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Chapter 8. Playback, Previews, and RAM

Chapter 8. Playback, Previews, and RAM

You've already used some of the standard playback methods for each window in After Effects. This chapter focuses on the Time Controls palette, which can serve as a master playback control for any window and includes a button to render previews. You'll learn to define a work area, or range of frames in the composition to preview, and you'll use several preview options.

Playback and preview are terms that are often used interchangeably. And like much jargon, the terms are used both as nouns and verbs: to play back and the playback, to preview and a preview. Both terms suggest the act of looking at and listening to your project, but there is a subtle distinction between them.

Playback refers to watching (and hearing) what you have now—playing the frames of any window. Previewing, on the other hand, refers to approximating what you will have eventually—getting an idea of how the composition will look when it's finally rendered out. You can play frames in any window, but you can only preview a range in the composition. But the real difference lies in the frame rates each method achieves.

Whether you're simply playing back frames or previewing them, the frame rate you achieve depends on the capabilities of your system, particularly your RAM. Explaining playback and previews without also discussing RAM would be like teaching you to drive without mentioning the engine.


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