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Discover how to manipulate time in After Effects. Author Chris Meyer shows how to stop, slow, and speed up footage, and how to combine these techniques with nested compositions, expressions, and the Graph Editor. Along the way, he reveals several important yet somewhat hidden functions, such as the advanced composition setting that ensures predictable stop motion, the Frame Mix and Pixel Motion modes of the Frame Blending switch, and the Time Remap parameter.
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Finally, I'd like to show you a nifty trick that combines what you have learned in this lesson along with some tricks you learned in the Nesting and Pre-Composing lesson. Open up comps_Finished and double-click the comp 12b-Nested_final and focus on the Comp panel initially. You'll see we have a whole column here of numbers. If I press 0 on the numeric keypad, you will notice that not only are they all randomizing, they are all randomizing at different speeds. I will press the spacebar to get a full-speed playback.
Now you might be tempted to think that create this row of numbers you would have to apply the Numbers effect this many times, one for each instance. However, that's not true. When we have a common design idea, we see that now we can possibly create just one copy of it and reuse it, instead of creating multiple copies of it. That way if we need to edit it, we only need to edit one copy, rather than all of these individual copies. For example, in this case maybe the client says they don't want three digits after decimal point.
They only want one or two. They would like to make that change only once, not a whole bunch of times. So let me show you how we accomplish this. I am going to tab to Shift key to bring up the comp mini-flowchart and go back to this 12a-Numbers_final. I will click on that, and you'll see we have one copy of our numbers here. I will select it, press F3 to reveal its Effects Control panel. There is numbers with randomized value turned on. I go to my Composition Settings. I do have a full Frame Rate at 29 97, but I have turned on Preserve frame rate.
That's says always render just one new number at this rate, rather than doing whatever a downstream comp may request of you. I'll click OK. I go back to Nested_final. Next, look down here in the Timeline panel. I've opened up the Stretch column already. Again, you can right-click on any column header and open it or close a whole bunch of different columns. I have Stretch on right now. And I've taken that same pre-comp and given it a variety of different Stretch values. So I have one source, but I'm playing it back at different speeds.
This is a lot easier than creating a whole bunch different versions of numbers with a whole bunch of pre-comps or a whole bunch of Posterize Time effects. I've had one source. And to show you where this is useful, I will press Shift key, go back to this Numbers pre-comp-- notice that it has used 10 times--and just change something like one number after the decimal point. Go back to my main comp, and now you see that all of these have automatically updated with one point after the decimal point. I didn't need to change each one of these individually.
And because I've used different Stretch values for each of these layers, they appear to randomize compared to each other, because they are all playing back at different rates and they're at different points in time to recall the numbers created back in the pre-comp. So this is a good trick to add to your arsenal. If you have a design element that's going to make multiple appearances, see if you can by with creating one of them, then creating variations of them in your master comp, perhaps by stretching them, giving them different scale values, et cetera. This will make it much easier for you to manage and update projects later on.
And if you haven't noticed already, we are really big on efficiency and constructing compositions that are easy to modify and easy to change, because that's where you really become profitable, when you can save time working on a project.
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