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How After Effects projects work

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: How After Effects projects work

Now we ready need to take a closer look and see how After Effects projects work. We know a little bit about the Project panel, so I don't want to rehash that, but we do need to talk about projects. First of all, step one File > Save. Beware of saving your project. This is absolutely critical. It goes without saying, but make sure that you save often. After Effects crashes. It crashes all the time. So, more than like regular programs like Microsoft Word or something like that, that might feel a little bit more stable, even more than like Photoshop or something, After Effects crashes very frequently. And there are tons of things that can make it crash.

How After Effects projects work

Now we ready need to take a closer look and see how After Effects projects work. We know a little bit about the Project panel, so I don't want to rehash that, but we do need to talk about projects. First of all, step one File > Save. Beware of saving your project. This is absolutely critical. It goes without saying, but make sure that you save often. After Effects crashes. It crashes all the time. So, more than like regular programs like Microsoft Word or something like that, that might feel a little bit more stable, even more than like Photoshop or something, After Effects crashes very frequently. And there are tons of things that can make it crash.

So, always save your work. As a matter of fact, what you could do is go under the Preferences and set up Auto Save, which I recommend doing as well. Now when you create an After Effects project, and you bring things into the project like you import objects, you import video or whatever like we have here, - I've got tons of video and images and audio files, even - these are not actually embedded in the project file. So, what you are doing when you import files in the After Effects is only importing a link to the source file on your hard drive.

Now if you have never worked in Video before, this is kind of insane. But if you work in Video, this is how video programs work. Because let's say you had a video file that was 2GB in size. If you imported that in your project and embedded that into your project, well now your project file is 2GB, and the file on your hard drive is still 2GB. So, now you have a total 4GB. You could imagine having multiple projects and having tons of video. That would just fill up your hard drive a lot. And because it's not being embedded, you could bring in tons of different footage elements.

You can bring in tons of different audio clips to try out and test, tons of different stock images, stock video, just to kind of playing around with it and see how you like things. And it doesn't really change anything as far as the size of the project is concerned. So, that's the benefit. The down side is that you have to be aware of where that file is that is being it linked to. So, let's say we are linking right now to this PRECOMP left banner.mov file. We need to be aware of that link. We cannot move this file. We cannot rename this file. We cannot delete this file or when we open up After Effects to work on this project again, it's going to say, "Hey! You know what? We can't find the where this file is." If that ever does happen to you, you can just right-click on at the file or the placeholder that will be there and select Replace Footage and then choose File.

Now over here in the Project panel, I want to mention, again, this idea about organizing the Project panel. Because you could bring in so many assets, you just have an infinite supply of assets, and it doesn't really affect your hard drive very much, it's oftentimes better to import more than you need because then if it's there and you need it, and it doesn't really hurt anything. But as a result, you need to keep your project panel organized and again, you could do that by clicking this little folder icon here, which will make a new folder, and you can title it whatever you want. Then we can just drag and drop elements into that folder.

We can even drag and drop other folders into other folders. So, just remember that. Again, it's not anything that you are probably too concerned about, being a new After Effects user, but you'll definitely you want to get some good organization skills. Finally, I want to talk about the difference between importing and opening a project. If we go to the File menu here, we can see that there is an Import flyout menu, and then there's also an Open Project. So, there's opening and importing. See, those are two different things in After Effects language.

When you import something, it's when you bring an asset into the Project panel to use in your project. When you open a project it opens a complete different project, and you can only have one project open at a time. As a matter of fact, if I were to choose File > Open Project right now, the first thing that After Effects would say is, "Do you want to save changes to this After Effects project before closing it," because it's going to have to close it in order to open up a new one. Now, if there were some elements of an old After Effects project that you liked and you wanted to bring that into your current project, then you could actually import an old After Effects project.

So, if I double-click in the Project panel to open up the Import File dialog box and I go to the Enable dropdown, you can see that there are just loads of different footage and file types that we can bring in and among them is the After Effects Project. We could bring that in. It would create a folder for you with all of the comps and all of the footage elements from the other After Effects project that you've just imported. So, we've talked about projects, and now in the next movie, we are going to get to Compositions.

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This video is part of

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

111 video lessons · 67840 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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