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Cropping layers

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Cropping layers

In this movie, I'm going to show you how to crop layers in time. In the process, I'm also going to show you several really key keyboard shortcuts that I find myself using all the time. Maybe it's just my workflow, maybe it's just me, but they are ones that I use very frequently. So, first of all, here's the trick. I'm going to move out in time and let's say I want to start at about five seconds in, once we zoom out and then zoom back in. This is where I want to start my layer. What I can do with this layer selected is hit Option or Alt on the PC and then the Left Bracket key.

Cropping layers

In this movie, I'm going to show you how to crop layers in time. In the process, I'm also going to show you several really key keyboard shortcuts that I find myself using all the time. Maybe it's just my workflow, maybe it's just me, but they are ones that I use very frequently. So, first of all, here's the trick. I'm going to move out in time and let's say I want to start at about five seconds in, once we zoom out and then zoom back in. This is where I want to start my layer. What I can do with this layer selected is hit Option or Alt on the PC and then the Left Bracket key.

That is the key directly to the right of the letter P on your keyboard. So, Option+Left Bracket or Alt+Left Bracket. And you can see that it actually crops the layer to the Current Time Indicator. This saves you from having to drag this to that spot. It gets it exactly right there instantly. By the same token, if I drag this a little bit later on in time, let's say, to about 20 seconds out, if I hold Option+Right Bracket or Alt+Right Bracket, then it's going to crop the end of the layer. Now, what I'm about to tell you next, and actually everything in this video might be a little confusing.

You might want to write it down and keep this as a reference until it becomes like old standard memory to you. Here's another few keyboard shortcuts. Let's say for example I chopped this at five seconds and I want this start point here to be the new first frame. So, I can drag this until it goes to the first frame. But there is a keyboard shortcut I can use next. Option+Home on the Mac or Alt+Home on the PC. That'll make it so that the first frame of the layer will jump to the first frame of the composition. Now, here's another couple of great shortcuts.

If I press the Right Bracket key by itself-- no Alt, no Option, just that key by itself-- it will jump the outpoint, in other words, the endpoint of the layer to the Current Time Indicator. Likewise, if I want to start this layer, let's say at some random time, let's say three seconds and 11 frames. I press the Left Bracket. It will jump the endpoint of the layer to my Current Time Indicator. Now, what if you want to not move the layer, but you want to move the Current Time Indicator to the endpoint and outpoint of the layers. Well, you could use the keyboard shortcuts I and O. So, if I press the letter O, I'm going to jump the Current Time Indicator to the outpoint of the layer.

If I press I, I'm going to jump the Current Time Indicator to the endpoint of the currently selected layer. Now, using one of the keyboard shortcuts we learned in the last movie, here's a cool trick. Oftentimes when you have layers you want to stagger them so that one layer follows another. What I'm going to do to do that is select this layer. Hit Command+D or Ctrl+D to duplicate it. And let's say I want these two layers to come right after one another. What I can do is I'm going to hit Command +Down Arrow to select this bottom layer. I'm going to press the letter O to get to the outpoint of layer 2.

Then I'm going to advance 1 frame by pressing Page Down, because this is where I want the next layer to start, 1 frame after the last frame of layer 2. And then what I'm going to do is I'm going to hit Command+Up Arrow to select layer 1, and then I'm going to press the Left Bracket key to jump the start point of that layer to the Current Time Indicator. Then through that series of shortcuts, you could see that I end on 1 frame and then there is no gap and the very next frame I start the next layer.

So, basically what we've done here is we've sequenced these layers without having any extra gaps or any extra overlap, and all through the power of keyboard shortcuts. If you were to do this manually, it would take you a long time. And again, there is a big chance for error there. So, these core keyboard shortcuts we've been discussing, again might not come in handy at first, but if you keep a record of these and you learn them, they really are invaluable.

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This video is part of

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

111 video lessons · 67691 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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