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Tuts+ Hollywood Movie Titles Series: After Earth


Today we are going to look at the animation style of "After Earth". We will make this interesting title using Cinema 4D for modeling the logo the complex camera movement thanks to the incredible new tool "Morph Camera". Then we'll wrap up in After Effects to complete the styling and final composite.

The actual example of the "After Earth" is just for training purposes and is not to be used in a final personal project without permission from the original creators.


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Hi, and welcome back to all, I'm Antonio Cerri from crrntn.com. Today on "Hollywood Movie Title V5” series. We're going to be looking at the animation style of "After Earth". We will make this title style, using cinema 4d for the modeling and animation of the logo and After Effects for the final composite. The real focus of this tutorial is to get the entire complex interpolations camera with a new incredible morph camera tool. This title animation is very interesting, and the concept design is very elegance. Look at on screen and follow me. At the end of this tutorial, you can learn how to draw and animate your own title with Cinema 4d and After Effects. The actual example of the After Earth is just for training purposes and is not to be used in a final personal project without permission from the original creators. Ok, open the file start on Cinema.

I got the base of the letters of the logo with a commercial font and I have only changed the shapes of the "R" letter. As a reference, I used the original poster of the film. To change the shape of the "R" letter, the procedure requires very few steps. I will show better later. Meanwhile, it is very important to say that after you import all letters, is necessary to align the pivot at the bottom left. This because it will allow us to animate the rotation H of the letters in the correct way. It must be said that the fundamental pivot of the logo is the letter "A". I show you better how is simple align the pivot. For example, on the F letter must be changed. Activate the move pivot tool. Hitting a point in three-dimensional space is very difficult. But if we activate the magnet button, this procedure is automatic.

Very Nice!. As promised, I show you how to get the custom shape of the "R" letter with a few steps.

First of all, the letters in addition to being converted to paths, must have also all paths separate. With the cutter instrument we cut on this point both paths, and delete the points that do not serve us. We combine them with the command: "cmd plus J". In the main panel, activate the check "closed." Move this point slightly. As you can see it is very simple, these steps can be replicated on any 2D vector drawing software. Ok turn back on cinema and we proceed with insertion of the instrument: "Extrusion". Enable the control "hierarchical". Leave the default value: 20. Drag inside all letters. Finally in caps panel, activate a fillet cap with steps and radius, 1. To animate properly our logo, we need to organize and separate all of the letters of the title. In this case just simply press the "C" key on the keyboard. Now, we can work on the word "After" and "Earth" Independently. Once the pivot is alredy set at the left bottom on all spline, this property is also maintained with the extrusion. Wonderful!

Now let's talk about how you can finally create animated sequences of camera very complex on cinema, with a final result of moving soft and very professional. Our sequence takes about 303 frames at 24 frames per second. During this long period the camera performs a rotary movement starting very slow, then move away from the logo a bit faster. I show you with a multiple views how it works. Our real start is at frame 46. As you can see, these are the main points of the movement of the camera according to the original video. If the animation is done with a single camera, there are many micro acceleration and decelerations during the sequence, this does not give you a good final result. I'll show you better how it works one single camera. But, if we convert all nine frames in nine separate cameras, we can apply a new tool that addresses this old stupid problem. First of all, here are the parameters of the nine cameras.

These nine cameras will be the movement of the first, and second part. After with the "Stage" tool, we can mix the movement of the two parts and have control of the whole sequence. I show you how to create a morph camera. As we have already said, these first seven cameras are the main points necessary to create the correct initial movement. Again, are cameras with static parameters without interpolation and put in order of how we want the final camera move. This sequence must start from frame 0 and must arrive to the frame 180. After selecting all them, we go to the menu: Create. Camera. Morph camera. Now, In our layers panel has been added a new camera with the special tag "morph control". Activate and set the frame blend of arrival. And on frame 0 activate an interpolation with a value of 100 percent. This is the result of our sequence.

But there's more! you can choose the type of movement. In this case the best is "Soft 2". Let's see the result. Wow, the movement of the camera does not have any type of error. I would say that this camera morph is one of the most successful innovations of 14 version of cinema. The same principle was applied on the final part with two cameras. Finally with the Stage tool we can give a constant movement in our sequence without smudging. Here's the final scheme with all the parameters of the two cameras morph and the stage tool. During the complex movement of the cameras, we have simultaneously on the letters of our logo, very defined sequences. But before to show how they are structured. We must put on all extrusions an interpolation on the depth control. In frame: 180 we set value 20. While in the frame 0 insert 0 dot 0 1.

In this way, when the camera is in the foreground, we not have a heavy impact of the extrusion on the letter. This trick makes it elegant, and reveals only at the end of the sequence the real depth of the letters. As I said before, the two words "after" and "earth", are animated in a different way and they work with different times. Ok, I show you how is the sequence of the word: "earth." During the movement of the camera, we have a small movements of rotation, but essentials to give a dynamic touch to the logo. In the final part, we have a very slow interpolation that increases the horizontal spacing between the letters from left to right. Seen the statically impact does not have a great effect, but with the sequence of the camera, is very cool. The most interesting part of the animation of the logo, is how it looks and arrives the word "after" in our scene. Simply fabulous!. Taking advantage of the opening of the upper part of the "R", the letter passes to the center of the lens camera without any problems.

For this movement, the sequence of letters has a movement of the Z position a little bent. To have a gradual effect, they must be out of phase of two frames. While the rotation, must be out of phase of 10 frames and the first 3 letters, instead the last letters of 5 frames. The final disposition is from right to left. One last important detail. To match the hole in the "R" letter with the lens of the camera, at the start all letters have been lowered of 14 cm. Even on the word "after", we have a final horizontal spacing movement between the letters. Here's how they work both words. This is the actual sequence of static letters. While this and the scheme of all animated letters. Good Vision!

Of course, to improve the impact of the logo, we need a system of lights. The system of lights that I have chosen for this project is composed of three lights. Two type omni with the shadows maps active, and the third the type Area. The first omni is placed at the top right. The second is placed far back on the left always on top. While the type area, is placed to central front of the logo. This combination gives a soft lighting very similar to the original video. During the animated sequence of the logo. The two omni lights have an interpolation of intensity that starts from frame 120, with the value: 140. To get to the frame 180 with intensity, 100. While the light area starts from frame 48, with a value of 33. And ends at frame 180 with intensity 75. This intersection of intensity during the animated sequence of the camera and the logo, gives a dynamic end result very professional.

Follow on video the parameters of the position coordinates of all three lights. The right omni. The left light. Finally, the light area. Great!. For this project I chose a metal as a material from the Video Copilot preset library. "Metal grunge painted 5". The only change I made, is that as a normal map I preferred the type "stone 2." This gives a rough surface on metallic impact. Very cool! But you can apply other type of material and lighting system you prefer. Before proceed on after effects, Is important remember that the rendering of the two words "after" and "earth" must be rendered on separate video, obviously with the alpha channel active. If you want to give a motion blur to the project, we must be activated "Vector Motion Blur" filter. I recommend you try these parameters. During the rendering step will give a more quality of motion blur compared to the default values​​.

In the layers panel, must also be active on all layers of the letters of the logo the "motion blur" tag. At the end of the rendering in your folder must be present these videos. The video with the word "After". Here we can see the quality of the motion blur in detail. The word "Earth". This is a optional video, but I will show you better after his purpose. Finally the initial earth video that will serve us for the Connection with the "R" letter. Ok, Open the after effects project. As we can see is simple, basic, but certainly not trivial. The bulk of the work in this project, is all the preparation of the 3d letters and cameras animation on cinema. Ok now we analyze all details of this styling composite. First of all it is important to match the movement of the contour of the earth with the curve of the "R" letter.

To make this revelation more gradual and cool, I have included in the sequence of the initial "R" letter, three masks with a vertically mask path movement out of phase, and with a very high value of the feather. This gives the parties masked which reveal very soft edges. If you want to take advantage of the idea of the earth in your sequences, it is important to first calculate the presence of a letter with a curve to match. When the word earth is come, arrives the first letter of the word "after", for improve the result is necessary apply on the word "earth" a "camera lens blur"filter, to simulate a perfect "depth of field". In this case, starts from the frame 82 with value 0, to arrive at the frame 102 with the maximum value of 6. In frame 138, we have a decrease up to the value 3, and closes to 0 in the frame 145.

Of course the choice of including a forced DOF, after the presence of the word "after" makes this step "virtuous and very professional." I love it! Finally to complete the logo composite, I created specially this video with alpha channel of the frontal cap of the initial "R" letter. Because on after effects you can convert it to a specific adjustment layer. Infact, with only control of the interpolation of opacity you can work on it with the exposure, curves or other what you prefer. In this case, I put in an exposure and gamma with value 0 dot one. This "camera lens blur" filter is a duplicate of the layer word video "earth."
The purpose is to make the front of the "R" very dark at the beginning, which gradually lightens until to half of the sequence.

For complete the project, I applied two other adjustment layers. The first with the tritone filter, where I placed in the midtones this type of blue color. The second adjustment layer has a exposure filter with a value of 1 and 1.2. This layer with the exposure effect, has a strategic function, Infact with an interpolation of opacity that starts from the frame 53 with the value 0. To get to the frame 151 with value 100. it is possible to set and decide on the final level of brightness of the logo at the end of the sequence. To close the entire sequence We have a classic black fade out that starts from the frame 230, and ends at about 290. Ok add the audio file and proceed with the final rendering. This is the result of our project. I love it! very professional. This is a real example of animation essential, but with all the details and virtuosity that transform a simple and linear logo in a unique result that speaks for itself.

Ok, I remind you the next appointment for the new tutorial of the hollywood movies titles v5 series. "Star Trek - Into Darkness". We will make this interesting title using only After Effects. Stay Tuned! I hope this tutorial has been to your liking. By Antonio Cerri from crrntn dot com. Cheers!

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