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Touring the interface

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Touring the interface

Before we get much further, I want to give you a little tour of the interface of After Effects. Basically, you need to know your way around here. It really will help you become a more efficient user of the program. We have already talked about the Project panel and few other panels, and basically, that is the overall theme of After Effects' Interfaces that we have the series of Docked panels. By Docked, I mean they are grouped together. If you put your cursor in between two panels, you'll get a little divider, like this. This will allow you to resize panels, either from left to right, or up and down here.

Touring the interface

Before we get much further, I want to give you a little tour of the interface of After Effects. Basically, you need to know your way around here. It really will help you become a more efficient user of the program. We have already talked about the Project panel and few other panels, and basically, that is the overall theme of After Effects' Interfaces that we have the series of Docked panels. By Docked, I mean they are grouped together. If you put your cursor in between two panels, you'll get a little divider, like this. This will allow you to resize panels, either from left to right, or up and down here.

If you put your cursor in between a spot where three or more panels meet together, where they intersect, you'll get one of these little icons. It allows you just to resize the interface however you'd like. Now, when you put your cursor over a panel, you'd hit the Tilde key. That's the little squiggle that's above the Tab key, to the left of the number one on your keyboard. If you press that key, it will maximize whatever panel your mouse happens to be over at the time. So, I'll put my cursor over the Project panel, maximize it and then minimize it again by using the Tilde key.

It may just going to seem like a cool trick down. But when you are actually working, there's so much complexity to these panels that to be able to maximize them like this, you can see, for example, in the Project panel, maximize that, and you could see that's we have so much here as far as like the File Path, even like the Name of the file and the Type. And sometimes, these things get really long and so you need to be able to resize, grab these little dividers and resize them, so you could actually see, what's going on here. Then you could just hit that Tilde key again, to get back to where you were. But being able to maximize panels is a great asset to your arsenal of skills.

Now, there might be times when you want to undock panels. So, let's say for example, the Composition panel, which is our Viewer here. I am going to select it, and you could tell it's selected because of the gold outline around the edge of it. That's how we know it's selected. That's also going to become very important as we go through the program, because the keyboard shortcuts that you will use will change based on which panel is currently selected. But getting back to the Composition panel here, I have currently a two-monitor setup. And so if I want to use this Composition panel on my other monitor, I could hold down the Command key on the Mac, or the Ctrl key on the PC as I drag away.

Then let go off the mouse, then let go off the Command or Ctrl key, and now I have this floating window, and I could put this over here on my other monitor, which you can't see, just pretend it's going to another monitor there, and we have this now floating window as opposed to a docked window. You might want to do this with other panels. You might have a panel that you want to kind of like levitate over here, over your Timeline panel while you are working on at something, and then you could re-dock it just by simply grabbing these little grip things here on the left-hand side. When we drag this to re-dock this, we get these things called Drop Zones, these little geometric panels that kind of like light up.

Basically, that tells us where this panel is going to go, once we let go of it, and when we have a side drop zone like that, then it puts the panel to the right of that. If we want to group panels together, let's say we wanted the Info panel to be grouped along with the Composition panel. So, they are basically tabs next to each other. You would use this center drop zone, and that allows these two panels to be in the same group called a Frame. So, this one frame has these two panels in it.

I am going to put the Info panel back with the Audio panel. Shift it over here, because I want the Audio panel in front. And that's basically what you need to know about the interface. If you are not seeing a particular panel, let's say for example, I close Effects & Presets panel, which you can do by clicking little x that gets rids of it there, I can go to the Window menu, and then choose Effects & Presets to get it back. Now, you may get the interface set up the way you like it, which may take some time, specially if you have like a two- monitor setup, and you might want to save your layout, you can using a feature called the Workspace.

If you go here to the top of the interface, you could see this Workspace dropdown. Right now, we are using the Standard Layout. But if we wanted to do something with text, we could choose Text, and that will basically get us the Standard layout except with the Character and Paragraph panels, which allow us to manipulate and adjust our text. We could choose Motion Tracking or any one of these other various workspaces already created for you, or we can go back to Standard. What's kind of cool about After Effects too is that it automatically remembers the changes that you make. So, this is the Standard Workspace. Let's just say I do something super crazy like this, and we'll go back to Animation or something like that.

If we go back to Standard, then you can see that it actually remembered the quirky way we had it. And if we don't like it like this and we want to reset things back to their defaults, we can go back down at the dropdown and choose Reset "Standard" or whatever the name of the Workspace is. Here, we could also create a New Workspace based on our current layout, and we could also Delete a Workspace as well. So, let's choose Reset Standard, and I'll say Yes. Now, this gets back to the way the application shipped when we first got it. Now, one other component of the interface that's not really a component of the interface, but this little Search field in the upper-right here - this will allow you to search After Effects' help while you are here in the program.

So, let's say I have a question about Motion Tracking or something. I can click in this field and type in motion tracking, and then I could hit Enter, and it will launch my Internet browser and take me to the spot in the After Effects Help that deals with Motion Tracking. So, this is a handy feature. Again, as you are a new user, this is critical. The documentation for After Effects is just fantastic as far as programs go. A lot of times, those manuals are just really confusing and overly technical, but a lot of Adobe's manuals are fantastic. But the ones for After Effects and even for like Photoshop, just phenomenal, wonderful documentation there.

So, that's the Interface Tour. Let's now get back into the program and figuring out how things work.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67189 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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