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hi I'm Ben Marriott I make weekly motion design tutorials and this week
I'm going to be showing you how to create more natural drop shadows and
that super hypnotic lighting effect all in After Effects let's begin
ok, to start, we have this animation which is made with simple ellipse shape layers and the
animation is all done with the ellipse size layer property all of these are
white but you can't tell them apart without the drop shadow so I drop the opacity
just so you can see where the base animation looks like so let's bring that
opacity back up to 100% so they're all white drop shadows have long been
associated with heinous nineties word odd type treatment and effects but they
can be used to create really natural-looking shadows if they use the
right way the key is to use multiple drop shadows and to stack the effects to
get more control over how they look and create a more natural fall-off as the
light sort of disperses along a surface so it's just one of these layers
selected here I'm going to add the drop shadow effect over here in the effects
panel and the first one is going to be very tight to our shape so let's have
the softness at something like 4% and set the distance at around 2 pixels so if we
zoom in you can see that this just barely creeps out of the edge of a shape
layer and let's lower the opacity to 30% as well because we're gonna be stacking
our effects, this will get much darker and for the direction we're going to do something a
little tricky to be able to control all the instances of this overall our layers
kind of like a global light so first we're going to create a new adjustment
layer and let's call that controller because we always label our layers let's
put that to the top of our layers here and now we're going to add a slider
effect from over here in the effects panel now the slider effect as it is now
does absolutely nothing at all similar to a null it's a blank property that we
can use to control various other effects so we're going to parent our direction
to this slider control here to do that we're going to toggle down here until we
get our effect and a slider control and we're going to do the same with our
radiating circle till we get the drop shadow effect
and distance let's drag this up so we can see them both at once
now anything you see in the effect penalty control is also available down
here you just need to open up a few things down here and route around to
find it now with both of these open we're gonna Alt or Option, click the
stopwatch next to direction here to bring up our expressions panel but don't
don't worry we're only gonna use the pick whip and we're gonna select the
pick whip and drag it over to the slider here there we go now as you can see we
release that drop shadow disappeared because it's taking the direction as
zero from the slider which it is now now you can see if we grab this property and
drag it out you can see a drop shadow spins around which is exactly what we
want and we're gonna do some animation with that later but for now let's leave
that if we attach that now rather than later because every time we copy that
effect which we're going to be doing on all of these layers multiple times that
expressions will be there with it all along so we can adjust this control at
any point and a little control all the instances of that drop shadow effect so
back in our main circle layer here now let's duplicate this drop shadow
effect by pressing control D let's make the distance 10 to bring it out a little
and let's make the softness 50 much softer
there we go now it's got another drop shadow effect now let's duplicate that
again make the distance 40 and let's make the softness 140 and let's take the
opacity down to 25% to make this one a little more subtle
now let's duplicate that once more and increase the distance to 80 and let's
increase the softness way up to 300 and let's drop the opacity down to 20% too
there we go now a tall object will cast a much longer shadow so you'll need
to have larger distances and maybe sort of a piece of paper resting on another
surface I'll have a much shorter shadow so from here you can adjust the fall-off
to see your needs and maybe even reduce the number of shadows I think 3 is a
good amount you can obviously use as many as you want to have more control but I
think 3 or 4 is probably good for most users the render time will just
absolutely explode the more and more effects you put on
now if we play that back you see we've got this nice natural shadow all
around our layer now here's where the fun with the slider
control comes in you can see if we move this around forget this effect as if our
light is sort of spinning around above these objects here or off to the side of
these objects so we can keyframe that so that will loop throughout this entire
composition so let's keyframe the beginning up here
at zero and let's press U to bring up that property here and over to the end of our comp we
want that to be a multiple of 360 which means it will loop seamlessly so we can
type in 360 here and After Effects can do some basic mathematical properties in
here as well so I'm going to type in two times four or asterisks four which means
times press ENTER and now After Effects will do all the maths for me so if we
drag to the beginning and play back you can see spinning around wonderfully
excellent now from here to get this effect on all our other layers we just
need to select our main circle layer select the top effect layer hold shift
select the bottom one to select them all press ctrl C to copy and let's select
all that other surface down here I'm going to ctrl click our main circle
layer because we don't want to copy those effects again onto that one
because it already has the effects applied and press ctrl V to paste look
at that all of our effects are applied let's watch your back
all right now you can see but I'm not a good lighting effect applied to all of these layers
and you can see now how linking up the direction to this control layer in the
beginning has saved us so much time here if we decided now that we wanted to you
know do this effect now we'd have to go into all of these layers and to all of
these effects and link them all up like that which we don't want to do you want
to save yourself as much time as possible when animating now I'm also
going to add this little character I've got hidden up here and so when I
post it to Instagram it's something a little more interesting than just some
rotating circles and it's a water drop because the effect is a drop shadow a
drop cleverest thing I've ever done you can do this stacking method with the
drop shadow in most of the software, in Photoshop and even in Illustrator just
create multiples of the drop shadow and just adjust them and sort of feather
them out and as you add in effect just sort of disperse it a little more and make
it a little softer and give you more options to control the fall-off really
the project file for this is available for download down in the description and
if you use this drop shadow technique please tag me on instagram at
ben_marriott, so i can take a look and share it in my stories i
can't wait to see what you make please let me know down in the comments what
tutorials you'd like to see next in this channel don't forget to subscribe hit
that Bell icon share and shadow shadow that like button hit that like button
hit the like button I'll see you next week