After Effects can import a wide range of file types, including many graphic file formats, some 3D formats, and of course, a range of video formats. When importing Photoshop files, After Effects has two options. This video discusses those options. For these examples, you don’t need to follow along
- [Instructor] After Effects can import a wide range of file types, including many graphic formats, some 3D formats, and of course, a wide range of video formats. When importing Photoshop files, however, After Effects gives us two main options, so I wanted to discuss those with you for a few minutes. And you don't need to follow along if you don't want to, but if you do, you can use any layered Photoshop file. And so, I'm gonna start by opening a Photoshop file in Photoshop, so you can see all of the layers that we're working with. Now, in this Photoshop file, I have a series of Smart Objects. I have a Smart Object for the logo, for the tree, and for the background.
I also have a shape layer, a live type layer, a simple pixel-based layer, and some adjustment layers. So, all of these layers together create a full composition inside of Photoshop. So now, let's go back to After Effects, let's come up to the file menu, let's choose import file, and I'm gonna choose that same Photoshop file. With that selected, we'll come down and choose open, and then After Effects is going to present me with this dialogue box here, which gives me the choice of importing this as footage, or a composition.
There's also a composition, retain layer sizes, so, the compositions won't be cropped. But let's first come in and choose footage. With footage selected, we can choose merge layers, or we can choose a specific layer. What's happening here is After Effects is going to treat all of the layers in that Photoshop file, as if it were a single piece of artwork. Now, we still have a link to the Photoshop file, so we can make changes, which we'll take a look at, but basically, we're gonna treat all of those layers as a single piece of art. Or, we can choose a specific layer, out of that Photoshop file.
So, let's leave this as merge layers, and we'll choose okay. Now that Photoshop file's gonna show up in my project panel. To create a new composition, I can simply drag and drop this into the composition area. To zoom up the composition, I'll come down here and select this drop down menu, we'll bring this up to 50%, and we can see now, all of the layers from our Photoshop file are showing up as a single piece of artwork. And we have a single layer down here in the timeline panel. Now, the great thing about this, is I can still go back to Photoshop and make a change, and the artwork will update, in After Effects, even though it's being treated as a single piece of artwork.
So, to demonstrate this, I'll come in here to my Photoshop file, I'm going to add an invert filter, on the tree, and let's turn off the layers that create the tagline. So with this in place, let's turn the adjustment layers back on, let's hit save, we'll go back to After Effects, and we'll see that the artwork has now been modified inside of After Effects. So, that link is live between After Effects and Photoshop. So now, let's take a look at the second import option. So, inside of After Effects, I'm gonna come in here and just delete the composition, and the link to the Photoshop file.
Let's go back to Photoshop. I'll come in here and reset the file back to the original states, we'll hit save, then we'll go back to After Effects, let's choose file import, choose file, we'll select the same Photoshop file again, choose open, and this time, we're gonna come in and choose composition. So now what's gonna happen is After Effects is going to honor all of the layers in the Photoshop file, and it's gonna create a composition, and place every layer as a piece of artwork in that new After Effects composition.
Now, when it does this conversion, we have a choice of whether we would like to keep the layer styles editable, which means, things like drop shadows, that are supported in After Effects, will be converted from the Photoshop file, to the After Effects format. Or, we can choose to merge layer styles into the footage, which means, any sort of special effects we've done in Photoshop, will be merged into a layer, in the final After Effects file. I tend to like to choose this, because, just like before, this will create a live link back to the original Photoshop file, so we can always go back and change layers, and have the artwork modified.
So, with merge layer styles selected, I'll come down here and choose okay, and now we're gonna see something a little different. We'll see a composition that's been created, named after the name of the Photoshop file, then we'll see a folder, and inside the folder are all of the individual layers showing up. If we double-click the composition, this will open the composition in the main composition panel, and we'll also see all of the layers in the timeline panel. So this gives us an amazing opportunity to take a full composition inside of Photoshop, and convert it into a full composition inside of After Effects, giving you the ability to utilize any portion of that Photoshop file.
And so now that we have explored a couple of options for importing Photoshop files, next we're gonna take a look at how we can export compositions from After Effects to either Photoshop, JPEG, or transparent PNG files, for use in your graphics projects.
- 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