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Workflow Overview

Lesson 2 from: Adobe After Effects CC Quick Start

Chad Perkins

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Lesson Info

2. Workflow Overview

Next Lesson: Importing Assets

Lesson Info

Workflow Overview

I wanna just kind of explore the world of After Effects so basically what I'm gonna do right here for the next couple minutes is I want to kind of look at the whole thing, like as if we're gonna take the whole class all today and shrink it into like five minutes, just give you like the birds eye overview, what After Effects does. That's kinda what I wanna do here. So don't worry about remembering any of this stuff, don't worry about trying to like, "oh wait what was that thing again he just covered?" Don't have to worry about it. We're just gonna give you just the overview, to just get familiar with the overview because most of the course we're gonna be digging in and focusing on all the little pieces, and sometimes it's easy to miss like the forest for the trees. So I just wanna kind of give you like five minutes of forest, and then we're gonna have like all day of trees, but then just so you know where we're at, forest. So things in After Affects generally start here in the project p...

anel. This is kind of like the base of operations, and if you're familiar with Premiere, this works exactly the same way. We bring in assets, and assets in After Effects language is kind of like another name for content so you know, audio files, still pictures, movies, Illustrator files, Photoshop files, After Effects is very open and tolerant. It's just whatever, bring me whatever, I got it. Just bring it on in. So we bring our stuff into the project panel, but that doesn't really necessarily mean anything. It's kind of like a collection of assets, but it doesn't really mean anything. It doesn't really apply to our products. To really get it in to work, we have to put it in something called a composition, which again we'll talk about, and then once it's in a composition, it has a timeline and there's layers. And we can have access to all these different pieces and adjust them independently and let's say for example, I'm gonna zoom in here and don't worry about how I'm doing this; I'll talk about that in just a bit, but let's say I have these layers here and I have this hat and so like I have the "hero hat layer", and I click it and you can see it gets a little, what's called a bounding box around it, letting you know that it's selected. I can click this little eye icon to turn it off, I could also if I had animation, nothing's animated here, but I could move in time and play this so if I had a video clip and I'm playing this back, it plays just like any other video tool that you're used to or have seen or you know on youtube or Facebook or whatever, you just hit the space bar and it just plays, and we're not seeing anything because we don't have any motion or any video to see right here. So we do all of our work here in what's called the timeline panel. In this timeline, we spend a lot of time. Most of your After Effects work will be done in this area here and we look at what's going on in the composition panel, this big viewer right here and we talk a lot about panels and these are kind of broken up, the interface is broken up into this kind of like modular little rectangles called panels. And each panel kind of serves its own function, kind of like the organs in your body. You know, you have lungs that do stuff and then you have your brain that does other things and they're all really, really important, but they're all kind of doing their own thing in their own little world and they kind of connect and stuff like that sometimes but they have their own special jobs that they do and that's what the panels in After Effects, you have like the audio panel, and so you're gonna get like a read-out of your audio levels or whatever. This is just an illustration, I don't have any audio files in this so this is a useless panel for me. So you just like click it, and I don't have to worry about it. I can even just like close it up if I want. I can click this little hamburger icon and click the "close panel" button and just close it and just get rid of it if I wanted to do that but you can see that we have, you know, character and paragraph, those are for text. We have paint and brushes and smoother and wiggler. We have a bunch of different types of things, a bunch of different organs that do specific jobs and that's kind of one of the intimidating things about After Effects for new users, there's like, "oh my gosh, there's all these things and I don't even know a tracker is or a wiggler. Why would I need -?" and it can be overwhelming and intimidating but you don't have to know what everything is. It's almost like electricity, like I don't get electricity. I don't know, I don't understand how it works. There's a bunch of science to it and I know some basics, but I don't know how it works, but it doesn't take that much for you to flip on a light switch. That much I get. That much I understand. I can turn on a light switch and so it's kind of like that, like you don't have to know everything about After Effects in order to get in here and do some really, really great work and there's probably people that are really, really expert in After Effects that never touch half of the features in the program, don't even know what they do. You don't have to know everything in order to be really good at After Effects and to create beautiful art. Now if you are missing something in the interface, one of these panels, you can go to the window menu, this is again in any adobe app: Photoshop, Indesign, whatever. You can go to the window menu and like say for example I can't see my metadata panel, which I don't need and we're not gonna cover, but I could click this and open it up if I wanted to. I click that and now we have the metadata panel kind of taking up space and being annoying. So I'm gonna go to this little like hamburger thing again, click it, and then I'm gonna choose "close panel" to get rid of it. I'm gonna go back to this composition panel, click that and there we are again. So, we use these panels for different things. A lot of the times, we use effects. So if I click on the effects and presets panel, then we have access to all of the effects in After Effects. By the way, you might be saying, "Hey Chad, there's also an effect menu at the top" and this seems to have the same type thing, like you have 3D Channel, audio, blur and sharpen, you have a 3D Channel, audio, blur and sharpen, same thing. It seems to be the exact same thing, and that's another tricky thing about After Effects. There's a lot of different ways to do the exact same thing. A lot of different ways. You could use keyboard shortcuts, you could use right-clicks, you could use like double-clicks and weird like little secret things and you could use menus and you could use whatever you want, and so like often times when people that have fiddled around with After Effects a little bit like are in a class, they're like, "Well what way is the best way? What do I do?" And like, that's like asking what kind of shoes should you buy or what size shoes should a person wear and like it's totally you. It's up to you, whatever you wanna do. So there's a bunch of different options, whatever you prefer. I'll be sharing my preferences obviously because I'm kinda bias and I don't know, I'm just sharing what I do but we're also going to be talking about just a few of the different ways to do things and you can just pick whichever one happens to work for you. Now, once you're all done with all of your business that you're doing, you want to export this in a way that other people can understand it. So if you make all this cool video stuff, the After Effects project file for it is a .aep file. That's short for After Effects project. I love it. It's plain and simple. And that stores all of your work but nobody's gonna be able to read an .aep file like you can't post an .aep file to youtube so you need to be able to export this in a file format that other things can understand, usually to video, but you could also export to photos or audio or a whole bunch of stuff. So the way that we do that is by a process called rendering, so what I would want to do is I could go down to my composition panel and add this to the render queue. Composition, add to render queue. Again, don't have to worry about remembering this stuff; we're gonna talk about the render queue and get into all that stuff, just as an overview. So the render queue, we can set up our render jobs and you guys should have a bunch of different jobs in the same project in After Effects. You actually set up a queue, it's called a render queue because it's like a queue so you can set up a bunch of like long lists, like After Effects is like, "now serving this render job" and then it will render that and serve the next one in line. So you can hit one button and just render a bunch of things in a row in After Effects which is nifty and once you do that then you now have this final output of a video file or whatever. I mentioned effects but let me just show you what that looks like, so we have here this beautiful illustrator art from Joanna Smart, she's a buddy of mine whose really, really talented and this art that we're gonna be playing with all day is just a joy to behold. So I have this layer selected and I can go to the effects and presets panel and I'm just gonna do a search for "glow" because I wanna make this come alive, because a lot of times what happens is you'll make art in another program, whether it's content with Premiere, other video stuff or Illustrator or stuff that you draw or Photoshop and it's just, it's hard to get it ultimate sexy, just right there in that program and in After Effects, it's really easy to make it super amazing. See for example like this light, and you look at this light and you're like "oh okay, well it's fine." You know, as far as lights go, it's decent. But if I apply this glow effect to it, then all of a sudden, oops that's the wrong thing. I applied it to the lamp and not the lamp light. The bulb, that's what I want to apply it to. And then all of a sudden, now it has like this bulb. So here's before After Effects, this is just in Illustrator, and there's after. And now it looks like a light that's actually on. So we take this like hand drawn Illustrator thing, and we added some kind of like organic feel to it. It kind of feels like it belongs; it's just, it's an After Effect, right? This is what After Effects does. It takes things, it beautifies it, it makes it more appealing and more engaging. This is what we do.

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Ratings and Reviews

Grace Duong

I really enjoyed this course! As a self-taught After Effects user, this was great if you want to cover the basics and understand the program even more. I also enjoyed Chad's obvious enthusiasm for After Effects and his energy. Definitely felt like I took away some useful tips for my workflow!

a Creativelive Student

If you want to get into learning AE. Watch this video first. I've watched many AE tutorials and I still had many 'why' questions. Chad is great and explaining things and even uses great analogies​ so you understand what is going on. I highly recommend it. Thank you.

Pauly Wright

I bought this over a year ago when it was over $50 and it was still worth every penny then. I'm a videographer that knows Adobe Premier Pro and I wanted to understand After Effects more to make information, figures, stats in videos more engaging. Chad is really enthusiastic, passionate about what he does and he doesn't waffle. After watching this i'm now confident to put this in practise. Highly recommended.

Student Work