Skip to main content

Adobe After Effects CC Quick Start

Lesson 4 of 23

Creating Compositions


Adobe After Effects CC Quick Start

Lesson 4 of 23

Creating Compositions


Lesson Info

Creating Compositions

Okay, so now, I want to talk about creating composition. This is really great, 'cause again once you bring things in a project, it's almost like the project panel, it's almost like a storage vault. Like it doesn't really mean that you own it or you using it, it just means that these are just kind of tools you can choose from, these are assets that you could play with, again, just like Premiere. So, I'm going to take and I'm going to create a composition, and there's a few different ways to do that. The easiest way is by using these ginormous buttons right here that are just screaming at your face. New composition, new composition from footage. So, you could drag and drop on these, or click these buttons to get an asset. I never use these buttons though. These are for brand new users, but the tricky part is that once you create one composition, those buttons are gone, and they're not there anymore, and you can't find them again. So, I don't like to teach people to use those because if t...

hat's a crutch and your just going to like, "Oh, I'll just create a new composition from footage," then you're going to be stuck once you create that one single composition. So, those things are there, you know, I don't use them, I don't like using them. So, down here at the bottom of the project panel there is this create a new composition button. So, I can click this create a composition button and I can create a composition from scratch, and this is kind of like the rough and tumble way to do it. I'm going to show you a short cut that I use all the time in just a second, but as we go through this, I kind of want to explain a little bit about some video settings, the basic properties and attributes. And again, I'm aware that we are just kind of like setting up this whole thing. A lot of the stuff is not super exciting. A lot of you are here because you want to add pizazz and amazing things to your video, and talking about like composition video settings is not exactly what you signed up for, but it's necessary in order to have all the fun that we're going to have in just a few, so stick with me. I promise it will be amazing. Now, in the composition settings dialogue box we can name this, and that's really important. We'll see as we go through, just like comp one, comp two, comp three, that's not good, that's not good. You start getting confused about like what's in where and it's confusing. There are a bunch of presets for you to use. There's like old standard definition presets, which I thankfully have not had to use in like a decade, which I'm very grateful for. There's a bunch of HDTV sets or presets, so there's presets at 720, and there's presets at 1080, so like this is different HD sizes. 1280 by 720, that's pixel dimensions. And we also have 1920 by 1080 pixel dimensions, and then this other number, the 23.976, 25, 29.97, this is the frame rate, and for those of you new to the world, the video. So video is a series of still pictures played back in a row, and if you play those still pictures back fast enough, your eye is tricked into believing that you're seeing something fluid and happening in real time, and that's referred to as the frame rate. The rate at which those still pictures play back is the frame rate, and the frame rate actually plays like a really critical role in the look of your video. Whatever you're doing, so typically 29. is the frame rate for television, for American, actually North American television, and 25 frames per second is like European, is a different standard, but 25 frames per second is more common. 23.976, also seen as 24 frames per second is a standard for movies. Now, you might instantly look at that and say, "Well, I want to create TV spots, "or I want to create internet stuff, what do I do then?" So, I want to spend just like two seconds and talk about the aesthetic differences with frame rates, because that might change. You might want to use 24 frames per second, which is for typically for movies. You might want to use that frame rate for a TV commercial. Now it'd be a good reason to do that. So when you have more frames per second, the motion is super, super smooth, super sharp. Think about watching like a football game live on TV. Super, super, super sharp, it feels like you're there. Or like a soap opera, or a news cast. Things that make you feel like they're right there, right in front of you, and it does have more frames per second, so again, animation is smoother if you're doing like motion graphics and what not. And so you might say, "Well, then why "would I ever want to do 24 frames per second?" Well, because of the limitations of film, when film started, 24 frames per second just was kind of like, "Well, it's the best we could do," so then they just kind of stuck. But because of that, because that kind of creates like a smooth, buttery look, we've tend to associate that 24 frames per second look with big, cinematic, beautiful things that are engaging. Like when somethings 24 frames per second, our hearts like, "Okay, I'm listening," and so, that can be really powerful if you're doing like an ad for like a toilet cleaner. 24 frames per second, people are going to be like, "Okay, okay, well, I'm listening. "I'm going to hear what you have to say." And so it can be, if your doing something that you're wanting to touch people's heart strings, 24 frames per second might be a better choice, regardless of the medium or where it's playing at, you know what I mean? But again, if you're doing something sharp, you might want to go up to 30 frames per second. It's totally up to you. Be aware, also that if you're doing something that does have an output for the web, and only an output for the web, that more frames per second also means more bandwidth. So, when end users are watching something, and it's 30, or you know, 60 frames per second, that's more frames that they have to download per second in order to get like a good stream. If you're doing something at 15 frames per second, which you could also do, it's going to be more choppy but it's going to download a lot faster, 'cause it's so much less data per second that they have to download, beware. We also have from some ultra HD presets, we also have some film presets. We could also manually type in stuff, if you wanted to. By default, these are linked together. This is luck aspect ratio, so if I reduce the height, pixels in height, then it also reduces the width, but I could also unlock those, and just manually type in like 1920 by 1080, and I'm hitting the tab key to go back and forth there. Pixel aspect ratio, if you're doing something for the web, or a TV, something for a modern audience, use square pixels. The frame rate here, you can manually choose from this drop down, you could type something in here if you want to just manually type it, or there's just a bunch of really common presets from this frames per second drop down right here. And duration here, we have a list of the time code here, and again, if your new to video, I'm going to explain this very briefly but we have these little groups separated by colons, or semi-colons, and this first group right here indicates the hours, and the next group is the minutes, and the seconds, and then the individual frames. So this duration is saying, "Well, "how long do you want this composition to be?" And this is kind of like one of the tricky things about After Effects, and Premiere, you don't have to worry about this. You just keep dumping stuff in the timeline, and then whenever it ends, it's like okay. Premiere's like that's the end, but in After Effects you have to say, "No. "Specifically, this is exactly what I want to do." And the reason why is because it's kind of easy to work in Premiere, you just dump a bunch of video in, it's no big deal, and After Effects, every frame is important. It gets expensive because it takes a lot of work, so After Effects is just going to assume you know exactly how long you want this composition to be. And now, this is kind of cool. Another one of the secrets, if I just type five right here in the duration, this is going to be five frames long. Now, what if I want to type five seconds long. "Aw, I already deleted it, I have to do all the stuff "with the colons and all..." No, I don't. Here's the secret. If I hit the period key, like if I type five period. You see that five frames kind of shifted over one decimal point, right, or not decimal. Whatever this thingy is, it shifted over one spot. If I hit period again, it goes over another spot. So, now it's five minutes. So, using this, like five period is just a much nicer way to figure out your duration of your composition. So, once that's set, I can click okay, and now I have a composition I can start doing stuff with. So, that's one way to create a composition. But, if I know that with this composition, like I say I have this gorilla footage. I know that I want the specs to be just like this, and this isn't exactly 1920 by 1080. It's 2048 by 1080 and it has a bunch of other attributes. I just want a composition that's just like this footage. That has the same attributes as this footage. I don't want to have to like write it down, and then manually input. I just want the same specs as this clip. What I can do is I can grab it and drag it down to the new composition icon. Again, this is just like Premiere, and then boom, I have a new composition created for me. The composition has the same specs, the same duration. It's 24 seconds in two frames, has the same pixel aspect ratio, the same pixel dimensions, the same frame rate. Everything is the same, and it also does the favor of adding that footage to my composition, and now I can hit the space bar and play my footage, and we have our adorable little friend here just chowing down, and it's beautiful. And that's the ins and outs of creating compositions.

Class Description

Knowing how to utilize the tools and opportunities in Adobe® After Effects® can take your video from amateur to professional. Award-winning filmmaker and author Chad Perkins will help you get started with utilizing this motion software. This course covers the basics of starting a project and how to make the most of the many ways to bring life to a video. You’ll learn:

  • How to start a project and create a composition
  • Working with layers
  • Creating text
  • Understanding animation
  • Working with textures and shapes
  • Creating 3D motion with lighting and camera
  • Compositing techniques

Learn to enhance your video projects by animating text or creating transitional effects with this quick start into Adobe After Effects CC.


Adobe After Effects CC 2018


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.