Learn how to create a cloud effect in Adobe After Effects 7.
Tags:adobe,adobe after effects 7,cloud effect,fractal noise,total training,tutorial
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So let's start this lesson by opening up an After Effects Project. You can find this After Effects Project under Project Files - AE7 Masters, Lessons, Lesson1, StormTracker7, AEP, and you are going to click on the first one, StormBKG-FGD-START. So let's just double-click on that and let's take a look at what's in here. Basically we have imported some examples of what we are going to be working on in the first Lesson.
Our goal is to create this StormBKG, and we will just play that, so we can see it. So we have clouds, we have rain, and we have lightning. So this will be our background plate for our animation. Most important thing about any animation that you are working on is the background. If you spend enough time on the background, everything else becomes easier. So we are going to try and make sure we have a really dynamic background here, and then start building up after that. The other part of our Project for this lesson is the foreground, and in our foreground Layer we are going to have rain and some more lightning. But we are going to change this just a little bit from the background Layer lightning and rain. The other file that has been imported is our StormTrackerStylePage, and that's what we are looking at here.
This is basically our blue print to keep us on track with what we need to build. So the first thing we are going to build, and we can even look at it here, is our background. So let's start with that. I am going to Toggle collapse the Examples folder and I am going to start a new Composition. Let's name this Composition Storm Bkg. We will use the Preset NTSC DV, and our Duration will be 5 seconds, let's click OK. Now what we are going to need is a New Solid Layer 720x480, we can also just to make sure, put it to Make Comp Size, click OK, and we are going to have to add a Fractal Noise Effect to that. So under Effects and Presets, let's start typing in Fractal Noise, and we don't even have to type in the whole thing, and as you can see Fractal Noise comes up, and we will just drag that to the dark Gray Solid Layer, and we have our Default Fractal Noise.
Now Fractal Noise is really neat, you can do a lot of things with this. One of the things, I am just going to go through really quickly, just to show you how I go about choosing my Fractal Types and my Noise Types. I am more of a hunting pack to find what I like, so the first thing I will do is go under Basic, and just basically scroll through these to find something that works for what I am doing. In this instance, I am going to use Dynamic. The next thing I usually do is go under the Noise Type, and I can adjust how I want the Noise Type to be effecting the Fractal. You can see we get all sorts of different variations. For this one I want to just go with Soft Linear. The next setting that I am going to adjust is my Contrast, so just making it how Bright or High Contrast the image is. So I am going to bring this Contrast up, to around 200, in fact, it will be easier for me to just type that, 200 on my Contrast. The next setting I can adjust is my Brightness, and if I slide it towards the right, it gets Brighter, slide it towards the left, it gets darker. So let's slide that to about negative -25. So I am getting some nice Contrast, it's starting to look very ominous, very spooky.
So let's go now to my Transform Settings. In my Transform Settings I am going to go down pretty much to the bottom of this to the Perspective Offset. And what this is going to allow me to do, is give my clouds a little 3D type of movement, so I can get some volume in them. So the first thing I want to do, is set a key frame fpr the Offset Turbulence Property. Let's stretch this out just a little bit here, so you can see the words Offset Turbulence. And we will set it into place in the beginning, and we are going to go to the end the Timeline, I am just going to hit the End key actually just to get to the end of this, and if I scroll on this, you can see now I am starting to get this rolling cloud feeling. Let set that to 1000, and let's preview that so we can see what it looks like. So let's select the Timeline, select the Home key, and hit zero on our numeric keypad. So now we get a nice realistic Rolling Cloud Effect by changing out Offset Turbulence, and let's stop that, and continue to change some more settings. So let's Toggle collapse the Transform, and I am actually going to Toggle collapse Evolution, and open up the Sub Settings, because what I want to do now is do some adjustments on my Sub Rotation. So I am going to set a key frame here for my Sub Rotation, and I am going to go to the end of my Timeline, and just scrub on my Sub Rotation. You can see I am starting to get this nice rotation in my Fractal. Now I only want to do this slightly. So let's set this to about 10, and if we scrub on this you can see, we are just getting a slight rotation in our Fractal Noise.