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2.2 Layers, Comps, and Precomps

In this lesson you'll dive deeper into the project and learn how it is put together. This involves understanding about layers, comps, and precomps.

2.2 Layers, Comps, and Precomps

In this lesson, you're going to get a better understanding of layers and compositions. As we dive deeper into exactly how this project is put together. In the previous lesson, I mentioned that these are compositions. Sometimes shortened as comps, you'll see that in this assets folder, this folder here is called comps. Comp is just short for composition. Now a comp is very similar to a sequence in a video editing application. You can kind of think of it like a container, and you can put your assets in that container and you can manipulate them over time. That's why there's a timeline here, I'm just going to make this a little shorter here so we can see the timeline a little bit better. I'm also going to turn off this Transparency Grid, because that's making my eyes completely bug out. So, a composition, it's a container, you can put stuff into it, what kind of stuff? Well, you can put video footage, you can put graphics in it. In fact, that's what's in this comp, right here, this comp, which is called your logo, only has one thing in it. And that is this Envato.ai file, that's a file that was created in Adobe Illustrator. And After Effects can use that no problem, it doesn't have to be converted to anything else. That type of file is a vector graphics file. Meaning if you click this button right here, this is the Continuously Rasterize button. And then I select this layer, you don't have to follow along. But watch what happens when I hit S on the keyboard, and then I scale this up past 100%. Now, I'm just going to change the resolution here to Auto. And I'm going to look at this at full resolution, so this is 100% resolution, and check out the scale, it's at 738%. Now, watch what happens when I uncheck this Continously Rasterize button, ew, that looks gross. We have these really jaggy edges and it's blurry and it's pixaleted. With regular old rasterized graphics, things like PNGs, JPGs, Photoshop files. When you scale them up past 100%, they can look nasty, if it's just a little bit past 100%, probably not a big deal. But you get to 150, 200, things are going to probably look pretty gross unless you blur them out. So, these vector graphics are really cool because you can scale them up a lot. Now in this particular example, that's probably not what you want to do. In fact, I'm just going to undo all of that and put it back the way it was before. But I just wanted to show you that in this comp, it has a vector graphics file and you can do that. You can scale it up really, really big. Now, in addition to footage and graphic files, you can also have audio, lots of audio. They can be sound effects, it can be a music track, it can be dialogue. Although, After Effects is not really great at manipulating audio. It has some basic audio functionality, which you're going to learn about coming up later in the course. You can also put layers that are generated by After Effects itself. So, if you right click in a blank area here, go up to New, we can insert a Text layer, we can insert a Solid, we can insert a Light. This is a light that works with 3D or quasi 3D elements inside of After Effects. You can put an After Effects Camera in this comp, you can put a Null Object, a Shape Layer. An Adjustment Layer, a Photoshop File, even a CINEMA 4D File. Now, a Photoshop file and a CINEMA 4D file are not things that are generated necessarily inside of After Effects. But all these other ones here, Text, Solid, Light, Camera, Null, Shape, and Adjustment Layer, are. Those are items that you do not import from a folder outside of After Effects. Those are layers that After Effects can generate all on its own. They're very useful, but we're not going to get into them in this course. I just wanted to point that out to you, because you're going to see those used in some of these other comps. Now, why is it called a composition? Well, that's because you can put multiple items in here, and you can composite them all together, composition comes from composite. For example, I could duplicate this, I could scale it way up, and I could composite this over this other layer here. Now, you don't need to follow along with that, I just wanted to show you that as an example. And these compositions can be very complex. You can have something as simple as a comp with just one layer in it, like you have here. Or if you jump over here to this PM 01, and just pull this up here, you can see that this comp actually has 45 layers in there. This is an adjustment layer here, if I scroll down, this has got a null and it's got an After Effects camera. And then inside of this comp, there are actually a bunch of compositions, so you can nest compositions inside of compositions. And if I take one of these comps, let's say, Your Logo side 01, and I double click on it, that's going to open up that comp. You can see it right over here, Your Logo side 01 has been opened up, I'm just going to fit that so you can see in this comp. You can see that in this comp, there are four layers, and each one of those is a composition. Three of those are labeled Your Logo, which is the first comp that we were looking at. If I double click this, it's going to open up Your Logo, so try and follow along here, inside of this Your Logo side 01 is Your Logo. And there's a few different copies of that, which is referencing this composition right here. Now, Your Logo side 01 is used in this composition, PM 01, and it's used a bunch of different times, it's kind of layered on top of it. And then, if we look at PM 01 cameras, PM 01, so this comp is inside of this comp right here, so, this comp has this comp in it. It doesn't show up as all those layers because it's just kind of collapsed down and you just get this one layer right here. But inside of here, if I double-click on it, is all this stuff. And inside of this one layer here are these layers, inside of this, Your Logo comp is Your Logo. So that's basically how this entire project is put together, it seems complex. But the only things that you are going to be modifying are these two comps right here. This one called Settings and this one called Your Logo, but I just wanted to show you that that's how this project is built. If we look at, I'm going to jump back to PM 01 here, and if you look at Your Logo top, double click on it. You can see that this has a bunch more Your Logos in it, and over on the timeline, you can see that some of them have been trimmed up. Some of them are stacked on top of each other right here, it's a bunch of different things going on. So compositions can be very complex, but, again, you don't have to let that confuse you or overwhelm you. Because all we're going to be looking at to make the modifications are this Your Logo comp and Settings comp. So you may have figured out by now, if I make a change in this comp, let's say I just move this like that. Watch what happens when I jump over to the PM 01 comp, did you see that? This just moved, now I'll show you that again. We'll move it back, I'll just undo that, and then watch what happens when I jump over here. It'll update and it'll move back. That's how we're going to move forward. And coming up in the next lesson, I'm going to show you how to replace this Envato logo with a logo of your own. So check that out coming up next.

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