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FREELessons: 11Length: 1.6 hours

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2.1 After Effects Setup

In this lesson we will go through my setup, and I’ll give you a brief explanation of the tools you will need to complete the course. You will also learn how to import the necessary files (such as texture files) into your animation.

2.1 After Effects Setup

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Stranger Things, 80s intro course. In this lesson, we'll go through our initial setup, and familiarize ourselves with After Effects and the tools we'll be using throughout the course. If you're already familiar with using Adobe After Effects, you can skip to the next video now to get started on preparing the Stranger Things-inspired animation. So let's get started by taking a look at how to load a workspace. And to do this, we need to go to the top menu here, select Window, Workspace, and then select Standard or Shift and F12 on the keyboard. This will hopefully make it so that you're seeing the same layout and options on screen as what I'm showing you in this video and throughout the other lessons of this course. We can also edit the way your workspace can look like. You'll notice that there are some other workspace options that we can have a look at and experiment with. So if you go back to Window, and Workspace, these will usually be named after the task they're most suited to, such as Animation and Motion Tracking. But for now we'll stick to the standard layout, especially if we're just starting out, as this will have all the tools we will need for the rest of the course. So now that we have our workspace loaded, let's go into a quick introduction of what we have here. So the workspace in After Effects is made out of panels and frames. So if we just look at the tabs around our workspace here, we'll have these named tabs here, such as project, effects and controls, composition, layer, info, audio, preview, and so on. All these are called panels. And each panel is usually placed within a rectangular space called a frame. Now, we can easily adjust the size of these frames by moving our mouse to the edge of the frame, like so, until the mouse cursor turns like this. So it turns into a different shape like these two arrows pointing left and right. And then by clicking and dragging the mouse, we can make the frame larger or smaller. And this could be useful if you want to see more options within your panel. So if you wanted to see more options within our preview here, we can just go down here, and then slide it down, and there you can see we've got more options available to us, like so, excellent. Now we can also move the panels to different areas of the workspace. So to do this, simply grab one of the named panels using the mouse. So if I wanted to move the preview over here, so I'm just gonna click and hold the preview panel here, and then just click and drag the mouse over to a different area. Now you'll notice now that different drop zones are now highlighted as you mouse over them. Now, if we go and release the mouse button, you'll have a new placement for the panel. Now, the placement of the panel depends on the drop zone area. So for example, if I grab the Preview panel again, If I go ahead and place it on the outer edges of the frame like so, it will now appear beside the frame. And we can do this on either side. So we can do this on the left side as well as the top, and as well as the bottom, like so. And we can do this on other parts of our workspace. So we can drop them here, we can drop them to the side, like so. However, if you wanted to tab it within the frame, you'll have to drop the panel inside the center of the drop zone area, like what we did at the beginning. So if you want to have it as a sort of tab up here, we have to drop it inside the center. So now you'll see it's inside here like so, and the same for this one. So dropping it inside the center will make it appear as a sort of tab, like so. Another trick that you might find useful, is to make a panel float. Now this is mainly useful for those of you with two or more monitors. So say you wanted the After Effects, so this Preview panel here, on your second monitor. To do this, simply click and drag it, so like what I've done here, and then sort of move it as you would normally. Then whilst holding the mouse button, press and hold the Ctrl key on the keyboard, or the Cmd key if you're using the Mac. And this will change the look of the panel like so. Simply release the mouse and keyboard to create a new floating panel, like this. Now, to reset the workspace to what it was originally, just go back to the workspace menu here, so go to Windows > Workspace. And then we want to select the Reset Workspace option. So let's go ahead and select Reset to Standard, like so. And there we go. Alternatively, if you wanted to save the new workspace, go to Window > Workspace and Save New Workspace, Excellent. So now that we're familiar with panels and frames, let's go ahead and look at the layout of our workspace here. Now in the standard workspace, you'll mainly be focused on four different areas. The left area here will be where our project panel is. And this is where you'll find all the resources of the project, such as imported logos and compositions you've created. In this course, we'll be using this area to act as our compositions and files such as our background images from Envato Elements. The bottom area here will be where all your layers are kept. The timeline of the composition is just next to it, and takes up the most space, as we'll be needing this space to time our key frames of our animations and various effects correctly, in order for our Stranger Things animation to work. The center area is where you'll be previewing your animation video. And the right area here is where you'll find the effects and presets that we will use for the animation, and also the preview video controls here. So let's go ahead and bring this down, so you can see the other options of our preview here. So feel free to experiment with different workspace layouts and to come up with something that you like. Remember, you can always reset the layout to its original form if you don't like it, or load a layout that you've previously saved. Great, so that's it for this lesson. In the next video, we'll learn how to set up the text for our animation. See you all there.

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