As we mentioned earlier, we've been busy this year creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book After Effects Apprentice. Each course has a selection of movies that are free for all to view; we're re-posting those videos here on PVC to make sure you don't miss them. This one takes a slightly different approach: Rather than just show the right way to do something, Trish shows you what can go wrong if you do things the wrong way.
The eighth Apprentice course focuses on Nesting and Precomposing: two different approaches to building a chain of compositions. One of the major strengths of After Effects is that you can place an entire composition into another, and have it treated as just another footage layer – with one major difference: It's still “live” meaning you can make changes to it, and those changes will ripple through automatically to the final comp without having to re-render anything. If you don't plan ahead and create an intelligent hierarchy from the start, After Effects has a function known as Precomposing where you can select one or more layers and send them upstream into a new composition of their own.
Despite the power of building a good composition hierarchy, many users actively avoid using more than one composition, feeling the added complexity isn't worth the effort. This movie is for those people – you know who you are. In it, Trish shows several ways you can trip over yourself by relying on track mattes or parenting (or even thoughtlessly precomposing) to group together layers. Sometimes, it is eating your vegetables, understanding how After Effects works under the hood, and planning out what you're going to do ahead of time, rather than just bulldozing ahead in the belief you can just brute-force After Effects to do what you want.
In the event you are new to (or uncomfortable with) the concept of building a hierarchy of compositions using nesting and precomposing, or are just curious about the course, here's the introduction/overview:
The content contained in After Effects Apprentice – as well as the CMG Blogs and CMG Keyframes posts on ProVideoCoalition – are copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed.