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Pre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?

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Yoshiko TanakaPre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?
by on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:12:20 pm

Hi,

I am a newbie for After Effects (switching from Flash). I am making a character animation and working with pre-comps now. The difficulty that I'm having is to work efficiently with pre-comps.

For example if I am working on an animation of two men talking to each other. I would make one pre-comp for a man A and another pre-comp for man B. They talk and sometimes shake hands or react to what they say to each other. Matching(or synching) two separate clips on main timeline is quite simple in Flash but in After Effects I have to go into each pre-comp and adjust the keyframe every time I need to match it with other clips. Is there any other way or better and efficient way to handle syncing and match pre-comp clips in main timeline? (I also start getting so many pre-comps and I'm getting a bit concerned if I'm doing it right...)

I would love to hear your expert opinions or tips. Thank you again!

Y



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John CuevasRe: Pre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?
by on Mar 29, 2013 at 1:20:00 am

Couple of things. First go to your Edit > Preferences > General and check "Synchronize Time of All Related Items". Now when you move your Current Time Indicator(CTI) in the Main Comp it will move the CTI in the precomps. And if you move the CTI in the precomp it will move in the Main Comp as well.

Another thing that you can do is to add markers to your precomps. At the top of the timeline(up where the timecode increments are displayed) is an upside down pentagon, you can drag that out to place a Comp marker and double click it to name it. Or you can press "Shift + number key(not from the number keypad) and it will create a Comp marker. Also if you have 0 layers selected and press the "*" on the number keypad that will create a Comp marker.

Now if you add that precomp to your main comp those markers will show up. If you already have precomps in your main comp, just select the precomp layer, press "*" on the number keypad to create a layer marker. Now right click the marker and select "Update Markers from Sequence". If you later move markers in your precomp, you will need to use the "Update Markers" command again to get them to sync.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Vishesh AroraRe: Pre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?
by on Mar 30, 2013 at 7:41:30 pm

Yoshiko

John has explained briefly some methods for synchronizing the animation.

Some other tips:

Press " Cntrl + Shift + Alt + N " and a dual window screen will appear with the active window on the right hand side and Locked. This will help you to see the changes in the final comp or any other comp while you are working in a child precomp.

Other option is you can Pre-Render the final comp or Precomp it again and then use Time-Remap Feature. This also helps in many cases.

Vishesh Arora
3D and Motion Graphics Artist
Films Rajendra

Blog:
http://digieffects.wordpress.com

2011 3D Demo Reel:








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Yoshiko TanakaRe: Pre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?
by on Mar 31, 2013 at 11:20:30 am

Thank you Vishesh. I tried the shorcut keys (in my case "Command+Option+Shift+N" ) but it keeps making an extra folder in the project window. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? Thank you.

y



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Yoshiko TanakaRe: Pre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 11:28:18 am

I couldn't figure out the way to make the short-cut keys work on my mac but I found a way to manually set up the dual window as you suggested. I have an extra monitor set up so this works perfectly and helps me to work faster. Thanks again for your very helpful tip!

y



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Yoshiko TanakaRe: Pre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?
by on Mar 31, 2013 at 11:09:07 am

Thank you for your reply. I'm getting there but still having a bit of trouble...

- If I create a new pre-comp, add a marker on top of the timeline and then drag it to the main comp the marker dose show up. But if I go into the existing pre-comp already placed in the main comp and create a marker it doesn't appear in the main time. I know that you mentioned about updating the markers option but when I select the marker it never gives me the option.

- Another issue is that only the markers on top of the timeline appears but the markers in the layer never appears. Is it supposed to be like that or am I doing something wrong? What is the difference between them?

Please advise. Thank you much in advance~!

y



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John CuevasRe: Pre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?
by on Apr 1, 2013 at 2:01:43 pm

- If I create a new pre-comp, add a marker on top of the timeline and then drag it to the main comp the marker dose show up. But if I go into the existing pre-comp already placed in the main comp and create a marker it doesn't appear in the main time. I know that you mentioned about updating the markers option but when I select the marker it never gives me the option.

After you add a "Composition Marker"(marker at the top of your timeline) to your precomp, you need to go to your main composition, select the existing precomp and add a layer marker(it doesn't matter where) by pressing "*" on the number keypad. Now right click that marker and you can select the "Update Markers from Sequence" command.

- Another issue is that only the markers on top of the timeline appears but the markers in the layer never appears. Is it supposed to be like that or am I doing something wrong? What is the difference between them?

That is the how the markers work. Markers at the top of your timeline are "Composition Markers", those in your layers are "Layer Markers". Comp Markers for precomps will show as a layer markers in the final compositions, but layer markers will not.

After Effects /
Layer markers and composition markers


Hope this helps, but feel free to ask more questions if you need more clarification.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Yoshiko TanakaRe: Pre-comps and matching animation. Any tips, suggestions for better workflow?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 11:18:52 am

Thank you for your reply. My confusion was that I thought that if I add the markers to the parent comps they would be added to the child comps but it actually works from child->Parent. Coming from flash where there isn't any set hierarchy system in place this was something new...

Regarding the layer markers and comp markers, yes, that makes sense to me.

To update the markers what I was doing wrong was that I was selecting the layer in the parent comp and right-clicking it which doesn't give me the "update" option. Instead what I had to do (which probably everyone except me in the forum knew) was to create a marker first, then select->update.

Thanks again for all your help!

y



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