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After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation
Illustration by John Hersey

Adding a layer to a comp


From:

After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Adding a layer to a comp

At the end of the last movie, we were previewing our sources in the Footage panel. So here again is where you can look at your footage without actually using them in an animation. You'll notice the Footage panel docks in the same frame as the Composition panel. Since I don't want you to get confused, go ahead and close the Footage panel, leaving just the Composition panel open. To add layers to a composition, an easy way is to learn this shortcut: File > Add Footage to Comp. The shortcut is Command+Slash on Mac, Ctrl+Slash on Windows.

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After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation
2h 19m Beginner Jan 25, 2011 Updated Nov 09, 2012

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Trish Meyer leads beginners through a gentle introduction to Adobe After Effects: from creating a new project and importing sources, through arranging and animating layers, applying effects, and creating variations, to rendering the final movie. However, this is no paint-by-numbers exercise. Trish demonstrates how she makes creative decisions and saves time through the use of keyboard shortcuts and smart working practices. Additional movies explain further details about how After Effects works under the hood. Her measured pace helps even those completely new to After Effects understand the program so that they can use it effectively on their own projects. Exercise files are included with the course.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.

Topics include:
  • Starting a project from scratch
  • Building a composition
  • Arranging and transforming layers interactively and numerically
  • Animating parameters including motion paths
  • Applying and re-using effects
  • Creating variations and rendering the final movie
  • Importing layered Photoshop files
  • Understanding alpha channels
  • Avoiding common mistakes
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Adding a layer to a comp

At the end of the last movie, we were previewing our sources in the Footage panel. So here again is where you can look at your footage without actually using them in an animation. You'll notice the Footage panel docks in the same frame as the Composition panel. Since I don't want you to get confused, go ahead and close the Footage panel, leaving just the Composition panel open. To add layers to a composition, an easy way is to learn this shortcut: File > Add Footage to Comp. The shortcut is Command+Slash on Mac, Ctrl+Slash on Windows.

The advantage to using this shortcut is that it adds the layer to the center of our composition. But let me undo, and I'll show you another way to do that. If you drag your source to a composition before you release the mouse, you'll notice that it has a tendency to snap to the center of the comp. It also wants to snap to all of the edges. So if you want it centered, just find that snappy behavior and then release the mouse. However, once you release the mouse, it no longer will snap to the center or the edges.

If you want that behavior back, here is how you do it. Start moving the layer first, and then press Command+Shift on Mac, or Ctrl+Shift on Windows, and it will have that snappy behavior again. If you remember, this layer had a drop shadow, which we can't see on our black background. So let's change the background color to white. In CS5, you'll find that under Composition Settings. In CS4, there is a separate menu item under Composition called Background Color. In the Basic tab, click on the swatch beside Background Color, and this will open the Adobe color picker.

One nice feature in CS5 is it'll preview the color that you're about to pick. We're going to just set it to white. We'll click OK and OK again.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation.


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Q: This course was updated on 11/09/2012. What changed?
A: We added new movies on using the exercise files that come with this course, and working with the Global Performance Cache in After Effects CS6. We have also added exercise files designed for After Effects CS6.
 
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