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How To Create a Bouncy Ball in After Effects – Part 2

Part 2 How to create a bouncy ball in After Effects

Part 2: Studio Environment Setup

In the second part of the How To Create a Bouncy Ball in After Effects series, we’re going to create a studio. And this studio is going to be the main comp. We’re not going to put it in a preComps folder. So let’s select the main 01_COMPS.

Main Comp Folder After Effects

And in here we’re going to create a new composition. Again, either press CTRL+N on a PC/COMMAND+N on a Mac or click on the new composition icon.

Create a new composition in After Effects

And in here, we’re going to call this one Ball Animation. That’s where the ball is going to animate. We’re also going to set the preset to HDTV 1080 29.97, which gives us the width of 1920 px, the height of 1080 px, and the frame rate at 29.97. As for duration, I’m going to keep it at three seconds. So that’s my setup, you can change it if you want. I’m going to press OK.

Ball Animation New Composition After Effects

Composition Settings After Effects

So we have a new composition. Now we need to bring in our ball. To do that, select it and drag it to our composition.

Select Ball Composition After Effects

The ball is a little too big. So we’re going to select it, press S to reveal the scale property.

Scale Options After Effects

We can adjust the size of the ball. Let’s take it down to something like 60%. Then I’m going to move the ball down closer to the edge of the screen.

Move the ball in After Effects

Next, I’m going to select the ball layer and duplicate it with the keyboard shortcut  CTRL+D on a PC/COMMAND+D on a Mac.

Duplicate Layer in After Effects

We’re going to select the duplicate layer and rename it to something like Ball Shadow because this will be our shadow.

Renaming a layer in After Effects

Next, I want to make sure snapping is checked on the top menu bar.

Snapping Checked in After Effects

Once you have the snapping checked, we can easily grab the shadow layer and kind of snap it to the bottom center corner. So that’s gonna be our shadow. Obviously, we have to do a lot of work through it.

Snap to the bottom After Effects

Next, we’re going to adjust the scale. I want for the width scale to be 16 and I want the height to be 60 divided by 10, which is 6.

Scale After Effects

That’s going to be my shadow right now, but we’re not done yet. Obviously it doesn’t look like a shadow just yet. So we’re going to apply an effect called Drop Shadow. Select the Ball Shadow layer – go to effects and presets – and search for Drop Shadow.

Drop Shadow Effect After Effects

Drag the Drop Shadow Effect on our Ball Shadow layer.

Drag and Drop Drop Shadow Effect in After Effects

Next, we’re gonna play with the Drop Shadow settings. The first thing I’m going to do is make sure the Shadow Only is checked.

Shadow Only Checked After Effects

It will convert my composition into a shadow only composition, so we don’t see the color.

Shadow Only After Effects

Let’s adjust the opacity of our shadow. I want the shadow to be subtle, so like maybe 15%.

Subtle Shadow After Effects

Then we can adjust the distance to something like 250.

Distance After Effects Shadow

We’re going to set the direction to zero because right now the ball is sitting from the top.

Shadow Direction Settings After Effects

If I zoom in, you can see that the shadow is pretty sharp.

Shadow Direction Settings After Effects

I’m going to add a little feathering to smooth things out. To do that, I will adjust Softness to 150.

Softness Shadow Settings After Effects

Alright, so the shadow is setup. Obviously, we can do more and we will do a lot more in upcoming videos, but let’s do a few more things here.

I’m going to select the [Ball] layer, and I’m going to press Y to get the Anchor Tool. You can also go over to the menu icons if you’re more icon oriented. You can click on the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) Tool icon to get the same thing, but I do like using keyboard shortcuts. It does the same thing but faster.

Pan Behind Anchor Point Tool After Effects

And then when you have snapping selected, you can grab the anchor point, and you can position it anywhere. In our case, we’re going to position at the very bottom of the logo. That way it is in the same area as the shadow.

Snapping After Effects Anchor

Then I’d like to create a null layer and attach both the ball and the shadow to the null layer. The null layer will give me the ability to move both the ball and the shadow.

Right-Click on the composition, then select New and click on Shape Layers instead of Null Object. I just love shape layers. They make sense to me. So that’s just my own preference.

Shape Layer After Effects

When you click on the shape layer, it creates a new shape layer that is blank.

Shape Layer After Effects

As you can see, there are no contents. Essentially it creates a new blank point, which is perfect for something like a null object.

Blank Point After Effects

When you render it, you will not see the blank point. So it doesn’t have anything other than just a point that you can use. Obviously, we’re going to use it for a null layer. I’m going to select the Shape Layer 1, and we’re going to call this layer Controls.Controls After Effects

I do want to position the point at the bottom instead. So again, make sure snapping is checked, we’re going to select this point, and we’re going to position it at the bottom like so.

Point bottom position After Effects

And now I’m going to select the [Ball] and the Ball Shadow layers and parent them to Controls.

Parenting in After Effects

So now when if I move the Controls, everything moves with it.  Next, I’m going to select all of our files and we’re going to make them orange.

Choose Color After Effects

Orange After Effects

Okay, now we need to create some kind of background because right now it’s transparent. We need to create, like a studio type environment. And for that, we’re going to create a new shape layer. So double click on the rectangle tool, which will create a new shape layer.

Shape Layer After Effects

Now you can click on the Shape Layer 1 and change the color of it to something that’s not exactly white, maybe like 95%. Click OK.

Color Change Shape Layer After Effects

We’re going to call this layer BG Color.

Okay, we’re going to move our BG Color layer underneath everything.

Moving Layers in After Effects

So that’s going to be the color, but I’m going to add a little vignette to this layer as well. There’s an effect called Vignette.

Vignette Effect After Effects

I can apply the Vignette effect right on top of my BG Color layer.

Applying Vignette Effect Adobe After Effects

We can also alter the amount of our Vignette amount in the Effect Controls panel. We can make it really hard  or very soft.

Hard Vignette Effect After EffectsSoft Vignette Effect After Effects

So I’m going to keep it at 75. Just a subtle vignette. It’s starting to look like a studio.

Subtle Vignette Effect After Effects

That’s good, but we’re not done yet. We’re going to create another shape layer by double clicking on the rectangle tool again.

Rectangle Tool After Effects

And this one’s going to be background shadow. So I’m going to call it BG Shadow.

Background Shadow After EffectsI’m going to change the color of this BG Shadow layer to something like 75.

Change Color in After Effects Layers

Okay, so we have a darker object, obviously, it covers everything we just created.

Bouncy Ball After Effects

I’m going to select the Rectangle Tool and be sure that you are creating a mask and not a shape. We’re going to draw a mask on top of our shape layer. Now if you have a shape icon selected, and you start drawing, you’re just going to create another shape, which is not what we are wanting to achieve here. So we’re going to select this mask, and then we’re going to draw a mask on top of our BG Shadow. So it’s going to look something like this.

Rectangle Tool Mask After Effects

Let’s change the color of the layer so we can see it better.

Changing the layer color in After Effects

I’m trying to create like a studio type background, so we’re going to go into the mask we just created, and we’re going to adjust the Y feather. We’re going to crank up on that. Something like 300.

Mask Feather After Effects

It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it does help. It gives it like the sense of depth, which is huge.

Depth After Effects

Alright, so we do have a background but from experience, the backgrounds like this they’re not entirely white. A lot of times when you create like a 3D scene, or anything like we have more lights hitting the surface, it’s not just pure white, usually, you know, maybe one lamp it’s got a little warmth, so it’s got like a more of red color and then the other ones may be more bluish, so you have some different colors hitting it. So that’s what we’re going to do next we’re going to create some kind of subtle colors to make it more realistic. You don’t have to do that, but I like doing it. So we’re going to create a new shape layer. Let’s double click on the Rectangle Tool again. We’re going to call this one color.

New Shape Layer

And this one will be an adjustment layer. In other words, whatever we apply on this layer will affect all of these layers underneath. So when we create an effect, it will apply to everything else as well.

Adjustment Layer After Effects

And in this case, we’re going to select the Color layer, then we’re going to go back to effects and presets panel and search for 4-Color Gradient effect. I’m gonna drop it right on top of our Color layer. And right away, you can see it creates this really cool 4-gradient color effect, which is not very useful, but we’re going to make it super useful.

4-Color Gradient Effect After Effects

We’re going to add blue colors on the left side and then on the right, we’re going to do warm something like pink or red.

So let’s go ahead and change yellow to something like bright blue #00AEFF.

Change yellow color in After Effects

Let’s change Pink to something like darker blue #0018FF.

Darker Blue Changing Color After Effects

We now have a little gradient going on here.

Gradient After Effects

And then for the green, we’re going to change it to a warmer color like hot pink.

Hot Pink After Effects

And for Color 4, we will change it to purple.

Purple Color After Effects

Now obviously, we want to blend our colors a bit more. And we can do that with the blend option. Let’s crank the blend option up to something like 1000. As you can see, it gives us like a blue on one side, and then something warm red on the other side, which is perfect!

Blend Option After Effects Color

Then we also have a blending mode option inside of our Effect Controls Panel. We’re going to set it to Soft Light. In this case, it is going to work really well.

Soft Light Blending Option After Effects

Now I think it’s too much but you can see what I’m trying to do here. We’re gonna try to make it more subtle, so like maybe 30%.

Subtle Soft Light Blending Option After Effects

It doesn’t look like it did much. However, if we turn off our Color adjustment layer, you can clearly see a big difference.

Turn of layer After Effects

Well, that’s really it. But we’re going to do few more things. There’s always something more we can do. I’m going to shy the Color adjustment layer by clicking on this icon.

Shy a layer in After Effects

And then also do the same to BG Shadow and BG Color layers.

Shy more layers in After Effects

We’re also going to lock BG Shadow, BG Color, and the Color layer. I don’t want to touch them anymore.

Locking layers in After Effects

Now since we have shy layers checked, we can then click on the hide all icon, or whatever it’s called. When you click on it, it will hide the layers that aren’t shy layers. So it will clean up our area.

Hide All After Effects Shy Layers

And now because we locked these layers, we can’t really grab the background. We can only work with the ball. That’s it for part 2. So far, as you can see, we created the environment and the ball.

In the next video, we’re going to talk about the shadow and the light, we’re going to rig this in a sense to where when we grab the ball, the shadow will kind of scale-up. Also when you move it to the side, it will go with it. We’ll rig it up to where when you move the light, the shadow will move with it. So all that fun stuff we’re going to do in the next video, using some basic expressions. I’ll see you there!

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About the author:

Sergei Prokhnevskiy

Sergei Prokhnevskiy is a Charlotte, NC based motion graphics designer, an online tutor, an entrepreneur, and Adobe MAX Master Speaker. Sergei is known for his quick and practical After Effects tips and tricks on YouTube, where he generated well over 6 million views on his tutorials. He has authored an online video course on After Effects Expressions and developed scripts for After Effects. He is also a former senior motion graphics designer at Fox Sports where he worked on graphics for NFL, Super Bowl, MLB, World Series, College Football, NASCAR, Women’s World Cup, and NASCAR Race Hub. He is very passionate about learning and teaching others.


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