Join Mark Christiansen for an in-depth discussion in this video Explore the interface of After Effects, part of After Effects CC 2018 Essential Training: The Basics.
- [Presenter] So this is what After Effects looks like the first time you open it. Yours may not look exactly like this, but don't worry because we'll customize it to our liking. Let's take a look around, and I'll show you how you start a new project, the majority of the time, especially as you are still learning the application. You don't need to follow along with me. This is for information purposes only. So if you see this Start or Get Started panel, you're free to use this, but, I don't actually necessarily recommend it.
There's nothing wrong with it of course, but the most likely thing for us to click would be New Project and in fact we already have a New Project open right behind the panel. There are a few other nice things in here like access to your Creative Cloud files if you're keeping those, and syncing settings if you're doing that, and then even more advanced is Team Projects, which really only apply to a small subset of After Effects users. So I'm just going to close this, because right behind it is actually a really valuable place to start.
Now if you don't see these two icons in the Composition panel, you should update if you're going to follow along with what I'm doing here, because these are brand new in the 2018 version of After Effects. Notice also the blue line around the Composition panel. So as I work, you'll notice that blue line move around to whichever panel is active. But we're not working yet until we start with something and for that, I can click one of these two icons.
Now if I click New Composition, that looks a little complicated. Let's just close that for now and instead, I'm going to choose the option that automates the start-up process for me. So with this option, I'm choosing a clip, opening it and After Effects is making a composition for me. So a couple of different things happen. Over here in the Project panel, that footage that I pulled in is here, I can see the full name, if I want to pull out this column just a little bit, and a composition with the same name is there and you can see the icons for each of those items right here.
Then down here in what's called the Timeline is a layer made up of that one video clip. And up here in the Composition Viewer is the clip itself. So at this point I could preview it by pressing the spacebar button. And you can see that it's actually slow motion footage, so it's running at full speed for the frame rate that we have and it was actually shot at high speed.
So the great thing about starting out this way with New Composition from Footage is that everything matches. Up here in the Project panel, there's some information at the top about these clips. It shows the duration, the frame rate and the pixel dimensions, and those match. And as I'll show you throughout this course, that can be really important. So that's our first look at the Project panel. A little tour of After Effects will show us the Timeline, and the Composition Viewer, and then these panels over here.
Now these are sometimes referred to as drawers, they open and shut, and each one is a different panel that does a different set of things. So we'll be putting those into use as we work our way through the course. Up here at the top, there is a toolbar. Now if these remind you of anything from other Adobe applications, they do have quite a bit in common. So for example, the Project panel might remind you of the same panel in Premiere Pro, and the toolbar might remind you a bit of Tools in other applications, not just Premiere Pro but also Photoshop and Illustrator.
Now the final thing I want to do before we finish this lesson is just make a little bit of a mess of this. So, I have a setup here and as I said, it may or may not match the one you have. And what I want to show you is that you are free to customize this. So I'm clicking on the tab here at the top where it says Project, I'm going to drag this around and you see these highlight areas. So I can drop this wherever I like, so for example I could drop it here, and now it's in between those panels and my Composition Viewer.
I could open a panel, click right there, I'm going to go ahead and undock the panel, so now this one is free-floating, and to really make a mess I'm going to drag my Timeline way over here to the right, so now it's stuck over there. So now, After Effects looks even more confusing maybe, than when we opened it, it certainly looks confusing to me. The reason I did this, and the reason I'm having you do it, is you always have a safety to go back to. You can go to the Window menu and under Workspace, we're set to Default but I can say Reset "Default" to Saved Layout and boom, we're right back where we started.
So the point of all that is to familiarize you and just put you at ease that this interface is flexible and can be reset. Now let's make a simple shot while reducing the process of making it down to the essentials.
- Six foundations of After Effects
- Setting up a composition
- Working with layers
- Animating compositions
- Applying effects, including lights
- Working in 3D
- Rendering projects