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Let Chris and Trish Meyer share with you two of the core secrets required to become an efficient After Effects user: understanding the render order (the internal order of operations After Effects uses when calculating masks, effects, transformation, track mattes, and layer styles) and the use of multiple compositions where a composition may be nested into one or more other comps. This makes it easier to group layers, efficiently re-use a common element to quickly accommodate client changes, pan around large composites of multiple layers, and solve render order issues.
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®.
Trish Meyer: When you create a track matte composite in a pre-comp, you'll have a lot more flexibility from applying effects. For example, I can apply effects to the matte and fill separately in the pre-comp and I could also apply effects in the main comp after the track matte has been composited. And that's extremely useful for effects like drop shadows as well as any of the displacement effects like our Turbulent Displace. I don't have to do anything fancy to distort the track matte composite. And of course, I could also apply it fill. only to the wireframe apple or only to the I have all that flexibility.
With some effects, it may not matter where you apply the effect. Let's just say I want to change the color of the fill movie. If I'm in the pre-comp and I want to change the color, I could apply an effect to the fill, but I think there's a slight advantage to applying it in the next level up in my main comp. That's because I like to keep as many attributes as possible at the top level. If you apply effects in keyframes in pre-comps for no reason, you'll find yourself hunting around, looking for things so you can edit them.
I would like to use the Hue/Saturation effect. So I'll search for hue in the Effects & Presets panel and double-click to apply it. I can pick any color. I can make it green, or blue or more orange or whatever and in this case the Hue/Saturation does not change the color of the shadow. ome other color correction plug-ins may. I still think it makes more sense however to do the color correction at the beginning of the effects chain and that way it renders before Wigglerama and the Drop Shadow.
With Turbulent Displace, it may give a slightly different result before Wigglerama then after, so that's something you may have to look at. So we'll just RAM preview and that's our final result. So I hope you agree that this was a much more straightforward workflow. As soon as I realized I wanted to apply a track matte to a layer in an existing project and that layer already had keyframes, I immediately pre-composed the layer using the Leave all attributes option and added the track matte in the pre-comp.
In the next chapter, we'll look at how to use pre-composing simply to fix problems with the rendering order.
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