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When you're talking about layers inside of AfterEffects, you can't help but talk about compositions as well. Layers live inside of compositions, and it's really important to pay attention to how these two elements work together. So in this video I'll show you how we can create multiple layers, how each different kind of layer has multiple options for adjusting that layer, and then how we can use layers. to control each other layer in the composition. So how many more times can I say the word layer? I don't know. But we'll find out here as we move on.
So let's get started. Here in the project panel, if you double click on the layers comp, you'll see I only have one layer in the composition. But it's important when you're in the project panel to pay attention to the resolution of the files that you're working with. So with the layers column selected you can see that the composition's only 1280 by 720. But if we select our sprint start video, that's 2480 x 1080. So notice when I select that layer, the only thing that I can see is this little crosshair letting me know that that layer is selected.
So, that gives you a clue that you might want to change the magnification. Let me go head and change the magnification down to 50% and here you can see my layer control handles. Now layer control handles allow you to click on those handles and resize a layer. Notice as I'm clicking and dragging on the center one, it's actually resizing around the center point. And if we look to the info panel on the right,. You can see the scale parameters are showing me the exact settings that I'm changing. Let's undo that last change.
I can also click in the upper right corner or any of the corners and make adjustments. If you hold down shift as you're making adjustments, it'll make sure to keep things in proper proportion so that your layer doesn't get distorted. Now also to move layers around within a composition, all you have to do is click within the layer. And move. Now, there's one other thing. I've shown you how you can resize just by clicking on the handles and how to reposition the layer. But what if I want to rotate that layer? Well if we go back up to our tool panel here, I could grab the rotation tool and then just click and drag, and it's going to go ahead and rotate.
Around the center point. Well let's say I want that center point to be at a different place. Well if we go back up to our tool panel I can grab my painted behind tool. This allows me to click on the center point and move it and now it's no longer a center point, but basically it's called the anchor point. By default it will be in the center of any layer. Now that I've moved my anchor point, I'm going to grab my rotation tool here, and click and drag. And now you'll notice it's rotating around the new point. Now I know this isn't set at a perfect 0, so if I want to adjust my rotation to zero, you can adjust layer settings by opening the disclosure triangle.
Now I want you to notice with this video layer I'll transform options and audio options. If I open the transform options sure enough on the rotation it's at minus .8 so I can go ahead and click on that and change that to a value of 0. And if I press tab it'll move to the next field. If I just press return it'll go ahead and set. That parameter. So if you want to type in parameters you can do so rather quickly. Now another nice thing, you can click and drag on parameters to scrub the value.
What this allows you to do is quickly and easily manipulate an individual layer. Without having to worry about whether or not you're clicking on one layer or another. Now this isn't an issue right now because we only have one layer in my project, so let's go ahead and import another layer. Before I go too much further I want to make sure to grab my selection tool so I don't accidentally rotate something if I click in my composition panel. So let's double click in the project panel. That'll open up your import dialogue box. Then I want you to navigate to the exercise files folder, and in the footage folder I want you to go to the O2 AI folder.
In there, go ahead and select the h+ sport layer. I want to import this as a footage file, and then just click open. We can choose an individual layer, I don't necessarily want to choose an individual layer, so I'll merge all the layers. Now let's click OK. To add this to our comp all we have to do is click and drag. To drag it to my layers panel. Now, notice when I'm dragging, I'm getting a black line that appears. This allows you to determine exactly where in the layer hierarchy you want your new layer to appear.
So, if I dragged it below layer 1, you wouldn't be able to see anything, unless I lowered the opacity for layer 1. Okay, but if I wanted it to appear above layer one, I'll just click and drag, and move it above layer one. We've manipulated the layer in the composition window, we've manipulated by scrubbing the different parameters here. There's another way you can manipulate here, and that has to do with its appearance over time. So, let's see I don't want this logo to appear until one second in the project. Well. I'll click on my current time indicator and move it to 1 second.
Now if I hover over the left side to the layer, I get double arrows which allow me to click and drag. And then if I hold Shift as I drag, it'll snap to the current time indicator. So now if we move our current time indicator, you see our h+ logo doesn't appear until about one second into the project. Now, what if I want to control visibility between layers? Well I can definitely do that as well, but before I do that, it's important to understand what all these buttons and switches are. So lets start by looking at the left side of layer one.
If I turn this little button off and on, that will determine the layers visibility. So we turn it off, turn it on. Kay. The next button here is the solo button. If you go ahead and enable that, now I'm only seeing that one layer in my project. The lock button allows you to lock off a layer so you can't accidentally select that layer. I'm going to do that. See if I try to and click on that logo it'll automatically select the background layer. Now these switches over here, you won't have to use quite as often. And you'll gain much more familiarity with these as we move throughout the course.
The only one that I want you to pay attention to right now, if I select layer one, is this one here on the right. Which enables 3D. So let's go ahead and click on that. And now notice, look what happened in my composition panel. Let's change in magnification up to 200%. Here you can see I have these arrows and what they are, they're letting me know I can move this on the x axis, or the y axis, or even the z axis if I hover my mouse over the blue one. So notice as I'm moving around I'm repositioning this layer in 3D space.
In order to see what I'm doing lets open up the options for layer one. And notice now that it's in 3D space I have transform options and material options where as layer two only has transform and audio options. If I turn off 3D, notice that I only have transform options. Now that we've covered 3D, let me show you how I can determine on layer's visibility based on the other layer. I'm going to change my magnification back to 100%, and if we reposition our h+ sport logo just by clicking and dragging.
Let's say I want my video to appear only inside of this layer. I can do that by selecting layer two and then go down to this button here on the bottom and toggle switches and modes. Notice when I click on the modes we have different blend modes just like inside of Photoshop. The next pull down is a track map. If I click on that I can tell to look to that alpha channel of the layer above which is the h+ sport layer. I want you to pay attention to the visibility of that layer when I chose that. Notice it automatically turns that layer off, but I still see the h.
That's because the alpha channel of this layer. Is determining the visibility of the layer below. So now, if I reposition layer two, I can reposition my runner in a slightly better place that's more interesting. Now, the last interesting thing about layers is the fact that you can actually apply layer styles, just like in Photoshop. But if you open up my audio options here, or my transform options, notice I'm not seeing layer styles. Now, if I want to use layer styles. I need to go up to the layer menu.
Down here let's go down to layer styles. And now let's add an outer glow. Now once we've added an outer glow, notice in layer two. I'm just scrolling with my mouse wheel up and down to see the different options here. Notice now I have options from layer styles. Here I'll collapse my audio options. If I need more room in my timeline, I'll just move my mouse in between the layers panel and the project panel, and I can just move it up just by clicking and drag. So now under my layer styles here I can open my outer-glow options, and here I can change the size if I wanted to.
So when it comes to. Visibility or how layers appear in your composition panel, it's important to understand their resolution in relation to the resolution of the composition. But it's also important to pay attention to the different options that you have, in adjusting the layer. So for example with my video layer, I now have a layer style setup. Whereas with my Illustrator file, I only had transform options. But any layers you can blend together by using the track nod option, there are many different ways to control layers inside of AfterEffects.
And there are many different ways to control their visibility. Whether it's through the layer hierarchy, through track mats, or just by trimming the start or end points of the layers in the timeline.
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