After Effects Workflow

Learn about how to use After Effects together with Lightform Creator to create custom motion graphics

We created Lightform Creator to be simple and intuitive. It excels at highlighting the physical details of whatever object you are projecting on. This way anyone can create unique and compelling content without extensive knowledge in other design software.

However, for people who do have animation skills and want more customized content, we recommend using LF1 alongside your preferred animation software. Here we will breakdown the process of using LF1 with After Effects.

Step 1 Setting up the scene

It is important to finalize the object placements in the scene as well as the location of the projector. Deciding on these factors early on will save you a lot of time later in content creation. This is especially important if you are investing time into creating custom content.

Once everything is setup, scan away!

Step 2 Bringing the scan image into After Effects

Once the scan is completed, you’ll need to create an After Effects composition with the scan image. To do so:

  1. Save your Lightform Creator project
  2. Locate saved folder
  3. Find scan image within the folder (“projector-color.jpg”)
  4. Import scan image into After Effects
  5. Drop the scan image into a new composition, and match the comp dimensions to that of the scan image (this is important as this is also the dimensions of the projector you’re using)

Note

Dragging the scan image directly onto the New Composition icon will ensure that the dimensions match.

Step 3 Animate to your heart's content

Now you have the After Effects project file setup, the sky is the limit. The beauty of the scan image is that it eliminates the traditional mapping process. Every pixel of the scan image corresponds with where the projector’s pixels land in the real world. Creating content that follows the details in the scan image should guarantee an aligned projection.

A few examples of how you might animate on top of the scan image:

  • Create shape layers with paths that follow clear lines or shapes in the scan image, then animate trim paths or offset paths properties
  • Duplicate the scan image layer and mask areas of interest, then animate levels or hue/saturation properties
  • There’s also the option of importing the disparity image for more scene information to play with (“projector-disparity.jpg”)

Step 4 Exporting the video

Before exporting the video, remember to hide the original scan image layer.

Best export settings:

  • H.264
  • 30 fps
  • Profile High

Step 5 Publishing the final video to LF1

  1. Open up the Lightform Creator project you previously saved, and with no surfaces selected, select Import Assets and import your final video
  2. Lightform Creator will auto-generate a surface that’s the full dimension of the canvas, and place your video within
  3. Make sure the slide duration matches the length of your video
  4. Add in different effects to your liking and play with blend modes!
  5. Publish to LF1

Conclusion

As you have probably noticed, the scan image is the key element in this process, and it’s also what LF1 does uniquely from any other PAR devices. The scan image can, of course, be brought into any other software, not just After Effects. We will continue releasing documentation on workflows in different software, be feel free to explore on your own and have fun!

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