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Importing Photoshop files as compositions

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Importing Photoshop files as compositions

If you're coming to After Effects from a traditional design or photography background, you're probably already pretty familiar with Photoshop. And that's one of the tools I recommend most when people are getting started with After Effects. I do this because you can import Photoshop documents into After Effects, and After Effects will automatically create compositions for you. So it saves you a step in trying to create the compositions again in After Effects. But there are some things that you need to be aware of when you're preparing your files to move from Photoshop to After Effects. And to explore that, let's actually open a Photoshop document. Navigate to your Exercise Files, in the footage folder, in the 01_Psd folder, let's double-click on the Training_Swoosh.psd file. That will open the file in Photoshop.

Importing Photoshop files as compositions

If you're coming to After Effects from a traditional design or photography background, you're probably already pretty familiar with Photoshop. And that's one of the tools I recommend most when people are getting started with After Effects. I do this because you can import Photoshop documents into After Effects, and After Effects will automatically create compositions for you. So it saves you a step in trying to create the compositions again in After Effects. But there are some things that you need to be aware of when you're preparing your files to move from Photoshop to After Effects. And to explore that, let's actually open a Photoshop document. Navigate to your Exercise Files, in the footage folder, in the 01_Psd folder, let's double-click on the Training_Swoosh.psd file. That will open the file in Photoshop.

I'm currently recording this in Photoshop CS6. So if you're using a different version, things might look a little different. But the overall function should remain the same. Now if your interface doesn't look like this, you'll want to reset the Workspace. Go up to Window > Workspace and make sure Essentials is chosen. Or if it still looks different, go ahead and reset your Essentials Workspace. Now, I want to analyze some of the layers that we have in the lower right side of the interface. The top two layers are text layers. I know they are fully editable because I have that T icon to the left of the word.

Just to double check which layer we're on, turn the visibility off and on, and you can see we have a Text layer. I'm going to press Cmd +, Ctrl + on Windows, to zoom in a little bit here, and you can see that there's a subtle texture on this Text layer. Now, if we look to right side of the Training layer in our Layers panel, we can expand those options, and as you can see we have effects. We have a color overlay, a pattern overlay, and a soft drop shadow. To see what any of those are doing to the scene, just go ahead and turn off visibility or turn it back on.

Now, Layer Effects are a supported option for importing into After Effects, but not all of them function quite the way you would expect. To show you what I mean about that, we're going to jump back into After Effects. There's one other thing I just wanted to show you. We can collapse our Training layer. Down towards the bottom, there's a Swoop_Lines layer. Go ahead and select that, and I want you to pay attention, this is a Smart Object. And the way this is created is by going up under File and choosing Place, and we've placed an Illustrator file into this document. I'm going to zoom out, Cmd + minus, just so you can see. Now, the Swoop_Lines file also has a gradient overlay, and an outer glow, that created this style.

All right, now that we've dissected what's going on with the layers in the Photoshop document, let's actually look at our Photoshop setup. If you go up under Image, and choose Image size, the document that we had created was 1280 by 720. Now, notice there's no mention of frame rate or anything like that. These options were created by using one of the Photoshop presets. If you're unfamiliar with the presets, let me show you how to set one up. I'm going to click Cancel, and go up under File and choose New. When you create a document in Photoshop, you get these options for presets. Let's click on the first pull-down where it says Clipboard and choose Film & Video. Under Film & Video, you can see we have a lot of different presets. If I click on this HD/HDTV preset, you can see we have standard definition presets for standard NTSC and PAL.

Down towards the bottom, we have full resolution film settings. Now the setting that we are going to use is the HDV/HDTV 720P setting. This gives me a document that is 1280 pixels across by 720 pixels high. If you look closely at this, you can see it has a frame rate specified of 29.97. That's because photo shop does support the ability to open video files. Now, since we don't have any video in this comp, this number really doesn't matter, and to show you that, let's actually go ahead and import our composition into After Effects. So I'm going to cancel this, because I don't want to create a new composition, we already have one that's set up.

Back to After Effects, double click in the Project panel to import. Now, you want to go to your image folder, Inside your exercise files, and in the Photoshop document folder. Select Training_Swoosh by clicking once, and then under Import As, change the Footage option from Footage to Composition Retain Layer Sizes. Now, make sure Photoshop Sequence is deselected, it if it's not already on your system. And then click Open. Look at this other popup where we could change our mind if we wanted to change it back to, say Footage, which would import the layered document as flat, so it would only have one layer.

I want to choose Retain Layer Sizes because that's the easiest for animation. And also down here, I have some options for Merge Layer Styles. You want to make sure to choose Editable Layer Styles, that way we could make changes inside of After Effects. If I click OK, the comp is automatically imported. Now, since the comp is already selected in the project panel, I want you to press Cmd + K or Ctrl + K on Windows, and we'll look at the Composition settings. As you can see, the 1280 by 720 is completely translated. But the frame rate is this 23.976.

The reason this number is in my comp settings has nothing to do with the Photoshop document and it has everything to do with the last time I created a comp inside of After Effects. The last time, I used this setting with 23.976 under the frame rate and I also had a duration of 10 seconds, so your settings might be slightly different. Now, I want to change the duration of this comp from 10 seconds to 5 seconds. So let's go ahead and highlight that number and just press 500. Notice I don't need to put the colons, it automatically translates to 5 seconds. Now, we'll click OK.

If you double-click the comp in the Projects panel, it'll automatically load up in your Comp window as well as the timeline. And as you can see, the text translated and the texture is there. If we select Layer 2, I want you to open up the options just by clicking on the triangle and open up the Layer Style options. Under here, notice we have our drop shadow, our color overlay, and our pattern overlay. And you can turn the Visibility off or on for all those different options. Now, the interesting thing about Pattern Overlay is that it doesn't quite translate in terms of editable.

Notice, when I open up the options for Pattern Overlay, I don't have the option to actually change the pattern. If I wanted to change this, I would right-click on the Layer, and choose Reveal Layer Source in Project, and then I would right-click on this Layer and choose Reveal in the finder or I can just go up under Edit and choose Edit Original and open it back up in Photoshop to make changes. There is an important thing that happens when you import a layered Photoshop document. You can actually import the text this editable text.

So with Layer 2 selected, if you go up under Layer and choose Convert to Editable Text, notice the text is now editable, I have that same T option here, but I lost some options. If we expand Layer 2 and look under our Layer Styles, notice we have our pattern overlay, but it's no longer there. Also, the color overlay, if we expand its options, well, the blend mode was set to Screen. So if I just change that back to normal, you can see it's going to apply that dark color.

So the color overlay worked. It's really just the pattern overlay that's problematic when you want to import it and then edit it or make your text editable. So just be aware of that when you're working with layered Photoshop documents. I'll go ahead and collapse Layer 2. If we scroll down on our timeline, we can scroll down to any layers that are hidden. I want to select this Swoop_Lines layer. I'm going to press 8 on my keypad to automatically select the layer and open up its options. And if we open the Layer Style options. Sure enough, we have our Gradient overlay, and that's all set up as well as our glow. That's all set up.

So if I change the magnification of our comp to fit up to 100%, you can see everything that I've imported from my Photoshop document has been brought into After Effects. You just need to be careful in terms of exactly which layer styles you want to use. And manage whether or not they are editable in After Effects or use the edit original command to make changes in Photoshop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 50970 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects
      59s
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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