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Plz Help: Weather Forecast Creation

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Chaz Wren
Plz Help: Weather Forecast Creation
on Oct 8, 2009 at 12:04:18 pm

I'm fairly new to After Effects and was wondering if someone could point me in the direction of a good tutorial for creating a weather forecast (ie. animated map with clouds/suns etc.)
<img src="">

[I'm planning on creating a mock, tongue in cheek weather forecast, and chroma keying a presenter onto it as part of a music video for a song about the weather.]

I'm quite competent with Photoshop and Illustrator as well as Motion and FCP but haven't yet dabbled in AE, and was wondering if this would be a project ideally suited to AE.
I could knock up a map in Photoshop fairly easily buy wasn't sure if that's the best starting point or not? Basically, I'm clueless :)

It'd be great to see a video turorial, but if not, any tips, tricks and advice would be great cos I've no idea where to start.

Thanks in advance for any help!!

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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Plz Help: Weather Forecast Creation
on Oct 8, 2009 at 1:21:09 pm

Chaz -
You're right on the money when it comes to thinking of Photoshop and Illustrator first. I've designed and created many weather map elements, but in "real" systems, the map data generally comes from a feed from WSI or some other weather data provider. Generally the look of the map is a realistic aerial map (check out your local weather forecast for ideas) with bump mapped features.

The other pieces come from Photoshop, Illustrator, or After Effects (if you want animated icons - which is pretty much what everyone is doing these days). I'd start out in Photoshop or Illustrator with the base icon, then, if you want it animated, bring it into After Effects, and create each in in a separate comp. You can do the animations, with the sun as an example, by putting a lens flare behind the sun, or distortion animating the rays, if your rays were done as still elements. Rain icons are pretty easy - AE has a rain plugin, I believe, and it's a simple matter to grab a still shot of a real cloud (or paint one, if you've got the talent) and bring it in to AE and add the rain. Lightning is built into AE as well. It's just a matter of doing your research, checking out what's on the tube, and deciding whether you want photo-real or iconic weather elements. The isobars, if you use them, can be done in Illustrator, then brought in and warped in AE.

This should give you a good start. Just use the sources that are out in the real world to give you a starting point. I assume you know that you have to shoot your "meteorologist" on a greenscreen, then key him/her in AE.

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia

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Todd Kopriva
Re: Plz Help: Weather Forecast Creation
on Oct 8, 2009 at 3:08:48 pm

If you're new to After Effects, I recommend that you start by working your way through the items under the "Getting started" heading on this page. We see a lot of people on this forum who dive into the deep end without learning the basics first and then waste a lot of their own time thrashing about.

Regarding your specific project: You'll need to do some color keying, and you'll need to create and animate the cloud and sun shapes. For the shapes, I'd use shape layers, which are layers that contain vector graphics elements that you create and animate in After Effects.

See "Keying introduction and resources". Note that most of the pain in color keying work comes from bad planning and bad shooting; the post-production work can actually be relatively easy if you acquire the footage right.

See "About shapes and shape layers".

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
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