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After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation
Illustration by John Hersey

Working with action- and title-safe areas


From:

After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Working with action- and title-safe areas

If you are creating video to be played back on a television set, you need to know about the safe areas. While you are working After Effects shows you the entire video frame all the way out to the edges; however, if you play this back on a television screen, the very edge of the composition will be lost underneath the bezel. Also, unless your viewer has a flat-screen TV, the outer area might also be distorted. If you click on the Grids and Guides button, you can turn on the Title/Action Safe overlay.

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After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation
2h 19m Beginner Jan 25, 2011 Updated Nov 09, 2012

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Trish Meyer leads beginners through a gentle introduction to Adobe After Effects: from creating a new project and importing sources, through arranging and animating layers, applying effects, and creating variations, to rendering the final movie. However, this is no paint-by-numbers exercise. Trish demonstrates how she makes creative decisions and saves time through the use of keyboard shortcuts and smart working practices. Additional movies explain further details about how After Effects works under the hood. Her measured pace helps even those completely new to After Effects understand the program so that they can use it effectively on their own projects. 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:
  • Starting a project from scratch
  • Building a composition
  • Arranging and transforming layers interactively and numerically
  • Animating parameters including motion paths
  • Applying and re-using effects
  • Creating variations and rendering the final movie
  • Importing layered Photoshop files
  • Understanding alpha channels
  • Avoiding common mistakes
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Working with action- and title-safe areas

If you are creating video to be played back on a television set, you need to know about the safe areas. While you are working After Effects shows you the entire video frame all the way out to the edges; however, if you play this back on a television screen, the very edge of the composition will be lost underneath the bezel. Also, unless your viewer has a flat-screen TV, the outer area might also be distorted. If you click on the Grids and Guides button, you can turn on the Title/Action Safe overlay.

The outer box is action safe, and the inner box is title safe. The idea is that any important imagery you want the viewer to see should be placed inside of the action-safe zone, and if you add a title, you might want to check that it sits inside the title-safe zone. In this case, I might want to scale it down just a touch to make sure it's completely safe. Now you can toggle on and off the title- action-safe zones using the shortcut, the Apostrophe key. Or you can also press the Option key on Mac, Alt key on Windows, and click on the Guides button.

If you happen to be working in a 16:9 wide-screen composition, notice when I toggle on the title- action safe, I see two sets of zones. I see the outer action safe and title safe and the inner action safe and title safe. Now if I know this animation will only ever be seen on a wide-screen TV--perhaps this were a tradeshow where I can control what the audience will see--I can go ahead and place my images all the way out to the outside action-safe zone.

However, if I am working on an animation that will also be seen on a standard 4:3-aspect ratio television, then I need to be aware that the left-hand and the right-hand size will be cropped off for that viewer. They will just never see any imagery on the left- and right-hand sides. This is called center-cut by the way. So in this case, my composition looks good in wide screen but should also be acceptable when the edges are cropped off. Now, in this animation, as I scrub, I can see that all the important information is actually inside the action-safe zone.

Finally, the percentages used for title- action safe can be set under Preferences > Grids & Guides. Under Safe Margins, you can customize the percentage use for action- and title- safe zones, as well as the center-cut safe zones that appear in a 16:9 comp.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation.


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Q: This course was updated on 11/09/2012. What changed?
A: We added new movies on using the exercise files that come with this course, and working with the Global Performance Cache in After Effects CS6. We have also added exercise files designed for After Effects CS6.
 
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