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Timeline and composition trouble

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Toni Olivier
Timeline and composition trouble
on Aug 10, 2018 at 8:50:23 am

Hi there

I wonder if anyone could point me to a tutorial that could help me with this problem, or give me an answer- I'm new to AE and I think i might be missing something fundamental. I've watched countless videos on basics of timeline and pre-composing and I'm still confused.

I have a main composition with each scene as a separate composition. I created these scene comps by importing Illustrator files as Compositions. Each scene comp is the length of the whole composition, so I go into each one and crop the start and end of each layer. For example one composition sits in the main comp's timeline, from 10 sec to 20 sec. Within the scene's timeline, it also sits at this time, with space on either side representing the main comp's timeline. If I trim the scene comp to work area, then it will not appear correctly in the main comp, because it is displaying from 0 sec to 10 sec.

I find this very confusing and difficult to work with. In another project i worked on with someone else, this did not happen, and I'm trying to figure out why. The scenes' timelines all work independently from the main timeline - is this a setting somewhere or a command I'm missing?

Thanks for any advice in advance!


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Timeline and composition trouble
on Aug 10, 2018 at 4:43:57 pm

There is an option when you are precomposing to trim the precomp to the contents. I might suggest ticking that.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Greg Gesch
Re: Timeline and composition trouble
on Aug 10, 2018 at 11:40:34 pm

Hi. If you make each precomp only the length you need - not the length of the whole master composition - you can place or drag the precomp to the time you want it to start on the layer. Is that what you mean?


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Toni Olivier
Re: Timeline and composition trouble
on Aug 11, 2018 at 8:41:14 am

Thanks for your response. Yes, that's what I mean, but when I do this, the precomp gets placed at 0 seconds. So I have to replace it in the right position, otherwise nothing shows up.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Timeline and composition trouble
on Aug 11, 2018 at 6:29:08 pm

Is there any reason why you need to make one big, long comp?

Why not make your individual scenes, render them out & assemble in Premiere Pro? I do it all the time.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Toni Olivier
Re: Timeline and composition trouble
on Aug 13, 2018 at 6:03:00 am

Thanks for your suggestion, I'll experiment with that. 😺


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Greg Gesch
Re: Timeline and composition trouble
on Aug 12, 2018 at 2:07:43 am

You can place your time indicator where you want the precomp to start then, with the layer selected, press the left bracket key ({) and the layer's in point will snap to the time indicator. Pressing the left bracket key (}) will snap the end point of the precomp to the time indicator.


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Steve Bentley
Re: Timeline and composition trouble
on Aug 12, 2018 at 4:25:04 pm

There is also a setting in the first page of the prefs to "place footage at composition start". If you turn that off AE will put your footage at your time marker. (you can use cntrl forwardslash, cmd forward slash on Mac to do this in a keystroke)



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