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Chapter 4. Compositions > Adding Footage to a Composition

Adding Footage to a Composition

When you add an item to a composition, you create a layer. A layer can be a footage item in the project, a solid or adjustment layer generated in After Effects, or another composition. You can add an item to a composition more than once to create multiple layers, or you can duplicate existing layers (using the Copy, Paste, and Duplicate commands). In this section, you'll learn to create layers in a composition. Later chapters will show you how to rearrange and modify layers. (Eventually, you'll also learn about specialized layers such as guide layers, and layers used in 3D compositing: 3D layers, lights, cameras, and null objects. But first things first.)

The method you use to add layers depends on how you want to set their initial position, starting point, and layer order in your composition. You can simply drag a layer to the timeline to position it at any time or level in the stacking order.

To add footage to a composition by dragging

1.
Set the current time of the composition using one of the methods described earlier in this chapter.

2.
Drag one or more items from the Project window to any of the following (Figure 4.45):

Figure 4.45. You can drag one or more items from the Project window to a composition in the Project window (1), its Composition window (2), or the Timeline window (3).


Composition window— To place the layers in the desired position, at the current time, and layered in the order in which the files were selected in the Project window

Timeline window— To place the layers at the desired time and layer, and centered in the visible frame of the composition

Name or icon of a composition in the Project window— To place the layers at the current time, centered in the visible frame of the composition, and layered in the order in which you selected the items in the Project window

Items become layers in the composition whose position, starting time, and layer order all depend on the method you employed to add them to the composition. Layers created from still-image footage use the default duration for stills (see Chapter 2). The duration of other layers is determined by the In and Out points you set in their Footage window (see “To set source footage edit points” later in this chapter).

✓ Tips

  • Another quick way to add footage to the centered composition is to select the footage item in the Project window and press Command-/ (Mac) or Ctrl-/ (Windows).

  • Option-drag (Mac) or Alt-drag (Windows) one layer to another layer in the Timeline window to replace the old layer with the new one.


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