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Using the Roto Brush tool in Adobe After Effects CS5

Article Description

This excerpt from Adobe After Effects CS5 Classroom in a Book shows you how to use the new Roto Brush tool in After Effects CS5, which is much faster than conventional rotoscoping, and for movies with complex backgrounds, much easier than keying.

Getting started

In this lesson, you’ll create an end credit logo treatment for the Casa Luna Wildlife Sanctuary. You will use the Roto Brush tool to remove the flamingo from the background, animate the layers and text, and add an audio file to the animation.

Before you begin, preview the movie you’re creating.

  1. Make sure the following files are in the AECS5_CIB/Lessons/Lesson09 folder on your hard disk, or copy them from the Adobe After Effects CS5 Classroom in a Book DVD now:
    • In the Assets folder: Flamingo.mov, Peacock.jpeg, VO.mp3
    • In the Sample_Movie folder: Lesson09.mov
  2. Open and play the Lesson09.mov sample movie to see the animated bumper you will create in this lesson. When you are done, quit QuickTime Player. You may delete this sample movie from your hard disk if you have limited storage space.

    When you begin the lesson, restore the default application settings for After Effects. See “Restoring default preferences” on page 3.

  3. Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift (Mac OS) while starting After Effects CS5 to restore default preference settings. When asked whether you want to delete your preferences file, click OK. Click Close to close the Welcome screen.

    After Effects opens to display a new, untitled project.

  4. Choose File > Save As.
  5. In the Save As dialog box, navigate to the AECS5_CIB/Lessons/Lesson09/Finished_Project folder.
  6. Name the project Lesson09_Finished.aep, and then click Save.

Creating the composition

You need to import three footage items for this exercise, and then create a composition.

  1. Double-click an empty area of the Project panel to open the Import File dialog box.
  2. Navigate to the AECS5_CIB/Lessons/Lesson09/Assets folder. Shift-click to select the Flamingo.mov, Peacock.jpeg, and VO.mp3 files, and then click Open.
  3. Drag the Flamingo.mov item onto the Create a New Composition button (new_composition.jpg) at the bottom of the Project panel.

    After Effects creates a composition named Flamingo, based on settings in the Flamingo.mov file. The composition is five seconds long and uses the NTSC DV preset. The Flamingo composition has one layer: Flamingo.mov.

  4. Choose File > Save to save your work.
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