Thursday 9 July 2020

Youtube Journey Part 2 - Adobe After Effects & InDesign - My Crash Course

Adobe After Effects and InDesign - My Crash Course

Youtube Journey Part 2

Adobe After Effects & InDesign

My Crash Course

I was going to do this yesterday for Writerly Wednesday, but I was distracted by making birthday cupcakes for a friend. So today it is!

Now I threw together a banner and a logo for the my shiny new YouTube channel, Tales With Tasha, in Photoshop pretty sharpish as soon as I set it up, but I knew doing anything for actual vids would be harder.

When I started out I knew two things:
  1. I didn't just want to film me reading things. I want part of each vid to be live action, but I remember the Disney page turning format very fondly and wanted something along those lines for the stories. Also helps with accessibility.
  2. I wanted a short little logo animation to segue from live action to the story.
My first thought was Adobe After Effects.

Of course, then I hit my first problem - I had never even opened After Effects before πŸ˜‚. However, never let it be said that this has ever stopped me in the past. I taught myself how to use Photoshop using turtorials, how much harder could this be?

This is harder than I thought - From New Amsterdam

Okay, so maybe a bit harder 😎. The thing about After Effects is its for animators and people who understand film terms and I don't, well I've picked up a little now. Never fear, however, because the lovely creators of YouTube have wonderful channels with step by step tutorials on just about everything. I love them.

Endeavour 1 - My Page Turning Book

So I knew I wanted a book with pages that turn, and I found one plugin and several tutorials, but none of them were quite right. In the end this one popped up, thank heavens:

It also isn't quite right, but it does have all the elements I needed so that after following it I could figure out how to create what I wanted. It also allowed me to understand how everything goes together.

For example, I had no idea that when you import images, if you change them on the disc, they are changed in the animation too. This is a revelation to me, and I assume it is actually a setting, like importing the mp3 files into Audition etc.
  • Stage 1 - Follow Tutorial Exactly
  • Stage 2 - Tutorial pages turn backwards for some reason, so figure out how to make them turn forwards.
  • Stage 3 - Figure out how to create page content.
It was Stage 3 that was the hard part.

Page Content

First Idea - Photoshop:

  1. Create a base template
  2. Place text
  3. format text
  4. Rinse and repeat
Only problem - with 2K words per story, this was going to be slow!

Next Idea - InDesign

which I had also never used 😝.

2 most useful things about InDesign
  1. We can import a preformatted Word Doc and it will automatically paginate for us.
  2. We can export all pages as images.
This is the tutorial for I used to find out how to do #1 - Pretty Fabulous Designs has some great turtorials for doing all sorts of things.

The plan was growing! Mwuahahah!!!!

Gary Oldman as Dracula - Evil Laugh

Third Thought - Plain White Pages are Boring

I found some wonderful page textures on by Annie Spratt. She also has some other fabulous photos, but it was the large number of textures I was after this time.

For this I did use Photohop, creating a template for left and right pages with shadows in the margin so it looks a little 3D. Not a lot 3D, but a little πŸ˜‰

These can then be used as backgrounds for the pages in InDesign.

The End Result

Anyway, I played and fiddled and now have a format I can easily customise for each video. This is a very short demo to show what I mean.

I can customise everything I need to:
  • Background
  • Page content
  • Book style
  • Page turning interval
So it should do as a template.

The Plan

  1. Format the story to be animated in Word with the correct size font (I have to play with these anyway to get them ready for reading, so it's only a tiny little step more).
  2. Set up an InDesign layout with the background of choice depending on story content.
  3. Import Word file into InDesign.
  4. Add any extra formatting.
  5. Export pages to PNG
  6. Import into After Effects project and set pages to have the correct content.
  7. Use recording to set page turn intervals.
  8. Add pretty background behind the book to please YouTube's algorithm.

Endeavour 2 - My Animated Logo

This one was actually much simpler - I went through Youtube looking at tutorials, found one I liked and went with it.

This was the tutorial I chose in the end:

And here is what my animated logo looks like:

Now I just have to teach myself how to use After Effects in Premier Pro 😎.
Oh and actually film the bits and format all the stories I have planned etc, etc, etc ...

So, y'know, just a bit of stuff. πŸ˜‚

How is everyone else doing? Any interesting projects going on? Do you have a YouTube channel?

Friday 3 July 2020

Free Fiction Friday - The Cop, The Vampire, and National Security by Natasha Duncan-Drake

The Cop, The Vampire, and National Security by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Free Fiction Friday

The Cop, The Vampire, and National Security by Natasha Duncan-Drake

It is the first Friday in July which can mean only one thing - Free Fiction Friday!

Every month we offer our subscribers a free short story for them to download at their leisure. We upload it in the following formats, so there is something for everyone:
  • PDF
  • ePub
  • Mobi
  • AZW3
The links are also placed in the final welcome email to our newsletter, so anyone who joins up after the monthly email has gone out still gets a copy of this month's story.

Snoopy reading a book and laughing

This Month's Story

The Cop, The Vampire, and National Security
by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Matt Plumber was a detective with the Met, but his career is functionally over. Breaking an international drug ring with ties inside the Met and the Foreign Office has cost him his partner and his reputation. However, while in hospital suffering from a gunshot wound, he has a rather unusual supporter in the form of Sister Bashir who is far older than she looks. 


Sexy Stories 13

This week also saw the exciting finale for season 1 of The Manor - the paranormal series from Virginia Waytes (my alter ego) for a more adult audience.

Josh is back at The Manor, but is he safe? There is still the magic bound inside him to deal with and there is the question of where his uncle's dark witch disappeared to and what she will do next. Danger still looms.