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Whenever you’re finished with a project, you should probably archive. Archiving in After Effects is a relatively straightforward process. The advantage of using the archiving tools is the fact that you can generate a searchable document that’ll help you more easily find your files after you finish working with a project. So archive this project, let's go up under the File menu and go to Dependencies. Let's choose Collect Files. In the Collect Files dialog box, the very first pull down says all.
Let's go ahead and click on that. You have a couple different options. You can collect all the files that you imported in your After Effects project. Or, if you imported more than you think you need, you can just choose For All Comps. Then, you'll only deal with the footage that you actually used in any of your compositions. If you had a composition selected in the Project panel, you could choose For Selected Comps. Or if you have something in the render queue, you could say for the queued cobs. Now this option at the bottom will archive only the project. It won't copy any of the source files.
That can be helpful if you know that your footage of lives on a different drive and all you're trying to do is just get a copy of the project. I'll leave ours set for All Comps. You can also generate a report only. But to better understand reports, we'll explain that after we complete the archiving process. The next thing we should check out is down here towards the bottom left corner. The Collect Files function will tell you exactly how many files will be collected, and how much space they're going to take up on your hard drive. It even keeps track of how many effects were used. This is extraordinarily helpful when you're not sure if you have all the same effects on different systems.
For example, if you had third party plug ins associated with this project, you would figure that out here. Now let's go down, and click the Comments button. This is where you want to write as much information as possible about your project. This way, it'll automatically get added into a report once we collect all the files. This gives you a simple text document, or a text file, that your system can easily search. I recommend definitely adding comments any time you use the collect files function. Let's click OK. Now we can click Collect.
When we go to Collect, it's going to ask us where we'd like to collect this footage. Now, just for the sake of this example, I'm going to collect it right onto the Desktop. Notice it'll name it the same name as your project, and just add the word Folder. That's fine by me, so I'll just go ahead and click Save. Now once the project's saved, your computer should open up to the folder that was created. Now, let's look at this text file that was generated. I'll double-click on the text file. Ad in here, notice it's a simple text report.
It gives me the name of the project, when it was created, where the files were located. Exactly which compositions were collected, the number of files, how much space. It's a full rundown. This is an excellent resource. The biggest thing that I love is the fact that it lists every single effect that was used in the project. Again, this is really helpful when you're using third party filters. Now, I'll go ahead and close this project, and we'll just jump back into the finder one last time. Notice the folder that collected the file has the After Effects project and it has a footage folder.
Where everything is organized the way I had it set up in my original source project. So in here, we'll have a nice self-contained project that's easy enough to archive. Go ahead and just make sure you choose the first major overarching folder, and that's the project that you'll archive.
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