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Creating video placeholders

From: After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title

Video: Creating video placeholders

Next, we're going to start roughing out the arrangement of our 3D world. I'm going to maximize my display here, so I can see that comp panel at 100%. Rearrange your own display as necessary, and I'll move my time marker back to the start of the composition. The shortcut key is Home. Now it may be tempting to start throwing a real footage in here right away and start setting up camera moves. But it's really advisable to slow down, create a mockup, maybe test a camera move, test arrangement and make sure your client is happy with that before you jump in with real footage.

Creating video placeholders

Next, we're going to start roughing out the arrangement of our 3D world. I'm going to maximize my display here, so I can see that comp panel at 100%. Rearrange your own display as necessary, and I'll move my time marker back to the start of the composition. The shortcut key is Home. Now it may be tempting to start throwing a real footage in here right away and start setting up camera moves. But it's really advisable to slow down, create a mockup, maybe test a camera move, test arrangement and make sure your client is happy with that before you jump in with real footage.

Now the client told us that they don't have a big budget for stock footage. So I think I'm going to only spend my money on 1 HERO high definition shot at the end then maybe make a grid or array or some other arrangement of cheaper, smaller, standard definition or even web resolution videos just to fill out my 3D world. So let's start creating some solids to stand in for our eventual videos. With Final Comps selected. I'll go to Layer>New>Solid the shortcut is Cmd+Y or Ctrl+Y. A full frame high definition video would be the same size as my composition.

We have been working at half size here, and it's time to think ahead about what I might want to do. Just pieces of video hanging in space can be a little bit on the boring side. I typically like to add frames or borders around my video to make them look more interesting, particularly when I'm constructing a 3D world that contains multiple video panels. So I'm going to add on a little extra space, like maybe an additional, say 25% times 1.25, just to give myself some extra room for that frame. I'm going to Tab.

I will set to 675. Let's call it 680 pixels. 140 larger than our original solid and I'll add the same number to my width as well or 1100 total. I'm going to call this my Hero Shot and I'm going to Color code it initially just to keep track of it. Colors are important, but now, I'm going to pick something nice and bright like, nice Yellow, initially. I'll click OK in the Color Picker and OK on the Solid Settings. I'm going to click on My Label next to my layer in the timeline panel and give it the same a label color, Yellow.

That will make it easy to keep track of. So that's my Hero Shot. Now let's create some placeholders for our less important supporting actors in this composition. I'll go to, again, New>Solid Cmd+Y or Ctrl+Y. Rough square pixel size for standard def video is somewhere in the neighborhood of 640x480, sometimes a little bit larger. I'm working on half size, I need to get on 320x240 and I want to add again a framing device around this, maybe a quarter again larger, a quarter of 240 is 60.

So I'll add 60 to this, 300. Take that up to above 380, then as a result, again, I'm adding 60 pixels to Height and Width to leave myself room for a frame and give it a different color, such as Red and I'll call this Extra 1. Click OK and make sure it's Label color is indeed Red. Well since I have created one, there's no need to keep typing in numbers. I'm just going to duplicate Extra 1. Select one of the duplicates and this time hold Cmd+Shift+Y or Ctrl+Shift+Y on Windows to Solid Settings.

After Effects will try to rename the solid for me, it so happens I already have Extra 1, 2, 3 and 4 in this project, that's why I chose the name Extra 5. But to keep things straight, I'm going to say Extra 2, my second extra video on this composition. We'll give it a Color such as, I don't know, let's say Green. Maybe about 120 Hue, click OK, Extra 2, new Solids. Because I changed some of the settings from Extra 1 and give it a Green label and let's make two more. Cmd+D or Ctrl+D to Duplicate, Cmd+Shift+Y or Ctrl+Shift+Y, rename, 3 new color Blue, maybe around 240 Hue, click OK.

It return for New, change label color to Blue and one more time Cmd+D or Ctrl+D, select, Cmd+Shift or Ctrl+Shift+Y, Extra 4, and what other color can I give it? I haven't used orange yet, so let's pick a nice orange right around, there. Click Orange. So these are my stand-in place keepers for the frame of the videos I'm eventually going to be creating. Next, let's rearrange them in 3D space.

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