JANUARY 21, 2004
Let's Put Some Lipstick on This Pig, Part 2
OK, now we're set to add our screenshot to the background we just made. Drag the CurveComp comp from the Project window to the Comp window. Once it's there, click the CurveComp layer in the ScreenFinalComp Timeline and press the 'p' key, and then hold down Shift and then press the 's' key. This will twirl down just the position and scale properties. Scrub the Scale property to about 65%, and set the position coordinates to 360, 270. Your screenshot should now look like Figure 13. We're definitely getting there.
These settings are all shown in Figure 14. What we've done is set the Glow effect to radiate a soft, all-black "glow" from behind the screenshot (fig. 15), which will definitely help us later when it comes time to animate the shot itself.
Fig. 14: What your Glow settings should look like.
Fig. 15: Ahh. A nice drop shadow-y effect using the Glow filter.
The last set of things we'll do is to activate both the 3D and Motion Blur switches for our CurveComp layer. We also have to activate the comp-wide Motion Blur setting as well, so go ahead and flip all of those switches (fig. 16). Our comp is now, as the children say, ready to rock.
Fig. 16: Make sure these highlighted boxes are active.
Step 8: Getting jiggy with it
Now, the fun part. Rather than go through the tedium of you matching keyframes with me, you get to do whatever you want in terms of animating it. The overall idea, though, is that we're ultimately going to add some nice pans and zooms to show parts of our shot. At this point, I like to have only the position, scale, and rotation (AKA orientation when 3D is involved) properties open in the timeline and add keyframes to just those properties to get the motion I want (fig. 17). When it comes time to zoom closer, I like to use the scale property instead of the Z position property (keeping that at 0), if for no other reason than to keep those keyframes independent of each other. The ultimate result is shown in Figure 18, which I'm going to go out on a limb and say looks a little more compelling than if we just threw the flat screenshot out there to stand on its own.
Fig. 17: Here's what my Timeline looked like after keyframing the screenshot's position, scale and rotation (orientation).
Fig. 18: The finished effect.
I hope the point driven home here is that there are quite a few relatively simple things you can do to a simple screenshot to make it a more interesting visual. Any one of the things I did in both this tutorial and the previous installment can serve as a point of departure for you to do your own experiments. Want to use another effect than the bulge I used? Fine. Dispense with the scanlines and/or hotspot? Go for it. Put a moving background in there? Knock yourself out. Do a few of these moves and cut 'em together? Glorious. The bottom line is that you don't have to spend a lot of time, money, or effort to add a little spice to a notoriously boring subject.
Ah, but we're not quite done yet. I'm going to be milking one last, related installment out of this series. Next time we're going to go back into our screenshot a bit and add some animation to that as well, so we can do site tours or interactive demos or whatever in conjunction with the techniques we've gone over so far. So, until, then, night-night kids!
When not fleeing the paparazzi or spending his vast fortune associated with the fame and notoriety of being a DMN contributor, Kevin Schmitt can be found with his eyeballs glued to his computer screen, attempting to use some of the hardware and software he rants so incoherently about. An award-winning animator, artist and multimedia producer, he is currently a freelance designer located in the enormously bustling megalopolis of Waynesboro, VA. Whether you're looking to "give him the business" of either the figurative or literal type, feel free to drop him a line. He's ready to believe you!
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