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Adobe After Effect Layers

Layers in Adobe After is similar to the tracks in any other video editing tools. The main difference between these two is that layers cannot have more than one footage item as their source, whereas a track typically contains multiple clips. Layers in After Effect are the elements that make up a composition, and without layers, a composition is only an empty frame.

We can create the following types of layers:

  • Video and audio layers based on footage items that we import, for example - still images, movies, and audio tracks.
  • Layers for a special function, such as cameras, lights, adjustment layers, and null objects.
  • We can create solid-color layers that are based on solid-color footage items.
  • We can create Synthetic layers that hold visual elements such as shape layers and text layers.
  • We can create precomposition layers that use compositions as their source footage items.

Layers in the Layer, Composition, and Timeline panels

We can reposition the layer in the Composition panel after we add a layer to a composition. We can change a layer's duration in the timeline panel, such as starting time and place in the layer stacking order.

Following are the tasks we perform in either the composition panel or the Layers panel:

  • Drawing masks
  • Tracking Motion
  • Using Paint Tool

Opening Layers and layer sources

  • Double-click the layer to open the layer other than a pre-composition layer in the Layer panel.
    Adobe After Effect Layers
  • Select the layer and choose layer → click on composition to open the composition layer's source composition in the Composition panel.
    Adobe After Effect Layers
  • Alt-double-click on the layer to open the source footage item of a layer.
    Adobe After Effect Layers
  • Alt-double-click to open a pre-composition layer in the Layer panel.

Create layers from one or more footage items

Step 1: Select folders and one or more footage items in the Project panel.

Adobe After Effect Layers

Step 2: Now, drag that footage item to the Composition panel.

Adobe After Effect Layers

Step 3: Or, you can drag the footage items to the Timeline panel. When you drag, a highlight bar indicated the layer appearance when we release the mouse button.

Step 4: When you drag the icon in the Project panel, a new layer will be created immediately above the selected layer and at the composition center.

Adobe After Effect Layers

Creating a layer from a trimmed footage item

We can trim a footage item in the Footage panel before inserting a layer based on that footage item into a composition.

Step 1: Double-click on the footage item in the Project panel to open inside the Footage panel.

Step 2: Move the current-time indicator to the frame you want to use as the In point of the layer in the footage panel.

Step 3: Click on the Set Out Point button at the bottom of the Footage panel to move the current-time indicator.

Step 4: Click on the Edit button at the bottom of the Camera panel to create a layer based on the trimmed footage item.

Replace layer source with references to another footage item

Step 1: Choose one or more layers in the Timeline panel.

Step 2: Press Alt and drag while clicking a footage item from the Project panel onto a selected layer in the Timeline panel.

Adobe After Effect Layers

Create a solid-color layer or footage item

Step 1: Go to the File menu → then click on Import → then select solid to create a solid footage item but doesn't create a layer for it in a composition.

Adobe After Effect Layers

Step 2: Go to the Layers panel → then choose New → after that click on the Solid.

Adobe After Effect Layers




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