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compositions, pre-compositions, projects question.

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todd sanfordcompositions, pre-compositions, projects question.
by on Jan 10, 2017 at 12:28:12 am

Hey guys,
I have been trolling on here for a while and learned a lot about After Effects. I am getting pretty up to speed on keyframing, the hierarchy and linking objects ,,using null objects and shapes and solids. I can make a video and render it.

I am still kind of confused as to the relationship between projects and compositions and pre-compositions ect. I can create a decent video if i start from scratch and don't open up too many files,,, but i get lost on lots of tutorials because the people who make them have so many files open on their project window and just start opening up more compositions and my screen doesn't look like theirs,,,lol

So my question is ,, does anyone know of a good tutorial that will help me kind of get a better feel for navigation of projects and windows? Sometimes i can scrub through a video but the preview won't play it,, like the HUD eyeball tutorials im sure you have all seen,,,i can make the hud,,,put it on my eyeball,,,i can see the masks working when i render or scrub ,,but not in the preview,,,,

I hope this makes sense to someone and they know of a fun tutorial that will help me get a better feel


Todd


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Stephen SmithRe: compositions, pre-compositions, projects question.
by on Jan 10, 2017 at 2:19:12 am

Todd,

I'm not a 100% sure I understand your question. So I hope this helps.

Project File - This is your whole project. You can only have one project file open at a time.
Composition - This is where you are building your project inside your "Project File"
Pre-Composition - Think of it as nesting a composition inside a composition. This is really handy for organizing a complicated project so you have fewer layers. It is also a great way to apply something like a position keyframe or effect once since it will affect everything in the pre-comp.

As for a HUD tutorial, I think you are asking for one? If yes check this out: http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/futuristic_hud/

I hope this post was of a little help.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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todd sanfordRe: compositions, pre-compositions, projects question.
by on Jan 10, 2017 at 4:38:23 am

Thank-you for your reply. IT was helpful and that HUD tutorial is super cool and i will go through it,,,its kind of what i am into,,,

But the exact thing i was looking for was some fun tutorial that might enlighten me on compositions and also get some practical, methodical, application of it. when people start opening up multiple compositions in a tutorial and their project windows is littered with them it is hard to follow..Plus the tabs that there are for each composition i get lost sometimes. I'm starting to get it...kind of thought i had it then i realized there are still some holes in my unde3rstanding of it and the preview button and ram rendering....

thank-you for your time

Todd


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Stephen SmithRe: compositions, pre-compositions, projects question.
by on Jan 10, 2017 at 4:19:03 pm

You are focusing on something really important. Most people just want to jump to learning something cool like blowing something up. By really understanding pre-comping it will make you much more efficient and save you a lot of time.

Take a look at this tutorial and see if it helps:







Best of luck.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Walter SoykaRe: compositions, pre-compositions, projects question.
by on Jan 10, 2017 at 7:28:13 pm

Stephen's set you on a really good path above, but I wanted to go into a little more detail on a couple of the concepts he raised.

A project is the top level of organization in After Effects. It's the container for a few things: compositions, footage items, and solids (which can be arranged into folders), as well as a render queue and some settings.

A composition (or comp) is a collection of layers. These can be footage items (like movies, stills, vector illustrations, or sound files), text layers, shape layers, solids, cameras, lights, and nulls -- and other compositions.

A pre-composition (or precomp) is a what you call a composition when it's nested inside another composition. There are three main reasons to precompose a set of layers, or group them together as a composition that's used as a layer inside another composition:

1) Precomps organize. You can group a set of related layers together and manipulate them as a single object inside another comp. For example, you might have a clock that consists of a background, twelve text layers for the hours, and three shape layers for the hour, minute and second hands. You can precompose these together -- put them in a compo of their own -- then use that comp as if it were footage in another composition.

2) Precomps are easily reusable. If you're going to use the same thing at a few different times or in a few different places, precomposing makes it neat and tidy. For example, you might have a quick logo animation that you'll use several times in a long timeline. If you need to tweak the logo animation, you can change it once inside the precomp and the change will be reflected in each use of that precomp throughout the project.

3) Precomps render what's inside the precomp (masks and effects) and flatten it like footage before they render any masks and effects applied to the precomp layer itself. This lets you change the order of operations, for example, in cases where you're stacking effects and getting unexpected results.



It's common for there to be only a single "main" composition in a project, but that's not a requirement at all. You can have an entire set of "main" comps in your project. I'll frequently produce a single AEP project that may contain dozens of related animations (perhaps a set of identity graphics). Remember that a project is just a container. You cannot render a project; instead, you'd render one or more of the comps it contains.

There are no global rules for how comps and precomps go together. Because comps are flexible, and because precomps can be made for several reasons, not all projects follow the same comp structure. I think it's critically important that you get in the habit of naming your comps and precomps in way that makes sense to you and is relevant to what you're doing. This way, you can navigate through the web of inter-related comps and precomps that can sometimes evolve over the course of a complex project.

If you're a visual thinker, there are two flowchart views that can help you see the relationship among nested comps. Press the Tab key to get the mini-flowchart. It shows current comp, plus any comps that flow immediately into and out of it. You can navigate among related comps this way. There's also the full flowchart, accessible by clicking the flowchart icon under the viewer panel. This can be expanded to show the entire project.

Like Stephen said, this is a big and important concept. If you have any questions on this wall of text, please ask and we'll do our best to clarify.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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todd sanfordRe: compositions, pre-compositions, projects question.
by on Jan 11, 2017 at 12:30:52 am

holy crap.
You guys are so freagin cool. This is exactly what i needed. You have no idea how much this helps me,,, The preview window is still kind of a mystery for me. Sometimes it moves my scrubber marker and i can see the video. And sometimes it does nothing,,,,lol I never know when it is going to work or not. but I can always scrub and render.

I kind of get the pre-comp now. its like stuffing a bunch of junk in a null object in Cinema4D. you can use it where ever you want and all the parts and pieces will stay together and you can go back into it and tweak it if necessary.

The project file is just a place to put crap you will need while making the composition. and the main composition is your movie,,,and the pre-comp are mini scenes in the composition that you can add or remove or spread them around throughout the comp as needed. and using masks and alpha channels and precomps i can make a movie,,,,lol

i was just able to use the pen tool to mask out my background of a video of myself. then I made that a pre-comp...then i added my HUD files to the main comp along with the precomp of myself, and it looks like i am in outer space,,,lol

And i am actually able to organize it in the timeline and tweak the light reflections on to my face and stuff with out getting lost,,, this is starting to get pretty fun,,,,

THANK YOU THANK YOU

you guys rule !!!

Todd


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Stephen SmithRe: compositions, pre-compositions, projects question.
by on Jan 11, 2017 at 2:19:09 pm

Happy to help. Best of luck.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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