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

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

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.
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation
2h 19m Beginner Jan 25, 2011 Updated Nov 09, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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
Subject:
Video
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 .


Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
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.
 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.