Introduction to Photoshop

This one of 11 x 2hr technical workshops I created for the module Med 109 Design Fundamentals as part of the BSc Interactive Media degree. These workshops were designed to provide first-year students with an introduction to tools and techniques using Adobe Photoshop. This lesson provided an introduction to the Photoshop tools and workspace and basic design workflow. I deconstructed an example from Pentagram as the students were studying Pentagram’s work in another part of the module.

Workshop Overview

Today I am going to take you some of the basics of Photoshop, by recreating a booklet design by Pentagram for Battersea dogs home.

This will give you experience in the use of some of the key aspects of Photoshop which are the basis of most design projects.

  • creating a new document,
  • opening and placing images,
  • activating and styling Adobe fonts,
  • using the Type tool and Character panel,
  • using layers,
  • using rulers and guides to adhere to the rule of thirds
  • positioning, aligning and transforming elements
  • and saving your file for print.
  • In today’s class we will be recreating one of the booklet covers illustrated above. NB the copyright for these images is owned by Pentagram and Battersea, nor for online published only for practice!

Getting Started

Let’s start by creating a ‘med109_workshop folder’. Inside that create a folder called ‘Photoshop’. Download and unzip the Battersea files and save them into that ‘Photoshop’ folder.

Open up Photoshop. You are given the option to ‘Open’ a document or to create ‘New file’. Select New File.

In the ‘New Document’ dialogue box. Select the Print tab, then A4.

Then in the ‘Preset Details’ on the left, check that the ‘Orientation’ is set to portrait. The Resolution is 300dpi, the Colour mode is CMYK.

Enter in ‘battersea_booklet_cover’ in the file name box Click Create.

The Photoshop Workspace

Before we start check that you are working in the Essentials workspace:

Go to ‘Windows’ menu, select Workpace, check that it is set to Essentials.

Photoshop provides a range of editing tools that allow you to change the appearance of your images and designs. 

There is often a number of different ways you can access the same tools or achieve the same effect.

Photoshop provides a number of handy shortcut keys to access these tools which will speed up your workflow.

NB there’s a lot of tools and functionality you don’t need to use, so don’t worry about learning them all, just learn the aspects you need to know for your project.

In the middle we have the Artboard, where you layout your design. Along the top we have the MENUS, whic provide access to tools, settings and filters.

On the left-hand-side, we have the TOOLBAR, which provide access to common tools such as the Type tool, Shape tool and Pen tool etc.

For a full list of tools see this  Tools-panel-overview.png.img.png. You can edit your toolbar by clicking on the elipsis (three dots) above the colour swatches.

When a tool is selected the PROPERTIES bar will reflect the settings of that tool.

For instance, when the ‘Type’ tool is selected, the font, font weight, colour and size appears in the property bar.

On the right-hand-side we have the PANELS. To open a panel click on it and it will pop open.

I’ve highlighted the most useful panels, that will you use repeatedly: Layers, Colour, Swatches, Character, Paragraph and Properties.

Remember setting up your workspace effectively speeds up your workflow.

So let’s get started using some of these tools

Deconstructing the Battersea booklet

We’re going to be desconstructing and recreating a layout with a new cat image

The first one is a booklet cover from the Pentagram’s Battersea campaign.

‘File’ menu> Open. This opens the file dialogue box, navigate to your ‘Battersea’ folder and select ‘battersea_booklets.jpg‘. Click Open.

Each booklet is made up of a number of components: an image, covered by a off-white rectangle, with off-white (#f4f3f1) and off-black (#282828) Franklin Gothic sans-serif text and the Battersea logo.

Each of these elements will occupy a separate layer in our photoshop document.

Using layers allows us to build up pictures of different elements, applying different styles and techniques to each layer to create rich effects.

If I look at the battersea_booklets.jpg and place guides over the top, I can see how the image consists of text and logo on a rectangle laid out symmetrically around the central guides.

This creates balance and harmony.

And the photograph is arranged according to the rule of thirds which focuses our eye on the cat’s face – where we project a ‘personality’, making us identify with the animal. 

Placing the image

We will start with the largest element, the photograph by Kanashi on Unsplash  

Go to ‘File’ menu and select Place Embedded. Navigate to the ‘battersea’ folder and click on the fluffysiamese.jpg image then select Place.

This will embed the image into the document.

The image will appear on the Artboard with a big X through it. In the PROPERTIES bar, change W value to 28%. 

Note that the link symbol is automatically selected. This ensures that the width and height are scaled by the same amount and aspect ratio is maintained. To confirm the size and positioning of the image press the tick.

Click on the Layers panel to see that the second layer now consists of the Fluffy Siamese image.

Now we use the Rulers to position our image

Creating guides

We use guidelines to help us position the components in our layouts.

The rulers should be visible along the top and left of the artboard. If they are not visible, use Ctrl + R to turn them on.

Right-click on the ruler to check the measurements are in millimetres.

To start we will position our horizontal guides. If we move our mouse over to the ruler on the top of the artboard and click and drag we will release a guide.

Drag this guide so it is positioned at 0 mm, click and drag on the top rule again, drag your second guide to 148.5 mm. Click and drag your third guide to 297mm. 

Our page has been divide vertically in half.

Now we want to add a ‘thirds’ grid to the top half of our image.

Add two additional horizontal guides at 49.5 and 99mm

Then add in vertical guides by dragging guides from the left hand ruler, positioning these guides at 0, 70, 140 and 209.7mm.

Now position our cat with its face in the middle third and an eye aligned to a guide, this focusses you view on the cats eyes.

Adding Colour Swatches an using the shape tool

We are going to use an off-white and off-black for our text and rectangle.

We can create colour swatches to make sure we apply our colours consistently.

Open up your swatches panel and click on the folder icon to create a swatch group call this folder ‘battersea’

Our swatches have a hexadecimal colour of off-white #f4f3f1 and off-black #282828

To add our swatches to the Battersea swatches folder  we click on the the Foreground Colour in the toolbar to open the ‘Color Picker’.

We then can enter our hex colour f4f3f1 number in the box at the bottom beside the pound sign #

Click Add to Swatches, name it ‘off-white’ then click OK. This should load the off-white colour into the ‘battersea’ group in your swatches

Repeat the same process for the off-black colour #282828

We select the off-white swatch  to load it into the foreground color

Select the fluffysiamese layer. We can use the guides to draw a rectangle on a new layer.

In the TOOLBAR, click on the Shape tool (U) and select rectangle if not already selected, the fill should automatically inherit the foreground colour – the off-white.

Click a point along the middle horizontal guide, outside the artboard click and drag to the bottom, right hand corner.

Zoom into your image Ctrl + + to make sure your rectangle is sitting on the guide. We now have a new layer called ‘Rectangle 1’.

Positioning and transforming Images

Make sure the Move tool (V) in the TOOLBAR is selected.

Next, we are going to place the Battersea logo in a layer above the rectangle layer.

Click on the ‘Rectangle 1’ layer in the ‘Layers panel’. Then we will place the logo, using Filemenu, Place Embedded.

Navigate to the ‘Battersea’ folder and select battersea_logo_cat.jpg and click Place, then click on the tick.

When we look at the final booklet, we can that see that the logo should be much smaller so we are going to have to transform the logo by scaling it down.

We need to maintain the aspect ratio while we do this. Make sure your logo layer is selected then select Ctrl + T or go to Edit menu > Transform. You’ll see the X through the center and the little handles that allow you to drag corners to resize the image manually.

We will use the PROPERTIES bar to resize the image. Enter 33 in the W box this will scale the image to 33%.

Note that the link symbol is automatically selected. This ensures that the width and height are scaled by the same amount and aspect ratio is maintained.

Again, use the guides to center the image close to the bottom of the page

We can add in a couple of new guides to divide the botom into thirds to position our logo.

Add vertical rules at 198 and 247.5mm.

Position the logo in the centre of the vertical third and align the nose with the bottom third.

Activating Adobe fonts

These booklets will use ITC Franklin Gothic font, so we need to check if we have access to this font in Photoshop.

Click on Character panel on the right-hand-side

This will undock the ‘Character’ panel, click on the dropdown arrow on the list of fonts in top left box to see if ITC Franklin Gothic demi condensed is available on your machine.

If not, we need to activate it. Go to and search for ITC Franklin Gothic. Click on Activate fonts, select all three options.

It will take a minute to activate then you should get a notification to say they have been activated, they now should be available in your drop-down font menu.

Before we add our text, we need to set up our type tool in our Character and Paragraph panels/ palettes

Select ITC Franklin Gothic (LT PRO) demi condensed,

Font size 155pt, Tracking 50 (Tracking = the spacing between letters in a line of text)

Set the Kerning (spacing between individual letters) to Optical

Next, we need to set the colour of the font to our off-white colour swatch

And set the alignment in the Paragraph panel to central

Adding text

We are now ready to add the words RESCUE on a new layer, you want to make sure your text appears on the uppermost layer so select the ‘battersea_logo_cat’ layer.  

NB Once you start typing a new layer will be created automatically.

Click the Text tool (T) in the TOOLBAR. Click on the cat in the ARTBOARD and drag a text box that runs the full width of the page start typing “RESCUE”.

Because we have centred the paragraph and made the text box the full width we know the word will be centred on our page.

Now we need to type the “IS BEST” in Black. Create a new layer for your new text.

Load the  off black swatch into your foreground colour and your character colour.

Select the Text tool (T), click on the ARTBOARD and type “IS BEST”.

However when I draw lines either side of the words I can see the R and the I are not quite aligned.

We can remedy this 

Select the Is BEST  layer and increase the tracking to 53, then just nudge the text box to theright using the left arrow key the text should now be aligned.

Saving your file for print

Ctrl + S saves the file as a .PSD: a photoshop file where the layers can be edited.

We also want to save our file in a finished non-editable format. We look a bit more at image file types next week.

As we selected print at the start and these are the covers of booklets, we need to save in a print-friendly format – PDF/JPEG or TIFF.

Your printer will normally tell you what format they want. For this booklet we will save it as a PDF.

Go to the File menu and chose Save A Copy . From the ‘Format’ drop-down menu, select Photoshop PDF.

Append your file name with _final and click Save. Select [High Quality Print] from the Adobe PDF Presets and click Save PDF.

2.5D Parallax Scrolling

This one of the 11 x 2hr technical workshops that I created for the module Med 107 Motion Graphics as part of the BSc Interactive Media degree. These workshops were designed to provide first-year students with an introduction to animation tools and techniques using Adobe After Effects. This lesson focussed on 2.5 D or parallax animation. I used an image we had previous created in a previous module and animated it using 3D animation techniques (lights, cameras, z axis).

Workshop Overview

So far we have been animating flat 2D images. After Effects is also capable of animating 3D objects. When we animate 2D layers in 3D space we get 2.5D. 

We can use the 3D animation techniques (lights, cameras, z axis) to animate 2D objects, to create depth and move move through a static image.

This is called 2.5d or parallax animation, this Nike ad uses this technique to animate photographs of sports personalities:

We are going to take an image in Photoshop and create a parallax animation of a spooky graveyard using 3D animation techniques (lights, cameras, z axis). You will split the 2D image in Photoshop into layers, import it into After Effects, add lights and camera layers.

There’s 5 steps to creating a 2.5D animation:

  • prep image in photoshop,
  • position elements on z-axis,
  • add lights,
  • add a camera,
  • and animate 

Getting Started

We are using the spooky abbey Photoshop file we created in Med109 as a basis of our animation:  greyabbey_ae_week8.psd

We will separate our image into a fore-, mid- and back-ground layers which will be animated at different rates across each other.

1. Resample your Photoshop image

Our image was designed for print and is in CYMK, 300dpi and 2000+px wide, we need to resample our image so it’s suitable for screen.

  • Change the dpi to 72, the colour mode to RGB and the dimensions: 1600x2000px

2. Separate the layers

  • Rename the milky way layer: ‘background’, rename the abbey layer: ‘mid-ground’ and apply the layer mask
  • Scale down the abbey-midground to 95% so the full width and height of the graveyard image is revealed

Note that the smoke layer – has a blending mode – Lighten Colour on the mid-ground abbey – we will carry this through to After Effects

3. Create a foreground

  • To create our foreground, we use the Pen tool [P] (no fill) to draw around the graves. Take the time to create as much detail as possible.
  • When you have completed your outline, select the Marquee tool [M] set feather to 1px. Command click the thumbnail of the shape layer – this will automatically create a marquee around the object you have just created.
  • Select the mid-ground layer. On your keyboard, press Command/Control + X to cut the graves out
  • Press Command/Control + V to paste the graves into the new layer call this foreground -graves move the graves back into their original position.

    4. Filling in the mid-ground

    We need to fill the area of the mid-ground that contains the graves

    • Hold Command/Control + click on the thumbnail window of the new ‘foreground-graves’ layer in the Layers panel to reveal the marquee (dotted outline).
    • Turn the layer off using the Eye Icon, and select your midground layer;
    • Go to Select > Modify > Expand. Set the Mask Expansion to 10, depending on how much of your background you want to sample, then hit OK.

    • With the midground-abbey layer still selected, go to Edit > content aware Fill. Your mid-ground layer will turn green. This is the area Photoshop wants to use as a reference for the Content fill
    • Use the preview window to work out the best sampling option. You can use the default auto setting, or chose custom and use the brush to select the areas to resample.
    • Press Apply and OK

    NB The content aware fill works better on natural elements like trees and grass

    5. Refining up the mid-ground with the clone tool

    Here we will need to use the clone tool to make the mid-ground appear more realistic:

    • Zoom in on your image, select the mid-ground layer, make the foreground invisible and make the shape layer visible. 
    • Then select the clone tool [S], and select a soft brush at about 33px.
    • Then Option/Alt + click the area of the image you want to clone, select an area of the building, then move the cursor directly down to continue the vertical lines of the building. Also use the eraser tool to delete unnecessary areas on the right [E].

    You want to make sure the 50 px around the shape outline is realistically filled so that the foreground can move across with out any major visual errors.


    When you have created all of your layers. Save your Photoshop file. Now you are ready to bring the file into After Effects

    Turn on 3D and position on Z-axis

    1. Import photoshop file to After Effects

    • Create a new project –call it ‘Spooky-abbey’, select Create Composition from footage, select your Photoshop file, ensuring you have selected Composition – Retain Layer sizes selected. Then select Merge Layer styles

    NB The content aware fill works better on natural elements like trees and grass

    • Double click to open the ‘greyabbbey-graveyard’ comp. You will see each layer of your image in the timeline.
    • Remove any surplus layers.
    • Place the Background layer above the Supermoon layer, set the Opacity [T] of the Background layer to 30% and the Blending mode to Screen

    2. Switch on 3D for the layers

    • Click the 3D switch for each layer so you can move it in 3 dimensions.

    The coloured multi-dimensional axis appears to show you that you can move your objects along 3 planes. When you switch a layer to 3D, you’ll see two new layer property sub-folders: Geometry and Material options

    • Click on the Views drop-down and go to 2 views, select ‘Top‘ for the second view – this allows us to look down on how the layers are arranged 

    2. Positioning and scaling the layers

    As we are working in 3D, our layers now have an additional plane, the z-axis. Each element will now have a z-co-ordinate or z-index in their Position value. The layers start with the z-index of 0 so they all exist on same plane (in the example above), we want to separate our layers out along the z-axis to create greater depth. 

    NB When we start to move the elements along the z-axis, they are affected by perspective, you may need to scale the elements to ensure the image appears as before.

    In the example below I have used the following settings [P] for z-co-ordinate position, [S] for Scale

    • Foreground-graves –  z co-ordinate: -200, Scale: 130%
    • Smoke – z co-ordinate -100, scale: 100%
    • Midground-abbey – z co-ordinate: 0, 110%
    • Background – z-co-ordinate: 398, scale:150%
    • Supermoon background – z co-ordinate: 400, scale: 110%

    3. Duplicate Smoke layers.

    • Set the Smoke layer Opacity [T] to 75%. Blending mode should be set to Lighten
    • Cmd/Ctrl + D the smoke layer twice to create 3 smoke layers in total. 
    • Position two smoke layers in front of the foreground at z-index position at  -250 and -300.
    • Flip one of these smoke layers along y-axis by setting its x scale to -100%
    • Place the third smoke layer between fore and mid ground at z-index -100

    Add a Camera Layer

    To add a camera we need to add a camera layer. 

     We have a number of setting we can play around with

    • Type: One-Node Camera or Two-Node Camera. A one-node camera orients around itself, whereas a two-node camera has a point of interest and orients around that point.
    • Preset/focal length: The presets are named according to focal lengths. Each preset is meant to represent the behavior of a 35mm camera with a lens of a certain focal length. Therefore, the preset also sets the Angle Of View, Zoom, Focus Distance, Focal Length, and Aperture values. The default preset is 50mm which is closest to replicating human vision. A smaller focal length eg 20mm will create a wider angle lens and a larger focal length eg 135mm will create a more ‘zoomed’ or ‘telephoto’ lens.
    • Enable depth of field – Depth of Field is an optical effect that blurs out your foreground and background. 
    • Aperture: Similar to a camera in real-life Aperture adjusts how shallow your depth of field is. The larger the Aperture the more shallow the in-focus area will be. Blur Level: Blur Level allows you to adjust how much blur is applied to your out of focus areas. 
    • Film-size – just keep at 36mm
    • Angle of view – the wider the angle of view the wider your camera. You’ll notice how your zoom and focal length will also be adjusted as you change the angle of view

    See more at School of motion cameras – explainer

    1. Add a Camera layer with the following settings

    We can also set camera options in the Camera Options Layer properties:

    NB if you enable Depth of Field you’ll need to be aware of the Focal Distance and how that effects you animation.

    If you want to keep a particular layer in focus throughout the animation make sure your Focus Distance is focused by selecting the camera and target layer  eg the midground and right- clicking and selecting the Camera > Set Focus Distance to Layer.

    If you are animating the layer that you want to keep in focus select Link Focus Distance to Layer it will tie your focus distance to the selected layer for the entire composition. This means as the layer moves your focus distance will move as well

    • Animate the camera by moving it forward through the scene

    In the example, the camera is animated between 0 and 10s moving from Position 600, 800 and -2000 to 775, 930, -1400

    Animate 2D layers

    1. Animate smoke layers

    We want to animate the Opacity [T] and Position [P] of the smoke layer along the x and y axis between the first and final frames.

    • Reduce the Opacity [T] of the smoke layers from 75% to 30% between 0 and 10s
    • Animate the position [P] of the forward-most smoke layer left and down between 0 and 10s

    2. Add warp to the smoke layers

    We can use the Wave Warp effect on the smoke layers to create a more realistic, drifting movement

    • Add the Warp Effect and reduce wave height to 5, increase wave width to around 150, lower the wave speed to 0.3 and change the direction to a more vertical angle

    3. Animate foreground, midground background layers

    Animate the Scale [S] and Position [P] of the following layers between 0 and 10 s

    • Foreground, scale up to 180% and move left
    • Mid-ground, scale up to 130 % and move right
    • Background, scales up to 130%
    • Supermoon, scale to 90% and move left and down

    Add Lights

    Lights are a type of layer in After Effects. There are four to choose from:

    • Parallel light has a continuous direction, without any spread, like a laser.
    • Spot light is a directional light with spread, softness, and falloff like a stage spotlight.
    • Point light is an omnidirectional light with softness and falloff like a bare lightbulb.
    • Ambient light is a light with no position or fall off that controls the overall brightness of a scene, so it cannot cast shadows. 

    You can set and animate options such as intensity, orientation and colour as well as the position of your lights. With spotlights you can use and animate a Point of Interest to focus the light. You can really bring creativity and atmosphere to your animation using lights. In the example I have used one point light and two spot lights.

    1. Add Lights

    • Add a Point light, red in colour with the Intensity of 26%, this will be used to tint the moon.
    • Place it behind the the midground abbey layer, with a z index of 100

    In the example the Point light is positioned at 650, 750, 80

    • Add a Spotlight to light up the mid-ground abbey position it with a z index of  -360

    In the example the spotlight1 is positioned at 680, 1010, -360 with an orientation of 300,358, 355

    • Add another Spotlight to light up the foreground graves position it with a z index of -525

    In the example spotlight2 is positioned at 110, 2020, -525 with an orientation of 30, 310, 10

    2. Animate Lights

    This is your opportunity to get creative, use the values in the example as a a guide and play around with different lights and settings

    • Animate the Intensity of the Point light between 0 and 10s, increasing from 26% to 100%
    • Animate the Position [P] and Orientation of Spotlight1 between 0 and 10s. In the example Spotlight 1 has been animated:
      • From Position of  680, 1010, -360 to 680, 1200, -355
      • From Orientation of 300,358, 355 to 300 180, 355
    • Animate the Position [P] of spotlight2 between 0 and 10s. In the example Spotlight 2 has been animated:
      • From Position of 110, 2020, -525  to  335, 1220, -680
      • From Orientation of 30, 310, 10 to 30, 280, 10
    Material Options

    3D layers have Material Options properties, which determine how a 3D layer interacts with light and shadow.

    • Casts Shadows Specifies whether a layer casts shadows on other layers.
    • Light Transmission The percentage of light that shines through the layer, casting the colors of the layer on other layers as a shadow. 0% specifies that no light passes through the layer, casting a black shadow. 100% specifies that the full values of the colors of the shadow-casting layer are projected onto the layer accepting the shadow.
    • Accepts Shadows Specifies whether the layer shows shadows cast on it by other layers. There is an “Only” option in the Accepts Shadows for when you want to render only a shadow on a layer.
    • Accepts Lights Specifies whether the light reaching it affects the color of a layer.
    • Ambient Ambient (nondirectional) reflectivity of the layer. 100% specifies the most reflectivity
    • Diffuse Diffuse (omnidirectional) reflectivity of the layer. Applying diffuse reflectivity to a layer is like draping a dull, plastic sheet over it. 100% specifies the most reflectivity;
    • Specular Specular (directional) reflectivity of the layer. Specular light reflects from the layer as if from a mirror. 100% specifies the most reflectivity
    • Shininess Determines the size of the specular highlight. This value is active only if the Specular setting is greater than zero. 
    • Metal The contribution of the layer color to the color of the specular highlight. 100% specifies that the highlight color is the color of the layer. 

    3. Set Material Options for our Layer

    Now we have created our lights we can go into our layers and change how each layer reacts to the light using our Material options.

    • Select the fore, mid, backgrounds, moon and smoke layers and press AA. This will reveal the Material options

    For our current example use the default except for the following settings for Material Options

    • Foreground-graves- Cast shadows: On, Accepts shadows On
    • Midground-abbey – Cast shadows: Off , Accepts Shadows: On
    • Smoke- Cast shadows: On, Accepts shadows: On,  Light Transmission between 50% and 75%
    • Background – Cast shadows Off, Light transmission: 0%, Accepts Shadows: Off, Accept Lights: Off
    • Supermoon – Cast shadows Off, Light transmission: 25%, Accepts Shadows: Off

    4. Render your video

    Export your video to the Media Encoder using H.264 

    NB If there are problems rendering with the smoke layer, try After Effects internal Render Engine

    Motion graphics Film titles

    This one of 11 x 2hr technical workshops I created for the module Med 107 Motion Graphics as part of the BSc Interactive Media degree. These workshops were designed to provide first-year students with an introduction to animation techniques and concepts using Adobe After Effects. This lesson focussed on Film title production. I used the example of Catch Me if You can title sequence to introduce the students to character animation, loop expressions, importing After Effect files Iris wipes, and reinforce the use of pre-compositions, audio, Track Mattes, Blending modes and trim paths. 

    Workshop Overview

    We are going to be recreating the first 18 secs of the Catch me if you Can movie titles, a movie title sequence created in the style of Saul Bass.

    How the Catch me if you can titles were made

    Catch Me if You can titles on Youtube

    In this class we will be using character animation, loop expressions, pre-compositions, imported AE files, blending modes, audio, iris wipes, track mattes, trim paths. 

    Getting Started

    I started the process by drawing out all the elements in Illustrator, and assigning each animated element a separate named layer. It is important to name layers intuitively as these names are retained in After Effects and it makes it easier when we are working with multiple objects in the timeline.

    The Hanks and DiCaprio characters are taken into Photoshop to add texture then they were imported into After Effects for animation

    The stars, airplane and background are imported directly from Illustrator.

    Create your project

    1. Create a New project

    Download it contains the audio file, an Illustrator file and the two After Effect character files. We will create the text and the lines in After Effects,

    Save your new project as CatchMe.

    Import your ‘’ file – choosing to Retain Layers Size, import the ‘Johnwilliams’ audio file.

    Create a New Composition– duration: 18 secs, size: 1920×1080, frame rate: 25fps. Call this comp ‘Scene 1’

    2. Create the background:

    Drag the ‘’ and ‘’ files into the Layers panel.

    Drag the John Williams audio file to the Layers panel

    Animating the text

    1. Add text layers:

    Add two text layers:

    • ‘DreamWorks Pictures’ [Coolvetica, 90pt, off-black #262122]
    • ‘PRESENTS’ [Filmotype Western, 40pt, off-black #262122]

    Make these timelines 8s in length

    2. Create a descender

    Create a new Shape layer: 

    • Use pen tool [off-black #262122, width: 13 px­] to draw a descending line from the ‘r’, call it it r-descender 

    Add a trim path between 6 and 7 s.

    • Animate the start %value. Set the start% at 6s: 0% and at 7s:100%.
    • Drag the layer to end at 8s.

    4. Draw ascenders
    We need two more shape layers for ascender for the ‘k’ in ‘Dreamworks’ and the ‘t’ in Pictures. Shorten times to 8s

    Call them k-ascender and t-ascender

    The k-ascender is drawn in between 2-3 s. This time I am animating the end% because I drew the lines from the  bottom. Set end% at 2s: 0%, 3s:100%  5.12s: 100% 7s:0%.

    Set the t-ascender end% at 3s: 0%, 4s:100%,  6.12s: 100% and 7s: 0% 

    5. Fade out the night sky

    We need a fade in the night sky going from night to day. First we create a new solid layer- (make it comp size) and colour off-black #262122

    Call the layer ‘fade-out-night’

    Animate the Opacity of this solid layer from 100% to 0% between 0 and 4s.

    We also want to fade the stars in and out during this period.

    Animate the Stars layer’s Opacity from 0% and 100% between 0 and 2s and then fade the stars back out 100%-0% between 3 and 4s.

    Shorten the length of the stars and fade-out-night layers to end after last keyframe.

    Rename the bottom layer to ‘stars-sparkle’ and set the blending mode to Dancing Dissolve. This gives a sparkle effect to the stars.

    Duplicate the Stars layer – rename the top tayer to ‘stars-top’, set blending mode to Luminosity.

    Adding text effects

    1. Create an Iris wipe mask

    We want an iris wipe to fade the ‘Pictures present’ in and out. We can do this manually by creating a track matte – we will duplicate and reuse this mask throughout the animation.

    First precompose (select layers and control + click right-click > pre-compose) the ‘pictures’ and ‘presents’ text layers – call the pre-comp pictures-presents – this allows us to apply one track matte to both sets of text.

    Create a new solid layer call it fade-out-text1, draw a circle inside it – this will create a mask – centre the anchor point (Ctrl+Option+Home) then set the  Feather (F) to around 43px.

    Move the play-head to 7.12 and place the centre of the circle over the ‘t’ in ‘Picture’. Animate the Scale (S) of the circle setting the scale to 0%  at 3s then at 4.12s scale the circle up until it covers the ‘Pictures presents’ .

    2. Add a track matte

    Assign ‘fade-out-text1’ as an Alpha track matte to our ‘pictures-presets’ precomp.

    Add a iris wipe fade out by reversing the animation between 5.12 and 612.

    Then play around with the keyframe to time the animations to the music.

    3. Apply Text effect

    Finally we need to fadeout the ‘Dreamworks’ text. This time we will add Fade out slow text effect from our Effects and Presets panel to the ‘Dreamworks’ layer between 5:16- 6:08s.

    We need to reverse the effect by making the Mode: Subtract and swap the keyframes around so it fades out from the right.


    Adding Hanks to the Titles

    To save time the Hanks character’s walk has been animated already and composed in a separate After Effects file.

    Take a look at how the walking is constructed from five separate keyframes (contact, down, passpoint, up and contact). In each keyframe, the body parts are positioned slightly differently, when this is looped it gives the effect of walking.

    Import hanks-fig-walking.aep into your After Effects file, it will appear in the Project Panel.Open the ‘hanks-fig-walking’ folder and drag the hanks-walking composition into the Layers panel.

    Ctrl-Click the clip to bring up context menu, select Delete all Markers.

    You’ll see the clip is only 21 frames long. We’ll need to loop this clip to get the character to move across the screen.

    Loop Hanks walking

    1. Enable time-remapping

    Select the Hanks-walking layer and right-click select Time > Enable time-remapping

    Open the Expression window for the Hanks-walking layer –  Alt + Click/ Option + Click on stopwatch

    Replace ‘timeRemap’ by this loop expression: loopOut("cycle") and move the keyframe back one frame to 20f

    2. Animate Hanks walking

    Now we are going to move the hanks-walking composition across the screen by animating the position property.

    Now hanks-walking comp to run between 4.14 and 7.12s.

    Start by moving the character off screen and finishing just beside the K-ascender Not too close as there needs to be room for P ascender as well

    3. Add individual body part comps

    We need to finish the animation by transitioning the character into a standing position.

    As our walking character is pre-composed we need to animate inidvidual body parts.

    Drag the individual hanks’ body part compositions e.g [hanks-left-calf] onto the Layers panel of the main scene1 composition,

    Start the timeline for these elements at 7.12.

    As they are 21s comps we need to enable Time Remapping and loop the clips by adding loopOut("cycle") to the Expression window as we did for the Hanks-walking comp

    Reposition the body parts to overlap the hanks-walking comp – this helps us to align the elements and create a smoother transistion.

     4. Animate initividual body parts.

    Once the body parts are aligned start the body part clips at 7.13  and drag their duration out to 18s

    The key to character animation is rotating limbs around realistic joints eg anchor points 

    Use the Pan Behind tool [Y] to position hanks body parts’ anchor points on joint positions, the hank-left-thighs’ anchor points should be positioned at the hip, calves at the knee etc.

    We need to animate the position and rotation of these objects- so click the stopwatch on the Position and Rotation layers for each Hanks body part comp.

    Move the body parts gradually over the next second, to 8.13s,  to transition the figure into a looking up position 
    Straighten the legs and move the torso and head to angle upwards.

    Adding the Second set of titles

    1. Add new text layers

    3 text layers: “A”, “AND” “PRODUCTIONS” in Filmotype Western, 40pt, off-black #262122 

    2 text layers: “Kemp Company” and “Splendid Pictures” in Coolvetica  90pt, off-black #262122 

    Drag down guides to align the text as in the screen grab.

    2. Create the ascenders

    We need to create 3 new shape layers – using the pen tool set to the stroke to the same colour as the font, #262122 and width: 13 px.

    Draw the line for the K , p and the r from the bottom  for k, r ascenders and p descenders. Name the layers accordingly.

    Drag the timelines of the strokes and words to start at 7 s.

    We want to add a trim paths to our r and k ascenders and p descender –add a trim path to each layer and click the stopwatch to animate end values

    For K- ascender, move playhead to 7:15s, set end% to 0%. At 8.14 and change end% to 100%  

    For r-ascender, move playhead to 8s set end% to 0%, at 9s set end% to 100%. For the animation out – set end% at 14:10s:100% and at 15:10s: 0%

    For p-descender move playhead to 9s set end%: 0%, at 10s end%: 100%. For the animation out – set end% at 14s: 100% and at 15s:0%

    3. Fading in the text 


    Add Slow Fade On text effect to ‘Kemp Company’ between 6:12 and 8: 12s and ‘Splendid Pictures’ between 8 and 9.12s

    4. Add an Iris wipe

    We can now pre-compose all these text layers to add a Iris wipe fade as before.

    Select the text layers, right-click > pre-compose and rename ‘titles2’ .

    Duplicate the ‘fade-out text’ mask layer, call it ‘fade-out-text2’ and place above the ‘titles2’ layer.

    Reposition the mask centre below the ‘m’ in kemp and scale up  until the mask sits over all the text – between 8 and 9:10 seconds.

    Scale back down to fade out between 14:06 and 15:03 s

    Set the Track Matte on the ‘titles2’ layer to ‘fade-out-text-2’

    Add aeroplanes

    1. Animate the plane

    Create a new composition – call it ‘airplane-fly’.

    Drag down ‘the airplane/’ object into the Layers panel.

    Position the airplane off the screen in the bottom left-hand corner.

    Animate the airplane position moving through a diagonal line between 0-6s, 

    2. Duplicate the plane

    Drag the ‘airplane-fly’ comp down into the main timeline.

    We are going to duplicate this plane 5 times so we have a number of planes taking off from behind the black lines between 10 and 16 s – scale and flip and move the plane to create variation.

    Once we are happy with the animated plane, we can precomp the layers into one composition layer called ‘airplanes’ to tidy them away.

    Adding the pilot DiCaprio

    There is a composition of pilot DiCaprio walking already made. It’s in a separate After Effects file called ‘decaprio-fig-walking.aep

    1. Import DiCaprio figure animation 

    Import this ‘decaprio-fig-walking.aep, it will appear in your Project Panel 

    Drag it down to the Layers panel, Control + Click the clip in the timeline to view the context menu – and select Markers > Delete all Markers

    Move the starting point of the clip to 11:12s

    Press S to scale the figure down to 30% and position him beside the r-descender

    2. Loop the walking

    Note how our clip is very short. This is because it’s less than a second in length.

    If we want to loop our clip we need to time remap the layer to get the character’s walk looping

    Option + Command + T or Control/Command + Click to get the layer context menu and select Enable Time Remapping under Time

    Alt-Click or or Option-Click the stopwatch to open up the Expression window.

    Replace ‘timeRemap’ expression by this loop expression: loopOut("cycle")

    3. Mask the figure:

    You can now extend the clip to 16s 

    We animate the ‘dicap-walking’ figure moving off screen by animating the x position property by 1000px until the pilot figure is off screen

    As he is appearing from behind the r ascender  line – we need to add a simple mask or trackmatte. 

    Create a new shape layer – call this pilot-mask. In this layer, use the shape tool to draw a rectangle running from the vertical r descender off screen – make it 300x 1000 so we can use it on the K ascender as well.

    Make the mask the same duration as the your pilot clip

    Set the track-matte property on the pilot-dicap-walking layer to alpha-matte – shape1 later,

    Now precomp the layers into a composition and call it ‘pilot-walking’

    4. Animate Hanks to look after DiCaprio

    We also need to animate Hanks moving his head and torso to look after Dicaprio’s pilot.

    Animate the Position andRotation of Hank’s head and torso between 11.22 and 12.22

    Add more pilots

    We need to add several other pilots appearing from behind the ascenders

    Duplicate (Ctrl/Cmd +D) the 'pilot-1' layer in the layers panel.  

    Rename it pilot-2 and drag it to start at the 13s.

    Then we have another pilot come out from behind the k ascender. Duplicate pilot-2 and call it pilot 3.

    Pilot-3 appears from behind the K ascender so move the pilot layer  over to beside the K ascender. Drag the timeline  to start at 15 and then duplicate and stagger the vertical position and appearance of two more pilots from  behind the k.

    Final title sequence

    1. Add text

    Our next titles require 3 text layers:

    A (Filmotype Western,  40px, #262122)

    Parkes/ MacDonald (Coolvetia Bold 90px #262122)

    PRODUCTION (Filmotype Western 40px #262122)

    2. Add a mask

    Precomp these layers so we can add a mask. Call it Title3, drag the timeline to begin at 13s

    Then we are going to reveal the text with the mask.

    Ctrl + D to duplicate  ‘fade-out-text’ mask layer call it ‘fade-in-text3′, drag it so its duration is as same as the title3 layer.

    Select fade-in-text3 layer –press U to reveal  key frames. Reposition the mask to center it over the text and reverse the scale so it is going from 0 to 100%.

    Set the title3 layer Track Matte to ‘fade-in-text3’ 

    3. Animate the ascenders for P l, d

    We duplicate the previous r-ascender layer x 3 – for the p, l d

    Call them  p2- , l- and d- decenders, move them across to align with the letters

    Edit the  trim-path keyframes  End% of these new layers:

    For p2-descender set the end% at 14.23s: 0%   and at 15.23s: 100%

    For l-descender, set the end% at 15:12s: 0% and at 16:12s: 100%

    Co-ordinate the l and the d ascending. For d-descender, set the end% at 16:05: 0% and at 17.05s: 100%

    Cathedral Quarter Tour


    To create a heritage trail app in Belfast Cathedral Quarter that promotes awareness and understanding of the built environment.


    “Look up and discover the rich architecture of Belfast’s former commercial heart”

    The Cathedral Quarter Tour app provides an illustrated guide to the rich architectural heritage of the Cathedral Quarter, an area of cultural and historical importance focused around St Anne’s Cathedral. This area contains many listed buildings which date from the 18th Century to the 1930s. The Cathedral Quarter Tour app recounts the history of these buildings and, through them, the story of the commercial heart of old Belfast.