The key way to use After Effects artwork in non-video related projects is to export a composition directly to the Photoshop format—complete with layers and full transparency support. Photoshop is one of the most widely used graphics applications, and its native PSD format is compatible with a wide range of other applications—from other Creative Cloud applications by Adobe to all kinds of other applications available for both desktop computers and mobile devices.
- [Narrator] The key way we can use After Effects for non-video related projects is to export a composition directly to the Photoshop format complete with layers and full transparency support. Photoshop is one of the most widely used graphic applications and its native PSD format is compatible with a wide range of other applications. From other creative cloud applications by Adobe to all kinds of other applications available for both desktop computers, and mobile devices. And in addition to PSD files, After Effects can render directly to JPEG and full 8-bit transparent PNG files as well.
Now these aren't the only formats that After Effects can export to but these are the ones that you'll most likely use in your design projects. So let's take a quick look at how we can export a composition for each of these file types. So now back in After Effects, I have a sample composition opened. You don't need to follow along with me here. And this is one of the examples that we'll be covering later in the course. So what I wanna do here is make sure that I have the composition panel selected so we can see the blue outline. I'm gonna select the artwork on this stage, down here you'll see in the timeline panel, I've selected this coffee_beans.jpeg.
And over here in the effect controls, I'm gonna come in here and activate the keylight plugin. What this is actually doing is cutting out all the green background so we get a nice transparent layer inside of Photoshop. So with the composition layer selected, let's come down and make sure that the composition panel is set to full resolution. And this is important because if this is set to any other setting like half or 1/3, that's the resolution of the final Photoshop file that we'll get. So make sure that this is set to full. Come up to the Composition menu, come down to Save Frame As, and then we'll choose Photoshop Layers.
From the save dialogue box, I'll choose the desktop and then hit Save. Then if I reveal my desktop, I'll see the coffee_beans.psd which I got directly from After Effects. Let's double click this to open it in Photoshop and then once this is open in Photoshop, you'll see that I have a single layer and I can see the checkered board in the background letting me know that the file is transparent. So just to test this, I'll come in here and make a new layer. Command + shift + N or control + shift + N in Windows. I'll press return. I'll just create a color here, maybe a medium brown.
Fill that color, put the layer behind the background and we can see that color is now showing up all around the coffee beans. So again, I got this beautifully transparent Photoshop file directly from an effect applied to a JPEG file inside of After Effects. Now to take a look at exporting this out as a PNG file instead of Photoshop, let's go back to After Effects. I still have my composition panel selected, I'm still in full screen resolution. Let's come up to the Composition menu, let's come down to Save Frame As and this time we'll choose File.
Now this is going to open another panel inside of After Effects called the Render Queue. Now this panel will typically open next to your other compositions down in the timeline panel. So under render queue, let's come down here to the render settings and we can see the coffee beans item is now in the queue. Let's change current settings to best settings. For the output module, let's come in here and change this from a Photoshop file down to Custom. Then in this dialogue box here, the output module settings, let's come down and choose PNG Sequence.
Let's choose OK. And from this output frame dialogue box, let's choose the desktop and then I'll simply click Save. And then finally, let's come over here and click on Render. And now if I reveal my desktop, I can see the new PNG file showing up and if I double click this to open it in Photoshop, I'll get something similar to what I had before where we can see the checkered background indicating that this is a transparent file. And I can use this transparent PNG file in any application that supports PNGs. So I'll close this, go back to After Effects and let's take a look at rendering out a single JPEG file.
So to do that, I'm gonna come down here to the timeline panel. I'm going to open up my steel globe composition. So this is a composition that has multiple layers from a Photoshop file. So let's come up here, make sure the composition layer is selected. Let's go to Composition, choose Save Frame As, choose File. Now in the render queue, all of my jobs will continue to display. So I can select the first item and simply hit Delete. Next, let's come down here and choose Best Settings per render settings.
For the output module, let's choose custom, let's change this to a JPEG sequence. Let's choose OK. For the output, I'll click the file name, we'll choose the desktop, we'll hit Save and then I'll chose Render. And just like before, if I reveal the desktop, I'll now see my new JPEG file showing on the desktop. Now for the majority of my projects, I use the Photoshop format. It's faster and the format is widely supported. But if you do need to create a JEPG or a PNG, or any of the other multiple file formats that After Effects can generate, you can use the render queue.
So if you've been watching these introductory videos, then you're ready to dive in and start making some graphics for your design projects. So to continue, let's go to the next chapter and get started.
- Adding dramatic lighting
- Color keying photos
- Animating a page curl
- Creating patterns and textures
- Generating artwork from blank layers
- Adding rain and lightning to illustrations
- Creating water and bubbles