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.
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.
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.
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.
The ball is a little too big. So we’re going to select it, press S to reveal the scale property.
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.
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.
We’re going to select the duplicate layer and rename it to something like Ball Shadow because this will be our shadow.
Next, I want to make sure snapping is checked on the top menu bar.
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.
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.
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.
Drag the Drop Shadow Effect on our Ball Shadow layer.
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.
It will convert my composition into a shadow only composition, so we don’t see the color.
Let’s adjust the opacity of our shadow. I want the shadow to be subtle, so like maybe 15%.
Then we can adjust the distance to something like 250.
We’re going to set the direction to zero because right now the ball is sitting from the top.
If I zoom in, you can see that the shadow is pretty sharp.
I’m going to add a little feathering to smooth things out. To do that, I will adjust Softness to 150.
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.
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.
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.
When you click on the shape layer, it creates a new shape layer that is blank.
As you can see, there are no contents. Essentially it creates a new blank point, which is perfect for something like a null object.
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.
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.
And now I’m going to select the [Ball] and the Ball Shadow layers and parent them to Controls.
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.
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.
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.
We’re going to call this layer BG Color.
Okay, we’re going to move our BG Color layer underneath everything.
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.
I can apply the Vignette effect right on top of my BG Color layer.
We can also alter the amount of our Vignette amount in the Effect Controls panel. We can make it really hard or very soft.
So I’m going to keep it at 75. Just a subtle vignette. It’s starting to look like a studio.
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.
And this one’s going to be background shadow. So I’m going to call it BG Shadow.
Okay, so we have a darker object, obviously, it covers everything we just created.
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.
Let’s change the color of the layer so we can see it better.
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.
It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it does help. It gives it like the sense of depth, which is huge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s change Pink to something like darker blue #0018FF.
We now have a little gradient going on here.
And then for the green, we’re going to change it to a warmer color like hot pink.
And for Color 4, we will change it to purple.
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!
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.
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%.
It doesn’t look like it did much. However, if we turn off our Color adjustment layer, you can clearly see a big difference.
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.
And then also do the same to BG Shadow and BG Color layers.
We’re also going to lock BG Shadow, BG Color, and the Color layer. I don’t want to touch them anymore.
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.
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!