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After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the Effects & Presets panel


From:

After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Using the Effects & Presets panel

In the next few movies I would like to show you a little bit more about applying effects and how to use effects presets. I want to go ahead and do a Close All again just to clean up my display and if you have the Exercise Files that come with this lesson I'm going to open up the comp 10-Adobe's Preset*starter. If you're following along using the After Effects Apprentice book, I'm going to go through these things in a little different order than they are in the book, but I am going to cover the exact same concepts. If you don't have the Exercise Files, just create a comp with a piece of footage for now and we'll play around with that.
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  1. 3m 20s
    1. Overview
      1m 20s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 23m 19s
    1. Stacking and sliding layers
      5m 23s
    2. Trimming layers in the Timeline panel
      5m 45s
    3. Trimming in the Layer panel
      3m 31s
    4. Pre-trimming and inserting layers from the Footage panel
      3m 20s
    5. Slip editing
      5m 20s
  3. 12m 13s
    1. Applying sequence layers to footage
      4m 45s
    2. Using sequence layers with objects
      2m 14s
    3. Example: Sequence layers and photographs
      2m 20s
    4. Creating a new composition using sequence layers
      1m 35s
    5. Understanding the importance of layer order
      1m 19s
  4. 17m 20s
    1. Looping footage
      3m 15s
    2. Importing a sequence of still images
      4m 30s
    3. Using Time Stretch vs. altering frame rates
      3m 23s
    4. Frame blending
      6m 12s
  5. 19m 1s
    1. Overview of blending modes
      7m 5s
    2. Combining modes and effects
      4m 45s
    3. Why apply effects to solids?
      7m 11s
  6. 22m 2s
    1. Using the Effects & Presets panel
      5m 3s
    2. Applying presets
      5m 34s
    3. Working with behaviors
      3m 2s
    4. Creating and saving presets
      8m 23s
  7. 7m 55s
    1. Importing Photoshop files with layer styles
      4m 7s
    2. Applying layer styles inside After Effects
      3m 48s
  8. 9m 27s
    1. Using adjustment layers
      3m 17s
    2. Working with adjustment layers and alpha channels
      3m 14s
    3. Applying a filmic glow treatment
      2m 56s
  9. 6m 50s
    1. Quizzler challenges
      1m 16s
    2. Quizzler solution one: Pyrotechnic composite
      3m 7s
    3. Quizzler solution two: Sequenced fades
      2m 27s
  10. 11m 51s
    1. Idea corner one: Adjustment layer shapes
      1m 55s
    2. Idea corner two: Creating a traveling glass bar
      4m 12s
    3. Idea corner three: Creating sequences from filmstrips
      5m 44s
  11. 27m 23s
    1. Looping footage by crossfading
      5m 20s
    2. Working with effect point paths
      5m 12s
    3. Brainstorming
      7m 19s
    4. Working with pixel aspect ratios
      9m 32s

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After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control
2h 40m Beginner Feb 23, 2011 Updated Nov 15, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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®.

Topics include:
  • Sliding and trimming
  • Slip-editing and insert-editing layers
  • Employing blending modes to enhance layers and composites
  • Applying, modifying, and saving animation presets and layer styles
  • Using adjustment layers to affect multiple layers
  • Experimenting with effects using Brainstorm
  • Understanding pixel aspect ratios
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Using the Effects & Presets panel

In the next few movies I would like to show you a little bit more about applying effects and how to use effects presets. I want to go ahead and do a Close All again just to clean up my display and if you have the Exercise Files that come with this lesson I'm going to open up the comp 10-Adobe's Preset*starter. If you're following along using the After Effects Apprentice book, I'm going to go through these things in a little different order than they are in the book, but I am going to cover the exact same concepts. If you don't have the Exercise Files, just create a comp with a piece of footage for now and we'll play around with that.

There are two ways to apply effects to a selected layer or layers in After Effects. One is to use the Effect menu. It does give a nice hierarchical menu of all these different effects. The problem with this menu is that if you have a very specific effect you know you want to use but you can't remember which category or submenu that it's in, you can spend a fair amount of time trying to find it by going through these different categories and things could change between versions every now and then too. Sometimes things are in the Channel menu; sometimes they are in the Color Correction menu.

You can waste a bit of time. That's why we prefer using the Effects and Presets panel. It's part of the standard workspace. If you cannot see this panel, just open it underneath the Window menu item. There it is, Effects and Presets. Command +5 or Ctrl+5 is the shortcut to open it. You might have noticed that we're already been using Effects and Presets to search for Effects. Click the X at the top of this Quick Search dialog to clear out the previous search and now you'll see the same categories as I had before.

Since the Effects and Presets panel tends to be a pretty long panel with a lot of information, if I have the screen real estate, I leave and drag it out to its own frame with more height so it's easier to see. I'm initially presented with the same categories that I get underneath the Effect menu. I have some control over how these are displayed. I can sort by categories or by the folders that the effects are contained in actually in my Finder or Explorer or in alphabetical order if that's what I prefer.

Alphabetical shows me all of the Effects and all of the Presents without any folder distinctions. I'll go back to Categories for now. To see the contents just twirl open and see what effects are underneath the category. There is also this folder called Animation Presets. Animation Presets contain different configurations of effects, transformations, keyframes, etcetera. This is something we're going to dealing with a lot more in the next two movies. Now let's get back to our initial problem.

Let's say we cannot remember what category an effect is in. For example, the Invert effect. Well, all I need to do is click in this Quick Search dialog and start typing the name. Immediately, After Effects starts sorting until I get down to any animation presets or effect that includes the characters that I'm typing up here in Quick Search. If all you're interested in right now are effects, not presets, you can clean up your display in Effects and Presets by clicking on the Options menu for the Effects and Presets panel and turning off Show Animation Presets.

Now we've cleaned up to just the effects and there is Invert. You can drag effects over the Comp panel and apply them to piece of footage or if you already have footage selected just double-click it and it will applied to any layers that are already selected in the Timeline panel. Now undo to get out of here. Let's say you want to see every Blur effect you own. Type Blur. Now I've got all of the effects that include the word blur in their name. Most are underneath the Blur & Sharpen category, but as you see here there is one in the Time category as well.

Maybe color correction, just type Color. Now you see the color effects are spread across Channel, Color Correction, Expression Controls, Generate, Keying, Stylize, Synthetic, Aperture's own Color Finesse, a great color correction effect, and Utility. Now you can really see where this search dialog comes in handy. You can find effects regardless of what category they happen to be sorted into. A lot of users just use the Effects and Presets panel all the time. They don't even bother with the Effect menu. I'll clear my search. Now in general whenever you apply an effect, we strongly recommend going away from the default parameters.

I mean quite often when you apply an effect to footage, it may do nothing at all and you have to edit the parameters. However, it can be hard to master every single effect particularly if you are new with After Effects. Therefore, you might want to start out by taking advantage of the hundreds of effects and animation presets that Adobe ships with After Effects, and that's what we're going to explore in the next movie.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control.


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Q: This course was updated on 11/15/2012. What changed?
A: We have added exercise files designed for After Effects CS6. We also added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files.
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