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The quickest way to apply a preset is to double-click the preset in the Effects and Presets panel. However, it does mean that you have to be somewhat familiar with each preset, especially when they have unusual names. If you'd like to preview what the presets look like before you apply them, you can use Adobe Bridge. To do that, first select your text layer. That's important. That way After Effects will know which layer to apply the preset to. Then under the Options menu for Effects and Presets, select Browse presets.
That will open Bridge, if it's not already open, and it will show you all of the presets that come bundled with the program, as well as any folders that you created for your own presets. Now, I'll be showing you later how to save presets. If I double-click Text, I can see all the subfolders that are inside. Now, I've mentioned that all of the animations in the 3D Text folder use Per-character 3D. The advantage of using Bridge is that when you select a preset, on the right-hand side, it shows you a preview of how it looks animating.
There is actually a lot of them to play with. If you're looking to learn more about Per-character 3D, this is the folder you should be exploring first. Usually, the name of the preset will tell you a little bit about what's going to happen. But I am going to go back to the main Text folder, open the Curves and Spin subfolder, and we'll preview a few of these. Some of these are a little wacky, but even if they are a little wacky, you can still learn a few things about using text animators just by examining how they are set up.
I'm going to select a specific animation because we'll be using it in the next example. The one I'm going to apply is called Counter Rotate. To apply it to my selected text layer in After Effects, all I need to do is double-click it in Bridge. After I apply the preset, I'll press U to see what keyframes are applied to the layer. It looks like they have two animators applied, but what I am really noticing is that the keyframes are appearing in the middle of my timeline. It's very important to remember that when you're applying presets, a lot of presets have keyframes attached and those keyframes will begin wherever the Current Time Indicator is parked.
So if you want the keyframes to start at the beginning of the comp, press Home before you start browsing in Bridge, so when you apply the preset, any keyframes will start at the beginning of the comp. By the way, it's very easy to make a mistake and have the Current Time Indicator at the end of the composition. If these keyframes were applied way back here, because that's where my Current Time Indicator was when I applied the preset, if I was to RAM preview, I wouldn't see any animation.
So the first thing to check is if nothing is happening is where is the Current Time Indicator? So if that happens to you, press Home to return to 0, press U to see any of the keyframes, and then you can select them, and you should be able to see the first keyframe, and you can just pull it back, press Shift, and it will snap to 0. Now, when you RAM preview, you can see what the preset is actually doing. Just to sum up, once you're familiar with these animations and you find some favorites that you use over and over, you'll probably find it easier to just apply it directly from the Effects and Presets panel.
But if you'd like to preview what these presets look like when they are animating, select the Options menu and browse the presets in Bridge, and then double-click to apply the preset to your selected layer. At this point, I may decide to preview more animation presets, but eventually I whittle it down to the one I like. So let's say this is the animation I'd like to keep. I'll turn off the Solo button, delete all the other duplicates that I don't need, and now I can work with the preset that I like the best.
In the next movie, I'll show you how to edit this preset, and we'll also make the timing work better with the music.
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