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Working with image sequences

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Working with image sequences

Pretty much every time I teach a video training series here at lynda.com, I include a movie about using Image Sequences. I don't think anyone ever watches them or cares, but I use Image Sequence all the time. They are so helpful. Give them a chance. What am I going to do is go to the Project panel, double-click in the Project panel to open up the Import File dialog box and then go to the Media folder inside the Exercise Files. Go to Images/robot render. You'll notice a series of tga files. TGA is short for Targa.

Working with image sequences

Pretty much every time I teach a video training series here at lynda.com, I include a movie about using Image Sequences. I don't think anyone ever watches them or cares, but I use Image Sequence all the time. They are so helpful. Give them a chance. What am I going to do is go to the Project panel, double-click in the Project panel to open up the Import File dialog box and then go to the Media folder inside the Exercise Files. Go to Images/robot render. You'll notice a series of tga files. TGA is short for Targa.

So, these are Targa files, which are a series of still image files. Now, what I am going to do is uncheck Targa Sequence, so this is not checked. If I bring this in and go ahead and just leave this at Straight Unmatted, click OK, we could see here that we have a still image. We could double-click on this to open this up in the Footage panel. This is just one still image. There is no Timeline here. There is no movie to speak of, just one single image. Now, if I go back, double- click in a Project panel again.

Go back to that same folder. Select that first file, which is the eddie technology0000.tga. This time, check Target Sequence. And as you'll notice, that I've numbered these, 0000 and in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, on until we get to the end, which is a 120. So, we actually have 120 images in this folder. When we check Target Sequence, After Effects is going to look at all of these images in order. It's going to notice the numeric sequence. It's going to import all these images as one file.

Notice that it says here, eddie technology0000-0120. So, now if I double-click this to open it up, it's going to be a series of images. I mean, after all, isn't that what video is, just a series of images played back? So, now we have this movie clip, essentially. It's not really a movie clip. It's just a series of images, played one after another, but After Effects treats it like a movie. Now, why is that important to you? I'm glad you asked. I use image sequences all the time, and I use these for a few reasons.

Number one, oftentimes, in this day and age of the Internet and whatnot, a lot of the business I do is across the web. Even 10 years ago, it was the case that if you are going to be working on a big video project, you had to be in the same city as your client. Now, you could be across the world from them, and you could upload files, go back and forth through the power of the web. If you render out a movie file, it might be a colossal movie file that's really hard to transport. But if you use image sequences, you can actually break up those images into groups and then send them a few at a time.

Also, if you get some kind of corruption inside of your video file, then the whole file is toast. But with an image sequence, you can just toss out that one file and replace it. Also too, when I do work and I have image sequences, it is so much more convenient because if I need to, let say, for example, I did a commercial one time and the client gave me a series of still images. It was just like this folder. I am actually was going to right-click, and choose Reveal in finder, to show you what I am talking about here. So, here are these images in my Finder here. Basically, let's say, for example, this was a special effects shot.

These were still images from a movie file that I was working on. It only needed this group of files. So, I was only working on these few frames. Well, I could take all the rest of these frames and just delete them. It's almost like doing video editing before you even bring it into a system because I can just select these images and delete them, or just not even bring them in. Also, as I'll show you how to do later on in this training series, when you are rendering to movie, when you are outputting something like this, you can choose to output to a series of still images. And that will make it so that if After Effects crashes on one frame, you don't lose everything, which is what you'd do if you're rendering out one solitary movie file.

If there is one corrupt frame in there, and it crashes, then you've got to start all over again the rendering process. But if it is the still image sequence, then you only have to throw away that one image that it crashed on, and you continue rendering from that spot. Now, one final benefit that's very important about image sequences is that they are much more compatible with everything. Chances are some of you watching this training series will have some problem whatsoever, probably if you are on Windows, with some of these video files. There is just something in Operating Systems or whatever.

There's just issues when it comes to compression in video. Just not everybody can read or view every format of video. However, almost anyone can open a Targa file or a JPEG. So, if you make a series of JPEGs or Targa files or TIFFs or what have you, then chances are almost everybody on any platform is going to be able to open up and use those files without any kind of compression or codec issue whatsoever. So, you can choose to work how you want, but personally, I use image sequences as often as possible.

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This video is part of

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

111 video lessons · 67486 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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