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Navigating through compositions quickly

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Navigating through compositions quickly

Now perhaps after the last movie your brain started thinking there, and you started thinking, "Well, if I could grab a bunch of layers and group them together into a precomp, could I group a bunch of precomps and keep grouping" those precomps into a precomp and group those precomps into a precomp?" The answer is yes. Until you fry your brain trying to think of all the possibilities, you can get that deep with After Effects, continually grouping and nesting until you have groups of precomps and the whole bit. So, as you start working with After Effects, you'll need to know this cool shortcut and also how to navigate through comps.

Navigating through compositions quickly

Now perhaps after the last movie your brain started thinking there, and you started thinking, "Well, if I could grab a bunch of layers and group them together into a precomp, could I group a bunch of precomps and keep grouping" those precomps into a precomp and group those precomps into a precomp?" The answer is yes. Until you fry your brain trying to think of all the possibilities, you can get that deep with After Effects, continually grouping and nesting until you have groups of precomps and the whole bit. So, as you start working with After Effects, you'll need to know this cool shortcut and also how to navigate through comps.

When you have a composition selected that has a nested composition, what you could do is just double-click it to open it up. So, you could process the individual layer. So, say, for example, we want to go through and animate these little tire curls coming out at the back of the tire. Let me just double-click that comp to open it back up. If you need to navigate through comps, what you can do is tap the Shift key, and then you could use the arrow keys. See right now we are in a PRECOMP bike girl composition. It's showing here that this is a child, or in other words, a layer inside the Explore California Logo layered composition over here.

That's kind of what we would call the parent comp. So, what I could do is click on this just to jump back to that composition. You can also tap Shift, use the Right arrow key to navigate back to the PRECOMP bike girl comp, here in this little mini flowchart view, and hit the Return or Enter key to jump back to that composition. Now, you might also remember from the last movie that we looked to this example where we had this knight composition with tons of layers, and that was used in that PRECOMPOSED composition. Then we put this PRECOMPOSED composition inside of the castle scene.

So, if we type Shift, we'll see that there is the PRECOMPOSED layer. So, if we want to jump into that, we can type that here. Or if we type Shift here, we can see that we can go to the parent scene, which is the castle scene. Or if we type Shift, we can hit the Right arrow and go to the PRECOMP composition as well. So, if you are get in the habit of using this little keyboard shortcut, it's very handy. So, you hit Shift, go to the right, and you could navigate through compositions without actually having to like open up tabs and do all that jazz.

Likewise, you could use this little dropdown here, right here in the Timeline panel, to get what you are after. You can also go up here to the Composition panel and jump through comps this way. You could use the dropdown to get the little flowchart view, or you could just click on the comp that you want to go to. Again, one of those things that's not super critical until you start having a professional workflow, but it's good to be aware of these features now, so that when you start using precomps effectively, you're ready. You're there. You've got the shortcuts that you need to be efficient.

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This video is part of

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After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67192 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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