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QuickTime (.mov) files open in a QuickTime Player window; Video for Windows (.avi) files open in a Video for Windows player window. Still images always appear in the Footage panel. Certain AVI files are not supported by the AVI player window, and will open in the After Effects Footage panel. These include files created with Microsoft’s DirectX DV codec and all files over 2 GB.
To open a QuickTime or Video for Windows movie in the Footage panel instead of a player window, Alt-double-click (Windows) or Option-double-click (Mac OS) the footage item in the Project panel.
The QuickTime and Video for Windows player windows play the source file, not the edited and interpreted footage item based on the source file.
You can use the Set In Point, Set Out Point, Ripple Insert Edit, and Overlay Edit controls in the Footage panel to trim a footage item and insert it into a composition. This can be more convenient than adding the footage item to a composition and then trimming in the Timeline panel.
Reveal footage items
• To reveal where a footage item is used in a composition, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the footage item in the Project panel and choose Reveal In Composition; then select the specific instance you want to reveal (composition name, layer name).
• To reveal a layer’s source footage item in the Project panel, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the layer in the Timeline panel, and then choose Reveal Layer Source In Project.
• To reveal a footage item’s location in Adobe Bridge, Windows Explorer, or the Finder, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the footage item in the Project panel and choose Reveal In Bridge, Reveal In Windows Explorer, or Reveal In Finder.
Refresh footage items ❖ To refresh footage items selected in the Project panel to use the current versions of the source footage files, choose File Reload Footage.
Edit footage in its original application You can open and edit a footage item in the application in which it was created, directly from an After Effects project.
The original application must be installed on the computer that you are using, which must have enough available RAM for it to run. When you edit and save changes to the footage in the original application, the changes are applied to all instances of the footage when After Effects becomes the active application.
Note: If you’re editing footage that has an alpha channel, make sure that you’re viewing and editing all of the channels, including the alpha channel, in the other application. Otherwise, changes you make might not be applied to the alpha channel, and it may become misaligned with the color channels.
When you edit a still-image sequence selected in the Timeline or Composition panel, the individual image that is currently displayed opens. When you edit a still-image sequence selected in the Project panel, the first image in the sequence opens.
1 In the Project panel, Composition panel, or Timeline panel, select the footage item or a layer that uses the footage item as its source. If you selected a still-image sequence from the Composition or Timeline panel, move the currenttime indicator to the frame displaying the still image you want to edit.
2 Choose Edit Edit Original.
3 Edit the footage in its original application, and save the changes.
If the selected composition includes items that are turned off (that is, the Video or Audio switch is deselected in the Timeline panel), the Reduce Project command does not remove those items.
If an expression in a selected composition refers to an element in a nonsubordinate composition, Reduce Project removes the nonsubordinate composition and the applied expression. A message appears after you choose Reduce Project to remind you of this possibility, so you can undo the command if needed. To avoid removing the expressions from a nonsubordinate composition, drag the nonsubordinate composition into the composition that refers to it.
Then deselect the Audio and Video switches for the composition that you added.
Work with placeholders and proxies When you want to temporarily use a substitute for a footage item, use either a placeholder or a proxy.
Placeholder A still image of color bars used to temporarily take the place of a missing footage item. Use a placeholder when you are building a composition and want to try out ideas for a footage item that is not yet available. After Effects generates placeholders automatically, so you do not have to provide a placeholder footage item.
Proxy Any file used to temporarily replace a footage item, but most often a lower-resolution or still version of an existing footage item used to replace the original. Often, storyboard images are used as proxies. You can use a proxy either before you have the final footage or when you have the actual footage item but you want to speed up previewing or rendering of test movies. You must have a file available to use as a proxy.
Any masks, attributes, expressions, effects, and keyframes that you apply to the layer are retained when you replace its placeholder or proxy with the final footage item.
In the Project panel, After Effects marks the footage name to indicate whether the actual footage item or its proxy is
currently in use:
• A box containing a black square indicates that a proxy item is currently in use throughout the project; the name of the proxy appears in boldface in the project list.
• An empty box indicates that the actual footage item is in use throughout the project.
• No box indicates that no proxy is assigned to the footage item.
D A B C Proxy items in Project panel A. Proxy assigned and in use B. Proxy assigned, but original in use C. No proxy assigned D. Proxy name
Work with placeholders and missing footage items For best results, set the placeholder to exactly the same size, duration, and frame rate as the actual footage.
If After Effects cannot find source footage when you open a project, the footage item appears in the Project panel labeled Missing, and the name of the missing footage appears in italics. Any composition using that item replaces it with a placeholder. You can still work with the missing item in the project, and any effects you applied to the original footage remain intact. When you replace the placeholder with the source footage, After Effects places the footage in its correct location in all the compositions that use it.
• To use a placeholder, choose File Import Placeholder.
• To replace the selected footage item with a placeholder, choose File Replace Footage Placeholder.
• To replace a placeholder with the actual footage item, select the placeholder you want to replace in the Project panel, choose File Replace Footage File, and locate the actual footage.
Work with proxies for footage items When you use a proxy, After Effects replaces the actual footage with the proxy in all compositions that use the actual footage item. When you finish working, you can switch back to the actual footage item in the project list. After Effects then replaces the proxy with the actual footage item in any composition.
When you render your composition as a movie, you may choose to use either all the actual high-resolution footage items or their proxies. You might want to use the proxies for a rendered movie if, for example, you simply want to test motion using a rough movie that renders quickly.
For best results, set a proxy so that it has the same aspect ratio as the actual footage item. For example, if the actual footage item is a 640 x 480-pixel movie, create and use a 160 x 120-pixel proxy. When a proxy item is imported, After Effects scales the item to the same size and duration as the actual footage. If you create a proxy with an aspect ratio that is different from that of the actual footage item, scaling will take longer.
❖ In the Project panel, do any of the following:
• To locate and use a proxy, select a footage item, choose File Set Proxy File, locate and select the file you want to use as a proxy, and click Open.
• To toggle between using the original footage and its proxy, click the proxy indicator to the left of the footage name.
• To stop using a proxy, select the original footage item, and choose File Set Proxy None.
Create placeholders for output You can create placeholder files that can be used in different compositions. For example, you can create a placeholder for an item in the render queue that will create a 24-fps movie and then drag that placeholder into a 30-fps composition. Then, when you render the 30-fps composition, After Effects first renders the placeholder at 24 fps and uses this rendered version as it renders the 30-fps composition.
❖ Drag the Output Module heading for a queued item from the Render Queue panel to the Project panel. After Effects creates a placeholder for output in the Project panel and sets the Post-Render Action option for the item to Import & Replace Usage.
Loop a footage item If you intend to loop a visual footage item continuously in your project, you only need to create one cycle of the footage item in After Effects.
1 In the Project panel, select the footage item to loop.
2 Choose File Interpret Footage Main.
3 Type an integer value for Loop and click OK.
Importing from After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro Import an After Effects project You can import one After Effects project into another. Everything from the imported project, including footage items, compositions, and folders, appears inside a new folder in the current Project panel.
You can import an After Effects project from a different operating system, as long as you maintain the file names, folder names, and either full or relative paths (folder locations) for all files in the project. To maintain relative paths, the source footage files must reside on the same volume as the project file. Use the File Collect Files command to gather copies of all files in a project or composition into a single location.
Note: When you render a movie and export it to the QuickTime (MOV) or Video for Windows (AVI) container format, you can embed the After Effects project or a link to the project in the container file. To import the project, import the MOV or AVI file, and choose Project from the Import As menu in the Import File dialog box. If the file contains a link to a project that has been moved, you can browse to locate the project.
1 Choose File Import File.
2 Select the After Effects project to import, and click Open.
If a file format is not supported by the operating system that you are using, if the file is missing, or if the reference link is broken, After Effects substitutes a placeholder item containing color bars. You can reconnect the placeholder to the appropriate file by double-clicking the entry in the Project panel and navigating to the source file. In most cases, you need to relink only one footage file. After Effects locates other missing items if they’re in the same location.
Import an Adobe Premiere Pro project The ability to import Adobe Premiere Pro projects into After Effects eliminates the need to render the project in Premiere Pro before applying visual effects and animations in After Effects. When you import an Adobe Premiere Pro project, After Effects imports it into the Project panel as both a new composition containing each Adobe Premiere Pro clip as a layer, and as a folder containing each clip as an individual footage item. If your Adobe Premiere Pro project contains bins, After Effects converts them to folders within the Adobe Premiere Pro project folder. After Effects converts nested sequences to nested compositions. You can also import Adobe Premiere 6.0 and 6.5 projects into After Effects.
Note: After Effects on Mac OS can’t import Adobe Premiere Pro 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 projects. After Effects on Mac OS can import Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 and Adobe Premiere 6.0 and 6.5 projects.
After Effects preserves the order of clips in the timeline, the footage duration (including all trimmed In and Out points), and marker and transition locations. After Effects bases the arrangement of layers in the Timeline panel on the arrangement of clips in the Adobe Premiere Pro Timeline panel. After Effects adds Adobe Premiere Pro clips to the Timeline panel as layers in the order they appeared—from the bottom up and from left to right—in the Adobe Premiere Pro Timeline panel. After Effects preserves changes made to the speed of a clip, for example, with the Clip Speed command, and these changes appear as a value in the Stretch column in the After Effects Timeline panel.
After Effects imports effects common to Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, and preserves keyframes for these effects. If you’re working in Adobe Premiere Pro, an After Effects icon in the Effects panel denotes common effects used by both applications.
Transitions and titles (except for dissolves) included in your Adobe Premiere Pro project appear in the After Effects composition as solid layers with their original location and duration.
Audio Level keyframes are preserved.
1 Choose File Import File.
2 Select an Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe Premiere project, and click OK.
3 Do any of the following:
• To import only one sequence, choose a sequence from the menu.
• To import audio, select Import Audio.
To add a single item from a track in an Adobe Premiere Pro project, copy the item in Adobe Premiere Pro, and choose Edit Paste in After Effects.
See also “Copy between After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro” on page 65 “About nesting and precomposing” on page 113
Copy between After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro You can copy and paste layers and assets between Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro. For a video on the workflow between After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro, see www.adobe.com/go/vid0256.
• From the After Effects Timeline panel, you can copy footage layers or solid layers and paste them into the Adobe Premiere Pro Timeline panel.