Looking to optimize your After Effects skills? Here are 10 After Effects tips that will save you time and be more productive!
Our previous post on 10 Time Saving Tips in After Effects was pretty popular, so I’ve put together 10 more tips for editors learning After Effects.
1. Bringing video editing projects into AE
If you are using a Adobe-based post-production workflowPremiere Pro & After Effects connect easily via Dynamic Links and Import (link to previous blog posts about this feature). Now, let’s see how to bring your projects from other video editing applications into After Effects: Read: how to change the anchor point in the following effectsMedia Composer to After Effects: Export Sequence as AAF, then import in AE using Pro Import Pro (formerly Automatic Duck). Kevin P. McAuliffe has a video walkthrough of the process here.Final Cut Pro 7 to After Effects: Export as XML and import via Pro Import in After Effects.Final Cut Pro X to After Effects: There are 2 choices (free and paid). Clip Exporter is a free application that you can download hereXto7 for $49.99 in Final Cut Prois and is developed by Edit Assistant, which makes many editing helper applications.
2. Get organized for free – Sign up fast
Posted in a hurry is a free application that allows you to set up file and folder templates for your projects. It offers many templates (motion graphics, video editing, visual effects) that you can customize. Let the computer do the tedious work of organizing, so you can spend your time creating cool stuff.
3. Sync your Settings (for After Effects CC)
The new Adobe After Effects CC has a feature that lets you sync preferences, shortcuts, and more across multiple computers. You just need to ‘login’ to your account through AE and your options will appear. This is huge for freelancers and people who often work in different editing suites at large companies. Check out the Adobe AE Blog for the full list and what doesn’t sync (machine-specific feature).
4. Sequence automation
Here’s a quick trick to put the clips in order and add a dissolve between each clip (works in Premiere Pro too). Ideal for quickly creating highlight reels or photo slideshows. You can apply ‘Sequence automation‘ to clips in a project or clips already in a composition.From the project: Select the clip you want, then choose File > New Comp from Selection (or right-click and choose “New Comp from Selection”). Click on “Single Components”, “Sequence Layers” and “Overlapping” if you want to dissolve.From an ingredient: With the layers stacked, select all, right click and select “Keyframe Support > Sequence Layers”. Read more: how to fix gaps between teeth
5. Move your anchor point without moving the layer
An anchor point defines where a layer is to scale and rotate from. If you change the anchor point in Transform, you will move the layer. To change the anchor point without moving the layer, use the Pan Behind tool (shortcut is Y). Click on the anchor point and move it to the desired position, then press DRAW to switch back to the Selection tool. To make life easier, move your anchor point with the rear rotate tool before you animate.
6. After Effects work area
The workspace is part of the Layout that is previewed when you perform Ram Preview (shortcut is zero on the numeric keypad).
- Move your playhead to where you want your work area to start. Press REMOVE
- Move your playhead to where you want your work area to end. Press N.
- To crop your Section to the length of your Work Area, right-click it and select “Crop Section to Work Area”
7. Working with Sound in After Effects
Pressing the spacebar in After Effects won’t audio preview like it would in a video editing app. Here are a few After Effects keyboard shortcuts to work with sound. Audio preview in After Effects: Press . on the Numeric Keypad to preview the sound only. Press zero on the Numeric Keypad to preview both video and audio.Rub the sound: Hold Command (on Mac) or Control (on PC) to move the player within a section while filtering the audio.View audio waveforms in composition: Shortcut key is LL
8. U key toggles keyframes/expressions, UU toggles modified properties
This is a quick way to view or hide keyframes for a single layer or multiple layers. For example, let’s say I change the keyframe opacity and set the scale to 31%. If I press U, I see keyframes with opacity. If I press UUI see keyframes with variable opacity and scale.OriginalPress the U keyRead more: How to kill all bats in minecraftPress UU
9. Collect files
Collect files equivalent to Media/Project Management in Premiere Pro or FCP. You can use this feature when you want move your After Effects project and corresponding media to another hard driveWith a project selected, choose File > Dependencies > Choose File. If you only want to collect files for a specific composition, select an aggregate first.A dialog box will appear. Click “Collect” to set the destinationthen name your project to be migrated with the media and click Save.Example of ‘Collect files’
10. Add Media Encoding Row (for After Effects CC)
The advantage of creating video files in Adobe Media Encoder is that it has a bunch of presets to choose from (Vimeo, Youtube, Phone/Tablet). After Effects CC, you can now add Components to the Media Encoder from File > Export > Adobe Media Encoder Cargo or Component > Add to Adobe Media Encoder Row. This will launch Media Encoder and create a folder in the location of your project.Only one After Effects Quick Tip To share? Let us know in the comments section below! Read more: How to make a spiral coil
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