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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
Once you start doing a little bit of work in After Effects, you'll want to preview it, like really preview, not just kind of like drag this little thing around. That's not giving you an accurate representation of what's going on. But there is two ways to preview stuff in After Effects. One is with the Spacebar Preview and if I hit the Spacebar, we will wait and you'll notice this little flecks of green and gray here. And basically, what that's telling you is that After Effects needs to load these frames into RAM before it can give you an accurate preview.
So, the green frames, or the green little bars over the frames in your video that have been loaded into RAM and will preview in real time. The Spacebar Preview, which you can actually use Spacebar to both play and pause your video, kind of it just gives you the gist, the overall basic idea of your project. You might have too much going on in your After Effects composition, or you might not have enough RAM to be able preview everything perfectly, so the Spacebar Preview just kind of gives you the basic idea. And that's why you are seeing this little skips here in gray, is because often times it will just kind of not load every single frame into RAM if it can't. So, the Spacebar preview just tries to give you the gist.
As you could see here, the frame rate's about 15 frames per second about out of 30. So, it's not in real time. That's not what the Spacebar Preview is trying to do. It's trying to give you the overall gist of your project. If I double-click the Preview Bar here - actually, I am just going to resize this window. We'll talk more about the interface in the next chapter. We have some Play controls here and basically, this little Play button does the same thing as the Spacebar. So, if you are not a keyboard shortcut person, this might work for you. You can just play it and pause it. Now you'll notice though, as I am playing this back, there is no audio.
The Spacebar Preview does not allow you to preview audio. So, if drag this back to the beginning and I hit the 0 key on the numeric keypad, alternatively you can hit this little button right here, this arrow with three little vertical bars on the left side of it. If I hit 0 on the numeric keypad - (Female Speaker: You just can't beat Hansel and Petal. I love this place!) You are seeing that we are getting audio, and we get a real time preview. So, that's what the RAM Preview is for.
It's to give you a very accurate idea of what your project is about. If it could only give you a four or five frame preview because that all the RAM you have in your system, then that's what it will do, but it will preview those three, four, five frames or whatever in real time. So, again, to sum up, press the Spacebar to just kind of get a general idea of your project or your work. Hit the 0 on the Numeric Keypad to get a RAM preview to get a more accurate idea and to play back audio.
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