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Lesson 2. Ballet Special Bumper > Using the footage and layer windows

Using the footage and layer windows

You'll start by setting up the composition, importing a footage file, and examining the Footage and Layer windows.

  1. Choose Composition > New Composition, and type Ballet Bumper for the name.


You can also create a new composition by clicking the composition icon (between the folder and the trash can icons at the bottom of the Project Window).

  1. Choose Medium, 320 × 240 from the Frame Size menu. The Lock Aspect Ratio check box indicates that a 4:3 aspect ratio will be maintained.

    The aspect ratio describes the ratio of width to height in the frame dimensions. Most frame sizes for video and multimedia have a 4:3 aspect ratio. Some motion-picture frame sizes have a wider aspect ratio, such as 16:9.

  2. Make sure Square Pixels is selected for Pixel Aspect Ratio.

    For all the projects in this book, you will use the Square Pixels option—the standard used for computer video. Pixels with a D-1 ratio are rectangular in shape. You would use this option for proper processing of sources with nonsquare pixel ratios, such as D-1 digital video equipment. For more information, see the " Technical Information" appendix at the back of this book, or see the Adobe After Effects 4.0 User Guide.

  3. Leave the Resolution set to Full and the Frame Rate to 30 fps.

  4. Set the Duration to 11:00 (enter 1100). Click OK.

  5. Choose File > Import > Footage File, open the 02Lesson folder, select Sugar.mov, and click Open.

  6. Select the Sugar.mov footage item in the Project window, and note the information to the right of the thumbnail image, which indicates that the item is 34 seconds and 8 frames in duration.

    Depending on your future projects, you may be working with high-quality, uncompressed digital video. However, for this lesson, the Sugar.mov footage was captured at 15 fps using Cinepak compression to reduce disk space and memory requirements.

  7. Double-click the Sugar.mov footage item in the Project window. The footage appears in a QuickTime Footage window.

    Figure .

  8. Click the Play button in the Footage window to view the footage. You can play QuickTime movies directly within After Effects. When you are finished viewing the movie, click the Pause button, and then close the QuickTime Footage window.

  9. Activate the Time Layout window by clicking its title bar, make sure that the current-time marker is set to 00:00 by pressing the Home key or dragging the blue marker, and then drag the Sugar.mov footage item into the Time Layout window.


Although you can drag a footage item into the Composition window and center it manually, dragging the item directly from the Project window into the Time Layout window automatically centers it in the Composition window.

  1. Double-click the Sugar.mov layer (in either the Composition window or the Time Layout window). The Sugar.mov Layer window opens.

    The Layer window lets you change attributes of an individual layer, such as duration, In and Out points, anchor point path and masks. It contains many of the same controls as you find in the Composition window and the Time Layout window, including a time display, a time ruler, and a current-time marker. Changing an attribute here affects only the instance of the item in your composition, and doesn't affect the source file.

    Figure . A. Current-time marker B. Time display button C. Duration D. Time ruler

  2. To preview the footage for a few seconds, press the spacebar. (Press the spacebar again to stop the playback.)

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