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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Intro to Adobe After Effects
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Creating a Composition

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Creating a Composition 0:05
    • Compositions Settings
    • Element Preparation
    • Importing Files
    • Relinking Files
    • Precompose

Transcription: Creating a Composition

Hi, welcome back to This next lesson is on creating a composition.0000

First thing we want to do is check out the composition settings.0006

So, let us jump over to After Effects.0009

Before we actually get started in building a composition we need to check the settings.0010

So, if we make a new comp up here we are going to go to composition, new composition.0016

And here is our prompt window and we can name it.0023

We can check out the different presets.0027

We can set the dimensions here. The pixel aspect ratio is in here.0031

And we can set the frame rate, the resolution and the duration.0038

You can also set the color of the background.0043

Some people like to leave it black or white as a default.0047

You might want to leave a specific color.0051

You can go in here and check your code of background.0052

For instance, if I were to make it green, red scale through the color picker.0056

So, that is your comp settings.0062

We also want to talk about element preparation.0067

That just basically means the artwork.0071

The pipeline between any Adobe products, for instance.0074

Whether it is Illustrator or Photoshop.0079

You want to make sure that the artwork in those layers are prepped before you bring it in After Effects.0081

So, real quickie let us open up one of these Photoshop files for this project.0088

Here is one here. Here are the bullet holes.0097

Now, these are going to pop up.0100

They are going to import into the After Effects the same way they are prepared.0102

So, here we have three layers, you know, bullet hit one, two and three.0106

So, for instance, if I wanted to alter this or clean this up or change the color.0114

I can do that here in Photoshop and they are going to import this way into After Effects.0120

Let me open another one here. We, kind of, examine on this.0127

Here we have a logo. A Six gun Sally logo.0131

We have the six, the gun, a little bar thing here and Sally.0136

So, this are all have been prepared for After Effects.0142

Let me close that.0149

OK, now that we have talked about prepping files for After Effects.0153

Let us try to import files. Jump over to After Effects.0158

So, we have a blank After Effects project now.0162

What we are going to do is we are going to file, import, where we can hit Command-I.0166

And it prompts your window and we are going to navigate to where we keep the artwork. So, in this case elements, art.0173

Let us bring in the bullet holes file.0180

So, it is going to give you some options here too.0185

I usually leave this checked here except for files.0188

And we are going to import this document as a set of footage in actual composition.0192

What that means is going to import the Photoshop document as a composition ready to go, all layered, which you will see in a second here.0198

So, we hit open. Go back to the composition.0205

We click open. Let us keep this the same and here we go.0209

There it is in your project folder.0217

Now, if we double-click bullet holes, there it is.0219

It is exactly the way we had in Photoshop.0226

You think why does it have a black background?0228

That is just because these are on actual alpha channels and we have black selected as our color.0230

If I click this button here for the transparency grid. Similar to Photoshop, it shows the transparency background.0236

If I want to change the color.0244

We can go to Command-K for our comp settings. This is our comp settings window again.0248

We can change that to white and there we go. Look just like the Photoshop document.0254

Let me change this to half resolution for now.0261

So, you can see, it kind of imported everything just the way we had it in Photoshop.0265

If I open this up, it shows the actual layers.0268

Let me pull this open a little more here.0274

And we can pull windows here to see the name.0277

And there is bullet hole one, two or three.0279

Let us import something again.0287

This time I am going to hit Command-I.0289

And let us bring in the SGS Six gun Sally logo layers. Click on this here.0292

And what will bring in is a composition again.0301

Let us check composition retain layer sizes just so I can show you this way of importing.0304

Click OK. So, I am going to double-click.0310

So, what it does, you can see it imports the folder where the layers are kept.0315

And then we have the actual composition that it makes for you.0320

So, we can double-click this layer and it pops open.0324

The Six gun Sally logo there. And there is the six, the gun, the bar and the Sally.0329

Again, if we just want to see this but with a different color we are going to hit Command-K.0337

We can change the color if need be. There we go.0345

So, this kind of gives you an idea of how we import files into After Effects.0352

So, we covered importing.0362

Now, relinking files is kind of tricky.0364

What that basically means is that there are times when a file is moved out of its source folder.0370

And After Effects is OMG, where is that file?0380

And what will happen is. Let me show you an example.0384

If I were to go to the source folder where we keep these files.0388

I will go into elements, art, bullet holes.0394

And I am going to move this Photoshop document out of its source folder here.0400

Let us say I move it over here, into this folder here.0406

Now, if I go back in the After Effects.0412

And let us say I go to save it, for instance. I will just give this a name like test.0420

It is already saying Hey there are three files missing. Where are they?0429

So, if I were to actually close this project and then reopen it again.0436

I have got recent projects here. There is my bullet holes.0445

You get our little color grid here and it is saying we do not know where the files are.0453

So, what we are going to do here to relink the footage is.0459

We are going to go into the project folder here and we are going to control click and go to reload footage.0462

Now, nothing happens. It is basically saying we do not know where it is at, still.0476

So, we are going to go to replace footage and we are going to navigate to that folder.0479

Now, the folder is still left loosely in this elements folder.0496

So, let us hit cancel and let us, temporally, jump over to our finder menu.0501

And let us put this back into the folder that belongs in, Bullet hole. Leave it there.0507

Now, we can go and relink the footage.0515

So, we are going to go to replace folder, replace footage and we are going to navigate through art, bullet holes and click open.0519

So, you get the window that says previous missing items have been found.0531

So, we are relinked. It just needs to reconnect to that path.0537

Now, another thing you can do too is if you pull this window open here you can see the path here.0540

It will show you the file path and where these are kept. Pretty much with anything here.0549

I go here. Open it up more here.0554

That will show you the exact path. A little trick there.0559

So, that is kind of how you relink footage.0566

Do not panic when it happens.0568

That is why, again, it is good to leave the files in your source folders.0570

You create the folders. They stay there.0574

And later on we will teach you how to recollect the resource folders when you are going to another project or another computer.0577

Alright, so, pre-compose is similar to Photoshop.0588

Pre-composing you are going to use a lot in After Effects.0596

So, I will give you a quick little demonstration before we get any further into After Effects training.0600

Pre-compose is like merging layers in Photoshop.0608

Now, when you have several layers in Photoshop you are committed to the look of it or your grouping layers.0612

You know, Command-G in Photoshop.0618

Let us say you have 10 layers. But you do not want to delete them so you group them.0620

Same thing in After Effects only we call it pre-composing.0625

So, then we open up the other project we are working on here.0628

And let us say we are in our main comp here.0640

So, I am going to open up one of these layers here.0649

So, these are all pre-composited layers here.0653

Each one of these if I double-click, like in here, Bullet hits.0659

You know, we have three bullets plus lot of effects with the bullets.0663

But, they are all nested in this one composition.0667

So, if I double-click this it opens up this composition called Bullet hits.0669

And you can see they are all nested.0675

So, you keep nesting within a comp, within a comp, within a comp.0676

And you will know when to do it because it gets too.0679

Within this composition there are 7 layers.0681

So, if we are going to master composition here.0686

That would be 7 layers. It will get so overwhelming when you are working.0690

So, it is good to pre-comp things when you need to.0694

Let us go back into these Bullet hits.0698

So, to pre-comp a layer, which we will show you a little quick here.0701

Let us just make up a little composition here.0707

So, I am going to go into elements and let us just make a new composition from scratch here.0715

It is good to have to keep doing this.0725

Let us go 1280 by 720. This is all good here.0729

Click OK. So, let us throw in these Bullet holes.0737

Now, to bring these layers into the composition, you can either drag them over manually.0745

Or you can Command-/. It pops them in there.0754

Or you can just drag them right down here into the timeline.0762

So, now there are all in there.0768

I am going to shrink these down a bit, real quick.0770

I am going to hit S for scale. So we have three bullet holes.0774

I would like this to all be into one pre-comp.0782

So, basically, we are going to select them all. While they are selected you are going to hit pre-compose.0785

The quick command for that is Shift-Command-C.0792

And it is saying, hey should we keep all these into one composition?0797

I leave this check most of the time.0803

Move all attributes into new composition and you give it a new name.0805

Here, let us just call it Bullet hits. Let me hit Bullet hits test.0809

And so what happened here is those three layers have now merged into one layer.0820

You can still access those layers individually just by clicking here. And there you go.0825

Alright, well thank you for watching on I look forward to our next lesson0833