Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
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ENHANCING THE ILLUSION
WITH MAPS
Many of the more powerful effects in After Effects have proper-
ties that can be controlled with other layers. Some effects, such as
Displacement Map, absolutely require these controller layers to
work correctly. These layers that are used as controllers are often
referred to as maps. Once you're familiar with an effect, master-
ing maps is what you need to take them to the next level. In this
chapter, we're going to look at a few options that might help you
when controlling effect properties with maps.
Making Maps in After Effects
Frequently, maps are made right here in After Effects. And
it makes sense, as there are some great tools for the job. There
are gradient creators such as 4-Color Gradient, Ramp, and the
Gradient Overlay layer style. There are grayscale pattern genera-
tors such as Fractal Noise and Cell Pattern. There is also a very
powerful painting engine, which shares many features with the
painting features in Adobe Photoshop.
Precomposing Maps
When making maps in After Effects, it is often (though not
always) necessary to precompose the layers that the effects or
painting are on. If this is not done, effects will often ignore the
map layer's effects, painting, and layer styles and instead look at
the layer's source content. This is because of the order in which
objects are rendered. To “bake” the effects, layer styles, and
painting into a layer, precompose it by selecting the layer and
going to the Layer menu and selecting Pre-compose (at the bot-
tom). You can also use the handy shortcut Ctrl+Shift+C (Win)/
Cmd+Shift+C (Mac). You'll also want to make sure to choose the
second option (move all attributes into the new composition) in
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