 1 > Fill 1) at the first frame.


6. Move the playhead halfway (1:06) and change the Color.


7. Go to the last frame and duplicate the first keyframe.


8. Press SPACE to preview.

Exercise 4: Basic bouncing ball

1. Repeat the first steps in Exercise 3 to create a new layer above "circle rt" called "circle lft." Add a third circle to the left of the original with a new hue.

Fig18 Ex4 01 CS6.png

2. This circle is going to have a shorter cycle than both of the other shapes. This will result in the fastest tempo. Add a new keyframe on this layer at frame 25 so the circle will end in the same position. When an animation is supposed to cycle seamlessly, a keyframe should be placed at the end of the layer holding the same content as the first frame.

Fig18 Ex4 02 CS6.png

3. Insert a new keyframe every three frames. In each keyframe, move the circle up or down with the Selection Tool.

Fig18 Ex4 03 CS6.png

We started on the second keyframe (frame 4) and used SHFT+Up Arrow three times (Shift + up + up + up) to move the circle 30 pixels higher than it's starting point. On the next keyframe, we used SHFT+Down Arrow. On the following keyframe, SHFT+Up Arrow four times. On frame 13, SHFT + Down Arrow. We repeated this pattern throughout the layer so the circle would look like a ball that bounces higher each time it hits the ground. 4. Create a shape tween between each keyframe.

Fig18 Ex4 04 CS6.png

5. Use CMD+return to watch the new animation.