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Category: Adobe After Effects (page 1 of 3)

The Video Editor’s Digest | Edition #36

Hey there and welcome back to The Video Editor’s Digest!

In case you’ve forgotten or if you’re new around here, in the Video Editor’s Digest I, Josh from Edit Video Faster, give you the lowdown on some cool happenings from around the internet on things related to video editing, video production, or just being a creative professional. It also gives me a chance to update you about new pieces on the EVF website/YouTube channel and tell you any freelance or work stories I may have. Let’s get started!

Quick Tip!

In After Effects use Cmd+Shift+E (Mac) | Ctrl+Shift+E (PC) to remove all effects on a selected layer.

Create Cool Liquid Text in After Effects

Dope Motions came out with a pretty sweet tutorial on how to create liquid-looking text in After Effects. No plug-ins are required either. The tutorial runs 17 minutes, which is longer than I’ll typically sit and watch, but it’s always interesting to see how others work in the programs that you also work in.

Check out the Liquid Text tutorial here (link is to YouTube = autoplays)

Read more

Change Color of One Letter in After Effects

This tutorial teaches how to change the color of just one letter or word in a line of text in After Effects.

I show you two ways to change the color of text in After Effects. The first way is for static, one-time change of a color. The second way is to change the color over time (aka keyframing it).

Check out a previous tutorial I made that shows how to do this for an entire line of text here.

Music used in this video, “Upper East Side” by Mikey Geiger, was purchased and licensed through my friends at Soundstripe (affiliate link). For 10% off a subscription use the code EVF at checkout.

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 😀

– Josh

Change Layer Name in After Effects

This tutorial explains how to change the name of a layer in Adobe After Effects and what the difference is between Source Name and Layer Name and how to toggle between the two.

Recapping Tutorial on How to Change the Name of a Layer in After Effects

In the timeline of your composition find the column called Source Name. To change the name of a layer, select the layer then hit the Return key. The text will highlight. Next change the name of the layer to whatever you want it to be. In the video I change the CmdEdit-Logo layer to just Logo.

Once you do this the first time the Source Name column will change to Layer Name. The rest of the layers that you haven’t renamed will get brackets [ ] around their name with the exception of light layers 💡.

There’s a number of reasons to do this but the big two for me are 1) if another editor or motion graphics artist will be using this project or 2) the source names just aren’t clean and you want your project a bit tidier. For a simple composition like in the video it won’t make much of a difference however when you get 75-100+ layers deep naming your layers matters so much!

If you want to go back and see the Source Name of the layers, click on the column heading that now says Layer Name and it’ll switch back. Repeat this step as needed.

That is how to change the name of a layer in After Effects. Hope you found this walk-through helpful!


Suggested Additional Viewing: Show and Hide Properties in After Effects Tutorial

Music used in this video, “Camino” by Matt Wigton, was purchased and licensed through my friends at Soundstripe (affiliate link). For 10% off a subscription use the code EVF at checkout.

If you enjoyed this tutorial on how to change the name of a layer in After Effects. Want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post, podcast, video, newsletter, etc.? You can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff.

– Josh

Increment and Save in After Effects

This tutorial explains how Increment and Save works in Adobe After Effects. It’s a simple method for backing up your projects as you work without having to quit out of AE.

Keyboard shortcut:
Mac – Cmd+Opt+Shift+S
PC – Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S

Increment and Save Tutorial Recap

Increment and Save in After Effects takes your AE project file and adds a number to it. Let’s say your project is titled Sample Project 01. When you use Increment and Save the project file becomes Sample Project 02. Do it again and it becomes Sample Project 03.

This is super useful whenever you’re doing something complex or anything you aren’t completely sure if it’ll work. It allows you to iterate without fear of having to do too many undos.

You can repeat this as often as needed. I typically do this every 30-40 minutes. When I was first getting started with After Effects I was doing it like every 5 minutes lol. AE project files are typically pretty small so I don’t ever find file sizes becoming an issue. In a worst-case scenario you can always delete some of the really old iterations of the project.

Finder folder showing Increment and Save of After Effects projectsYou can perform an Increment and Save either by going to the File menu and choosing Increment and Save or using the keyboard shortcut (see above!).

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 😀

– Josh

Show and Hide Properties in After Effects

This tutorial covers different keyboard shortcuts in Adobe After Effects to show and hide layer properties. You’ll learn the transform shortcuts, how to show and hide keyframed properties, how to show and hide any altered property and more.

Recapping Tutorial on Show and Hide Properties

To show and hide the Transform properties in After Effects use the following keyboard shortcuts P.A.R.T.S. This is explained below. Select a layer and hit the p, a, r, t, or s key.

  • P = Position
  • A = Anchor Point
  • R = Rotation
  • T = Opacity (for this think T for o-pac-i-TEE or T for Transparency)
  • S = Scale

If you want to show multiple properties, hit one of the P.A.R.T.S. keys then hold Shift then hit another. You can add more than one property as well.

To show or hide the Masks properties of a layer hit the M key. If you hit the M key twice in a row rapidly it’ll show all the Mask parameters.

Next, if you want to see just the properties on layers with keyframes on them hit the U key. I recommend hitting Command+A (Mac) or Control+A (PC) first to select all the layers then hit the U key to see all keyframes on all properties on every layer. When you hit the U key twice in a row rapidly any property that has been adjusted will show up.

One last bonus tip! Hold down the Shift key plus the Option key (Mac) or Alt key (Windows) and click on a parameter and it’ll hide it from view.


Additional Suggested Viewing: Increment and Save in After Effects Tutorial

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 😀

– Josh

What is an After Effects Template?

This article answer’s the question: What is an After Effects Template? Learn what they are, their pros & cons, and where to get them.

“Hey…how’d you make that so fast?” a voice asked from over my shoulder.

It was an editor at one of the companies I freelance at. I removed my headphones and swiveled my chair. “Ah, you mean this transition?”

“No, like the whole thing. The graphics, the camera movements, …” I sensed confusing under his breath.

“Oh! This After Effects template?”

He raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean by…template?”

“Yeah I just grabbed this thing online and it has everything in it.”

“OMG MAGIC THAT’S THE COOLEST THING EVER!” Okay, he didn’t actually say that but his jaw just about hit the ground. He had never heard of an After Effects template.

If you’ve been reading lately then you know I’m trying to run with this theme of “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Let’s file this post under that theme. There is no dumb question and if you’re an “advanced editor” reading a post that’s designed for new editors feel free to stop reading here and go yell about LUTs or something on Reddit.

In this post I’m going to explain what an After Effects template is, some of their benefits, some of their downsides and where you can get them.

Alright. Let’s jump into it.

What is an After Effects Template?

An After Effects template is a pre-built After Effects project (.aep) that is made in a way so you can pop in your assets (i.e. footage, logo, headshots, etc.) and create a video in record speed. After Effects templates can be entire explainer videos, typography videos, logo opens, title packages, green screen virtual sets, infographics, etc. etc. And I’ve used just about all of them.

For example, let’s take a look at this After Effects Template. And now let’s take a look at what I made it into.

To get an After Effects template go to one of the sites I’ll list below, pick one out, purchase it, download it, watch/read the tutorial, open up the .aep, and get to work. There are usually a handful of places to check out when you first jump into a project like compositions titled “CHANGE LOGO HERE” or “INSERT COMP1 FOOTAGE HERE”. Also look for layers titled, “CHANGE COLORS HERE” and typically you select the layer and there are parameters you can adjust in the Effects Controls Panel.

It kind of goes without saying but you need a license of Adobe After Effects in order to use an After Effects template. Most templates are backwards compatible for a few versions. If you have any CC version than you are most likely fine. It should say somewhere on the website what minimum version of AE you need though.

How I work is once I open up the .aep I find the MASTER comp or the RENDER ME comp (it’s typically labeled something like that) then work my way backwards through the precomps to see how everything works together. Then I get to work.

Here are a couple screenshots of what a typical project looks like when you open it up:

Image of an After Effects Template when you first open up AE
This is basically what you can expect to find when you open an AE template
Example of the Comps in an After Effects Template
This is a basic example of what one of the comps *could* look like. Daunting, huh?
Project Panel in After Effects for an AE Template
This is an example of what the Project Panel could look like. Fairly self-explanatory?

Benefits of Using an After Effects Template

Let’s bullet point this out.

  • They save you time. A lot of time usually. This is by far their biggest selling point. I’ll ballpark it that 30-50% of a project can be completed right off the bat just by using one.
  • They give you boundaries to work in. I was using the AE template in the little story in the intro to this post because I needed a starting point for this project. I literally had free rein to do anything I wanted which is great until you find yourself with no place to start. So I picked this AE template in order to have some basic constraints for the project, which got the ball rolling.
  • You learn how others use After Effects. AE is incredibly deep and editors can do one thing a dozen different ways. You will generally always learn a new tip or trick or just go, “oh, so they did it like that?” at least once. A lot of us don’t get to work with other editors and seeing another editor’s project is rare. This gives you a glimpse into how others work.

30-50% of a project can be completed right off the bat just by using one.

Downsides of Using an After Effects Template

  • They give you boundaries to work in. Yes, I know I just listed this as a benefit. The boundaries are great sometimes but will give you massive headaches other times because they aren’t always easy to modify. Quick example… Let’s say you want to change the length of a precomp. Cool. You go into the Composition Settings (Cmd/Ctrl+K), change the time then extend all the layers. Oh wait. They used a 10-second .mov for one of the background elements and it doesn’t loop and when you change the speed it looks weird… See where I’m getting at? Also, having a picky client can be tricky. Oh, they want all the squares made into circles? Yeah…that’s probably not going to happen.
  • You don’t truly know how easy it will be to manipulate an AE template until you buy it. This is piggybacking on my last point. Make sure to read the reviews if available. A lot of them are really easy to use. However I’ve found that you can also get some lemons every once in awhile.
  • Cost. Yes, they most of the time they cost real cash. Expect to spend $15-$45.
  • Tutorials are typically lacking in substance and quality. About half the time you’ll get a video that will [sloppily] walk you through how to change different elements (colors, insert logos, etc.). The other half of the time you’ll probably have a .pdf that probably isn’t worth reading IMO. Jump in and dig around to figure stuff out.
  • The music generally does not come packaged with the AE template. Most of the time when you watch the preview there’s this nice song or sound effects that go along with it. Yeah, these aren’t included. Most of the time they are linked on the website where you buy the AE template. FWIW I get most of my music through Soundstripe (affiliate link) (p.s. You can use the coupon code EVF for 10% off 😉).

Where to Get After Effects Templates

If you have other places you like to get After Effects templates leave them in the comments!

Summarizing After Effects Templates

An After Effects template is a wonderful tool you can use to spark creativity, give you a jumpstart on a project and teach you new things about such an in-depth software. However they cost money and can occasionally be difficult to adjust to your needs.

I recommend trying one out if you haven’t before. Occasionally the sites listed above will have massive sales or do something like give away a free AE template of the month. Take advantage of those if you have a chance.

I hope you found this article helpful. I have a ton of posts and tutorials coming up in the queue once I can get a couple more freelance projects off my back. If you’re new around here and want to stay up-to-date with the latest on EVF go here and you’ll never miss out on posts like this one.

– Josh