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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®.
Next, I want to show you a really useful feature in After Effects called slip editing. Let's say that I created a Timeline that I'm basically happy with. I've got the layers in the correct timing that I want in the overall composition and I've got them stacked the way I wan,t etcetera. However, I run across the layer and say the external in and out points, this timing relative to the Timeline is fine, but I don't like the segment of content that's being shown inside that period of time. Well, I can go ahead and use the Slip Editing feature to change what content I'm using from the source without changing the time that layer is visible in the overall Timeline and overall composition.
I am going to select my fist layer here, Clock+Skyline. Press I to go to its In point. Keep an eye on these In, Outs, and Durations. These are relative to the overall comp. Next, I am going to move my cursor over this ghosted area in the bar before or after the segment that's actually visible and being used in the Timeline. When I do so, you'll see the cursor change to a dual-headed arrow with bars on the ends. This is a Slip Editing cursor. If I click-and-drag on one of these ghosted parts of the bar, notice that the ghost changes, meaning I'm trimming the layer. I'm changing the internal in and out points.
I'm using a different segment of my source. However, the layer's in and out points in the overall composition are not changing. Notice the In and Out comps to the left are staying the same. So what I can do is I can park my time indicator like I have here, slip edit, and watch the Comp panel and decide you know, I'd rather use it starting here at 1 o'clock rather than starting at 9 o'clock like I did before. Now my overall timing is the same. I am just using a different segment of this particular clip. By the way, as with all editing functions, you can also keep your eye on the Info panel to also see what you're up to when you perform any editing command.
For example, when I do a slip edit, you'll see that it's showing me what my internal in and out points are for the clip, the delta, how much I'm changing those points by, and what my duration is. In this case, I'm not changing my duration at all. I can slip edit in the Timeline panel or I can bring open the Layer panel for this clip and slip edit in here by looking for that double-cursor and moving the layer bar visible in the Layer panel relative to the overall length of the source material. You'll see I have the same effect going on here.
I'm changing what segment is being used at the source, but down there in the Timeline panel, I'm not changing when this layer is going to be visible in the overall Timeline. So I'll pick a segment here like around there. See what that looks like. It's not quite as interactive as doing things directly in the Timeline panel but it is an alternative. Then I go back to Composition. If you happen to be working on a comp where you are so far zoomed-in on a source that you cannot see ghosted sections of the bar at the end or at the start, there is an alternative.
You can switch to the Pan Behind tool. The shortcut is Y. Remember, you can press-and-hold the key to temporarily switch tools. By doing so, I am going to move my cursor over this bar, it's normally the Selection tool to move the entire bar. Press-and-hold Y and you'll see I now again have my Slip Edit tool. Now, while holding Y, I can drag inside the layer bar to decide what segment I'm using. The In and Out times here are not changing, but I am changing what content is visible at the current time, and I'll zoom-out so I can see everybody again.
What's really interesting is if I had keyframes attached to a layer. Let me go ahead and select this Jet Landing bar. Move the cursor to where the previous layer bar ends by holding the Shift key. That will snap. Press T to reveal this layer's Opacity. Keyframe it. Press I to jump to its In point, enter 0 for its opacity. Now, I've got a fade up. So it's crossfading from the layer underneath to the layer on top. If I don't have any keyframes selected and I use a Slip Edit tool, notice that the keyframes will stay in place.
So I am still slip editing the layer but I'm keeping my Fade Up at exactly the same time, which is desirable in this case because I do want to cross-fade. I just want to change what segment is being used like right around there. On the other hand, if these keyframes have an important relationship to the source, say I'm painting on top of the source or masking out a particular feature of the source, I may want to move those keyframes together with a source as I slip edit. In that case I'll select those keyframes. They're highlighted in yellow.
Now when I slip edit, the keyframes move along with the source material which means that they are moving in the overall composition. Not what I would want to do for opacity. Definitely what I'd want to do for rotoscoping or with masking, etcetera. So remember slip editing. it's also really useful.
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