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Getting Efficient

Lesson 9 from: Adobe After Effects CC Quick Start

Chad Perkins

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Lesson Info

9. Getting Efficient

Lesson Info

Getting Efficient

Okay I'm just gonna continue where we left off with the animation and I want to talk about like getting efficient a little bit. I wanna talk about like navigating the work area just getting really efficient. So you notice at the beginning when I set up my animations I jumped to the beginning of the composition. One of the most handy shortcuts is the home key on the keyboard. Again one of those wacky keys that nobody ever uses, like regular people don't ever use. But you hit the home key and you're at the first frame of the composition. The end key jumps to the end of the composition, home and end. Now if you're going to advance frame by frame especially if you have a Premier back on, this is different than Premier. So in the After Effects world the arrow keys will actually move objects. So if I were to like say go right here and I use the arrow keys, it's gonna adjust the position of the objects. So you see it created a new key frame at that frame. So that's what the arrow keys do they...

nudge one pixel in the direction of the arrow key. That's not the way it works in Premier. The Premier advances one frame or goes forward and back one frame. But to do that in After Effects, I'm actually just really gonna select this key frame and delete it. In After Effects in order to advance a frame or to go back a frame we can use the page up and page down key. So page down advances one frame at a time. Page up goes backwards one frame at a time. If you're taking notes which you guys are bless your hearts, 'cause you're gonna wanna come back to this. And I promise you and this goes for you in the audience as well, I'm not gonna give you any keyboard shortcuts that aren't like desperate to life. I have tons of these keyboard shortcuts that I use that are good for my workflow but there are just universals that you just gotta know. And that's what we're gonna go over, that's what we're going over right now. So page up, page down, home end, to jump around. Another thing that's really helpful are the J and K keys. This also works differently than any other video editing app J and K and L usually play or stop in video editing apps, not in After Effects. After Effects is a little corky in that way. So in After Effects J and K are like the key frame navigator arrows that we saw here. So the arrow that goes back and forward to jump to the previous key frame and the next key frame J jumps, that's how I remembered it, J jumps to the previous key frame, K advances to the next key frame. And that way you know where you're at. I should also point out that it is only available for key frames that are showing. So if I were to close this layer, close the disclosure triangle, close the layer so we can't see any key frames and then press J or K, it jumps to the beginning and the end of the composition so we can't see any key frames. Now if you want to see all your key frames on a given layer, the keyboard shortcut is the letter U. I'm told this is short for Uber, I guess, like all ... I don't know, it was a pre-Uber world that this was created in so I don't know. I don't know, I don't trust my sources on this one but this was ... So I can press the letter U and I can see my key frames on the astronaut arm, select the rocket layer, press the letter U. And before when we were doing J and K we were just jumping between the two rocket key frames. But now because the astronaut arm key frames are showing J and K navigate all the visible key frames. So there's that. Now if you want to see and this is really handy, trust me this is really, really handy. If you want to see all of the things on a layer that have change from their defaults so anything, any property, any key framed, anything that's been changed from in there, it's defaults. You can type U U, so U one time will show you the key frames pressing U U, like twice in rapid succession. You don't have to like you know have like a gamer finger be like da, da, you don't have to be like that tense about it but just typing U U and then there we have all of the things that change from their default. So this rocket exhaust fire layer I've changed the finger point and I change it's position. Nothing's animated on this rocket exhaust fire layer but U U shows me all the things change from it's default. This is one of the greatest keyboard shortcuts because a lot of times you'll open up a project and you'd be like how do I do that, how'd that happen? What's the magic here? What's making this work? Or you'll get a product from somebody else or whatever and you're just trying to figure out what's going on, or something won't work, maybe just the layer just like, it's invisible or it's black or whatever, what's going on? You type U U and maybe the key frames aren't really showing you anything but you type U U and you see all the properties changed from their default and it's a great trouble shooting technique. And also a great educational technique if you see a great project from somebody else and you get to go through their stuff typing U U, seeing how they got to what they got to, that's great. If you buy templates online or whatever, another great way to kinda just see just take it apart and see the anatomy of it. One other thing I wanna talk about with getting efficient is this bar right here. This is called the work area bar. This is one of those things that right now when you're just starting your After Effects journey you got your knapsack and you're ready to just go on the After Effects journey like it probably doesn't matter but it will matter to you very soon. The work area looks like it's part of the interface like this gray bar with like the blue tips at the end here. And there's two of those which is really confusing. There's like this top little tiny one and then there's the thick one down here. We're talking about the thick one, the top one doesn't do that. But this one right here as I click this beginning right here I can move this and this work area determines the section that we want to preview. So a lot of times I go five second animation which sounds like yeah, five seconds that's really quick like if you're at the store and like you order your food at a restaurant or something like that and they're like oh it'll be out in five seconds you be like whoa that's amazing! And so we tend to think of five seconds as like really, really fast. In After Effects language that's like an eternity. So when I hit preview I'll hit the space bar it doesn't respect it so I have to hit zero on the numeric keypad. So on the numeric keypad zero there, not the main zero that's above the letter P on your keyboard but zero on the numeric keypad on the right hand side of your big extended keyboard. That will start at the work area and preview just the work area will loop it. I can move this real quick inside the work area and move it and trim it but being able to dial in and focus on just one little piece of your animation and see it over and over again. Maybe the speed of my rocket, the curve of my rocket. I wanna be able to preview that, just that section and the work area really comes in handy for that. Again probably not something you really need to care about or worry about right now but you will. To reset the work area bar, you can double click the center but trust me, trust me, trust me, the work area is really important. When we go to look at rendering at the end of the day you could also choose to render just the work area which is really handy. So if you just wanna do the test animation of just the little snippet you can actually use the work area that's already set up as just the little piece that you wanna render. And After Effects renders can take a very long time, like days, they can take a long time. They don't, not all the time but sometimes and on more robust projects I've had it take literally days to render out like a few seconds of video. Because you just, they get, it gets really robust so just exporting the snippet that you need can be really helpful.

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Ratings and Reviews

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.

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