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Assembling the main comp

From: After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title

Video: Assembling the main comp

Now that I've created these four Extra Video Pre-comps with framed pieces of video already in them, I'll just swap them in for our placeholders in our Final Composition. I'm going to scan somewhere here in time where I can see all my placeholders, twirl up the camera just to save some space on the timeline. Select my Extra 1 placeholder, select Extra Video 1 pre-comp in the project panel and just like replacing footage, I am going to hold Cmd+Opt+/ on Mac or Ctrl+Alt+/ on Windows to replace that placeholder with my composition.

Assembling the main comp

Now that I've created these four Extra Video Pre-comps with framed pieces of video already in them, I'll just swap them in for our placeholders in our Final Composition. I'm going to scan somewhere here in time where I can see all my placeholders, twirl up the camera just to save some space on the timeline. Select my Extra 1 placeholder, select Extra Video 1 pre-comp in the project panel and just like replacing footage, I am going to hold Cmd+Opt+/ on Mac or Ctrl+Alt+/ on Windows to replace that placeholder with my composition.

Now you're seeing the method to my madness, why I build things this way?. Do the same thing for Extra 2, same thing for Extra 3 and same thing for Extra 4. And now I've swapped in all these pre-comps that I've built for my placeholder solids. As I scan through this to see how it looks, I have to admit I'm not as thrilled with that extra video frame as I was originally. I'm going to turn off my Title and Action Safe just to not obscure my view here.

Yeah, I wish this overlapped a bit more here and that little tab is looking a little bit wimpy. Now if I had made four separate frames, I might have to edit all four frames individually but since I've made one master frame, I can edit that one master and changes will ripple through my composition. Remember, this extra frame master, I'll tap the Shift key, is used by each of this extra video comps, which all then feed into one final comp. So how can I make edits to my master frame pre-comp and see the results in the final comp? Well, to do that I'm going to use a trick called Edit This/ Look At That.

To view one thing but edit another, you need to lock the item that you intend to view. So I'll toggle the viewer lock for my Main Comp. Now I need a second view to be able to make my changes to my pre-comp. So I'll add a New Viewer, which is a second comp panel. And in this second viewer, I will open up the Extra Frame Master. And I'll go ahead and change the space proportionally, so I can see a little bit more of my final comp on the left.

I'll select my Extra Video Frame layer, turn on the Mask and Shape Path Visibility, twirl open my Shape layer, Contents, Shape Group. That gives me access to the vertices in the shape layer and I can start editing them. I'm going to start scooting that line over to the left and see over here in my master comp that are now altering the way that frame looks in all of those nested videos. Maybe that's enough. I thought this tab was too small, so I'll select that vertex and Shift+Click on the second one.

Use the right arrow, makes that a little bit wider, but I don't like this either. So I'm going to move that over to fatten up a bit and maybe alter these higher just to create a little less obvious of a notch. This makes really easy to see what I'm doing without having to jump back and forth between different comp panels. Okay, I think I'm liking that shape a little bit better and I think I might shorten this down a little bit, a little less obtrusive, yeah, there we go. And finally I think I'm going to make this tab larger as well.

Great! Once I'm done using these two views side by side I can unlock my Main Viewer, close my second viewer, go back, look at my Final Comp and we did double-click on my work area bar to be able to view my entire composition. Then go ahead and press 0 on the numeric keypad or use this button in the previous panel to RAM Preview my entire work. It's going to take a few seconds to render this whole thing, so I'm going to go ahead and jump ahead to after this render is done, so you can enjoy where we are so far in this project.

(music playing) Well, that was a nice payoff for all of our work. And you can see how nicely that flowed by starting with a bunch of placeholders, then getting an arrangement of layers and camera move that we liked, before working on the final elements we're going to use.

Now that we've gone this far, let's start dressing this up a bit more before we show it to the client. In the next few movies, let's work on making that background look more interesting. But first, don't forget to File>Increment and Save your project.

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