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In this installment of After Effects Apprentice, Chris Meyer focuses on ways to edit and enhance layers in After Effects. Through a series of Quizzler challenges and Idea Corner examples, Chris shares alternative ways to employ modes, sequencing, and adjustment layers, while special sidebar movies cover the subjects of creating seamless loops, animating effects points, understanding pixel aspect ratios, and employing Brainstorm to explore the variety of different looks that effects can create. The course also covers tricks for enhancing boring footage and tips for converting scans into moving sequences. Exercise files are included with the course.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Some stock footage or other animations are designed to loop automatically. If you place them end-to-end in a timeline, those ends will join together seamlessly and the animation will appear to go on forever. For example, if I change View > Loop to be on for this movie and press Play, you'll see it goes through this animation of the clock going around and watching the hour hanging towards the top, and as we get near the end of the timeline here, this will hitch as the movie loads, but otherwise it is perfectly seamless and will continue going through the same animation. Click Stop.
Back in After Effects, I am going to go ahead and clean up my display by choosing Close All from the Composition panel. And I am going to import that source we were just looking at. Select Sources. Do Command+I or Ctrl+I to import a file. Navigate to my Exercise Files > Sources > Movies and choose that Clock+Skyline movie, and Open. Drag this to my New Composition icon. It makes the comp exactly same length as my movie. I want a longer comp.
So I'll change Composition Settings and Duration to say 30 seconds. Press the minus key to see my whole timeline. By the way many users make footage repeat is they select the footage, press O to go to its Out point, press Page Down to go one frame past that Out point, duplicate the footage, then use the left bracket to have a new piece start where the old piece ended. And that's how they repeat footage that's been designed to loop seamlessly. But there's an easier way.
One of the most underappreciated, underused items in After Effects is the Interpret Footage dialog. It now exists as a button at the bottom of the Project panel. Select your source file, select Interpret Footage, and you'll get all sorts of options for the footage, including Frame Rate settings, Fields and Pulldown, and other options, including how many times you went to repeat, loop this footage. I wanted it to last 30 seconds. It's currently 10 seconds long. So I'll say repeat 3 times. Click OK. You see my ghost bar showing me I've got more source material.
Now I just need to drag out the Out point. And I've got it repeating for my three times, filling up my entire timeline. If you want to practice that, do Command+I or Ctrl+I to imports and play around with some of the sources we've given you. For example, the MoodyWash file is designed to loop seamlessly. Also underneath Sources all of these wireframes, which were specially rendered from a 3D program, were animated in a way so that they will loop seamlessly. Practice making them loop and having them as extended backgrounds or extended objects in your compositions.
Of course, not all footage does loop seamlessly. This was designed to, but a lot of clips do not. So in a sidebar movie at the very end of this lesson, I'll show you some ideas of how you can force a clip to become a seamlessly looping piece of footage.
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