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Adding effects

After Effects provides many options for special effects that you can use with either 2D or 3D scenes. You’ll add a few animated brush strokes to this scene to give it more drama and flair.

Adjusting the Material Options properties

The Material Options properties determine how 3D layers interact with lights and shadows. You’ll add a layer that won’t be affected by the lights you added earlier.

  1. Press the Home key, or move the current-time indicator to the beginning of the time ruler.
  2. Click the Project tab. Then drag the brush.psd item from the Project panel into the Timeline panel, and place it at the top of the layer stack.
  3. Select the 3D Layer switch (3d.jpg) for the brush.psd layer to convert it to a 3D layer.

    The layer jumps to the center of the composition, but you can no longer see it, because the brush.psd layer is affected by the lights in the scene.

  4. Select the brush.psd layer in the Timeline panel, and press AA to reveal the Material Options properties for the layer.
  5. Click the value for the Accepts Shadows property (currently On) to change it to Off.
  6. Click the value for the Accepts Lights property (currently On) to change it to Off.
  7. Press the P key to display the Position property for the brush.psd layer, and then change the Position value to -6, 308, -2200. The layer moves very close to the camera.

Adding a transition effect

Currently, the brush stroke is present throughout the composition. You’ll add a transition effect to change the way the brush stroke arrives on the scene.

  1. With the brush.psd layer selected, choose Effect > Transition > Linear Wipe.
  2. In the Effect Controls panel, change Transition Completion to 100%, Wipe Angle to -90 degrees, and Feather to 50.
  3. In the Effect Controls panel, click the stopwatch icon for the Transition Completion property to create an initial keyframe.
  4. Go to 0:15.
  5. Change the Transition Completion value to 0%. The brush stroke will be revealed from left to right on the screen.
  6. In the Timeline panel, hide all the properties for the brush.psd layer.
  7. Select the brush.psd layer, and then press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS) to duplicate the layer.
  8. With the duplicate layer selected, press P to display the Position property, and then enter a new position of -238, 383, -523.
  9. Press P to hide the Position property.

    There are two brush strokes on the screen, one in the foreground and one further back. You’ll create two more brush strokes, flipped so that they arrive from the right.

  10. Select the lowest brush.psd layer (the original layer) in the Timeline panel, and press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS) to duplicate it.
  11. With the middle brush.psd layer selected, press the S key to display the Scale property.
  12. Click the Constrain Proportions icon (constrained.jpg) to unlink the values, and then change the x-axis and y-axis values to -100%.
  13. Press the P key to reveal the Position property for the layer, and change the values to 239, 320, -1680. Press the P key again to hide the Position property.
  14. With the middle brush.psd layer selected, press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS) to duplicate it.
  15. Move the newest duplicate layer to the top of the layer stack.
  16. With the top layer selected, press the P key to reveal the Position layer. Then change the position to 840, 360, -400.
  17. Hide all layer properties, and choose File > Save.

Adjusting the timing of the layers

Currently, the brush strokes all arrive at the same time. You’ll shift them so that they enter at different times.

  1. Go to 0:10.
  2. Select the third brush.psd layer from the top of the layer stack. Press the [ (left bracket) key to move the In point for the layer to the current time.
  3. Go to 0:20.
  4. Select the second brush.psd layer from the top of the layer stack. Press the [ (left bracket) key to move the In point for the layer to the current time.
  5. Go to 0:30.
  6. Select the top brush.psd layer in the layer stack. Press the [ (left bracket) key to move the In point for the layer to the current time.
  7. Make a RAM preview to see your composition in action. Press the spacebar to stop the preview.
  8. Choose File > Save.

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