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Creating a layer for effects

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Creating a layer for effects

So, we want to apply some effects; however, we cannot do that in this project, because we have nothing to apply the effect to. So, I'm starting here in a blank, fresh project. Go ahead and make a new composition by clicking this icon here. When this comes up, we'll go ahead and change the preset. Just go ahead and go to NTSC DV. This is Standard Definition, which is quickly going out of style, but for right now, I'm just going to go ahead and click OK. That creates a composition for us. But notice there are no layers in our composition, and you need a layer to apply effects to.

Creating a layer for effects

So, we want to apply some effects; however, we cannot do that in this project, because we have nothing to apply the effect to. So, I'm starting here in a blank, fresh project. Go ahead and make a new composition by clicking this icon here. When this comes up, we'll go ahead and change the preset. Just go ahead and go to NTSC DV. This is Standard Definition, which is quickly going out of style, but for right now, I'm just going to go ahead and click OK. That creates a composition for us. But notice there are no layers in our composition, and you need a layer to apply effects to.

Oftentimes, you don't want to apply the effect directly to an important layer. Let's say you have some video or something. If you put the effect on that layer, as we'll see, then it will completely replace the contents of that layer. So, what we need to do is come down here to a blank area of the Timeline panel and right-click and go to New. Now, we're going to create a different type of layer. From this New flyout menu, below this divider line anyways, we can create different types of layers. We can create a Shape layer, Camera, a Light, a Solid.

We're going to talk about all of these as we go through this training series, but for now, I'm going to click Solid. That will create a new Solid layer. Now a Solid is simply an area of pixels. That's all it is, basically, a dummy layer or an area of color. So, I can click this little swatch here, and I could click in the color picker. I could drag up and down here to change the hue, and then as we go to the right, we increase saturation. We go the left. We decrease saturation. As we go up, we increase brightness; as we go down, we decrease brightness. Watch this.

This is a cool trick. As I move the colors around, you could see, dynamically, that the name of the Solid - if you don't choose to name it - it's automatically going to name it based on the color that you choose. So, as you move these color swatches around, it's pretty awesome like a box of crayons or something. It gets really specific about the colors that you're choosing, which is pretty fun. So, I'm going to go ahead and pick a color. It doesn't matter. Click OK. Click OK. Now we have a solid layer. You'll notice, as I open this up, it has its own set of Transform properties, and just like with the regular layer, we have a bounding box.

These little dots are kind of like indicating the outside boundaries of the layer. We could click on this to rescale the layer, just like with a regular layer. So, we can make this smaller if we wanted to. We could make it spin around. We could use these for geometric shapes, not just for effects but anything. I find that I use solids all the time in my work, and you probably will as well no matter what you're doing. Alternatively, you can go to the Layer menu at the top of the screen and go to Layer > New, whatever, whatever, choose the Solid. The keyboard shortcut, by the way, is Ctrl+Y, Command+Y. I don't know if you'll be using Solids as much as I do, but that's one of those keyboards shortcuts I have memorized, because I use it so frequently.

So, moving along now. Now that we have a Solid, a layer to apply effects to, it's time to apply effects, which we'll look at in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 68747 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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