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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®.
Chris Meyer: I'd like to share with you one last gotcha that can crop up when you nest one composition into another, as well as how to fix it. Normally, a composition's frame rate rules all. This is the speed at which new source material's sampled from the original files in your computer and which new animation positions are calculated. It's also the rate used by effects that may randomize on every new frame of your composition. I started out with frame rate of 10 frames a second on this comp, which gave me a little bit of a stop motion sort of look. But let's say I wanted to push that even further.
Press Command+K or Ctrl+K and set this down to 3 frames a second. 0 to RAM preview and now I have a much slower stop motion look to this animation. However, whenever a composition is nested into another comp, that later comp's frame rate takes over and this frame rate is now used for this comp as well as any comps nested into this comp. In this particular case I'll RAM preview and I've lost my exaggerated stop motion feel that I had created by setting the pre-comp to a lower frame rate.
I'm back to the original 10 frame a sec rate that this sequence was originally created out. How do you solve that? Well there is a couple of ways. One, there's an old effect some people still use called Posterize Time. Posterize Time allows you to set the frame rate that any layer is sampled at. However this effect can cause some problems. The preferred approach is to go back into your pre-comp, go into its Compositions Settings, click on the Advanced tab and enable Preserve frame rate when nested or in render queue.
that's going to tell After Effects that for this composition always use its frame rate, no matter what frame rate you may be requesting in a later composition or in the final render. So by enabling this, I'll click OK, double-check that I am indeed getting my stop motion pre-comp, switch to my main comp, RAM preview again, and now you'll see I have my stop motion in the nested comp again. This is what I wanted. Since I am animating the pre-comp in this final comp, its motion is being sampled at this comp's frame rate, 29.97 frames per sec.
That's why I'm getting this smooth pan. However, any source, any effects, etcetera, applied in the pre-comp will now be sampled at that pre-comp's slower rate. So if you're playing tricks with frame rate to get particular looks or feels, particularly for effects that randomize every single frame, remember go to this pre-comps, got to Composition Settings, go to the Advanced tab-- a lot of people miss this-- and enable Preserve frame rate when nested or in render queue. And that's another trick for your toolkit.
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