This course uses the Creative Cloud 2019 version of After Effects. However, most of this course works back the Creative Suite versions of After Effects. This course takes a look at the interface, timeline, and workspace to get you comfortable working in the software. It also views a chart so you can create a composition big enough to print.
- [Instructor] For this course I'll be using the Creative Cloud 2019 version of After Effects. However, most of this course will work back to some of the Creative Suite versions of After Effects. So, let's launch the application, and once it launches you'll see a screen that will look something like this. Most of the panels will be blank. So, just to make sure that we're all looking at the same similar interface, let's go up to the Window menu. Let's come down to Workspace, and let's come down and choose Small Screen. So with this workspace activated, you'll see the Project panel over on the left hand side.
This is where we'll see all of the artwork that we link into our project. Down at the bottom is the timeline panel. In the center is the Composition panel. And over on the right hand side we'll see a series of additional panels. So let's come in here and close some of these panels over on the right hand side. So I see the Library panel here. Let's click on the little menu icon. Let's choose Close Panel. Let's do the same thing for Preview and for Info. Now, we want to leave the Effects & Presets up.
Again, this works a lot like the filter menu in Photoshop. And we need to bring up an additional panel which is the Effect Controls. So let's go to the Window menu, come down here and choose Effect Controls, and in the small screen workspace this will show up next to the Project panel. So now you can click between these two. So I like to have the Effect Controls next to my Effects & Presets. So, let's come in here and click and drag, and you can drag these panels around the interface. I'm going to drag this over here to the left hand side of the Effects & Presets.
Then I'll let go, and that's going to put the Effect Controls next to this. And now, on my recording screen here this is a lot smaller than my regular workspace, so I'm going to come in here and take the Effect Controls and put this next to the Effects & Presets. This way, I can switch between the Effects & Presets and the Effect Controls, and it'll only take up the size of one panel. And so once you have the workspace up the way you like it, I'll come in here and resize some of these panels a little bit. Let's come up to the Window menu. Let's come down to Workspaces.
Let's come down and choose Save as New Workspace, and we'll name this, Photography. Then click OK. Now this will show up right here in our toolbar. And so now, let's import a file so we can see how the Project panel shows us linked files, and we'll create a composition and then place the artwork in a composition, so we can see the Composition panel show as well as a layer in the timeline panel. So to do all of this, let's go to the File menu. Let's come down and choose Import, choose File, and now you can locate any JPEG on your system.
I'm going to choose the pyramid at the Louvre which is a photo that we'll be using later in the course. Click Open. Now you'll see that photo showing up in the Project panel. When you select it, you'll also see a preview here which also tells you the pixel dimensions. Now, in order to place this into a project, we need to create a composition. This is very much like creating a new canvas inside of Photoshop. So, the first way we can do this is to come up to the Composition menu, come down and choose New Composition. You can also click this button here in the center, if you're using a Creative Cloud version of After Effects.
So, in either case, this will bring up the New Composition dialog box. So we can come in and name this. So I'll just name mine, pyramid. Down here under the Width and the Height, this is where you can set the pixel dimensions. Now, if you're going to be printing your photograph, you want to make sure that you include enough pixels to support the size of your print. And with a quick web search, you'll find a chart similar to this which will give you that information. And so back in the Composition settings, for Pixel Aspect Ratio make sure you choose Square. The Frame Rate doesn't matter. We're not going to be creating an animation or a rendering in video.
And down here for Resolution, this is strictly for the preview inside of After Effects. So, if you have an older computer that renders rather slowly, you can set this to Half or a Third. This is kind of like setting proxy preview images inside of InDesign if you're familiar with that. But this is something that you can change throughout the project. This has no bearing on the actual pixels inside of your project. And finally you can come down here and choose a Background Color for the composition. Now before I click OK, I want to come in here and edit up Pixels to match the photograph that we imported. So for my composition, I'll come in here and set this to 4890 pixels for the Width and 3150 pixels for the Height.
Again, this will match the JPEG that I imported. Now I'll come down here and click OK. That will create a new composition. Down here in the Composition panel we can see a magnification option. Let's come in here and change this to Fit, Fit up to 100%. What's nice about this is, if I come in here and resize my panels, the composition will dynamically resize. So that's a nice feature. And then over here, we can see the resolution. So again, I can dynamically change this depending on how much processing power I have, and again this will help speed up After Effects if it slows down a little bit.
So I'll leave this at Half. And now to import the JPEG, let's come over here to the Project panel, grab the JPEG, drag and drop it. It'll snap into place, and this will not only show the photograph in the Composition panel, but will also have our first layer in the timeline panel. So now, that's the longer way of importing artwork and creating a composition. So let me show you two faster ways to do the same thing. So I'll come in here to the Composition panel, select the JPEG and hit delete which will also remove the layer in the timeline panel.
Then I'll come back to the Project panel. I'll select the composition that shows here. Click on the trashcan, let's delete that. So now, when we're back to original point where we imported the artwork, to create a composition with the exact sizes that we need, let's come in here and simply select the JPEG in the Project panel, and just drag and drop it right into the Composition panel. And that's going to do the same thing. It's going to create a composition for us automatically with the proper sizes, and it will also place the JPEG on a layer in the timeline panel.
So I'm going to come in here and delete all of these now. And the fastest way to do this is to come over here, if you're using the Creative Cloud version of After Effects, and click on this option here that says New Composition from Footage. From this dialog box chose your JPEG file, choose Open, and After Effects will automatically import the JPEG, create the composition and place the JPEG on a layer in the timeline panel. So again, that last button will do all three of these things for you automatically. And this exact workflow is what we're going to be using throughout the entire course.
And so, now that we've covered the interface and how we import artwork, create comps, and work with the timeline panel, next we're going to talk about some special options we have when we import Photoshop files.
- 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