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In this installment of After Effects Apprentice, Chris Meyer focuses on ways to edit and enhance layers in After Effects. Through a series of Quizzler challenges and Idea Corner examples, Chris shares alternative ways to employ modes, sequencing, and adjustment layers, while special sidebar movies cover the subjects of creating seamless loops, animating effects points, understanding pixel aspect ratios, and employing Brainstorm to explore the variety of different looks that effects can create. The course also covers tricks for enhancing boring footage and tips for converting scans into moving sequences. Exercise files are included with the course.
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®.
The second Quizzler challenge involved how would you go about building on these layers in sequence. You've learned how to do a lot of editing in this lesson, including how to slide layers and fade things in and out, but are there any tools in After Effects which might make this a little bit easier and help automate parts of the process? Well, yes there is. Sequence Layers. I'll go ahead and open up the Starter composition that came with the Exercise Files. Here we have our four objects already in space, and let's go about trimming and arranging them. I mention when I laid out the challenge that I want these each beyond for two seconds, then cross-fade for a third second.
So let's give sequence layers the impression that each of these segments is going to be three seconds long. I am actually going to back up to 2:29, since the time from 0 to 2:29 is 3 seconds. Select all my layers and remember that After Effects remembers the order I select layers in. So if I want that cell phone to be first, I need to select him first actually, then the microscope, then the wheel, then the monitor. Hold down Option on Mac, Alt on Windows, press Right Bracket to trim the layers, then I'll right-click in any of the layers and select Keyframe Assistant > Sequence Layers.
I'm going to pretend that this is going to be a simple sequence. I'm just going to say Overlap, 1 second, Dissolve Front Layer, click OK. You see that it does build on the layers. However, since I pre-trimmed the layers to three seconds, it thinks they should now end. That's not the problem to fix. I'm going to press End to go to the end of my composition. I have all my layers selected and then I'm going to use that keyboard shortcut you already learned. I'm going to hold down Option or Alt, press the Right Bracket, and retrim all the layers to extend the entire length of the comp.
So I pre-trimmed their durations to give Sequence Layers something to sequence them by, but then I edited their outpoints to stay on screen for the entire fade. And the intention here is just to give you an idea of how to take the tools After Effects gives you. Don't treat them as magic spells that only do one thing, but think more about what they're actually doing underneath the hood. Once you know what these tools are actually doing to layers, you can apply them in ways that maybe they weren't originally intended to create new and different looks.
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