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«PROFESSIONAL USER GUIDE © 2007 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Copyright Adobe® After Effects® CS3 User Guide for Windows® and ...»

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Note: Bridge Home may not be available in all languages.

Adobe Design Center Adobe Design Center offers articles, inspiration, and instruction from industry experts, top designers, and Adobe publishing partners. New content is added monthly.

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New ideas are the heart of Think Tank, Dialog Box, and Gallery:

• Think Tank articles consider how today’s designers engage with technology and what their experiences mean for design, design tools, and society.

• In Dialog Box, experts share new ideas in motion graphics and digital design.

• The Gallery showcases how artists communicate design in motion.

Visit Adobe Design Center at www.adobe.com/designcenter.

Adobe Developer Center Adobe Developer Center provides samples, tutorials, articles, and community resources for developers who build rich Internet applications, websites, mobile content, and other projects using Adobe products. The Developer Center also contains resources for developers who develop plug-ins for Adobe products.

In addition to sample code and tutorials, you'll find RSS feeds, online seminars, SDKs, scripting guides, and other technical resources.

Visit Adobe Developer Center at www.adobe.com/go/developer.

Customer support Visit the Adobe Support website, at www.adobe.com/support, to find troubleshooting information for your product and to learn about free and paid technical support options. Click the Training link for access to Adobe Press books, a variety of training resources, Adobe software certification programs, and more.

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Adobe Labs Adobe Labs gives you the opportunity to experience and evaluate new and emerging technologies and products from Adobe.

At Adobe Labs, you have access to resources such as these:

• Prerelease software and technologies

• Code samples and best practices to accelerate your learning

• Early versions of product and technical documentation

• Forums, wiki-based content, and other collaborative resources to help you interact with like-minded developers Adobe Labs fosters a collaborative software development process. In this environment, customers quickly become productive with new products and technologies. Adobe Labs is also a forum for early feedback, which the Adobe development teams use to create software that meets the needs and expectations of the community.

Visit Adobe Labs at www.adobe.com/go/labs.

User communities User communities feature forums, blogs, and other avenues for users to share technologies, tools, and information.

Users can ask questions and find out how others are getting the most out of their software. User-to-user forums are available in English, French, German, and Japanese; blogs are posted in a wide range of languages.

To participate in forums or blogs, visit www.adobe.com/communities.

What’s newNew features

Shape layers Use new shape drawing tools to create and animate vector graphics. Strokes and fills—including editable gradients— can be added to shapes, and these properties can be animated. After Effects also includes shape layer operations based on Adobe® Illustrator® vector effects. See “About shapes and shape layers” on page 314.

To see a video tutorial introducing shape layers, go to the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/vid0224. To see a video tutorial on animating shape layers, go to the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/vid0225.

Puppet tools Use Puppet tools to easily distort any image with natural, life-like motion. See “Animating with Puppet tools” on page 226.

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Flash integration You can export FLV files with cue points that you create as markers within After Effects. Now, when you import a SWF file, the alpha channel is preserved, and graphics are continuously rasterized, so they stay sharp as you scale them up. See “Working with Flash and After Effects” on page 33 and “Rendering and exporting to Flash formats” on page 602.

To see a video tutorial on exporting to FLV files, go to the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/vid0262. To see a video tutorial on exporting markers as cue points, go to the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/vid0255.

Per-character 3D properties for text animation Move or rotate individual characters or words in 3D space. See “Work with per-character 3D text properties” on page 293.

To see a video tutorial on animating text, go to the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/vid0226.

Brainstorm Use Brainstorm to experiment with properties and see the results side by side. Choose the variants that you like and use as is or as input to further experimentation. See “Use Brainstorm to experiment and explore settings” on page 160.

Improved, simpler color management You can now control the color for each footage item and each output item, all with a robust and simple interface, so colors look right on any output device. See “Color management” on page 241.

Clip Notes Add queries to reviewers as markers and then export your composition as a PDF file. Reviewers can use Adobe Acrobat® or Adobe Reader® to make comments and then return the comments to you by e-mail or FTP. Comments are imported as markers, which you can see in the Timeline panel. See “Reviewing movies with Clip Notes comments” on page 634.

Performance improvements You can use multiple CPUs or multiple processors on one CPU to render multiple frames simultaneously. You can also use hardware acceleration of previews to move processing to the GPU, freeing up your CPU and providing greater performance. See “Memory, storage, and performance” on page 37.

Export and preview video for mobile devices New export presets in the Export Settings dialog box make it easier to export movies suitable for playback on mobile devices, such as mobile phones and the Apple® iPod®. You can view some output types using Adobe Device Central, which emulates many mobile devices. See “Preview a movie on a virtual mobile device using After Effects” on page 618.

Chapter 2: User interface

Customizing the user interface About workspaces Adobe video and audio applications provide a consistent, customizable workspace. Although each application has its own set of panels (such as Tools, Properties, Timeline, and so on), you move and group panels in the same way across products.

The main window of a program is the application window. Panels are organized in this window in an arrangement called a workspace. The default workspace contains groups of panels as well as panels that stand alone.

You customize a workspace by arranging panels in the layout that best suits your working style. You can create and save several custom workspaces for different tasks—for example, one for editing and one for previewing.

You can drag panels to new locations, move panels into or out of a group, place panels alongside each other, and undock a panel so that it floats in a new window above the application window. As you rearrange panels, the other panels resize automatically to fit the window.

You can use floating windows to create a workspace more like those in previous versions of Adobe applications, or to place panels on multiple monitors.

B C A Example workspace A. Application window B. Grouped panels C. Individual panel

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Choose a workspace Each Adobe video and audio application includes several predefined workspaces that optimize the layout of panels for specific tasks. When you choose one of these workspaces, or any custom workspaces you’ve saved, the current workspace is redrawn accordingly.

❖ Open the project you want to work on, choose Window Workspace, and select the desired workspace.

Dock, group, or float panels You can dock panels together, move panels into or out of a group, and undock a panel so that it floats in a new window above the application window. As you drag a panel, drop zones—areas onto which you can move the panel— become highlighted. The drop zone you choose determines where the panel is inserted, and whether it docks or groups with other panels.

Docking zones Docking zones exist along the edges of a panel, group, or window. Docking a panel places it adjacent to the existing group, resizing all groups to accommodate the new panel.

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Dragging panel (A) onto grouping zone (B) to group it with existing panels (C) Dock or group panels 1 If the panel you want to dock or group is not visible, choose it from the Window menu.

2 Do one of the following:

• To move an individual panel, drag the gripper area in the upper-left corner of a panel’s tab onto the desired drop zone.

Drag panel gripper to move one panel

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Drag group gripper to move entire group The application docks or groups the panel, according to the type of drop zone.

Undock a panel in a floating window When you undock a panel in a floating window, you can add panels to the window or otherwise modify it, as you do the application window. You can use floating windows to make use of a secondary monitor, or to create a workspace like those in earlier versions of Adobe applications.

❖ Select the panel you want to undock (if it’s not visible, choose it from the Window menu), and then do one of the


• Choose Undock Panel or Undock Frame from the panel menu. Undock Frame undocks the panel group.

• Hold down Ctrl (Windows®) or Command (Mac OS®), and drag the panel or group from its current location.

When you release the mouse button, the panel or group appears in a new floating window.

• Drag the panel or group outside the application window. (If the application window is maximized, drag the panel to the Windows task bar.)

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A B Dragging divider between panel groups to resize them horizontally A. Original group with resize icon B. Resized groups Open and close panels and windows Even if a panel is open, it may be out of sight, beneath other panels. Choosing a panel from the Window menu opens it and brings it to the front.

When you close a panel group in the application window, the other groups resize to make use of the newly available space. When you close a floating window, the panels within it close, too.

• To open or close a panel, choose the panel from the Window menu.

• To close a panel or window, click its Close button.

Working with multiple monitors To increase the available screen space, use multiple monitors. When you work with multiple monitors, the application window appears on the main monitor, and you place floating windows on the second monitor. Monitor configurations are stored in the workspace.

See also “Dock, group, or float panels” on page 14

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Reset a workspace Reset a workspace to return to its original, saved layout of panels.

❖ With the workspace you want to reset active, choose Window Workspace Reset workspace name.

Delete a workspace 1 Choose Window Workspace Delete Workspace.

2 Choose the workspace you want to delete, and then click OK.

Note: You cannot delete the currently active workspace.

Brighten or darken the interface Changing the brightness preference affects panels, windows, and dialog boxes.

1 Choose Edit Preferences User Interface Colors (Windows) or After Effects Preferences User Interface Colors (Mac OS).

2 Drag the User Interface Brightness slider to the left or right. Click Default to restore the default brightness level.

Using the After Effects interface Work with columns The Project, Timeline, and Render Queue panels contain columns.

• To show or hide columns, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a column heading (or choose Columns from the panel menu), and select the columns that you want to show or hide. A check mark indicates that the column is shown.

• To reorder columns, select a column name and drag it to a new location.

• To resize columns, drag the bar to the right of a column name. Drag left to make the column smaller and right to make it larger. Some columns—such as the Duration column in the Project panel—cannot be resized.

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You can scroll in a panel even if it is not currently active, as long as you move the pointer over it. For instance, you can scroll in the Composition panel even if the Effect Controls panel is currently active.

Open panel, viewer, and context menus Panel menus provide commands relative to the active panel or frame. Viewer menus provide a list of compositions, layers, or footage items that can be shown in the viewer, as well as commands for closing items and locking the viewer. Context menus provide commands relative to the active tool or selected item.

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• To open a panel menu, click the triangle in the upper-right corner of the panel.

• To open a viewer menu, click the name of the active composition, layer, or footage item in the viewer tab.

• To open a context menu, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS).

Work with viewers A viewer is a panel that can contain multiple compositions, layers, or footage items, or multiple views of one such item. The Composition, Layer, Footage, Flowchart, and Effect Controls panels are viewers.

Locking a viewer prevents the currently displayed item from being replaced when you open or select a new item.

Instead, when a viewer is locked and a new item is opened or selected, After Effects creates a new viewer panel for that item.

Instead of housing multiple items in a single viewer and using the menu to switch between them, you can choose to open a separate viewer for each open composition, layer, or footage item. When you have multiple viewers open, you can arrange them by docking or grouping them together, just as with any other panels.

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