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Tag: after effects blog (page 1 of 7)

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

Finding Your Path from Student to Professional Editor with Grace Novak — Command+Edit Podcast Episode 86

Hey there!

This is a very special episode of the Command+Edit Podcast. I interview Grace Novak. Grace is in the midst of one of the scariest points in her life — trying to figure out how to make the jump from student to professional.

Our discussion focuses on topics such as networking strategies, how to make the most of internships, how to adjust to the professional world from student life, and how to market yourself with your website and demo reel.

Some items mentioned in the episode include:

If you enjoyed this conversation 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

Music in this episode was from Soundstripe. Use the code EVF for 10% off!

Please note some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through them I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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

Side Hustles for Video Editors — Command+Edit Podcast Episode 85

Hey there! In this episode of the Command+Edit Podcast Nick and I discuss ways to earn income from side hustles using your post production abilities. Side hustles for video editors has never been more important. Nick and I give our insights from the past decade we’ve both been freelancing full and part-time.

Topics Covered in Side Hustles for Video Editors Podcast

We cover topics such as is it realistic to make money from YouTube and blogging, is selling stock footage still “a thing”, finding one-off work from online job market sites, approaching local businesses for work, what size companies to go after for work, and much more.

Listen to the Episode!

Josh’s Main Advice When Approaching Companies You Want to Have a Side Hustle With

One of my main pieces of advice is to go after companies that aren’t too small but aren’t too large. I recommend companies that are approximately 7-30 people. In this range most companies won’t have a full-time video team or team member. And can afford to pay realistic rates for video services. Companies that are 1-6 people generally are less likely able to pay the rate you are looking for. The companies that are 31+ people very likely could have staff already on board or that they frequently use for video services. 7-30 employees is the sweet spot from my experience.

Some items mentioned in the episode include:

If you enjoyed this conversation on side hustles for video editors 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

Music in this episode was from Soundstripe. Use the code EVF for 10% off!

Please note some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through them I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Revealing My Freelance Video Editor Rate

Let’s cut right to the chase: My hourly freelance video editor rate is $65. $65 an hour buys you whatever professional services I can provide — video editing, producing, project managing, coaching, QCing, media managing, voice-over artisting, sitting in meetings, etc.

If that’s all you wanted to know you can stop reading. But if you want to know why, the history behind it and why that number fluctuates I’ll try my best to explain it below.

When I first started freelancing I was charging $20/hour. That was in 2009 and it felt like SO MUCH MONEY. It kinda is when you’re 22 years old post-grad paying $550/month in rent for some sh**** room in a duplex with your college buddies.

How did I land on that number? I have no idea. $25 felt like too much and my first client said yes to $20/hour.

Over the years as the confidence in my skills grew so did that number. $20 became $25. $25 became $30. Then it stayed there for awhile. Freelance at that point was only part time and was extra money on top of my salary (even though that salary wasn’t much). I felt good about what I was charging and so did my clients because they were getting a bargain and still are.

Once I took the leap into freelancing I had to bring that number up. So I bumped it to a range of $35-$55/hour. I’d start by asking for $55/hour but knew I could be negotiated down to $35 or $40 for most projects. If they said yes to $55/hour then sweet! Otherwise I was still happy with the haul I was taking home.

Then once I had been in the #freelancelife for a few months I realized I needed to raise that number. The extra taxes you pay as a freelancer are killer. There is no way I could have charged that much and maintained my lifestyle. Also there is absolutely no way I could have done full-time freelancing if I wasn’t married. Seriously all you single people freelancing paying for your own health care are so courageous. Hats off to you because I do not have the balls to do that.

BTW here’s a conversation Nick and I had on getting charging for jobs and getting paid

Where was I… Oh yeah. Raising my rates again.

I realized I needed to raise my rate so I did. $65/hour. And at that point my range jumped to $45-$65. However I’d be hard-pressed to say yes to anything below $55. I made up my mind and had to stick to that range. Even if you need the money you can still say no and ultimately make more. More times than not my freelance client was willing to come up to at least $50. That $50 fit in my range so I’d take those jobs.

Plot twist!

Several months ago I ended up taking a full-time job. But I had all this freelance work still coming in. In order to justify taking more work and jamming it into an already packed schedule (thanks to this site, Command+Edit, trying to have a somewhat normal social life, etc.) I had to raise my rates again. Now my rate is a firm $65/hour, no matter what. I will not take any less unless there’s a crazy reason like it’s for a non-profit and I’m 110% behind their cause and feel the urge to help. Otherwise…$65/hour. For everything.

If I can get more, of course I’m going to try. But 99% of the time all I’m looking for is $65/hour. That’s the sweet spot. That’ll get me to forsake happy hours and Netflix and podcasting so I can bring in a little extra coin.

My freelancing situation is more than likely different from yours. My rate works for me and it took a very long time to figure out and become comfortable talking about. In all honestly I probably should and could charge more. I know in the next year or so I’ll raise my rates again because my time will become more valuable. And in a year or so I’ll raise it again. Put this cycle on repeat until I retire.

Talking about your freelance video editor rate is something we editors do not do enough. That’s why I was only charging $20 an hour in the beginning. I didn’t know what I could charge. I had no one to talk to about this. My advice is charge as much as you comfortably can. Negotiating what we get paid is the most difficult part of our job but literally it is the #1 thing that matters because it is our job.

If you want to share your freelance video editor rate and start more conversation around rates please do so in the comments below.

If you found this article helpful could you do me a favor and share it with an editor or freelancer who could use it? Thanks.

Cheers,
Josh

PS: If you’re new around here and want to be notified 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 👊🏼

The most difficult part about mastering a skill

Time for a little free writing session…

There are an infinite amount of projects one can work on. New project after new project pop into our heads and we want to pursue each one. So we start down a path hoping to make this one great thing. But then a new idea pops in our heads for something completely different. Ahead, the path we’re currently on seems shrouded in mystery and overgrown with bushes and thrones. So we backtrack and start down a new path.

Path through the woods

Photo by Zack Silver courtesy of Unsplash

We get far enough down this new path when the same thing happens. Maybe we go a little further this time before starting something new. Maybe we stop at the first bend in the road or rain cloud in the sky. Time for a new path.

The hardest thing about accomplishing a project or completing a goal or mastering a skill is staying on that same path regardless of obstacles.

A path I recently vacated was learning Vietnamese. I reached a point in my Mango lessons where it was too difficult to retain the information in the time I was allowing myself to focus on the mission. My willpower was gone and I have zero guidance. I quit. I gave up. It got too hard. The thrones were too much to take. Read more

How Video Editors Get Paid — Command+Edit Podcast Episode 82

Hey there!

In this episode of the Command+Edit Podcast Nick and I discuss the most important topic when it comes to freelance video editing…how to get paid!

Topics include what software and services we use to invoice, how to invoice, how we accept payments, how long it takes to get paid, whether you need to have an LLC in order to freelance and taxes in the US and Canada.

As a reminder neither Nick or I am a tax professional or financial advisor by any stretch of the imagination. What we talk about is based solely our experience as two freelance video editors.

Some items mentioned in the episode include:

If you enjoyed this conversation 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

Music in this episode was from Soundstripe. Use the code EVF for 10% off!

Please note some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through them I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Creation Cycle of a Video Editing Project

You probably don’t edit airport employee training videos. You probably don’t edit online marketing videos for healthcare startups. And you probably don’t edit small-budget YouTube comedy series. These are all types of videos I edit. They all have different audiences, goals and styles. Each video contains unique challenges and are different in so many ways from one another. One thing is the same though — the creation cycle of a video editing project.

For just about every video I edit I go through the exact same routine. In this post I’m going to explain what that process is.

I could write about pre-production for hours but I’m going to start from after the footage is shot and we’re in post. Let’s get into it!

Creation Cycle Phase 1: Pre-Production in Post Production

This is the first phase in the creation cycle of a video editing project. But before I begin what many would call “the actual editing” of a video there’s a lot that takes place. The time you spend right now in this phase will reap more benefits than time spent in any other phase. You will in all likelihood edit video faster with more time spent working on the tasks in this phase. It’s kinda like pre-production but you’re already in post.

Review pre-production notes

Read over any notes you have from the client/producer/director/whoever on the goals, audience, specifics, branding guidelines, must-haves, must-have nots, etc. of the video. Alternatively if possible you should talk to the client/producer to go over these details again. Things change during production and sometimes you’re left out of the loop. Tackle any possible surprises ASAP! Read more

I Got A New Job!

It’s been awhile since I’ve truly written something for EVF. Actually it’s been awhile since I’ve written much of anything. My writing muscle was burnt out after letting my former daily blog expire and disappear into a digital black hole back in August. Two years of writing and publishing everyday…

Fast forward a quarter of a year later and I’m starting to get the itch again. But where do I write? I’ve always felt that with what I publish on EVF I need to be very calculated and stick to the facts and provide “expert-level” insights at all times. Well, even though I believe myself to be a more-than-successful editor and video professional, I can’t always provide that A+, top-of-the-line content with the tiny amount of time I can commit to EVF.

With that being said, I’m just going to let the words keep on flowing and write a bit about editing and life.

BTW I’m free writing right now. It can be a lot of fun and almost meditative at times. You should try it out if you ever get in a creative funk. Please excuse any typos or poor grammar because I’m just churning out the words.

Recently I took a new full-time position. I haven’t really broadcasted this anywhere. Nick and I recorded a podcast episode the other day where I talked about it some. It hasn’t published yet but should be episode 82. I’m absolutely positive I won’t remember to come back to this post and link it. 🙂

My new position is part editor (let’s call this ~70% of my responsibilities), producer (~20%) and project manager (~10%). Full-time freelancing is officially done. For now. I loved my time freelancing. Loved it. Even the stressful times when I couldn’t guarantee more than a few hundred dollars of work on a given week. I can absolutely see myself going back to that lifestyle too.

This position though was too good to pass up. I enjoy the content, my coworkers and my day-to-day work. Plus the paid time off. Uhhh I’ve missed the paid time off so much. I’m only 8 years into this career. It feels like though that I could always go back to freelancing. And vice versa. Yes, it sucks losing out on some gigs. Last week I had to turn down two projects. My network will take some sort of hit. As a professional though I think we should always be working on and building our networks. I recorded this fantastic Command+Edit episode with my friend and fellow editor Rhonda Thain if you want to hear me talk more about it.

I still have a couple small projects I’m working on on the side. And a couple pet projects I want to take on. The experience of running my own company, getting an LLC, doing my bookkeeping each week, having a real accountant, cold emailing, warm calling, invoicing and just overall doing many, many uncomfortable things have made me a better editor, professional and person.

Remember, I’m still free writing here so I know I’m about to lurch into a new topic like an unexpected jumpcut.

The software I’m using now is relatively the same. I’m in Premiere probably 60% of the time. Media Composer 30% of the time. And After Effects and Photoshop round out the rest. I’m rocking Premiere 2017 on most projects with the hopes that no one accidently updates to 2018 forcing me to update as well. And MC is on version 8.5.2. It’s a little behind and I miss some of the cool new features I’ve been seeing but it definitely still gets the job done.

Okay last topic before cutting myself off.

Next month I’m headed out to Los Angeles for the first time! Crazy, right?! How have I never been? I’m pumped. I know I mentioned it in a somewhat recent Video Editor’s Digest but again for anyone out there I’m thinking of doing a small happy hour. Seriously small. Like 4-6 of us max. If you want to join shoot me a message.

Thank you for indulging me and letting me get some stuff off my chest. If like this kind of post — more chatty, less instructional — let me know. Or let me know if you hate it and I should stick to basic little video tutorials like this one which somehow has 100,000+ views. Wut?

That’s it from me. Til next time…

– Josh