The key way you can 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. And in addition to PSD files, After Effects can also render directly to JPG and full 8-bit transparent PNG files.
- [Instructor] The key way we use After Effects in non-video related projects is to export a composition directly to the Photoshop format, complete with layers and full transparency. Now, 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 and mobile devices. And in addition to PSD files, After Effects can also render directly to jpg and full 8-bit transparent png files.
Now these aren't the only files that After Effects can export to, but these are the ones that you'll use mostly in your photography projects. So let's take a quick look at how we can export from After Effects to each of these file types. So here inside of After Effects I have a composition that I want to export to a transparent Photoshop file. And so for this example you don't need to follow along, this is actually one of the exercises that we'll be doing in Chapter One. So, I'll start by making my keying plug-in visible, by clicking this icon here. And in the main Composition area you can see the gray background.
If I come down here to the bottom center and turn on the checkerboard, we can see the transparency that's showing here. So to get this out to Photoshop, what I need to do is make sure that I have the Composition panel selected, I need to make sure the preview is in full resolution, and then I come up to the Composition menu, come down to Save Frame As and choose Photoshop Layers. I'll save this to the Desktop. I'll name this greens_keyed, format's Photoshop. Choose Save.
And now if I go back out to the Desktop, I'll see greens_keyed.psd showing up. I'll double-click that file and that will open that up inside of Photoshop. So you're here inside of Photoshop, I can see my layers showing up. I come in here and create a new layer. Fill it with black, put it in the background. Select my greens layers, maybe move these around. You can see all of that beautiful transparency has been preserved from the original After Effects file. And now another format that will support all the transparency is a png file.
So let's go back to After Effects, and let's save this file out as a 24-bit png file. So to do that we're going to come up to the Composition menu, with the Composition panel selected. Come down and choose Save Frame As. And choose File. This is going to bring up another panel inside of After Effects called the Render queue. So I'll resize this a little bit. So the Render queue is basically where After Effects can render out all of the compositions, whether it's video or a static frame, based on what's happening inside of the Composition panel.
So from the Render queue, under Render Settings, we're going to come in here, if we click on Current Settings, we can see all of the different properties showing up here. These will match the composition settings. So we can see the size here for example. Let's hit Cancel. Let's go back Output Module, let's click on the word Photoshop. Here we can choose what type of file we'd like to export out. Let's change Photoshop Sequence to PNG Sequence. For the Video Output make sure we choose RGB + Alpha.
So this means the artwork plus the Alpha channel. Let's click OK, let's click on the name for Output To. This is where the file's going to be saved. I'll choose the Desktop. I'll just rename this greens_keyed. Choose Save, and then over on the far right hand side, let's come up here and click on Render. After Effects will export a png file with all of the transparency. So just to preview this, let's come back to the Desktop.
Let's open this up inside of Photoshop. And we can see all of the transparency preserved here as well. So you can use this particular file in any project or application that supports png files. And so now that we've looked at exporting two different formats that include transparency, let's go back to After Effects and export a jpg file. So I have a different file open here. And let's do the same thing, let's select the Composition panel. Then let's choose Composition, down to Save Frame As, we'll choose File again.
And now inside of the Render queue, let's click on the name Photoshop. Let's change this to a JPEG Sequence. Next to the Video Output, let's choose Format Options. Here you can set your compression level. So nine is fine, we'll leave it there. Let's click OK. Click OK again. Next we'll choose where to save this. Next, click on the file name next to the Output To. We'll just name this louvre_pyramid.jpg.
I'll target the Desktop. Click Save. And then let's come over and click Render. Once that's done, we'll have a new jpg file on the Desktop. And again, I'll just double-click to open this up inside of Photoshop to preview this. Now we can see the jpg file that was generated directly from After Effects. Now for the majority of my projects I use the Photoshop format, it's faster and the format is widely supported. However, if you do need a png or any of the other formats that After Effects supports, you can use the Render queue to get a much wider range of file options.
So now if you've been watching these introductory videos, then you're ready to start adding some special effect to your photography. So grab your photographs and let's continue on in the next chapter.
- Getting comfortable with the After Effects interface
- Importing and exporting files
- Adding a sunset, a burst of light, and a rippled reflection
- Creating a double exposure effect on a portrait
- Using colorizing techniques
- Repeating, blending, and texturizing patterns
- Using the Roughen Edges effect to create a wide range of edges