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Chapter 4. Compositions > Setting the Time

Setting the Time

Before you add footage to a composition, you must specify the time at which the layer will begin in the composition. By setting the composition's current time, you can also set the starting point for an added layer. And, of course, setting the time also allows you to view a particular frame of the composition in the Comp window. You can set the current time via the Time Controls palette, the Composition window, or the Timeline window; you can also use keyboard shortcuts to accomplish the task.

Using the Time Controls Palette

You can control the playback of the Footage, Composition, Timeline, and Layer windows using the Time Controls palette. Figure 4.43 describes how they function.

Figure 4.43. The Time Controls palette.


To show the Time Controls palette:
  • If the Time Controls palette is hidden, choose Windows > Show Time Controls.

  • If the Time Controls palette is visible but not active, click the Time Controls tab to bring it to the front of the palette window.

To set the current time in the Timeline window:
  • In the Timeline window, drag the current time marker to the frame you want (Figure 4.44).

    Figure 4.44. In the Timeline window, drag the time marker to change the current frame (displayed in the Composition window).


    Use the current time display to see the current time numerically.

To cue the current time of the composition numerically:
1.
Do any of the following:

  • In the Composition window, click the time display (Figure 4.45).

    Figure 4.45. Click the time display in the Composition window…

  • In the Timeline window, click the time display (Figure 4.46).

    Figure 4.46. … or in the Timeline window…

  • Press Command-G (Mac) or Ctrl-G (Windows).

The Go To Time dialog box appears.

2.
In the Go To Time dialog box, do one of the following:

  • Enter an absolute time (a specific frame number) to which you want to cue the current time (Figure 4.47).

    Figure 4.47. … or use the keyboard shortcut to open the Go To Time dialog box. Enter a specific frame number, or absolute time, to cue the current frame…

  • Enter a plus (+) or minus (-) and a relative time (the number of frames you want to add or subtract from the current frame) (Figure 4.48). Numbers greater than 99 are interpreted as seconds and frames.

    Figure 4.48. …or enter a time relative to the current frame by entering a plus (+) or minus (-) and the number of frames.

3.
Click OK to close the Go To Time dialog box.

Tip

  • Because you'll frequently need to change the current time in the Composition, Timeline, Footage, and Layer windows, you should familiarize yourself with the keyboard shortcuts that help you get around—for example (on an expanded keyboard), Page Down to advance one frame and Page Up to go back one frame.


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