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Looping footage

From: After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control

Video: Looping footage

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.

Looping footage

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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Image for After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control
After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control

38 video lessons · 11970 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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  1. 3m 20s
    1. Overview
      1m 20s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 23m 19s
    1. Stacking and sliding layers
      5m 23s
    2. Trimming layers in the Timeline panel
      5m 45s
    3. Trimming in the Layer panel
      3m 31s
    4. Pre-trimming and inserting layers from the Footage panel
      3m 20s
    5. Slip editing
      5m 20s
  3. 12m 13s
    1. Applying sequence layers to footage
      4m 45s
    2. Using sequence layers with objects
      2m 14s
    3. Example: Sequence layers and photographs
      2m 20s
    4. Creating a new composition using sequence layers
      1m 35s
    5. Understanding the importance of layer order
      1m 19s
  4. 17m 20s
    1. Looping footage
      3m 15s
    2. Importing a sequence of still images
      4m 30s
    3. Using Time Stretch vs. altering frame rates
      3m 23s
    4. Frame blending
      6m 12s
  5. 19m 1s
    1. Overview of blending modes
      7m 5s
    2. Combining modes and effects
      4m 45s
    3. Why apply effects to solids?
      7m 11s
  6. 22m 2s
    1. Using the Effects & Presets panel
      5m 3s
    2. Applying presets
      5m 34s
    3. Working with behaviors
      3m 2s
    4. Creating and saving presets
      8m 23s
  7. 7m 55s
    1. Importing Photoshop files with layer styles
      4m 7s
    2. Applying layer styles inside After Effects
      3m 48s
  8. 9m 27s
    1. Using adjustment layers
      3m 17s
    2. Working with adjustment layers and alpha channels
      3m 14s
    3. Applying a filmic glow treatment
      2m 56s
  9. 6m 50s
    1. Quizzler challenges
      1m 16s
    2. Quizzler solution one: Pyrotechnic composite
      3m 7s
    3. Quizzler solution two: Sequenced fades
      2m 27s
  10. 11m 51s
    1. Idea corner one: Adjustment layer shapes
      1m 55s
    2. Idea corner two: Creating a traveling glass bar
      4m 12s
    3. Idea corner three: Creating sequences from filmstrips
      5m 44s
  11. 27m 23s
    1. Looping footage by crossfading
      5m 20s
    2. Working with effect point paths
      5m 12s
    3. Brainstorming
      7m 19s
    4. Working with pixel aspect ratios
      9m 32s

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