On Kylee’s recommendation, I’m going to make a cute Holiday greeting using Adobe CS After Effects (I have both CS3, CS4, & CS5 on my computer, but I’m going with CS5 here) and some magic. I kid, with some hard work and luck I’ll put together a snowglobe with snow.
First, I visited a tutorial located on the best of the best CreativeCow by Rob Mize. It’s a video tutorial, which should make following along a bit easier. I’m very excited to try this out, and I need to seriously warm up/brush up on my AE skills as it’s been a little while since I cracked it open. I’ll take some screenshots as I go along and thus document my progress with it.
It took me a minute to recall changing the gradient colors, because I found when I switched the color, it would take off the gradient. Rinse, repeat, curse at AE, then realize OH! Durrrrp. And fix it. I’ll admit CS5 is a bit different than CS4, and even still, it’s been long enough this is a good refresher. Edit Gradient was hiding a bit in my composition under the Fill edit, soooo. Yeah. You know how when you focus too long on something, and block out being able to solve it, go away, come back and bam! Instantly you find it. Moving on!
(Edit: Now I realize the lines to drag the gradient around don’t exist the way they do in the tutorial, so I’m going to open CS4 to investigate the differences)
Ahha!! Cs4 is following along a lot better. So, we move onto the gradient shading and now add text. Here is why font is so important. This just happened to be the font that came up when I typed Happy Holidays, which looks hilariously like ‘Sappy Solidays’.
Maybe it’s just late or I’m getting loopy, but I was amused! Now the fun part. The globe base was relatively easy with the CC Sphere and some lighting techniques. Then I swiftly moved onto making the globe. The globe was so much fun! The minute I added the living room picture as the reflection, the glass really came alive. I couldn’t help stopping and grinning like an idiot, as I know with tutorials many can accomplish this, you just have to give props to someone crafting these, because so many people learn things and feel accomplished just by small additions to the project. So after adding the shine, lighting, and the living room picture, I crafted this:
OoooOooo, fancy! 🙂 Now, even though I thoroughly followed along and retried several times thinking I did something wrong, I was having issues getting CC Particle World to spread itself out the same way it did in the tutorial. This drove me slightly mad, as I redid it several times and felt very stumped. Not to mention, blindly following onward in hopes I’d see the snow magically appear in a render, I found that the Monotype Sorts font needed was $29.99 >:o hoho, tis the season for buying right? But, surely there’s a way around this to still create a snowflake from D out of say, wingdings or something. So off I go to research that.
Success! A little research, and a little luck with free use (for non commercial anyway) within two fonts I found one that AE doesn’t spit back out at me ‘Does Not Compuuuute!’ and thus I can FINALLY move onward. The font I went with, WWFlakes, is not only free, but is working like a CHARM!! I still can’t see the snow the way I should, but hey, I have individual snowflakes progressing for my texture to put on the invisible hopefully magical CC Particle World.
Here’s where I am now. Now, when it came to images for the inside of the snowglobe, the sky is the limit really. I thought to myself, hmm, no snowglobe is complete without an amusing and cute ‘I Can Haz Cheezeburger’ kitty. So, in goes the ‘kittay’. I must say at this stage I am pleased with the lighting, definitely digging the reflections, and if you imagine there’s neat snowflakes, I’m only a few steps from completion.
Okay if you skipped everything else and just want the nitty gritty!!! See here! The composition settings of 1280 x 1080 are not conducive for exporting to say, Youtube, or elsewhere really. Also, silly me, the issue with the CC Particle World was not due to human error but because for some reason, After Effects decided to change things up and open with frames in the timeline versus actual time. Now, laugh all you like *gives dramatic pause* Still laughing? Alright, I admit it was a goofy mistake on my part, but given that I’m used to programs opening a certain way, think of it as a friendly reminder to always always always double check your settings, the timeline, and other preset things you think are good to go (because sometimes they are
not!) Thus 30 frames is very very different than 30 seconds of time!!! Many tweaks later, I had to adjust the composition size to 1280 by 720, and tinker with the camera settings since now my composition is a lot shorter than it was. I also needed to tweak the radius and though his settings are pretty solid on the globe, base, etc., feel free to tinker around with things a little bit based on how your individual globe turned out. That’s my BEST advice. The video is now on my website, but for purposes I will include it here. Without further adieu, enjoy!