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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
So, now we've added some assets to our Timeline. And let's talk about these assets a little bit. We saw, in the last movie, how when we added a layer, it covered up the layers beneath them. If we want to temporarily remove an object's visibility, we can go ahead, over here in the Timeline panel, all the way in the upper left-hand corner and click on the Eye icon for a layer. And that removes its visibility. Now we can click that again to bring it back, so it's not anything permanent. We haven't loss anything at all. If we scrub in time with the current time indicator, which is this little yellow playhead with the red vertical line here, which we use to change our position in time, we could see that we have this cool video.
We're going to use this later, but for right now, let's just go ahead and leave it off by clicking the Eye icon and leaving that empty there. Now the layer is represented by this bar here. Its horizontal length determines its duration. So, this video layer goes from the beginning of the composition to the end of the composition. As you can see over this indicator, that's 10 seconds long. So, this is a 10-second long layer. Now some of these other layers here aren't quite as long. You can see, by this gray space here, that they start later in time.
This last layer here, the background layer, actually ends earlier in time. Now, with this layer, we want it to start later and to end with everything else. So, to move it in time, just go ahead and click on the layer and drag it to the right. Now, as we do that, you could see that we are actually making it start later and end later as well. Now what I've done is I've gone ahead and added something called markers - that's these little icons up here at the top - so that we know where certain layers stop and start.
So, in order to see this, because it kind of looks like gibberish junk right now, is we can go ahead and go to the slider with these little tiny mountains and then big mountains. Go ahead and drag this slider to a magnification - use the scrollbars if necessary as well - until you can see what is being said on these markers. So, if we back up a little bit here, we can see the Background Starts Here. Okay. Good. Got that. So, the H and P Text, the Ampersand layer and the Flower Petals start at this marker.
So, we have the H and P Text and the Ampersand, but the Flower Petals layer does not start there. So, go ahead and drag it to the right, drag and drag and drag until the first part of this layer matches up with this marker. Markers, by the way, we'll talk about later in this training series, but markers are essentially are kind of like little sticky notes that you could put to yourself, or maybe somebody else in the workflow that you're going to pass the After Effects project along to, just kind of little notes about what supposed to happen at that exact time.
Now finally, we have Filigree Core & Stems start Here. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to select the filigree core layer and hold the Shift key and click filigree stems. So, now they are both selected. Let's go ahead and drag these to the right, continue to drag, which takes forever right now because I'm zoomed in so closely. But if I wanted to, I can just zoom out by dragging this slider to the left. I don't have to drag so vigorously. So, I'm dragging filigree core and stems here. Finally, the last marker says - if we zoom in little bit more closely there - that the Filigree Stem Tips Start Here where that marker is.
So, let's grab the filigree stem tips and drag this all the way over to the Filigree Stem Tips Start Here marker. With that, we now have our project set up and ready to animate.
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