New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation
Illustration by John Hersey

Adding more layers


From:

After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Adding more layers

Now, let's add the background layer to our comp. We're going to use Landscape.mov. I notice if I add it to the composition and drop it, it will snap to the edges, but it will also appear as layer 1, upskewing the title. Of course, this is easy to fix. I can just drag it below the title in the Timeline and now it appears as the background layer. But let me show you how to do this directly. I'll delete the layer, and this time I'll drag Landscape.mov directly to the left-hand side of the Timeline panel.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
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
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Adding more layers

Now, let's add the background layer to our comp. We're going to use Landscape.mov. I notice if I add it to the composition and drop it, it will snap to the edges, but it will also appear as layer 1, upskewing the title. Of course, this is easy to fix. I can just drag it below the title in the Timeline and now it appears as the background layer. But let me show you how to do this directly. I'll delete the layer, and this time I'll drag Landscape.mov directly to the left-hand side of the Timeline panel.

When we use this method a layer will begin at zero and will also automatically be centered in the comp. And I'd like to reduce the opacity of this layer so the top is not quite so dark. So I'll press T for Opacity and then scrub the value, let's say 50%. That should work. Another thing I'd like to do with the background is turn on Lock switch. That means that I can't accidentally select the background when I want to select the title. It also means I can't edit any of the values. So if you want to edit it again, just turn off the Lock switch, edit, and turn it back on again.

The next layer I'd like to add is the Snowflake movie. The Snowflake will appear as the O in the title, and it will animate on a curve into position. Again, if I drag it to the comp panel, it will sit on top of the title. I actually would like it to sit below the title and above the background. So here is a good tip: by dragging it to the left-hand side of the Timeline, you'll be able to choose where in the layer stack it appears--at the top, in between, or below the Landscape layer. Let's drop it in between, so you can see now it's sandwiched between my title and the background layer.

While we're here, let me show you one other method for adding a layer to a comp. I'll take the Snowflake layer and delete it. This time when I add the Snowflake I'll add it to the right-hand side. Again, I can decide where in the layer stack it will be positioned, but I can also decide where its in point will be. As I drag the layer left and right, you'll see a second time indicator following my mouse. The timecode readout on the left- hand side of the Timeline panel will also update as I drag.

When I release the mouse, that timecode will become the in point for the layer. What this means is that layers don't have to begin at zero, so the snowflake only appears as it passes the in point. Of course I can change the layer's in point simply by dragging the layer back and forth. The new in and out points are also updated in the Info panel. Just be careful not to drag the end of the layer; that actually trims it. This layer I actually want to start at 0, so I'm going to show you a shortcut. Press the Option key on Mac or Alt key on Windows and press Home.

Option+Home sends a layer back to start at zero. In the next movie, I'll animate the snowflake along a curve and drop it into position.

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.
Upgrade now


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 Upgrade now

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?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

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 preferencesfrom 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.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Notes cannot be added for locked videos.

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.