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Adobe After Effects CC 2018 - New Features

Adobe After Effects CC 2018 - New Features

Daniel Walter Scott


In this free video we'll go over the most recent updates from Adobe After Effects CC 2018. I'll give you all the hints, tips and tricks to help increase your productivity, I'll also go over some of the updates you might have missed in the last update.

What are the requirements?

  • There are no requirements, check out the video and learn all about the new features of Adobe After Effects CC 2018


Hi, my name is Daniel Walter Scott from 2018 After Effects has just been released. Let's look at the features. So there's been five official features released by Adobe, but really there's just going to be two of them that are getting me excited. And the cool thing about them, if you combine these two new features, it might actually change your life. At least it's changed mine, I love it, let's go and look at those.

So the first three, they're just kind of like general updates. One is, it's faster, GPU Enabled Blur Effects. so that's going to render a bit faster. Cinema 4D, if you're using the Lite version of that, they've brought through some of the new features from their Cinema 4D R19, but that's more of a Cinema 4D update, not After Effects. Another one is, if you're working in Virtual Reality, if you're working in VR in After Effects, there's some preview and updates, but the two that are really exciting, are Data-driven Animation, where we can add spreadsheets to our animations, to drive the animation, and the other one is, taking shapes and parts that you've drawn, and easily breaking them apart, and connecting them to Null so we can animate them.

Let's look at both of those, and then we'll look at them together and how awesome they get. So the first one is Path to Nulls. So let's look at that. So what this means is, I can draw any shape, I'll draw a star here, I'm going to double click it so that my Anchor Point is right in the middle. Makes this easier. Let's scale it down. Usable. At the moment, I can't animate these particular points or the shapes because it's a whole shape, we need to outline it first and into a Bezier path, and even then it's still really hard to animate. So, let's look at what's happened.

First thing we need to do is, twirl down our Shape Layer here and find our Contents. Polystar, find 'Polystar Path 1'. And right click it, and say, convert to Bezier Path, that has to be done especially for any of the shapes that are in this drop down. Next thing I want to do is, I'd like to select all these points, and use this new thing. 'Window'-- now my version here, it's under 'Create Nulls from Paths'. You might have to look, it might be up here in the final release. I'm on an earlier version here. So 'Create Nulls from Paths' is the thing I want. So this little panel opens up. First of all, we need to select all our points, we do it by clicking in here. We want to find Path 1, click on this end one here, 'Path'. So all these little dots appear. Then click 'Points Follow Nulls'. And what it's done down here is that it's pulled all my Anchor Points and created a Null and attached it to it. See this Null here, if I go to 'Position' I can move him around, and that Null is connected using the Expression but it now makes it really easy to animate these Nulls all the time.

It just wasn’t easy before, so let's have a look at Position, and maybe add a Wiggle. Everyone loves a wiggle. I'll get it to go very fast, around 100 pixels. Do you wiggle magic? You can see here, because I'm operating it now, it's pulling that point with it. And it's wiggling. Very exciting. I guess what I'm trying to show there is that you can draw any shape and then just quickly attach all of its Anchor Points to Nulls, then animate those Nulls nice and easily. So that is how to do it with one of these specific shapes, so let's delete him, and go.

So if you're going to draw your Tool or use a custom made shape using a Pen tool, that process is a little different, I'm going to draw a random shape. It's not random, it's definitely a triangle. And you don't have to convert it to a Bezier path first. You just got to make sure the points are selected. Often, as soon as you draw on it, it will work, unless you click somewhere else, like I did, and if that happens, you can go down into 'Contents', 'Shape 1', 'Path 1'. Then click on this, so you get all the Anchor Points. Now we can do 'Points Follow Nulls'. So I'm going to find this top guy and do the animation because I feel like really showing you why we're doing this.

So our 'Position', I'll set our first Key Frame maybe there. And this guy, nice and low. Why are we doing this? I'm not sure. I feel like there needs to be some sort of demonstration. So, we do a demonstration. You probably skip to here. Feeling a little rebound overshoot type thing. It's going to be pretty amazing, it better be. I've taken like, at least 60 seconds of your life. A little 'Easy Ease'. Hold back. Okay, it's not that exciting. But you get the idea, right? I can take my shape, yank up the points, and just animate those Nulls. And those Nulls pull the Anchor Points along, very cool. All right, stop it there.

One last thing before we go, if you are drawing, like I do, often in Illustrator, and bring it in to After Effects afterwards, just make sure, under 'Layer'-- so you put in your Illustrator file, go to 'Layer', and there's one in here that says 'Create Shapes from Vector Layer' first. So do that first before we get into these other steps. So that's the first feature that I love. The next feature - so let's close that down - is - let's 'Save' - I'll select all of this, delete it, and move on to my next feature. And this is probably the most amazing one. Why have I saved it to the end? I'm not sure. To keep you around.

So I'm going to drag in actually a background image here in Illustrator just to sex up our little project here. I'll lock him inside, and lock him so I don't wreck him. Bringing in data from spreadsheets has always been a problem. So now what they've done is, there's a way of bringing in JSON data. So JSON is a format, like an interchange format, so it's like, if you've got a CSV, you can use a JSON file to get it into-- to hop into After Effects. So if you have got data, and it says MySQL, or it's an Excel file, or a CSV, you need to use a bit of conversion software first or just one of the online apps, I'll show you what I've done. I've got some data here. It's the average weather in Dublin. It's going to copy it here from Excel and one of these, this one here called 'CSV to JSON', and it just placed it over this side, hit this side, and we've got a JSON file. I'm going to save it. I'm using After Effects but you can use any text editor.

'File', 'New'. 'JSON', 'Create'. Paste, save. And that is the format that After Effects wants. So we'll do a little bit of integration, then I'll show you a bigger video that I've made for kind of doing a full integration with JSON. Let's say I want to display the city name. And this will be good for Bumpers or Lower Thirds, where you've got lot of them to do, lot of repetitive task, so displaying text from a spreadsheet, super-duper easy, and then we'll look at a little bit more detail of pulling out these temperatures and animating, say a Line Graph, like you saw at the beginning.

So to bring in JSON, you bring it in, 'File', 'Import'. Our JSON file, just like any other file. So bring in that from your saved data of Dreamweaver. Now we need to connect it to something, and I'm going to do text for this one. So I'm going to go to 'Type' tool, click here, place in some text. I'm going to duplicate a Text Layer, keep them separate. So that's just going to be some static text, but this thing here is going to be updating for the city that I want to work with. So I'm going to, for no big reason make it a bit bigger, and put it next to it. So I've got two bits of text. So this is the one I want to update for my JSON file. I want it to pull through this option here. So the first result, I want to pull through the word 'city', whatever the value of 'city', which is 'Dublin'. Let's make that work, open up 'City', and open up 'Text'. And let's hold down our 'Option' key, or 'Alt' key on—

So 'Option' key on a Mac, or 'Alt' key on a PC. Where it says 'Source Text', click on this stopwatch. That will turn it into what's called an Expression. Now I want to bring in that JSON file. I can start up by grabbing the 'Pick Width' here, and the 'Point Width'. It pulls it through. And let's make this a little bit bigger. Now it's really fiddly to get to. So what do we need to do to this JSON footage, this JSON footage here? What I'd like to do is turn it into 'Source Text'. And load it into a variable. So I'm going to load it into the variable called 'weather'. And I'll add 'footage' to it. Now I need to make that run, and I'll wrap the whole thing up in brackets '( )'. And I'll use the 'Eval' function that will just make this thing run, or execute. Well, evaluate. And a semicolon ';' at the end to finish that off.

So, that is me bringing in my JSON file and I've loaded it into this thing called 'Weather'. So if you are experienced in Expressions already you can start looking to enter this variable and start pulling data out. We'll do it with just some basic text. So what I'd like to do is, I'd like to look inside 'Weather'. Can't spell weather today. I'd like to look at the first value. So, in here, this is my first value, and I want to look at the word 'City' because I want him, 'Dublin'. So, I want to look at the first value. Square brackets '[ ]', and the first value in JavaScript is '0' not 1. This is the first value, and inside that first value I'd like to look at dot '.' And then 'City;', and yes, hopefully should load. It says 'Dublin', awesome!

Now why is that super cool? It's that it's amazing if I need to update this. Now watch this, if I click 'Replace Footage', 'File', I look at some other JSON file that I've made-- that was the exact same one. Let's 'replace' it, and actually look at where you're clicking on. 'Auckland', that's where my home country is, Auckland, New Zealand. And you can see, it updates. So we're doing lots of repetitive text inputs. Maybe Lower Thirds, Show Titles, Bumpers. You'll have to pull through lots of data. And it needs to be updated every week. Then that is super cool and super amazing. At least I think it's super amazing. So those are the features. I told you at the beginning what I thought was the best when you start combining them. I'm only going to start with making that Line Chart, but I've turned it into its own full tutorial, but let's have a quick little look at how these two things work together.

So if I grab the Pen tool, like we draw the Triangle before, I'm going to make sure I've got nothing selected. And I'm just going to put in a bunch of-- when I said, a bunch, I'm going to put in exactly 12 because I want to match my lines here. And now if I use-- I'm going to make sure it has no Fill. What about the Stroke? The cool thing about that now is, remember, I can have my Point selected. 'Window', 'Create Nulls from Path'. And if you click this, and nothing happens, you can go into here and make sure you've got your Path selected. There he is there. And 'Points Follow Nulls'. Still doesn't work, one more thing, Dan, here you go. Click on the actual 'Path' word. And now they're all converted into dots. The cool thing about them is, we can obviously just go into 'Position' and play around with the Height of these and do some manual animation. That might be enough for the project you're working on but if you want to connect it to a spreadsheet we can use that JSON file to drive the animation.

Now I've turned that into a full other free video so check the in-screens, or in the description. There'll be a link to how I go off and build this thing here. Let's have a look at the final version. I'm going to save this. It's the same one you saw at the beginning. And, 'Weather Reports'. Let's look at the Auckland data, you can see, animated all the time. I can go into here, 'Auckland Data', 'Replace Footage', just like we did earlier. Pick 'Dublin'. Super-duper, super easy. I hope you can see the value in both, JSON, which is probably the most exciting, and then being able to pull Anchor Points out of Shapes really easily, and combining them together for Data-driven Animation magic.

So that's that updates. If you like my teaching style, check out I've got lots of courses, After Effects, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator. There's a bunch on there, go check that out. And if you want to learn how to make this specific thing, right in front of us, go check out the link in the description, or one of these end note clicky things that are coming up in a sec. All right, every one, haere rā, I will see you in another video.