This course uses the Creative Cloud 2018 version of After Effects. However, most of it will work back the Creative Suite versions of After Effects. So, start by launching the application. To begin, choose the Small Screen workspace by going to the Window menu, and choosing Workspaces, then Small Screen.
- [Instructor] Now for this course I'll be using the Creative Cloud 2018 version of After Effects. However, most of this course will work all the way back to Creative Suite versions of After Effects. So once you've launched After Effects, this is the screen you'll see, or something similar to this. This is the default workspace in the Creative Cloud version. So over on the left-hand side we have our Project panel. Down in the bottom we have the Timeline panel. We can see the time indicators here. In the center we have the Composition panel, and on the right we have a few additional panels. And in this particular default setting, we can see the Effect and Presets.
So the first thing we're gonna do is get rid of some of these extra panels. So what I'm gonna do is start by going up to the Window menu, come down to Workspaces, and let's come down and choose Small Screen. This will get rid of a lot of the extra panels. Now over on the right-hand side, for Libraries I'll come in here and just click on the little menu icon here, and choose Close Panel. And I'm gonna do that for Preview, and Info, and if you have additional panels showing, you can close all of them. We want to leave up the Project panel, Composition, Timeline, and the Effects and Presets.
Now let's come up to the Window menu, and let's come down and let's open up the Effect controls. So down here we'll go to Effect Controls. We'll turn this on. In this particular workspace this will show up next to the Project panel. So what I'm gonna do is click and hold on the Effect panel, I'm gonna drag it across, and I'm gonna drag it to the top quadrant here of the Effect and Presets. This way I can put the two panels together. And so once these are grouped together, going to just increase the width of this a little bit.
Maybe to about here. And then I'm gonna come over to my Project panel and decrease the width here. I'm trying to get a little bit more room for my composition area. Then finally I'll come down here and I will decrease the height of the Timeline panel. So now with all of my panels where I want them, let's come up to the Window menu, let's come down to Workspace, let's come down and choose Save as New Workspace. And we'll name this Graphic Design. Then I'll click OK, and now I'll have a Graphic Design link up here next to my toolbar.
So if I go back to default, all of the panels will go back to what we had before. Or I can go back to Graphic Design, and we'll see the new panel structure. So now with our workspace setup, let's import some artwork and take a look at how files show up in the Project panel. So let's come up to the File menu, let's come down and choose Import. I'll choose File, and so if you're following along here, you can use any JPEG file you have on your system. I'm going to use the champagne_glasses.jpg file, which we'll be using later in the course. So with this selected I'll come down and choose Open.
So what that's gonna do is bring the JPEG file into the Project panel. I'll open this up a little bit. We can see the pixel count here, and we can see the files showing up here. Now in order to use this, we need to create a composition in order to put the JPEG into. Very much like having to create a page in InDesign, or a canvas in Photoshop, before we can actually put some artwork on it. So to do that, we can come up to the Composition menu, come down and choose New Composition. Or you can also click on the New Composition button showing up in the Composition panel.
Either way if we click on this, we'll get this dialog box here for the Composition Settings. Here we can give this a name. You'll want to make sure that the pixel aspect ratio is set to square pixels. For the background color, if you don't like black, you can click on the swatch and change it. I'll click OK, and then over here where the height and width are showing is where you can setup the size of your composition. Now if you're going to be printing your artwork, make sure to add enough pixels to support the print size. And there are lots of resolution charts that you can find online with a quick web search. So for the composition settings here based on the JPEG file that I've chosen, I'm gonna come in here and set the width to match the width of the JPEG, which is 2,500 pixels, and then the height is gonna be 1,766 pixels.
So with these in place I can come down and click OK. And now once I do this you'll see the composition showing up in the Project panel. If I double-click this we can see the contents of the composition in the Composition panel. Now we don't have any artwork placed in the composition, so let's go back to the Project panel, let's grab the champagne_glasses.jpg, or whatever JPG you've imported, and let's drag and drop it, and it'll snap into place in the composition. Once we do that, we'll also see the JPEG file now showing up in the timeline panel as a new layer.
So now we have the JPEG in the timeline, we have the JPEG in the Composition panel, and we can see the JPEG and our comp in the Project panel. So now that we've seen the long way of how to import artwork and create a composition, let's take a look at some shortcuts. So in my Project panel, I'm gonna come in here and just delete my composition. I'll choose Delete. This will bring me back to the point where I had imported the JPEG file, but don't have any compositions created. Then we can come over here and simply grab the JPEG file in the Project panel, and just drag and drop it over into the Composition panel.
What this will do is automatically create a composition sized to match the file that we dragged over from the Project panel. You'll also see the JPEG file showing up in the timeline panel as a layer, and if you want to check the composition settings, we can come up to the Composition menu and come down and choose Composition Settings. And then we'll see all the properties that were set by simply dragging that file into the Composition panel. So let me cancel out of here, and let's take a look at an even faster shortcut. So I'll come in here and delete the JPEG file, and the composition from my Project panel.
This is basically starting off with a new blank project, and we're gonna come over here and click on New Composition from Footage. Clicking on this will bring up a dialog box. I'll go to my Desktop where I have my JPG file. I'll select the JPG, then come down and choose Open. Now because I used the New Composition from Footage, we'll get the JPG file imported into the Project panel, we'll get our composition created, and the JPG file will be placed into the composition, which we can see in the timeline panel. So now that we've taken a look at setting up our workspace, importing artwork, and setting up compositions, next we'll take a look at some extra import options that are available when we import a Photoshop file.
- 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