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2.1 What Is After Effects?

In this lesson, you are going to get a quick tour of the After Effects tools and interface. You'll grasp the basic AE tools and see how to customize the interface for your needs.

Related Links

1 lesson, 00:49


2.Getting Started
5 lessons, 42:55

What Is After Effects?

Main Panels


After Effects Tools

More AE Tools

3.Compositions and Layers
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After Effects Composition


After Effects Layer Properties

3 lessons, 25:21

After Effects Keyframe Basics

After Effects Keyframe Easing

Spatial Interpolation

5.Masks, Shape Layers, and Text
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Learn How to Mask in After Effects

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 1

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 2

Text in After Effects

Text Animation and More

2 lessons, 13:42

What Is 2.5D?

More 2.5D

7.Motion Tracking
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Motion Tracking, Camera Tracking, and 3D Text

More Motion Tracking

Camera Tracking in After Effects

3D Text in After Effects

8.Mattes and Cool Effects
4 lessons, 43:43




Mind-Blowing Third-Party Effects

9.Build a Lower Third
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How to Make a Lower Third in After Effects

Final Touches on the Lower Third

1 lesson, 09:11

Exporting From After Effects

1 lesson, 01:16


12.Bonus Lessons
4 lessons, 2:14:00

How to Make an After Effects Text Animation

How to Use After Effects Intro Templates

How to Create Handwriting Animation in After Effects

How to Create Brush Effects in After Effects

13.Frequently Asked Questions
8 lessons, 1:34:42

FAQ Introduction

How to Export Video From After Effects

How to Export Video From After Effects Using PreRendering

How to Mask in After Effects

How to Animate Text in After Effects

How to Make a GIF in After Effects

How to Duplicate Layer in After Effects

FAQ Conclusion

2.1 What Is After Effects?

In this lesson, you're going to get a quick tour of the After Effects interface and learn how to customize it to fit your needs. Now, if you wanna follow along with the After Effects lessons in this course and see exactly what I have on my screen on your screen, make sure you open up the Lesson Start.aap file. And once you're inside After Effects it's very easy to do, you can just go to File, Open project, and then navigate to wherever you have that downloaded. So this is the After Effects interface, and at first glance you're going to see a lot of things that may be a little bit overwhelming, a little bit confusing, what do all these buttons and switches do? Ignore them [LAUGH]. There is a lot of things here that can be very distracting, but quite honestly when you're learning you don't have to know what every single button and switch does. As long as you follow along with what I am doing in the course you're gonna learn lots of stuff, and most of these things you're gonna pick up along the way. So one of the goals in this lesson is to show you how you can customize this interface. After Effects is one of those programs where screen real estate is very very precious. And you'll often find that you'll be working on a particular thing and there's just not enough room to do what you wanna do. So you are going to have to move some of these panels, which are what these windows are. You're going to have to move some of them around, you may have to get rid of some of them and bring them back at some later date just to fit your work style and your particular screen size. So what you're seeing here on your screen is a collection of panels. Some of them are individual panels, like this composition panel. And some of them are arranged in a group, like all of these panels over here. This whole arrangement of all of these panels is called a workspace, and it's very, very customizable. For example, you might have already seen, as I move my mouse between two panels, I will get a double arrow tool, which allows me to resize both of the panels at the same time. The same thing happens when I move it between two panels that are vertically arranged here. I get another double arrow, so I can rearrange all of these panels at the same time. If I hover my mouse over where multiple panels meet in the corner I get a four arrow tool here. And now I can move both horizontally and vertically at the same time. Now, before I go any further, I wanna make sure that you are seeing exactly what I'm seeing with this arrangement of panels, which is called a workspace. To make sure you have the same workspace selected, come up here to Window > Workspace, and make sure you have Default selected. Now, if it is selected, like mine is, make sure you click Reset default to saved layout. And that's going to rearrange some of the sizes of the panels, so it should look something like this. Very, very close to this, and you should be able to follow along with no problem. Now, as you may have noticed, there are some other workspaces available. Now, you're not gonna have all of these, because a few of them, like the ones with my last name on them, which I made special for me, you're not gonna have. But you will have things like Minimal, Libraries, Motion tracking pane, and Small screen. Check out what Minimal does. You can see in this workspace, well, it's pretty minimal. It gives you only the composition panel and the timeline panel. Now, if you have a small screen, you might find the small screen workspace a good place to start. That's very similar to the default workspace. This, by the way, is the workspace bar, which you can expand or make smaller. And you have some workspaces that are preset right up here that you can get access to. I'm just gonna switch back to default, because that's a good place to start. One of the things that you'll find when you're working in After Effects is that some of these panels, you're just not going to be accessing a whole lot. And if that's the case, then it makes sense to just get rid of them so that you can focus on just the panels that you need. So let's say for example, you wanted to get rid of this Libraries tab. Now, if you click on the Libraries tab it will collapse, which is one of the features in this panel group here. I'm just gonna make some more space here so you can see, but with the library panel selected, I'm gonna click on this little three line menu button here. And I can choose close panel, and that's going to get rid of the library panel altogether. Now, I can bring it back by coming up here to window and then choosing Library, And that'll put it back pretty much where it was before. But for now I'm going to close that panel so we don't have to look at it. Now, you may have noticed, if you are selecting a panel in this panel group, only one panel opens at a time. And that's because there is an option under Panel Group Settings here for Solo Panels in Stack. If you disable that, it's possible to open multiple panels at the same time. However, you can see the problem with this. In order to get to the panel that you need that's open, you need to do a lot of scrolling up and down or collapse panels and it gets a little bit annoying. So for some cases this option to Solar Panels in Stack works really well, in other cases, you might not like them. One of the things that I like to do is bring certain panels out into the interface and make it so they are available all the time, and I don't have to expand and collapse them.. To do that is very, very easy. If you click and drag any of these panels out of that panel group, you can see that the interface will immediately start highlighting drop zones. Which indicate where that panel will snap to when you release your mouse. Now, if I want this in its own panel window, I can dock it right here. I'll show you that one more time. I'll put this back here, output out here. I'm gonna dock it to the right of this composition panel and then it will be in it's own panel window right here. And so now if I'm from working on text, I can have access to this character panel all the time, and I don't have to keep soloing this panel every time I wanna make a change to the text. Now, if I add another panel to this group, let's say I add the paragraph panel, it's very easy. I'm just gonna do the same procedure. But this time, when I click and drag it out of this panel group, I'm going to release it right in the center, and that will group this paragraph panel with this character panel. And you can see by default, because these panels came from a panel group that was stacked and soloed, the default behavior for these panels is also stacked and soloed. Now, I actually don't prefer the character and paragraph panels to be in the stacked and soloed arrangement, I like them to be not stacked so that they are in this tabbed arrangement right here. I find that more handy. Now, let's say you wanted to dock another panel on the bottom here, it's very very easy. I'll describe this tracker panel, for example, and I'll dock it right to the bottom. And now that panel is available for me right here and the character and paragraph panel are not going to collapse, and I can get to all of the little buttons and controls here all of the time. Now, another option I wanted to show you really quickly is that you can undock some of these panels. So right under the menu of any one of these panels is Undock Panel, and when you do, that'll create a floating panel. And you can take this panel and, well, you could leave it floating, but I don't really find that super useful. You can move it, Onto another screen. And so you can take this one panel and move it onto, let's say, a second monitor. Or you can create a whole panel group full of different panels that you find useful and move that onto a second monitor and that will free up your, let's say, primary monitor for the most useful panels. Now, once you've settled on a workspace that you like, it makes sense to save it. So you can come up here to Window>Workspace, and then just choose Save New Workspace. You can name it, and then it will be available here. You can switch back and forth between this one that says good stuff and something like small screen. Now, the reason why it doesn't show up on the workspace bar here is because you need to go to Edit work spaces and just pull this up in the Arrangement underneath bar here. So that it is visible, because our bar isn't big enough to where we can see that new workspace. But once I pulled it up, it's available right here. And so now you can very quickly go between the new workspace that you created and a different one. For now, I'm going to leave it on small screen because that's gonna be helpful for some upcoming lessons where we dive deeper into some of the panels that you're going to be using all of the time. So check that out, coming up next.

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