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Tutorial 120: One Comp to Rule Them All

Joe Clay | Apr 20, 2018

This week, we take a look at Master Properties using the Essential Graphics Panel. While you can use them to make things like lower thirds comps with replaceable text, we're going to use them in a different way—using single comps of elements to generate more complex imagery.

We'll do that in a few different ways in this tutorial. This tutorial only scratches the surface of what is possible with this new After Effects feature.

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. Because the feature that allows this is only in the latest version of After Effects, only CC 2018 files are provided in the download. The transition matte used for the logo, and the parking garage footage that is used to generate the background in the logo comp are included in the download.

For further information, please consult the following:

Expressions

Here are the expressions used throughout the tutorial. First we'll start with the expressions used in the two element precomps. These expressions control the visibility of layers in the precomp with a controller that has a slider on it. The slider is exposed to the main comp as a master property. Note: these might scroll in your browser.

Index Selection

if (thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Layer Index")("Slider") == index) { 100 } else { 0 };

This version of the selection expression checks the index number of the layer. If it matches the slider value, the layer is visible.

Layer Name Selection

if(this.name == thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Index")("Slider")) { 100 } else { 0 };

This version of the expression above checks the name of the layer instead of the index, so there can be more than one layer visible in the main comp.

Improved Layer Name Selection

if(this.name.substr(0,2) == thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Index")("Slider")) { value } else { 0 };

This version of the expression allows for more detailed names in layers that are to be show, so you can name something like 07 - box and it will show up if the slider is set to 7.

The remaining expressions are used to control the precomp elements within the main comps, especially with selecting what elements to show.

Radial Grid Selection

pos = transform.position;
num = thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Slider Control")("Slider");
x = Math.pow(pos[0]-(thisComp.width/2),2);
y = Math.pow(pos[1]-(thisComp.height/2),2);
d = Math.sqrt(x+y);
Math.round(linear(d,0,1102,1,num));

This expression is applied to the master property slider, generally named Layer Index in the tutorial. The element chosen is based on the layer's proximity to the center of the composition.

Sample Image Selection

Math.round(thisComp.layer("Map").sampleImage(position)[0]*thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Max")("Slider"));

This expression is also applied to the Layer Index slider. The element chosen is based on the red values found on the Map layer. For the most predictable results, keep the image greyscale.

Digital Grain Selection

s = effect("Speed")("Slider");
max = thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Items")("Slider");
seed = thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Random Seed")("Slider");
seedRandom(Math.floor(time*s)+seed, true);
Math.floor(random(0,max));

This expression, also applied to the Layer Index slider, determines which element is chosen randomly in the precomp.

Digital Grain Opacity

if(index < thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Selection")("Slider") + 1) {
    v = effect("Visibility")("Slider");
    if (random(0,1) < v) { value } else { 0 };
} else {
    0;
}

This expression controls the visibility of the chosen elements.

Digital Grain Position

s = effect("Speed")("Slider");
seed = thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Random Seed")("Slider");
seedRandom(Math.floor(time*s)+seed, true);
if(thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Quantize")("Checkbox") == 1) {
    mul([Math.round(random(0,63))+.5, Math.round(random(0,35))+.5],30);
} else {
    [random(0,1920),random(0,1080)];
}

This expression controls the position of the chosen elements.

And that's it. It's a lot to figure out, but when you do it's going to open up a new world—especially if you're like me and you version small elements. Now you can just comp them all together in the same comp, and use sliders to pick out what you need.

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Tutorial 119: Filling Volumes

Severo Ojea | Apr 13, 2018

This week we explore building a volume of clones, texturing the clones, and animating them.

This seems like an easy and straightforward task but there are certain pitfalls that we address in this tutorial that will make the entire process a lot less frustrating.

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. The project file includes one C4D file and textures.

Tutorial 118: Text Breakup

Joe Clay | Apr 6, 2018

You know those cool text animations where letters slide in from all sorts of places? They often look hand-animated rather than text animator driven. Well, I set out about finding a way to make them with text animators.

There's probably a way to do this with Expression Selectors, and I'm going to look into that. But for now, this is a neat way to make a repeatable text animation with individual moves for each character.

And if you happen to want a shirt, check out our product page! We got merch like a god church. I can't believe I quoted that, but it's just too good to pass on.

UPDATE: We figured out a version using a single Expression Selector per move here. The project files now include this version as another AEP.

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. The project file includes everything in the After Effects file aside from the music file that can be seen in the project panel. I can't distribute that. There are Legacy versions back to AE CC13.

Tutorial 117: The Power of Vertex Maps

Severo Ojea | Mar 30, 2018

This week we take a look at a really useful technique in Cinema 4D—controlling effectors and shaders with vertex maps. Generally, you're limited to a simple falloff when it comes to controlling the parts of objects that effectors, uh, effect. But by adding a quick vertex map, we can add complex effects to objects and their shaders.

The C4D file for this project is available through our Gumroad store. If you're a patron, there's a link there on Patreon for you to get it.

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Tutorial 116: Filming Elements

Joe Clay | Mar 23, 2018

This week, we look at using filmed elements to get some free animation. Get someone to drive you around and film out of the windows. Bring the footage into AE and mirror it, crush it with some levels, and just have fun an experiment to see what interesting things you can do with it. Even the footage alone looks interesting. Horizontally reflected skylines have even been used in music videos.

We're switching up out project files, as noted on this post about Improvements. So this one is available through our Gumroad store. If you're a patron, there's a link there on Patreon for you to get it. This project file contains the After Effects project and four stabilized 4096x1920 h.264 clips. The edges of the clips show in some cases due to the stabilization, but there's more than enough for a full HD crop. Unfortunately, I didn't think about h.264 resolution limitations so shooting this in 4.5K meant a little bit of vertical resolution loss (1920 vs. 2160).

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Tutorial 115: Audio-Based Glitch Maps 2

Severo Ojea | Mar 16, 2018

This week we build on Tutorial 114: Audio-Based Glitch Maps by using a similar technique to build our maps in Cinema 4D. This allows for a lot of interesting interaction between 3D objects in a Mograph Cloner.

We'll be using the newer Sound Effector in R19 to isolate portions of an audio track to drive movement in our clones. If you have a previous version of Cinema you can still use this effector, but you'll have to draw a graph in the Filter Shape to select frequencies. To draw in it, you'll need to Command click to add points on the graph.

We also used Tutorial 113: Texturing Parametric Faces to texture map some of the objects used in this tutorial.

In the next week or so, we'll make a few of these maps available to our Patrons. The project file is available via Gumroad. If you're a patron, there's a discount link for you on Patreon. The project file contains a Cinema 4D file for each setup shown in the tutorial. The After Effects project is not included in the download.

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Tutorial 114: Audio-Based Glitch Maps

Joe Clay | Mar 9, 2018

This is the follow-up to my blog post about The Nugget where I talked about Andrew Kramer's latest Video Copilot glitch tutorial. He had a lot of great stuff to offer in that one, so check it out! But one thing I found really interesting was a texture.

This texture reminded me a lot of an audio spectrum analyzer like the one in certain modes in Adobe Audition. And that gave me a thought. Sure, you could always control your glitches with audio, but why not make the actual displacement maps starting out with a visual representation of an audio track? So that's what we're exploring this week.

These are very simple examples. Like many of our tutorials, the possibility for extending this technique is only limited by your imagination. This can be taken way further than what I had time to explore for a few hours this week. So as always, if you make anything with this technique, tag us @workbench_tv!

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Tutorial 113: Texturing Parametric Faces

Severo Ojea | Mar 8, 2018

Today we're taking a look at parametric object mapping. Giving each face its own color/shader can be a very useful to create a variety of effects, but doing that is not very straightforward.

But, once you know the trick to it, it's really simple! You start by creating a copy of a parametric cube and then making the copy editable. Then you make selection tags for the individual faces. When that's complete, you copy those selection tags back to the original parametric cube and you've got a parametric cube with a shader for each face.

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Tutorial 112: Modular Text Systems

Joe Clay | Mar 2, 2018

This week we expand on a technique we made in Tutorial 110: Liquid Write-on to make a more modular system. This way we can add pre-made animations, point them to an existing text layer, and end up with complex animations with minimal effort. We also referenced Tutorial 96: Mask Vertex Expressions.

Since this will likely become a product, the project file is available through Gumroad. It's pay what you want for now, but this will let us easily notify you of when the product is available.

Also, make sure you check out the 15K Giveaway if you missed it!

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Tutorial 111: Wood Grain and Visualizers

Joe Clay | Feb 23, 2018

This week was kind of a tough one for me, since I ended up being way busier than I expected. So I took on a simpler tutorial I was asked about, but I couldn't leave it without adding to it. So we start off talking about wood grain and end up building a visualizer effect. We use Red Giant's Trapcode SoundKeys to accomplish this effect, though you can get there in a more difficult route with less customization using our Tutorial 70: Pump up the Jam. We'd definitely recommend the SoundKeys route.

There's a lot of associated expressions involved as well, so instead of listing them all here, I've made the project file available.

And at the end we talk about a 15K giveaway brought to you by Amazing Music Tracks. To enter, follow us @workbench_tv, then tweet out your favorite Workbench tutorial or the one you found the most helpful to you, and don't forget to tag us at the end! The winner will be chosen randomly.

And if you've just got to get some music right now, head on over to Amazing Music Tracks and use our affiliate code: WORKBENCH10 to save 10%!

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it.

Feel free to download the project file that you can use in your own projects!

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