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Staying organized

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Staying organized

If you're at all like me, being creative doesn't always directly translate into being the most organized person. In fact, some of the most talented artists I know have to constantly battle organization on a daily basis. Well I'm here to tell you that if I can become organized, any of you can become organized, especially when it comes to working with Adobe After Effects. Now if you navigate in your Exercise Files folder, under Ch_01, you should see this folder; this 01_10_Project_Template folder.

Staying organized

If you're at all like me, being creative doesn't always directly translate into being the most organized person. In fact, some of the most talented artists I know have to constantly battle organization on a daily basis. Well I'm here to tell you that if I can become organized, any of you can become organized, especially when it comes to working with Adobe After Effects. Now if you navigate in your Exercise Files folder, under Ch_01, you should see this folder; this 01_10_Project_Template folder.

This is named this just for this individual course. But I wanted to show you how I typically organize folders based on my workflow in motion graphics. Now what you name these individual folders will kind of be customized based on your individual workflow, but I want to show you how I organize things and the theory, why I organize things. So first thing, After Effects by itself references external files.

So while you can create a lot of things within After Effects, like text, and gradients, and shapes, and all kinds of fun new 3D things in CS6, well also you can import your layered Photoshop documents, layered Illustrator files, video files, et cetera. So a lot of times, as you're working through a project, you'll have to pull in these external files, and work with them. Now when you're finished with After Effects, there is a method for archiving to collect everything and put it in one folder.

But I found when I start a project, if I keep things organized, it just makes life a lot easier. So my basic structure, since most of my life is centered around After Effects, the very first folder I'll create is this 01_AE_Projects folder. See, I do this because After Effects is number one for me. Now I will bounce things back and forth between Premiere and After Effects a lot of times because Premiere has amazing editing features. Anytime I have video footage that I work with, I'll put it in the Footage folder.

You could call this video footage as well, especially with digital video files, when you're not shooting on tape, it's really important to have those files organized in a specific folder structure as well. So a lot of times if I know I'm going to use those for a project, I'll drop them into the Footage folder. Now if you have an external drive, I would create a similar structure to where I would save my media cache, and all that other stuff, but if you're only working off one drive, you could create another folder in here just for your cache.

Again, I always recommend saving your cache on a separate drive, but that's neither here nor there. Now this Layered_Files folder is important because this is what I would use to save my layered Photoshop documents and my layered Illustrator files. I tend to save those separately for my flat images; flat images being like still photos that I may have taken with like a digital camera. I save those separately just because the layered files I like to import with all their layers intact. So I'll keep that organized accordingly.

Now, Working_Files is an interesting folder. A lot of times, especially if you're kind of noodling with creative ideas, you may not necessarily want to import those directly into After Effects, you probably just want to create some working files. So you can have that one Photoshop document with 150 layers in it, and know that you're not going to be animating all those layers. So I'd save those in Working_Files. Then when I'm ready to actually import it into After Effects, I would save them into my Layered_Files folder with all the extemporaneous layers deleted.

Now this last folder, Client_Reference, this is really important if you are working with another client or an art director or something like that. If they give you any reference images whatsoever in email, or a lot of times, PDF files, JPEG images if they are like, hey! I want this to look like this; it's important to save that with your project especially if you're doing like a meeting or something and they're going, well, you designed this, but it doesn't really look quite like it. You can go, Oh! Really? Well this is what you sent me, and jump right to that folder.

So, all in all, this is how I like to organize things. I encourage you to create your own folder structure based on your workflow and what you think works best for you. Now, one last tip, if you take this folder, and in the Mac OS, you can right-click and choose Compress to create a zip file, on Windows, you could use something like WinZip. But basically, when you zip that folder, that you could use as your starting point for any new projects. And the nice thing when you zip it, it will uncompress the folder and still keep the original zipped file as well.

So any time I start a new project, I just go to the folder and unzip a new folder, and rename this, whatever it is the project that I'm working on. So for those of you who needed just that little extra push to keep things straight, now hopefully you have a nice little workflow you can use to keep all your After Effects projects organized all nice and tidy.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 55179 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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