Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Building an extra-wide composition

From: After Effects Apprentice 08: Nesting and Precomposing

Video: Building an extra-wide composition

Chris Meyer: Let's open our first exercise file. I'll go to File > Open Project and if you have the exercise files that came with this lesson, select AEA_Nesting_1-Grouping.aep. If instead you are working from my book, After Effect Apprentice 2nd Edition, we're in Lesson 6 and you want to open up the project file 06 Nesting1.aep. I'll click Open and let's see where we're going with this. I'm going to open up Finished Movie. Double-click Human Main_final which will open it in this Footage panel.

Building an extra-wide composition

Chris Meyer: Let's open our first exercise file. I'll go to File > Open Project and if you have the exercise files that came with this lesson, select AEA_Nesting_1-Grouping.aep. If instead you are working from my book, After Effect Apprentice 2nd Edition, we're in Lesson 6 and you want to open up the project file 06 Nesting1.aep. I'll click Open and let's see where we're going with this. I'm going to open up Finished Movie. Double-click Human Main_final which will open it in this Footage panel.

If you're using After Effect CS4, hold Option on Mac or Alt on Windows and double click to get in this panel and I'll press 0 of the numeric keypad to RAM preview. What I've here is multiple copies of this image sequence of the Muybridge man walking, all moving as a group across my screen. I could duplicate this clip multiple times and animate each one individually, but that's just asking for trouble, particularly if the client wants to change the speed later on, I want to scale them up or scale them down, etcetera.

Far better would be to create a special composition that already have all these lined up and spaced up properly, then animated as one single unit and that's what we're going to do by nesting a composition into another. I'll stop playback, twirl open this Sources folder, and let's look in this Muybridge sequence. Each individual sequence is 270 pixels wide by 500 tall. It has a pixel aspect ratio of 1.00. So each pixel is tall as it is wide. The sequence has a duration of 10 seconds and a frame rate of 10 frames per second.

Great! Let's create a composition and I'll hold eight of these. I'm going to select my Comps folder to make sure any new comp I make is sorted into this folder and go to Composition > New Composition. The shortcut is Command+N on Mac, Ctrl+N on Windows. Since my source uses square pixels, I'm going to use Square Pixels for this composition. That way I'll view it without distortion. Make sure Lock Aspect Ratio is turned off, because this composition-- we have a very unusual aspect much wider than it is tall. I need my Height to be 500 to equal one of this image sequences, but my Width needs to be 270 times 8, at least that wide to support 8 of these side-by-side.

That gives me a width of 2160 pixels. However, that's just enough space to butt this up against each other. I think it'll look better design wise to have a little bit of gap in between. So I'm going to make this a little bit bigger, say 2300 to begin with. In general, you will find out that it's better to sort out too large or too long, such as 10 seconds, because it's easier to trim down later than it is to add on space or add on duration later on. So ten seconds matches the duration of my clip, start at 0, 10 frames a second to match my sequence, and now I've got a good starting size.

Let's give it a name that makes sense. Such as Figures_group and press OK. This very wide comp has as a hard time fitting into my Composition panel. So I'm going to rearrange my user interface to try to open up as much room as I can for this comp and I'm unable to widen it out enough so I can see at least 50% which isn't too bad. I'll drag my first image sequence into this window and it will automatically snap into a corner which is very handy. But now I need to duplicate several of these across the screen. I can select the first one, duplicate it and start to drag it to space it out.

I'll use the tool later on to help me align these. You note that initially dragging freehand makes a hard to align things. You can press the Shift key after you've started dragging an object to constrain your movements to particular access. Another great tool is to go to View > Show Rulers and drag yourself down a guide. This way you can snap to guides, say if you want to align here, here, anywhere in the composition. I'm going to watch my Info panel and make sure that this is position of Y=0. Go back to my View menu, make sure Snap to Guides is enabled, and now you'll see that this layer naturally wants to snap to that guide, making it easier to arrange layers.

We need a total of eightof these across. I'm going to be a little sloppy with my space initially here. There's number 3, number 4, number 5, 6, 7, and 8, and for the eighth one I'd like to snap it to this right edge. I can either make a guide going down the right edge or in the case of the very edge of composition, after I start dragging, hold down Command+Shift on Mac, Ctrl+Shift on Windows and it'll snap to the edge of that composition.

Once I have a layer in my left and right end positions, it's easy to distribute them all in between those left and right extremes. I'll select all of my layers, go to Window, open up the Align panel, and just say distribute these horizontally. Click and I've nicely spaced out layers. If I don't like spacing later on, I can change the position of just one of the ends then redistribute them in between, and there's the first step. I've got these 8 sequences all lined up in their own composition.

Next, I need to put this composition into what's going to become my final composition where I build the final composite of my scene.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 08: Nesting and Precomposing
 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
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.


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 "Already a member? Log in

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 08: Nesting and Precomposing.

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

Your file was successfully uploaded.

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.