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You can also associate a chapter reference point with a marker. Chapter links are similar to chapters used in CD-ROM and DVD discs. Like the chapters of a book, a chapter link divides a movie into segments. Chapter links are supported in QuickTime and Windows Media movies.
Adobe Encore can read chapter references in After Effects layer-time markers when you export to the AVI or MPEGfile format. To be compatible with DVD format, make sure that markers are at least 15 frames apart.
Flash Video cue points can each have any number of parameters, each with a name and a value. You can only add three parameters using the marker dialog box. To work with more than three parameters, use the scripting interface.
To convert selected properties to Flash Video cue point parameters in layer-time markers, choose File Scripts Convert Selected Properties To Markers.jsx. This script adds a layer-time marker on the layer at the same time as each keyframe for each selected property. The markers’ cue point parameters indicate the name of the property and its value at that time. If the selected property has an expression, a marker is created for each frame, with the values sampled at each frame.
1 Double-click a marker to open the marker dialog box.
2 Enter information in the appropriate boxes in the marker dialog box:
• To create a web link, enter a Uniform Resource Locator in the URL box in the Chapter And Web Links area of the marker dialog box. To activate a specific frame in a site, enter the file name of the frame for Frame Target.
• Enter the chapter name and number (if available) in the Chapter text box in the Chapter And Web Links area of the marker dialog box.
• Enter the Flash Video cue point’s name, and names and values for any parameters. Select Event or Navigation to determine what kind of cue point to create.
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See also“Work with scripts” on page 45
Synchronize markers to audio After Effects provides a quick way to add and label markers for significant points in a layer’s audio track, such as a rhythmic beat in music or spoken words in dialogue. After markers are created, you can use them to synchronize video or other effects.
1 In the Time Controls panel, click the Audio button, and then click the RAM preview button.
2 At the points in time where you want to add a marker, press the multiply key (*) on the numeric keypad to create a layer-time marker.
3 When previewing is complete, double-click a marker you just created, and add comments or otherwise modify the markers as you would any other layer-time markers.
See also “Preview video and audio” on page 120 Chapter 6: Views and previews Previewing Preview video and audio You can preview all or part of your composition as you work, without rendering to final output. Many of the controls for previewing are in the Time Controls panel.
With all previewing methods—as with rendering to final output—a layer is only visible if its Video layer switch is selected.
Some factors that influence the speed with which previews are rendered include layer switches, Fast Previews settings, and composition settings. One of the simplest and most influential of the preview settings is the Resolution/Down Sample Factor setting at the bottom of the Composition panel; set this to a value other than Full to see all previews at a lower resolution.
To turn pixel-aspect ratio correction on or off for previews, click the Toggle Pixel Aspect Ratio Correction button at the bottom of the panel. Because the scaling is not of high quality, use pixel aspect ratio correction to evaluate shapes, not fine pixel detail. (See “Change pixel aspect ratio” on page 55.) When possible, preview on the same sort of device that your audience will be using to view your final output. For example, you can preview on an external video monitor. To see your composition as it will appear on a mobile device—such as a mobile phone—first render your composition to final output, and then use Adobe Device Central to view the movie.
If color management is enabled, you can preview a composition, layer, or footage item as it will appear in the output color space. (See “Simulate how colors will appear on a different output device” on page 248.) Note: Select Show Rendering Progress In Info Panel & Flowchart (Edit Preferences Display (Windows) or After Effects Preferences Display (Mac OS)) to see additional information in the Info panel or Flowchart panel during rendering, either for previews or for final output.
See also “Preview a movie on a virtual mobile device using After Effects” on page 618 “Set the work area” on page 112 “Shortcuts for working with previews” on page 642 “Shortcuts for using and modifying views” on page 644 “Layer switches and columns in the Timeline panel” on page 147
Use RAM preview RAM preview allocates RAM to play video and audio in the Timeline, Layer, or Footage panel in real time. The number of frames that can be stored for real-time playback depends on the amount of RAM available to the application and the settings in the Time Controls panel.
In the Time Controls panel, you can specify two sets of RAM preview options: RAM Preview Options and Shift+RAM Preview Options. For example, you may decide to set RAM Preview Options for full frame rate and full resolution, and set Shift+RAM Preview Options to skip one out of every two frames and preview at half resolution.
In the Layer and Footage panels, RAM previews play untrimmed footage.
1 To modify RAM preview options, click the RAM Preview Options menu in the center of the Time Controls panel
and choose RAM Preview Options or Shift+RAM Preview Options. You can change any of the following:
Include or exclude audio from RAM preview.
Mute Audio Frame Rate Choose Auto to use the composition frame rate.
Skip The number of frames to skip between each rendered frame. Choose 0 to render all frames.
Resolution Choose Auto to use the composition resolution.
From Current Time Select From Current Time to play from the current time; otherwise, RAM Preview will play the work area or from the beginning of the composition, layer, or footage item.
Full Screen Play RAM preview at the full size of the composition, layer, or footage item on a screen that is the background color. You can change the panel’s background color using the User Interface Brightness control in User Interface Colors preferences.
2 Do one of the following:
• To preview using RAM Preview Options, click the RAM Preview button in the Time Controls panel or press 0 (zero) on the numeric keypad.
• To preview using Shift+RAM Preview Options, Shift-click the RAM Preview button in the Time Controls panel or press Shift+0 (zero) on the numeric keypad.
Press the asterisk key (*) on the numeric keypad during a RAM preview to place a layer marker on the selected layers at the currently previewed frame. This is a convenient way to place markers corresponding to important points in an audio track.
Note: The performance of RAM previews performed with the Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously preference selected may be decreased if antivirus software is running. (See “Render multiple frames simultaneously” on page 40.)
Loop options for previews
Click the Loop Options button in the Time Controls panel until it shows the desired state:
Repeatedly plays preview from beginning to end.
Repeatedly plays preview, alternating between backward and forward play.
Ping Pong Preview audio When you preview audio, it’s played back in real time, unless you’ve applied Audio effects other than Stereo Mixer, in which case you may have to wait for audio to render before it plays back.
Note: If audio must be rendered for a preview, then only the amount of audio specified by the Duration setting in the Previews preferences will be rendered and played for the preview.
Set the sample rate for audio for the entire project in the Project Settings dialog box (File Project Settings). CDquality sound is 44.1 KHz, 16-bit stereo.
The Audio Hardware and Audio Output Mapping preferences determine the behavior of audio previews. These preferences do not affect final output. The quality of audio in final output is determined by the output module setting.
• To preview only audio from the current time, choose Composition Preview Audio Preview (Here Forward) or press the period key (.) on the numeric keypad.
• To preview only audio in the work area, choose Composition Preview Audio Preview (Work Area) or press Alt+period (.) (Windows) or Option+period (.) (Mac OS) on the numeric keypad.
Manually preview (scrub) video and audio
• To manually preview (scrub) video in the Timeline panel or go to a specific frame, drag the current-time indicator.
• To scrub audio in the Timeline panel, Ctrl+Alt-drag (Windows) or Command+Option-drag (Mac OS) the current-time indicator.
• To scrub audio and video in the Timeline panel, Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS) the currenttime indicator.
If you stop moving the current-time indicator while keeping the mouse button depressed, a short section of audio loops.
Audio panel A. VU meter B. Level controls C. Level units D. Audio panel menu E. Level values
Choose Options on the Audio panel menu to specify the following options:
Units Choose whether to display audio levels in decibels or in percentages. 100% equals 0 decibels (0 dB).
Slider Minimum The minimum audio level to display in the Audio panel.
Move the current-time indicator The most basic way of previewing frames is to manually preview by moving or dragging the current-time indicator.
The time ruler visually represents the time dimension of a composition, a layer, or a footage item. In a Layer or Footage panel, the time ruler appears near the bottom of the panel. For a Composition panel, the time ruler appears in the corresponding Timeline panel. The time rulers in different panels represent different durations. The time ruler in a Layer or Footage panel represents the duration of the contents of that panel; the time ruler in the Timeline panel represents the duration of the entire composition.
On a time ruler, the current-time indicator indicates the frame you are viewing or editing.
Current-time indicator in the time ruler in the Timeline panel (left) and in the Layer panel (right)
• To go to a specific frame, click in the time ruler; click the current-time display in the Footage, Layer, Composition, or Timeline panel; or press Alt+Shift+J (Windows) or Option+Shift+J (Mac OS).
• Shift-drag the current-time indicator to snap to keyframes, markers, In and Out points, the beginning or end of the composition, or the beginning or end of the work area.
See also“Shortcuts for time navigation” on page 643
Choose a viewer to always preview Designating a viewer as the default panel to preview is particularly useful when you have a Composition viewer that represents your final output, and you always want to preview that viewer even when you’re changing settings in other panels.
The panel that’s set to always preview appears frontmost for the duration of the preview.
❖ Click the Always Preview This View button in the bottom left corner of the panel.
Note: When multiple views are open, previews use the frontmost composition view for 2D compositions and the Active Camera view for 3D compositions. To turn off the Active Camera, deselect Previews Favor Active Camera in the Time Controls menu.
See also“Work with viewers” on page 19
Preview modes Each preview mode provides a different balance between quality and speed for playback and for updating of images during editing and other interactions.
Draft 3D and Live Update modes apply to all views of a composition.
Draft 3D Disables lights, shadows, and cameras’ depth-of-field blur. To turn Draft 3D mode on or off, click the Draft 3D button at the top of the Timeline panel.
Live Update Updates images in the Composition or Layer panel during editing and other interactions. When Live Update is deselected, After Effects displays wireframe representations during edits, such as dragging a layer in the Composition panel or modifying a property value in the Timeline panel. To turn Live Update mode on or off, click the Live Update button, at the top of the Timeline panel.
To temporarily toggle Live Update mode, hold Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while dragging to move a layer, modify a property value, or move the current-time indicator.
Fast Previews You can use a different Fast Previews mode for each view in the Composition panel. For example, in a 4 Views layout, you could use OpenGL for the Active Camera view and Wireframe for Left, Right, and Top views.
Click the Fast Previews button, at the bottom of the Composition panel to set Fast Previews preferences or choose
from the following Fast Previews modes:
• Wireframe Represents each layer as a wireframe outline, which increases playback speed and allows you to quickly reposition a layer with a high resolution or several effects applied.
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• Adaptive Resolution Decreases the preview resolution of layers when necessary to maintain speed of updating of images during editing and other interactions. The Adaptive Resolution Limit value in the Fast Previews area in the Previews preferences category specifies the maximum reduction in resolution to use.