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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
The first step in any After Effects project is that we want to bring stuff into After Effects. We call this process Importing. Now there are many ways to import files. We could go to File > Import > File, or we could also right-click inside the Project panel and choose Import > File. We could also choose Multiple Files. We could import recent footage. But the easiest way to import is to simply find a blank spot in the Project panel, like this area down here, and just double-click. Now inside the Exercise Files, if you're following along, there is a Media folder.
This contains all of the folders for the different types of media that we'll use throughout this training series organized, sorted by category. So, go to the Video folder, and you'll find two files here: PRECOMP background and PRECOMP video. Now we could select one of them and click Open. We could also double-click one of them to bring things into the Project panel. As you can probably see, there are multiple ways to do most things in After Effects. So, what I'm actually going to do here though is click on one of these. And since I know I need to import both of them, I'm going to hold the Shift key down and click the other one.
So, both PRECOMP background and PRECOMP video are selected. Go ahead and click Open to bring those in. Now you can see that these elements are in our Project panel. We could use them in our Composition, which is exactly what we're going to be doing later on in this chapter. For now though, before we move on to that, this has started to look cluttery. As you could tell, before we imported these things were nice and orderly. I've created folders, which we'll talk about doing, but you can do with the bottom of the Project panel by clicking this little Folder icon here. But for now, just go ahead and click on these elements, the PRECOMP video and background files we just imported, and drag them into the Video folder, like this.
So, now if we open up the Video folder by clicking this little sideways arrow, we could open up that folder and see that these are nicely stored in the Video folder, all nice and tidy and organized. Organization is something that you'll hear me talk a lot about through this training series. It's not something that you're probably super concerned about as a new After Effects user, but trust me, if you want to use this tool professionally, it gets really big and hairy and scary and overwhelming very, very quickly. So, get in the habit of making good workflow habits now, by getting and staying organized with your projects.
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