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Continuously rasterizing causes After Effects to rasterize the file as needed based on the transformation for each frame. A continuously rasterized layer generally produces higher-quality results, but it may render more slowly.
Shape layers and text layers are always continuously rasterized.
When you apply an effect to a continuously rasterized layer, the results may be different than when you apply the effect to a layer without continuous rasterization. This is because the default rendering order for the layer changes.
The default rendering order for a layer without continuous rasterization is masks, followed by effects, and then transformations; whereas the default rendering order for a continuously rasterized layer is masks, followed by transformations, and then effects.
Whether or not you continuously rasterize, if you view and render a composition using Best Quality, After Effects anti-aliases (smooths) the vector graphics.
You cannot open or interact with a continuously rasterized layer in a Layer panel. This means that you can’t paint directly on a continuously rasterized layer. However, you can apply the Paint effect, and you can copy and paste paint strokes from other layers.
❖ In the Timeline panel, click the layer’s Continuously Rasterize switch, which is the same as the Collapse Transformations switch for nested composition layers.
Modify layer properties Work with layer properties in the Timeline panel Each layer has properties, many of which you can modify and animate. The basic group of properties that every layer has is the Transform group, which includes Position and Opacity properties. When you add certain features to a layer—for example, by adding masks or effects, or by converting the layer to a 3D layer—the layer gains additional properties, collected in property groups.
All layer properties are temporal—they can change the layer over time. Some layer properties, such as Position, are also spatial—they can move the layer across composition space.
You can expand the layer outline to display layer properties and change property values.
Collapsed property group (left) compared to expanded property group (right) in layer outline Properties in the Effects property group (effect properties) are also layer properties. Many effect properties can also be modified in the Effect Controls panel.
See also “Work with effects in the Effect Controls panel” on page 350 “Shortcuts for showing properties in the Timeline panel” on page 647 “Shortcuts for working with layers” on page 645 “Shortcuts for showing properties in the Timeline panel” on page 647 “Shortcuts for modifying properties” on page 648
• To show only a specific property or property group, press its shortcut key or keys.
• To add a property or property group to the properties shown in the Timeline panel, hold Shift while pressing the shortcut key for the property or property group.
• To show only properties that have been modified from their default values, press UU, or choose Animation Reveal Modified Properties.
• To show only properties that have keyframes or expressions, press U, or choose Animation Reveal Animating Properties.
Note: The U and UU commands are especially useful for learning how animation presets, template projects, or other animated items work, because they isolate the properties that were modified by the designer of those items.
Select a property or property group in the Timeline panel
• To select a property or property group—including all values, keyframes, and expressions—click the name in the layer outline in the Timeline panel.
Copy or duplicate a property or property group in the Timeline panel
• To copy properties from one layer or property group to another, select the layer, property, or property group, press Ctrl+C (Windows) or Command+C (Mac OS), select the target layer, property, or property group, and press Ctrl+V (Windows) or Command+V (Mac OS).
• To duplicate a property group, select the property group and press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS).
You can only duplicate some property groups, including shapes, masks, and effects. However, you can’t duplicate toplevel property groups such as Contents, Masks, Effects, and Transforms. If you attempt to duplicate a top-level property group, the entire layer is duplicated, instead.
Set a property value If multiple layers are selected and you change a property for one layer, then the property is changed for all selected layers. Sliders, angle controls, and some other property controls are only available in the Effect Controls panel.
To change the units for a property, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the underlined value, choose Edit Value, and choose from the Units menu. The available units are different for different property types. You can’t change the units for some properties.
• Place the pointer over the underlined value, and drag to the left or right.
• Click the underlined value, enter a new value, and then press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS).
Note: You can enter simple arithmetic expressions for property values and other number entries. For example, you can enter 2*3 instead of 6, 4/2 instead of 2, and 2e2 instead of 200.
• Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the underlined value and choose Edit Value.
• Drag the slider left or right.
• Click a point inside the angle control or drag the angle control line.
Note: After you click inside the angle control, you can drag outside it for more precision.
• To increase or decrease the property value by 1 unit, click the underlined value and press the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key. To increase or decrease by 10 units, hold Shift while pressing the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key. To increase or decrease by 0.1 units, hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) while pressing the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key.
AFTER EFFECTS CS3 154 User Guide
• To reset properties in a property group to their default values, click Reset next to the property group name. To reset an individual property, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the property name (not the value) and choose Reset from the context menu.
If the property contains keyframes, a keyframe is added at the current time with the default value.
Alan Shisko provides a video tutorial that shows how to use label colors and multiple selections to rapidly change properties for multiple layers simultaneoulsy: www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_alanmultilayer.
See also “Work with effects in the Effect Controls panel” on page 350 “Shortcuts for showing properties in the Timeline panel” on page 647 “Shortcuts for modifying properties” on page 648 Work with layer anchor points Transformations, such as rotation and scale, occur around a layer’s anchor point (sometimes called transformation point or transformation center). By default, the anchor point for most layer types is at the center of a layer.
The easiest way to pan and scan over a large image is to animate Anchor Point and Scale properties.
Anchor point in center of text layer (left) compared to anchor point moved to the end of the text layer (right) When you use the Pan Behind tool to move the anchor point in the Composition panel (left), After Effects automatically compensates for the move so that the layer maintains its position relative to the composition frame (right).
Note: If you don’t see the anchor point in the Layer panel, select Anchor Point Path from the View menu at the bottom right of the Layer panel.
Move a layer anchor point
• Drag the anchor point using the Selection tool in the Layer panel.
Note: Layers of some types, such as text layers and shape layers, can’t be opened in the Layer panel.
• To move a layer anchor point 1 pixel, choose Anchor Point Path from the View menu at the bottom right of the Layer panel, and press an arrow key. To move 10 pixels, hold Shift as you press an arrow key. Pixel measurements are at the current magnification in the Layer panel.
• To move a layer anchor point in the Composition panel without moving the layer, select the layer and use the Pan Behind tool to drag the anchor point.
Note: Moving an anchor point with the Pan Behind tool changes Position and Anchor Point values so that the layer remains where it was in the composition before you moved the anchor point. To change only the Anchor Point value, Altdrag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) with the Pan Behind tool.
Reset a layer anchor point
• To reset the anchor point to its default location in the layer, double-click the Pan Behind tool button in the Tools panel.
• To reset the anchor point to its default location in the layer, Alt-double-click (Windows) or Option-double-click (Mac OS) the Pan Behind tool button. The layer moves to the center of the composition Scale a layer As with other transformations, scaling occurs around the layer’s anchor point. You can scale a layer beyond the composition frame.
For information on scaling exponentially, as with a zoom lens, see “Use Exponential Scale” on page 218.
• To scale a layer proportionally in the Composition panel, Shift-drag any layer handle.
• To scale a layer freely in the Composition panel, drag a corner layer handle.
• To scale one dimension only in the Composition panel, drag a side layer handle.
• To increase or decrease Scale for a selected layer by 1%, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you press + or – on the numeric keypad.
• To increase or decrease Scale for selected layers by 10%, hold down Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS) as you press + or – on the numeric keypad.
• To scale to a specific set of pixel dimensions, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the Scale value in the Timeline panel, choose Edit Value, and change the units to pixels in the Scale dialog box.
• To scale an entire composition, choose File Scripts DemoPalette.jsx to run the DemoPalette script, and then click the Scale Comp button.
• To scale and center selected layers to fit in the composition frame, choose Layer Transform Fit To Comp.
• To scale and center selected layers to fit the width or height of the composition frame, while preserving the layer’s aspect ratio, choose Layer Transform Fit To Comp Width, or Layer Transform Fit To Comp Height.
• To scale a layer proportionally in the Timeline panel, select the layer, press S to display the Scale property, click the Constrain Proportions icon to the left of the Scale values, and enter a new value for the x, y, or z scale.
To activate the Constrain Proportions icon and match the height to the width, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) it.
AFTER EFFECTS CS3 156 User Guide Scaling a raster (non-vector) layer down sometimes causes a slight softening or blurring of the image. Scaling a raster layer up by a large factor can cause the image to appear blocky or pixelated. Plug-ins that provide high-quality upscaling include Digital Anarchy ReSizer (www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_digitalanarchyresizer) and Red Giant Instant HD (www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_redgiantinstanthd).
For a script that scales multiple compositions simultaneously, see the AE Enhancers forum:
See also “Show or hide layer controls in the Composition panel” on page 127 “Selecting and arranging layers” on page 137 “Work with layer anchor points” on page 154 “Shortcuts for modifying properties” on page 648 Flip a layer A layer flips around its anchor point. If you move the anchor point away from the center of the layer, the layer may move when you flip it.
1 Select one or more layers.
2 Press S to reveal the Scale property.
3 Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the underlined Scale value and choose Edit Value from the pop-up menu that appears.
4 In the Scale dialog box, choose None from the Preserve pop-up menu.
5 Do one of the following:
• To flip horizontally, enter a negative Width value.
• To flip vertically, enter a negative Height value.
See also “Work with layer anchor points” on page 154 “Selecting and arranging layers” on page 137 “Shortcuts for modifying properties” on page 648 Rotate a 2D layer As with other transformations, rotation occurs around the layer’s anchor point.
To reveal the Rotation property value for selected layers in the Timeline panel, press R. The first part of the property value is the number of whole rotations; the second part is the fractional rotation in degrees.
For information on rotating 3D layers, see “Rotate or orient a 3D layer” on page 173.
• To rotate a layer by dragging in the Composition panel, drag the layer using the Rotation tool. To constrain rotation to 45˚ increments, hold down Shift as you drag.
• To rotate selected layers by 1 degree, press plus (+) or minus (-) on the numeric keypad.
• To rotate selected layers by 10 degrees, press Shift+plus (+) or Shift+minus (-) on the numeric keypad.
See also “Work with layer anchor points” on page 154 “Selecting and arranging layers” on page 137 “Shortcuts for modifying properties” on page 648 Adjust audio volume levels When you use footage containing audio, the default audio level for playback is 0 dB, meaning that the level is unadjusted in After Effects. Setting a positive decibel level increases volume, and setting a negative decibel level decreases volume.
Note: Double-clicking an Audio Levels keyframe activates the Audio panel.
The VU meter in the Audio panel displays the volume range for the audio as it plays. The red blocks at the top of the meter represent your system’s volume limit.
For more precision in setting audio levels by dragging sliders, increase the height of the Audio panel.
❖ In the Audio panel, to adjust volume, do one of the following: