Motion blur is essential when creating character motion in animation. Motion needs some degree of blur to make your videos look natural, and this is especially true for rapid movement. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add motion blur to your animation project. We will be using Adobe After Effects.
What You'll Learn in This Tutorial
After Effects has many different tools to create motion blur effects with your video or animation. In this tutorial we will show you step-by-step how to successfully add motion blur effects to your project. You'll learn:
- How to create an animated looping background
- How to add motion blur effects
- How to edit graphic templates from Envato Elements using Adobe Illustrator
What You'll Need
To follow along with this tutorial you will need your own versions of Adobe After Effects.
You will also need a background scene and character animation. We have used the following packs from Envato Elements. Click on the links below to download them:
1. Create and Increase the Length of the Background
Let's start by opening up the background image, City Park, in your image editor of choice. Here we will be using Adobe Illustrator.
Expand the width of the canvas so that it is double it's original size. For this example this will make the image 3840 pixels wide.
Duplicate the original image, and move it into the new space.
Flip the image Horizontally. and then move the two images together so that they line up. Then make some adjustments to the image so that the middle blends seamlessly where the two connect.
In this example we have added some extra bushes, adjusted the shapes of the trees and removed some background buildings to make it look more interesting.
2. Import the Background into After Effects
Now that the background image is ready, it's time to import it into Adobe After Effects so that we can animate it.
Open up the video template Delivery - Flat Concepts and then open Scene 4.
Import a new background image into After Effects by clicking and dragging the image into the Project Panel or by going to File > Import > File.
Add the new background layer by clicking and dragging it into the composition from the Project Panel.
Hide the old background by clicking on the Eye Icon next to the background layer (called Background Elements Scene - 04).
Once you have done the above steps, you would have successfully imported your new background whilst replacing the old one.
3. Create a Shadow for the Character
To create the shadow for the character we need to open up the character scene (called 'man Scene - 04). Double click on it to open it up.
Choose the Ellipse Tool (Q) and then set the color to the following:
- R: 242
- G: 180
- B: 191
Now draw a shadow underneath the character and make sure that the layer is placed at the very bottom so that it doesn't overlap the image.
To make sure that the shadow moves along with the animation of the character, we need to set a parent for it to follow. Open the dropdown menu under Parent & Link and then choose Layer 12 Outlines - Group 1.
Now if you press Play Preview, the shadow will now animate along with the movement of the character.
4. Create a Moving Looping Background
Create a Precomp of the background layer by right-clicking it and selecting Pre-Compose. Make sure to select Move all attributes to new composition.
Open up the composition settings for your background and make sure that the dimensions match the size of your background image.
In this case we need to increase the width of the background image so that it is double the size.
Select the Region of Interest button located between the 'Full' and 'Active Camera' drop down menus at the bottom of the preview panel.
Then select the whole background area by clicking and dragging the with mouse.
Now go to Composition > Crop Comp to Region of Interest.
Go back to the Scene 4 composition and select the background pre-comp.
To create a moving background, add an Offset preset to the background pre-comp layer. To do this, simply select the background layer and then go to Effect > Distort > Offset or type in Offset in the Effects and Presets panel as shown below.
Make sure the timeline is set to the beginning of the animation and create a keyframe for Shift Center To.
Move forward a few frames in the timeline and using the mouse, click and drag the first value to move the background. As you change the value you should see the background moving as well.
In order to loop the animation without any jumps it is important to input the same width value as the actual background file itself. This can be found using the Project Panel and selecting the background image.
In this case the width of our background is 3840 px, so we should input the same value for our keyframe.
Now we need to loop this animation. To do this we are going to use a Looping Expression.
Hold the Alt key on the keyboard (Command key on Mac) and left clicking the stop watch icon.Then replace the text with
loopOut()to loop the moving background animation you just created.
5. How to Add Motion Blur to a Moving Object
When you want to add Motion Blur to a moving object in your scene you need to enable it by clicking on the Enable Motion Blur button. This is located on the top left of the layer panel.
Once it is enabled, you can switch motion blur on for a particular layer, by clicking on the box underneath the motion blur icon. This is usually located on the right side of the layer.
Note: If you do not see this option you need to click on the Layer Switches Pane button which is located on the bottom left of the layer panel.
In this example you can see that we have enabled motion blur and switched it on for two layers:
- The character (man Scene - 04)
- The Background (BG)
6. How to Add Motion Blur to the Background
You can also add some directional blur to the background by selecting the background layer and then going to Effect > Blur and Sharpen > Directional Blur. Then set the following:
- Direction: 90 Degrees
- Blur Length: 20
If you want to really make the animation look super fast, you can even use the Directional Blur effect for the character layer as well.
Awesome! You're Finished!
Congratulations! And that's how you can add motion blur effects for your animations using Adobe After Effects!
Now that you are familiar with the techniques, why not experiment with the different scenes in the template or use another background image? In the meantime, I hope you've found this tutorial useful and I'll see you next time, on Envato Tuts+!
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