Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Using adjustment layers, part of After Effects Guru: Faster Previews and Rendering.
Another option you should try to use more frequently is an adjustment layer. Adjustment layers make it easier to apply effects, and you've got less chances of things going wrong. Also, I'm a big proponent of adjustment layers, because it makes it easy to apply it to everything all at once. For example, let's take a look at making something a little bit less over-saturated, so it'll pass broadcast safe. In this particular use of the bumper here, rather than applying filters to every single layer, I'm better off applying a new adjustment layer on top.
With that done, I can now limit my color, so it's a bit safer. Now for now, we'll use the Broadcast Colors option. I usually do this manually, but this is fine. We'll tell it to automatically reduce the luminance and we'll set the threshold there. And when I invoke this, it's going to go through and process that, looking at all of the frame at once. This is a much better choice than applying things to each individual layer and having to render. This also is good for stylization effects.
Maybe you're not looking to do a broadcast color, but you want to pop everything overall. Well, on that adjustment layer, I could apply a fast blur and bump that up a little bit, and then, simply change its blending mode. Let's put that on top. There we go. Make sure we're still looking at the comp. And we'll set that to a soft light mode. And, you see, we get sort of an instant film look, which popped the contrast of the colors and made everything look good. I've got my vignette turned on now. That feels pretty good overall and I like the way that the colors are richer with nice deep, dark blacks.
Well, that's an adjustment layer. And this is a great way to control your effects and get some consistency. In fact, I could simply rename this layer here and call this, Film look. And now, I can move that between multiple comps. So if I've got it here and I want to reuse it, not a problem. I'll just copy that, Ctrl+C, switch to another comp, go to the first frame, Ctrl+V, to add it in, and I could re-use that effect.
So there it is without and with. Now in this case, it's a little small, so lets just scale that up. A nice quick shortcut for that is Ctrl+Alt+F to force something to fill the frame. And you see there that that soft light blurred copy is just doing a nice job of popping the contrast and smoothing out some of the noise, and that's a great use of an adjustment layer. You'll note there that you could easily reuse them between documents. And I find that naming them really cuts down on mistakes and lets me know exactly what's going on with my effects.
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- Creating render settings templates
- Using multiple output modules
- Setting processor usage
- Rendering multiple frames simultaneously
- Purging RAM
- Controlling your disk and media cache
- Creating and saving previews
- Controlling composition settings