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In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.
I know you've heard me say this a lot, but honestly, this is kind of one of my favorite things about working in After Effects, the ability to import external files as compositions is extraordinarily wonderful. But inevitably, you'll probably want to be able to bounce back and forth and make changes and have them update between both applications. Since, in the previous video we imported a layered Illustrator document, this time I want to import a layered Photoshop document. So double-click in the Project panel and navigate in your Exercise Files folder to the Footage folder, and in there, go inside of Photoshop.
Click once on Eco_Shapes and then make sure that Import As is set to Composition. See last time we chose Composition - Retain Layer Sizes. I want to import as a composition just for an example right now. So when we choose Composition, click Open. Under this menu that pops-up, we still have a choice under Import Kind. If we change our mind between Composition or Footage, if I choose Footage I could choose an individual layer or merge all the layers together as one file.
But what we want to do is leave it for Composition and we can leave Editable Layer Styles. And when we click OK, this is going to get imported into our project. If we double-click our Eco_Shapes here, you can see I have a green layer and I have an orange-yellow layer. If I want to use these in this project, I could drag the comp down as a whole. That would be nice because when I drag it down as a whole, you can see exactly what things are looking like.
That looks pretty neat, but unfortunately, if I wanted to animate this bar and that bar separately, what I would need to do is open up the Eco_Shapes comp and then animate these within this comp. And what I really want to do is use both shapes inside of here. So we can do this one of two ways. We can go up under Eco_Shapes layers here and you can see I've got my actual layers or I can just come in to my Eco_ Shapes layers in the timeline and drag a lasso around both layers.
With both layers selected, if I go up under Edit > Copy, when I bring them into the other comp, I can choose Edit > Paste. Now notice they copied right in place. If I select the Eco_Shapes comp layer, Layer 4, I can press Delete and now I have each layer separately. But there's an issue. See, I did bring these in as separate layers, if I turn off the visibility of one or the other, you can see, but when I select the Green layer, look in the center of your comp window.
This cross here, here I'll scroll in with my mouse, this is my anchor point. So if I opened up, let's say the Rotation parameter for Green by pressing R on my keyboard, I could click and scrub through that parameter. Look at what's happening. Here, let me zoom back out. Notice the rotation is actually going to rotate around the center of the layer and the layer itself is actually the size of the comp. See, if I undo my rotations here, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on the PC, you see that I've got my layer here and it's actually the entire size of the composition. Let me scroll out.
See the handles there? That happened because we imported this Photoshop document as a composition, not a composition while retaining layer sizes. So just to start over, I want to go ahead and select our Eco_Shapes layers and drag them to the Trash right here on my Project panel. When I press Delete, I still have my Eco_Shapes comp. I can drag it out to the Trash as well. Instead, let's double-click in our Project panel and import that PSD as a Composition - Retaining Layer Sizes.
Now when we click Open, again, we'll leave the Import Kind set and leave Editable Layer Styles. When we click OK, you can see if we open our comp, we have both layers and they are separate. But notice now when I select each one of these layers, here let me open up my Rotation, I can actually control where the animation takes place, and by default, it will be centered on each individual layer. Let's undo that rotation. I'm going to collapse layer 1 and select both layers and Copy and Paste.
Notice when I did Copy/Paste, it actually put the layers in place within my comp window. I know you're thinking this is pretty cool. I've imported these layers and I can animate them separately and my anchor point is set up properly. But what if I want my anchor point to be on, I don't know, the left-hand side? Well you want to use the Pan Behind tool, which is up in your Tool panel in the upper left part of the interface. See this icon to the right of the little camera? That's your Pan Behind tool. If you click on that, then you can click on the anchor point for this orange-yellow layer, and if I drag it to the left, now when I choose Rotation and click and drag, you can see it's rotating around that point.
Let's just undo that. This is also very helpful if I wanted to do a Scale Option here. I could unlink the X and Y parameters and just click and drag on the X, and look, I can make it grow out of the side of the screen. That's pretty cool, right? Well what if you needed to go back into Photoshop for some reason to make a change? Let's say I want to change the edge of this layer but I don't necessarily want to add a mask to this layer inside of After Effects. Well you can quickly jump back and forth between After Effects and Photoshop or Illustrator or whatever file you've imported, just by right-clicking on the layer within the timeline.
Then choose Reveal Layer Source in Project. That will automatically bring that layer to the front of your Project panel, so then you can right-click directly on that layer and say, Reveal in Finder, or Windows Explorer on the PC. When we're in the Finder, now you guessed it, we just need to double-click the Photoshop document to open it back up in Photoshop. I want to clean up the edge of this Green layer and I wanted to have a slight curve. Now I know this isn't a Photoshop class, so we're not going to spend a lot of time in here.
I'm just going to grab our Elliptical Marquee tool. If you see the rectangle one, just click and hold and choose Elliptical Marquee. Let's start kind of three-quarters to the left side of our comp and click and drag. I'll just reposition this by moving my mouse in the middle of the cursor and there we go. Let's say I want that to be my new left edge. So I'm going to go to Selection and choose Inverse, so now everything else other than the circle selected, and press Delete on my keyboard.
I know I could press Delete because I already had the Green layer selected in my Layers panel. So it's time to go up under Select and say Deselect and just File > Save to save the change you've made. If we jump back over into After Effects, notice nothing has really happened. Since the layer is already highlighted, all we have to do is right-click on that layer in the Project panel and choose Reload Footage. This will force After Effects to go back to that Photoshop document and then reload the revised version.
Notice even now that it's been reloaded, when I click on the Green layer, it's now changed the bounding box to this portion of the layer. It's pretty cool to have that interoperability. So I hope you can see how valuable it is to pay attention to what you import when you import compositions and more importantly, how nice it is that Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects all play very nicely together.
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