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How To Create a Bouncy Ball in After Effects

In the next five videos, we’re going to talk about how to create and animate a bouncy ball entirely in Adobe After Effects. We’re going to start at the very beginning.In the first video, we’re going to talk about how to create a ball.

In the second video, we’re going to talk about how to create a studio type environment.

In the third video, we’re going to cover the drop shadow, how to create it, and how to rig it using some basic After Effects Expressions.

In the fourth video, we’re going to talk about the stretchy feature, how to rig the whole thing up using some basic After Effects Expressions.

And in the very last video, video number five, we’re going to talk about animation. We’re going to bring this ball to life using all the features that we have created. So without any further ado, let’s dive into the first video. Let’s create a ball in After Effects!

Part 1: Creating a Ball

Alright, so we are in Adobe After Effects. We’re going to start fresh from the very beginning. We’re going to stay organized. We’re going to create a basic structure to stay organized because things get pretty busy very quickly.

Step 1: Creating a New Folder

We’re going to create a new folder. We’re going to call it 01_COMPS. That’s where we’re going to put all of our comps.

Create a new folder in Adobe After Effects

Step 2: Creating New Subfolders

Then we’re going to create a subfolder. We’re going to call this one, preComps. That’s where we’re going to put all of our pre-comps.

Creating a subfolder in Adobe After Effects

Let’s create one more folder for assets. Let’s call this one 0_ASSETS.

Create a folder for Assets in After Effects

That’s the structure I like to keep but you don’t have to stop here. You can continue creating more subfolders for rasters, vectors, footage, and things of that nature.

Step 3: Importing Assets

Let’s go ahead and import our first asset. We only have one for this video. So let’s select the 02_ASSETS folder. That’s where we want our assets to end up. Then press Ctrl+I on a PC/CMD+I on a Mac.

Import Assets in Adobe After Effects

We’re going to bring in the Ukramedia logo. So let’s import that in.

Import Ukramedia logo in Adobe After Effects

Step 5: Creating a New Composition

Next, we’re going to create a new composition for our ball. It is going to end up being a pre-comp. So we’re going to put it into our preComps folder because it will eventually live in the main composition, which makes it a pre-comp. So let’s select the preComps folder. You can either press Ctrl-N on a PC/CMD-N on a Mac or click on the new composition icon.

New Composition Icon in Adobe After Effects

We’re going to call this one Ball.

New Composition After Effects

For preset, we can start with the HDTV 1080 29.97.

Preset After Effects

Next, change the width and height to 600 px by 600 px.

Change the width and height of the new composition in After Effects

Okay, everything else should be the same. As for duration, I’m going to set mine to three seconds, but you can set it to whatever you want. Then I’m going to press OK.

Set Duration New Composition After Effects

Now we have a new composition. It is located in the preComps folder. That’s where we’re going to create our ball.

New Composition After Effects

We’re going to drag our logo into the composition.

Drag logo in Adobe After Effects CompositionAnd this um logo doesn’t have the circle that I normally have. But it is the same size as our composition 600 pixels by 600 pixels, which is good. So I’m going to check this continuously rasterize and then I’m going to select it, and we’re going to precompose so Ctrl, Shift C. And then in here, make sure the first option is checked. We’re going to call this one. Well, this right here will be the graphic that will be displayed on the ball. So let’s call it something like ball graphic. I’m not the best at labeling things. So I’m going to say ball graphic. If you have a better name

Go for it. So then we’re going to press OK. So now we have a pre comp within this pre comp. So if we wanted to change the ball graphic, we would just go into this composition, we would put either text, anything we want in this composition, then when you go back, you would see it in here. Obviously, we don’t have the ball ready yet, but that’s the concept. So next, let’s create a color because right now, we don’t have any color in here, just a blank composition. So let’s add some kind of color. And to do that, we’re going to go to this rectangle tool, select this go to fill, and we’re going to set it to orange. This is the number I’m using, and it’s going to give me this orange. But you can have your own number, your own color, whatever it is, I’m sure it’s going to be fine. So press OK. So now we have a fill, but we obviously don’t have anything yet. So what we need to do, we need to double click, make sure nothing is selected by the way, and then double click on this rectangle tool. And when you do that, it creates a new rectangle of shape or I guess a square now, it creates a new shape layer that’s the same size as your composition which is great. Now I’m going to select this

We’re going to rename it to something like BG for background. And we’re going to drop it right underneath here like that. So, so far, we have our ball graphic, and then our background image. Next, what we’re going to do, we’re going to convert both of these into a sphere. And to do that, we’re going to use an effect called cc sphere. I’ll show you what I’m talking about here. So but we’re going to create another shape layer, we’re going to go over here and double click again, to create another shape layer, we’re going to select this, and we’re going to rename it to let’s call it sphere. That’s good. So I want for this to be an adjustment layer. So to do that, just make sure that’s checked. If you don’t see it, just toggle between here somewhere, you know, you’ll find it eventually. So what that does, it makes this layer, it converts it into an adjustment layer without does essentially whatever effect you apply to this layer will automatically apply it to everything underneath it, which is really useful. So let’s do that. We’re going to select this layer, we’re going to go to effects and presets panel. And in here, we’re going to search for

CC sphere. So this is the effect I’m going to use. Now, because I have it selected, you can just double click, and it will apply it or you can click and drag and apply it this way. Either way works. So we’re going to make some adjustments in here right away, I can see that radius is not correct, our composition is 600 by 600. So the radius would be half of that. So it’d be 300.

Okay, now, right away, I can I can tell my ball right here, the bowl graphic is all over the place. It’s not the same. And it’s like, I’m not sure exactly what it’s doing, but it’s distorting it. It’s probably some kind of aspect ratio, misunderstanding or something, I don’t know. But we can fix it by selecting this and hitting S one way, right, we can adjust a scale and kind of line it up. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to undo all of this. So let me show you what I do instead. So instead of doing that, what I like to do I like to use a transform effect. So let’s go back to effects and presets here we’re going to look for transform

This effect right here. So next, I’m going to apply it to our bowl graphic. And what this effect does, it does the same thing. Well, kind of the same thing as what this transform properties, all of these properties. It’s the same concept we have, you know, position scale, we have all of that scale here, you know, position, you get the idea. The cool thing about this, you can make the adjustments here, you can paste it, but we’re not touching these properties. It’s an effect. So now we can just adjust our scale in here instead of the scale delay or scale property. So in here, we can adjust it obviously, we want to adjust both width and height separately. So to do that, we’re going to uncheck this uniform scale. And now we have height and width, which is great. So now we can make adjustments. But I was just thinking like what’s causing this and I started playing with just an aspect ratio, maybe like 16 by nine or something like that. So just type 16 by, like the height and the nine for width. It seemed to be

fix it. So it seemed to work exactly how it should be, which I’m okay with that. So I’m just going to leave it as that. And you can label this one maybe like scale fix. So it’s kind of like a duct tape approach to this, but it works. So I’m going to hold on to that. So now instead of adjusting all of this stuff, I’m just going to leave it as is. And I’m going to go to the scale property of my layer. And now I can adjust it in here you can see it’s, it’s, you know, it maintains the proportional size here. So I’m gonna keep it something like 350. That works well, I can double check this, you know, I can double click here to go into this composition. Here’s my logo. And if I toggle back, you can see it’s almost identical minus distortion and stuff, which is, you know, expected it’s living on the ball. So I’m cool with this. It’s working for me. Yeah, that’s a quick fix. So now we have basically the ball setup, but I’m going to change the color of this to orange. So just to stay organized, everything’s nice and neat. We’re going to actually adjust more properties.

In here, let’s go to light. And we’re going to adjust the direction. So obviously you can adjust the direction where the light is hitting, I’m going to tell it to hit at the top here going downwards, and then we can adjust light height. I do want to hit it at the very top, maybe somewhere in the middle. I’m going to keep it at 55. Okay, then shading. Let’s go here. And by the way, let me turn off this ball graphic right now so we can just see the ball by itself and in here, let’s see what else can we adjust ambience, we can take it up to 5555 is going to be our number here. So specular I’m going to leave diffuse where it’s at specular, we can maybe give it a little hotspot here, but let’s go to something like 30 like a subtle hotspot. Okay, and then I wanted to increase right now it’s kind of small, so roughness will give us that if you kind of drag it all the way to the right, it goes up all the way to point five, which is good. So you can see before after that is good. Now it looks more like a ball. What else metal. I’m going to leave it at

As is reflective let’s, we’re going to add a reflection. And for that we need to create a new layer. So we’re going to create a new, a new reflection, I’m going to double click here, and we’re going to call this one. Let’s call it reflection map. That’s where it’s going to be, we’re going to change the color of it to black. And we’re going to select the rectangle tool, and we’re going to draw another shape right over here. Something like that is good. We’re going to change the color of this to white.

Okay, so we have a white shape and a black shape, but we’re going to use that as a reflection map. So I’m going to hide this right now. And we’re going to go back to our sphere, and we’re going to change this reflection map to reflect your map. That easy. So obviously you don’t see it because reflective is set to zero but if you crank on it, you can see we are starting to see our reflection which is really neat. So maybe something subtle, like 30 is good, subtle reflection, but I can adjust this, I can go back to

To this reflection map, we can double click here, we can kind of increase this a bit, scale it up. And let’s see what that does. Maybe go back a little bit.

So yeah, you just want to have like a nice bevel here, like a, let’s see a nice curve.

Yeah, that’s good. We can see we have a nice curve here, it looks like a ball. Basically, it helps us to sell the whole ball idea. So I’m going to leave it as this. Now we’re going to turn our graphic back on, and it looks like a ball to me. But one more thing I need to do actually, right now, if I take this ball, this is essentially what it says. And if I put it into a new composition,

the only properties that I see are the transform properties, but I want to add some other properties into it that I can edit later, right? Well, let’s go into this ball. Here’s what we need to do. I want I’m going to go to sphere hit E to reveal the effect. And then we can see all the properties I want these rotation properties. Right up and down. side to

side and then this one. So I want all of these and also the light direction this right here, I want that one as well. So I want those four properties to be visible in any other compositions, I want them, you know, I want to quickly edit them somewhere else without going into a pre comp. And you know, it’s a lot of work. So to do that, we’re going to convert these properties into a master property. So I’m going to select all of these three of these, and then Ctrl, select that one. So we have four of them selected, I’m going to solo them by hitting S twice on my keyboard, like this. And then I’m going to right click anywhere in the timeline, right click, click on Open in essential graphics, and then it creates this essential graphics panel here. And this is our composition. It’s set to the composition that we’re currently in, which is great. So we can drag these properties in here. Now the beautiful thing is, once you do that, here’s what happens. So let’s go to the comp before this, right. Now, instead of just having transform properties, we also have master properties, which means that we can alter everything

thing that we dragged in here. So we can essentially create a custom menu that we can use in any other compositions. So we can adjust up and down side to side, you get the idea, even the light. So that’s going to come in very handy for future videos. Okay, let me undo all of this. All right, that’s all I wanted to hit for this. Let me kind of clean this up. I’m going to get rid of the comp just created that was just for this example. But that is it. I’m going to get rid of this as well. That’s how we create a ball in After Effects. Now in the next video, we’re going to talk about how to create an environment how to bring in this ball into that environment like a studio type environment, and how to set up a shadow. So I’ll see you in the next video.

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