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. For instance, if you import a native Photoshop file, After Effects will bring in all the layers, or you can choose a specific layer. You can create a composition and the link to the source file is maintained.
- [Chris] After Effects can import a wide range of file types, including many graphic file formats, some 3D formats, and of course, a wide range of video formats. But when we import Photoshop files into After Effects, we get a couple of extra options. So I want to show you what's inside this Photoshop file before we bring us over to After Effects. So here I have a smart object, which is an Illustrator file, brought into Photoshop. I have a vector shape. I have another smart object of a larger graphic of a tree. We have a text layer, a regular old pixel layer, two adjustment layers, and another smart object with the trees in the background.
And again, I wanted you to see all of the different layer types that we have here so that we can see how this translates over into After Effects. So I'll close my Photoshop file. Let's go back over to After Effects. And a blank new project inside of After Effects, let's come up to the File menu. Let's come down and choose Import, then File. And then I'll come in here and choose the same Photoshop file. Choose Open, and now we'll be presented with this dialogue box. So what this is basically asking us is how we would like After Effects to import that Photoshop file.
Under Import Kind, this will default to Composition, because After Effects can see all of the different layers inside the Photoshop file. There's also Composition, Retain Layer Sizes, which basically means that After Effects will create varying sized comps, based on artwork that is outside the canvas area. It won't be cropped. And then there's the option for Footage. So if we were to choose Footage, what this means is After Effects will treat the entire layered Photoshop file as a single piece of artwork. And when we do that, we can choose to bring all of the layers in as a single merged piece of art, or we can choose a specific layer by choosing this option and then picking the layer.
Now it's important to note that After Effects will treat this as a merged composition, however the original Photoshop file will not be merged. So After Effects always maintains a live link back to the original Photoshop file. It just means that After Effects will treat this as a single piece of art, which may be something that you want to do depending on certain projects. For this particular example, I want to come in here and change this from Footage to Composition. Now we have two additional options. Since After Effects and Photoshop both use effects and styles on layers, we have the choice of whether After Effects will convert these styles from Photoshop to After Effects, or if we would like After Effects to simply take these styles from Photoshop.
So for me, I typically like After Effects to use the styles from Photoshop. So I tend to use this option here, Merge Layer Styles into Footage. Again, this doesn't change the original Photoshop file, but it just allows me to use Photoshop to make all of my changes and add all of my effects and styling and special effects in After Effects. But if you wanted to convert those, you could choose Editable Layer Styles. So again, we're going to choose Composition, Merge Layer Styles into Footage, and then click OK. And then once we choose OK, we'll see a few things have happened. We have a composition that shows up here, named after the name of the Photoshop file.
And we also have a layer group here, and inside of the groups, we can see all of the individual pieces of artwork that came in from individual layers from Photoshop. So every one of these items is being treated as its own piece of art. Now to open this composition, we can double-click on this, this will open the composition, and the Composition panel. And down here in the Timeline panel, if I resize this, we'll see all of the individual layers. So this looks exactly like the original Photoshop file. Every piece of artwork from the layer group has been positioned on layers in the Timeline panel.
So again this gives me a really quick way to build a composition inside of Photoshop and simply import it and have it restructured inside of After Effects. And as I mentioned before, After Effects maintains a live link back to that source Photoshop file. So I'm going to switch back over to Photoshop and just make a couple of changes. So back inside of Photoshop, I have the original file opened. Let's come up here and I'll move the logo over here to the left. I'll grab the tree and move the tree over here to the right.
And then the text layer, I'll move this over to the left. I'll just make a change in the composition here. Then inside of Photoshop, I'll come down and simply choose File, Save. Then go back to After Effects, and inside of After Effects, I'll see all of the artwork is immediately updated based on those changes we made inside of Photoshop. And so now that we've imported JPEGs and native Photoshop files, next we'll take a look at importing Camera RAW files. And this puts After Effects in a completely new group that includes Lightroom, Photoshop, and Adobe Bridge.
- 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