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Start/Stop layer in AAE

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Bryan Neff
Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 20, 2014 at 4:06:18 pm

This is a very elementary question - I'm very new to AAE. I work for a company that does video inspections of sewage pipes, and the cameras put information on their videos. Sometimes this information is entered wrong by the operators, and I have to go in and overlay correct information on top of the error. I do this by going into paint.net and creating the correct number, then adding it as a layer.

The incorrect information can sometimes move to different places on the screen, moving between often 3-4 places... but it can make this change many, many times in a video. Right now, every time it's displayed in a new location I hit ctrl+shift+d to add a new layer of the correct information, and move it to the appropriate place. This often ends up with many, many layers - but really I only need 3-4, because the information only moves over a few places.

Is there a way to just stop the layer at a point, then restart it later on the timeline? In my mind that seems very simple - I've done it with music in music editors in the past. I'd much rather just have a few layers that stop and start along the timeline then end up with 20-40 layers.

Just as a note.. I'm very beginner in this, and I don't understand the code I've seen on this forum - and don't really have the time to learn that at the moment. I kind of feel like there's some simple button/command I'm missing.

Thanks all


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Declan Zimmermann
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 20, 2014 at 4:51:43 pm

Hello Bryan,

If I understand you situation correctly, it would work to have the layer just "turn off" for a period of time, and then resume later in the piece.

You are correct there is not a way to set an end point and then later 'resume' a layer, since After Effects thinks more like Photoshop (building a layer stack) than a video editor (a sequence of shots across time.)

But the simple solution is to just keyframe the opacity (shortcut T) to change from 100% (or whatever opacity you are using) to 0% in the next frame, and then back from 0 to 100 when you wish to resume the layer.

You can also keyframe the position of the layer while it is invisible to have it "resume" in a different place if that's what you need.

Hope that helps!

Declan Zimmermann
Design & Motion
motiongraphicsnyc.com
twitter: @MographNYC


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Bryan Neff
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 20, 2014 at 5:28:50 pm

Thanks for the response Declan,

That would work, but perhaps I'm missing something. If I'm going to do that with a single layer, then I need to be able to set the opacity to 0 or 100% at different points along that layer. Kind of like Roland posted with the holds - like an on/off for that layer. His idea would work as well, though the link he posted doesn't have instructions on how to do it.

In case it's not clear, I'll try and explain what I'm doing more clearly.

A camera runs down a pipe and videos it's actions, but also posts data about the pipe that it's in on the frame. If it runs into a problem, such as roots or a break in the pipe, the information on screen changes positions, and sometimes disappears.

Now, if the operator put in data wrong, such as the wrong manhole name (SAI0765 instead of SAI0565, for instance), I have to fix this. I do it by going into paint.net and creating a '5', as in the example above, and then adding that 5 as a layer. I position the 5 over the 7, and let that layer run until the information on the feed moves to a different place, such as when a problem is identified. Currently, I am then hitting ctrl+shift+D and manually moving that 5 over the 7 again, going until it changes, then doing ctrl+shift+D again and moving the 5 over the 7 on the original location. Correctly moving that number cleanly over another over and over again is time consuming, and I'd much rather just be able to disable that layer temporarily and reactivate it later in the timeline.

The opacity idea would work for that if I could change opacity within the layer at various points along the timeline, rather than changing the entire layer throughout the timeline.


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 20, 2014 at 4:58:36 pm

You've not provided a visual description of what your overlay looks like or what it contains BUT I think what you want/need is to use Hold Keyframes. Unfortunately, there is much coverage that I know of on this extremely useful keyframe.

Here's what I found via Google and it seems decent - http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1327260&seqNum=2

HTH
RoRK
Latest AE Workshop - MoGraph Intensity - Shapes & Text

Intensive mocha & AE Training in Singapore and Other Dangerous Locations

Imagineer Systems (mocha) Certified Instructor
& Adobe After Effects CS6 ACE/ACI


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Bryan Neff
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 20, 2014 at 5:33:31 pm

The hold would work, as it appears similar to Declan's response - it even mentions that it's similar to opacity, but more like a switch. It doesn't explain how to actually perform this action, however. So I'm not entirely sure how to perform it, and even if it would really work. Declan's idea of using opacity to 0% at certain points would work great, but it seems to change that entire layer to 0%. I can't seem to just do segments within the timeline.

Also, here's a better explanation of what I'm doing:

A camera runs down a pipe and videos it's actions, but also posts data about the pipe that it's in on the frame. If it runs into a problem, such as roots or a break in the pipe, the information on screen changes positions, and sometimes disappears.

Now, if the operator put in data wrong, such as the wrong manhole name (SAI0765 instead of SAI0565, for instance), I have to fix this. I do it by going into paint.net and creating a '5', as in the example above, and then adding that 5 as a layer. I position the 5 over the 7, and let that layer run until the information on the feed moves to a different place, such as when a problem is identified. Currently, I am then hitting ctrl+shift+D and manually moving that 5 over the 7 again, going until it changes, then doing ctrl+shift+D again and moving the 5 over the 7 on the original location. Correctly moving that number cleanly over another over and over again is time consuming, and I'd much rather just be able to disable that layer temporarily and reactivate it later in the timeline.

Thanks Roland. Forgive my inexperience.


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Ridley Walker
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 20, 2014 at 8:57:09 pm

Sounds like you need a quick basic tutorial on Keyframing.


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/devis_andrew/AE-Basics-11-Animation...


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 21, 2014 at 1:48:33 am

[Bryan Neff] "The hold would work, as it appears similar to Declan's response - it even mentions that it's similar to opacity, but more like a switch. It doesn't explain how to actually perform this action, however. So I'm not entirely sure how to perform it, and even if it would really work"

Using linear or bezier keyframes, repeated one frame apart, to create a pause/hold will cause problems if the affected property pertains to pixel movement. The problem will manifest itself when the final render involves fields, or an interlaced video - there will be an errant field where the layer will exist between the two keyframes.

For properties such as opacity, this will not be an issue. However, it is best that you utilize Hold KFs as and when they are required. They also provide a good visual cue of what's happening in the Timeline - ie a pause/hold is at play.

To create a Hold KF, you can either (1) select one or more KFs and right-click and select Toggle Hold KF (2) select one or more KFs and hold down CTRL+ALT and then add a mouseclick on the KF(s). TO toggle/revert to linear or bezier (depending on which was at play when applied the Hold KF), apply the same shortcut/keyboard+mouse combo.

One major hurdle for new users is that any KF created after a Hold KF , temporally/sequentially, will also be a Hold KF. You then toggle the Hold KF as explained in the above para.

HTH
RoRK
Latest AE Workshop - MoGraph Intensity - Shapes & Text

Intensive mocha & AE Training in Singapore and Other Dangerous Locations

Imagineer Systems (mocha) Certified Instructor
& Adobe After Effects CS6 ACE/ACI


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Bryan Neff
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 21, 2014 at 2:58:37 pm

First of all, thank you all. I really appreciate all the responses.

Ridley, that helped tremendously, and gave me some information.

Here's what I'm doing now : I'm creating opacity effects for the layers. Every time the number is about to appear on screen, I go one frame earlier and set a point where the opacity is 0%, then in the next frame, where it appears, I set it to 100%. This forces the change over one frame.

-Ideally- I wouldn't have to put in two points for every switch, but I realize that After Effects would have no idea that I would want it at 100% until one frame before, and then do the transition suddenly in the space of one frame. Maybe there's a way of changing the settings to not transition smoothly, but rather transition suddenly at the end - but I imagine it's rather complicated. This works, but I'm always looking for more efficiency.

Roland, I'll probably have to take some time to reread and study your most recent response and see if there's value for doing that in what I'm doing.. It might be better, but right now it's a bit Greek to me.

What I'm doing is obviously pretty simple - I'm just trying to figure out the most efficient way of doing it.

Oh - one more question on this point. Is there a shortcut for the 'Add or remove keyframe at this point' - specifically with opacity? Or is there a way to create one? Right now I have to move the mouse over and click the little button every time, and a shortcut key would be nice.


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Bryan Neff
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 21, 2014 at 6:56:09 pm

And I figured it out. The hold works really well, Roland - thanks. And the shortcut appears to be Shift+Alt+T, which is great. That all will save me time. Thank you all very much.


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Start/Stop layer in AAE
on Feb 21, 2014 at 8:25:10 pm

I'm glad you've sorted it out - and in the most elegant manner too! BTW, the shortcut key should be CTRL+ALT+H.

HTH
RoRK
Latest AE Workshop - MoGraph Intensity - Shapes & Text

Intensive mocha & AE Training in Singapore and Other Dangerous Locations

Imagineer Systems (mocha) Certified Instructor
& Adobe After Effects CS6 ACE/ACI


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