Learn how to create a ramp effect in Adobe After Effects CS3.
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Next we will be bringing all of these elements together. So let's create a new composition. Again, select the Precomps folder in the Project pane, Composition, New Composition. This time we will call it, Bringing it Together, and select OK. First thing I want to do is go up to Layer, to create a New Layer. This time I want to create a New Solid. After Effects will ask me what color I want my solid to be. So I can click on the Color chip, and select a new color from the System Color Picker. It doesn't really matter which color I pick, but I'll use a dark red or a magenta, so I know what the name of the layer will be. I'll click OK, and here we can see that After Effects has guessed, naming the name of the solid as close as it can guess to the color. Because I have picked a dark red, close to magenta, it called it Dark Magenta-Red Solid. I will select OK here, and we will something happen in the Project pane.
If I click and twirl up these folders, we'll see the After Effects has created a New folder called Solids. Inside that folder, is this new solid called Dark Magenta-Red. I can use this solid as many times as I need to, without having to create new solids each time I want to use a Dark Magenta-Red Solid. The next I want to do is add an effect. So in my timeline, I'll select the layer that I want to add the effect to, Dark Magenta-Red Solid. Under the Effects pull down, I'll select Generate, then select Ramp. In After Effects, a two stop gradient is called a Ramp. After Effects automatically brings up a dialog box showing me all of the different parameters for this ramp. You'll see here, the start color of my ramp is black. It starts at the top of the layer, and continues all the way to the bottom of the layer, or the end color is white.
I'll simply change the values for the Start Color and the End Color by clicking on the small color chips. Once I have a color I like, I can drag this color from the System Color Picker into any one of the System Color drop boxes, to use again later in Photoshop, or any other application that will recognize the System Color Picker. Next, I'll make an End Color by doing the same. Using the same color, just make it slightly darker, I can modify the start and the end of the ramp by clicking on the small icons here indicating a target, or the position at which the start will occur. Similarly I can do the same for the end, click on the small target icon, and then position my cursor in the Comp window where I want the Gradient to end.
If I want to move these around once inside my comp, I can use the Move tool, Selection tool over the small icon and drag this around. Remember, all of these have small stop watches next to the name, that means, all of these can be animated. Because I am done with this effect I will click on the small X next to the name of the Effects Control to close this window. Our next layer will be another Photoshop document. So selecting the Photoshop folder, I'll go to File, Import, and import a Photoshop file. I'll import the twine 1920.psd by clicking on it and selecting Open. This time I'll use of the Merged Layers together. I'll click OK.
You can see in the Project pane that this file is much larger than our composition size. That's alright, because After Effects is resolution independent. It doesn't matter what size my source material is, I can use it in After Effects. I'll bring this into the composition by simply clicking on it and dragging it down to the timeline. You can see how large it is. So I will scale it down by typing S on the keyboard to reveal the scale properties, and I will bring it down by clicking and dragging on either one of these 100% values. That's about right.