17 Replies Latest reply: Mar 12, 2012 11:10 AM by digiday RSS

    Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?

    digiday Community Member

      Hi all,

       

      I'm currently using After Effects 5... yes that is version 5, not CS5.

       

      I'm trying to figure out if I can import a group of layers and their applied Effects in to another project while keeping all the editable attributes and the positions of the imported layers with respect to one another.

       

      I see that I can import a AEP project file in to another project via IMPORT FILE, but that just brings the raw layers/files in to the project window and does not place the layers in the timeline with all of their positions, Effects and edited attributes, the way that I'd like.

       

      I also tried Pre-Composing the layers, but that does not leave them editable once a pre-comp has been made... it just makes the 7 layers that I want to import in to another project all one layer and does not leave them editable the way the the 7 layers are separately.

       

      In Adobe Premiere, there is an actual "IMPORT PROJECT" selection under IMPORT that allows me to import an entire project file in to another project and lets me place the imported project where I want in the new project timeline... that is what I'm trying to do in After Effects.

       

      I realize that there may be an easy way to do this in one of the newer versions of After Effects, and one might say, "just buy the new AE CS5", but I figured out allot of things on my own so far and I like After Effects 5 for what I'm doing now... maybe later on the newer version.

       

      Thanks for any input,

       

      digi

        • 1. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
          Andrew Yoole CommunityMVP

          Simply import the source project into the new project.  Open the original composition, select the layers you want, and copy.  Then open the new composition and Paste. 

           

          If you want to be really tidy about it, you can make a temporary version of the source project that only contains the layers you want to move to the new project.  Import that temp project to the new one, then you can delete the temp project.

          • 2. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
            digiday Community Member

            Thanks Andrew,

             

            That worked!

             

            Based on my experience with Premiere, where copying and pasting layers from one project to another does not work, I incorrectly assumed that copying and pasting layers would not work in After Effects, and I hadn't even tried that.

             

            With Premiere, I found that using IMPORT PROJECT was the way to do that after trying to copy and paste multiple and even single layers from one project to another didn't work.  In Premiere, I use the technique that you spoke about where I'd make a temporary "transfer" project that only contained the layers that I wanted to import into the new project and did an IMPORT PROJECT.

             

            But the copying and pasting of the layers just worked nicely in After Effects.  Weird how copying and pasting worked in one app and not in another app back when these apps were in versions 5 and 6... not sure about the current versions, of course.

             

            Back last month when I was first getting in to AE 5 and then searching for those Caustics and Wave World plug-ins, I was happy to get your kind replies and now you've helped me again.

             

            I found it a bit nutty that the two threads were removed from this forum (by someone) where I had written back to say that I finally found the old plug-in package from 1999 that contained the plug-ins that I needed... I guess the Adobe Forums Police didn't like anyone talking about old plug-in packages that were still hanging around the net out there, or hearing from anyone who had successfully found them and used them... but between you and me, they still worked great in my first AE project... shhhh, don't tell anyone.

             

            Thanks again,

             

            digi

            • 4. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
              digiday Community Member

              Hi Andrew,

               

              No, the two threads that I wrote back to report finding that old 1999 plug-ins package that were removed were...

              Cannot find "Caustics" and "Wave World" Effects in After Effects downloads

              ...origianally at this link, but it is now gone and also missing from my "Discussions" list...

              http://forums.adobe.com/thread/959158

               

              and

              Is there an underwater effect that can be produced in AE 4.1 ?

              ...originally at this link, and it is also gone and missing from my "Discussions" page...

              http://forums.adobe.com/message/4151249

               

              I had saved the links to those threads with bookmarks, but they were removed the day after I posted about finding those plug-ins.

               

              I wanted to get some info from earlier in the thread on one of those and when I went back they both were gone.

               

              I was able to find those two threads by doing a site-webcach search on Google to see if there was a snapshot of each thread in Google's cache... I did find shapshots of those two thread but they were taken the day that I first posted the questions before any replies or subsequent posts by me were posted.  Below are the Google cache links to those snapshots of those threads' pages, but as you'll be able to see, it only shows my original questions before all the replies by you and others on the forum and my final report of finding the plug-ins package...

               

              http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:S06cU1F1-C4J:forums.adobe.com/thread/ 959158%3Fstart%3D0%26tstart%3D0+site:http://forums.adobe.com/thread/959158&cd=1&hl=en&ct=c lnk&gl=us

               

              http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:3dtym60qrHcJ:forums.adobe.com/message /4151249+site:forums.adobe.com/message/4151249&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

               

              Having the Adobe forums Gestapo remove those threads is a little like burning old software books... meaning, I guess Adobe just doesn't want people discussing old software downloads, even though I did not post the actual link for the the old "AE 6.0 Bonus Plugin Pack" and "AE 5.5 Power Pack Plug-Ins" that I found.  I only reported back on those threads that I found the plug-ins packages after several lengthy Google searches.  Since those plug-ins packages were no longer available from Adobe, I thought it was quite a find to be able to track them down elsewhere after all this time.  They were 12 and 13 year old plug-ins packages, but they had been posted only in the last couple of years.

               

              Someone else on one of those threads had also told me that AE 6 plug-ins would not work in AE 5, but that turned out to not be true... I don't remember who that was... maybe that was the person who removed my threads because he/she didn't like having a thread that indicated that he/she was wrong.

               

              Anyway, thanks for your info again today... very, very helpful.

               

              digi

              • 5. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                digiday Community Member

                oops, sorry... I just fixed that first link.

                • 6. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                  bogiesan Community Member

                  Andrew Yoole wrote:

                  If you want to be really tidy about it, you can make a temporary version of the source project that only contains the layers you want to move to the new project.  Import that temp project to the new one, then you can delete the temp project.

                  This is the system I've used for many years. Save a copy of the project and give it a name that means something relevant to the new project. Open the copy and delete all unnecessary stuff.

                   

                  The naming system is crucial to all my AE projects; layers, projects, renders — they all get carefully parsed names.

                  • 7. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                    digiday Community Member

                    Thanks bogiesan,

                     

                    That's the method that I used yesterday... but otherwise I guess with AE I could just copy the neccessary layers and then paste them in to the new project without saving a separate transfer project file since I'm not actually importing the whole project file itself, but just copying and pasting selected layers.

                     

                    With Premiere, since it has an actual, IMPORT PROJECT command, I've been using that technique where I save a separate project file with just the needed tracks labeled as "TRANSFER", then importing that file in to the second project.

                     

                    Thanks for your info!

                     

                    digi

                    • 8. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                      digiday Community Member

                      An interesting variation of experiences with copying and pasting layers from one project to another today.

                       

                      Yesterday copying and pasting only about 7 layers worked pretty well with just a little clean up on a few layers.

                       

                      Today I tried copying and pasting about 55 layers in to another project with 27 layers... AE didn't like that and all but one or two of the pasted layers showed up with "Source file deleted" in the place of the name of the file where the layer would otherwise show up and just a little white box would appear in the center of the preview instead of the layer... but of course the source files had not been deleted.

                       

                      So instead I tried copying and pasting the 27 layer project layers in to the project with 55 layers and all but one of the pasted layers showed up correctly, all nicely in place.

                       

                      So that worked and now I'm just resetting layers that had been based on a precomp of a Wave World layer, reselecting that layer for the Caustics Effect on some of the pasted layers.  And also resetting those layers that had Gradient Wipe transitions to be reset to be based on the layers that they were transitioning to.

                       

                      A little tricky, but it is working to create one giant file with about 90 layers.

                       

                      Thanks again,

                       

                      digi

                      • 9. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                        Andrew Yoole CommunityMVP

                        I strongly encourage you to follow the suggestions of myself and Bogiesan, importing projects into AE rather than straight copy-paste.  After Effects is reliant on source elements like footage and solids, and these relationships can be broken if you just copy-paste between projects.  For the matter of a few extra seconds, doing a project import may save you a lot of trouble reconnecting and reimporting media. 

                        • 10. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                          digiday Community Member

                          Hi Andrew,

                           

                          I re-read your original reply and recommendation... you wrote:

                           

                          "Simply import the source project into the new project.  Open the original composition, select the layers you want, and copy.  Then open the new composition and Paste.

                           

                          If you want to be really tidy about it, you can make a temporary version of the source project that only contains the layers you want to move to the new project.  Import that temp project to the new one, then you can delete the temp project."

                           

                          When I originally posted my question I wrote how when I tried IMPORT FILE, and imported the file that I wanted to transfer, then it only placed my imported project layers in their raw file form in the Project window, not in the Timeline.   There is no "IMPORT PROJECT" command available in the menu like there is in Premiere.

                           

                          So I understood that you were telling me to import a project by copying and pasting the layers, as your wrote in your original reply.

                           

                          Maybe there is an IMPORT PROJECT command in the newer AE, but not in this old version 5.

                           

                          Please clarify if I am mis-understanding you.

                           

                          Thanks,

                           

                          digi

                          • 11. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                            Andrew Yoole CommunityMVP

                            You import another AE project just like any other graphic or footage item, with the Import command.  You can even drag an AE project onto the project pane from a Finder window.

                             

                            So, open your OLD AE project, delete all the stuff you don't need, then save as a temp project.

                             

                            Open your NEW AE project, choose File/Import and select the temp project.

                             

                            You should see a new folder in the Project pane which has the name of your temp project.  Inside, you'll find the comps and components of the temp project.

                             

                            Now, open the OLD comp within that folder, and copy the layers you want.

                             

                            Then open your NEW comp, and paste the layers.

                            • 12. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                              digiday Community Member

                              Andrew,

                               

                              I follow you up to the point of importing the file that I want to transfer simply via the IMPORT command... so I see a folder in the Project pane that has the name of my temp project... that's what I wrote that I was seeing in my original post.

                               

                              But originally I just tried dragging that folder to the timeline and it only placed all my imported project layers in to the timeline in their raw form, with none of the attributes that had been applied in the original project and they all started at the same point instead of being placed where they originally were in relation to each other in the original project... I knew that wasn't right.

                               

                              Now I understand that you were saying to copy and paste the layers from that imported folder in to the timeline.  You then say, "Then open your NEW comp, and paste the layers."

                               

                              But aren't I already in the new comp with it open when copying and pasting the layers in the newly imported folder of layers in the Project pane from the transfer project?... what do you mean, "Then open your NEW comp".

                               

                              At this point I've already done all the footwork of copying and pasting the group of layers from the first project to the second project and aside from re-associating some of the layers to their base layers for Gradient Wipes and the Wave World pre-comp, it pretty much worked like you are saying.

                               

                              Is there a difference in the end result?

                               

                              Thanks,

                               

                              digi

                              • 13. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                                Andrew Yoole CommunityMVP

                                Are you confusing the terms comp and project?

                                 

                                The only things that contain effects, scale, position etc in After Effects are layers within a comp.  If you drag elements from the project pane to a timeline, they won't have any of those other parameters intact.  Thats why you must cut and paste from one comp to another.

                                 

                                When I refer to your OLD comp, I mean your original comp which contains the stuff you want to add to your new project.  That comp will be sitting inside the imported folder in your project pane.

                                 

                                When I refer to your NEW comp, I mean the target location for all this stuff you have just imported.  Assuming you created it before you imported the temp project, that comp will be outside the imported folder in your project pane.

                                • 14. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                                  digiday Community Member

                                  Got it.

                                   

                                  I was just confused by what you meant when saying, "Then open your new comp", since that comp is already showing in the timeline in the project that is open when I'm doing this process... since only one project can be open at a time.

                                   

                                  Is there a difference in the end result between copying and pasting from one project to the other versus importing the project and folder of layers into the Project pane and copying them from there instead?

                                   

                                  Thanks again,

                                   

                                  digi

                                  • 15. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                                    digiday Community Member

                                    Here is a link to the final render of that project... two minutes, 35 seconds.

                                     

                                    http://vimeo.com/38289975

                                    GONE_FISHIN_titleIMAGE_SM.jpg

                                     

                                    And last question... has anyone ever heard of an old or new After Effects making a sheep noise as one of it's error alert sounds?... like "baaaaaa".

                                     

                                    While finishing and rendering this project I needed to troubleshoot three different error messages, and one of them, a memory error, one time made a sheep "baaaaaa" sound and then a couple seconds later it made the standard system error alert noise... only that one time and then I never heard it again... not joking.

                                     

                                    Thanks,

                                     

                                    digi

                                    • 17. Re: Is there a way to import a group of layers in one project in to another project ?
                                      digiday Community Member

                                      Thanks Szalam,

                                       

                                      I know I've been going insane for quite a while, but outside of that, I was wondering about that easter egg.

                                       

                                      I guess if I just would have done a search for "After Effects Sheep", I would have found that answer.

                                       

                                      It was strange because I had left the job to render for what would be about a four hour rendering time for that project and then I went to bed... the computer is near my bed.  I was laying there half way listening to hear if it would error out, but about a half hour later I jumped when I heard the sheep noise in the dark room, then a couple seconds later it made the standard system error noise like usual.

                                       

                                      I thought if I was dreaming or half way asleep, it was an incredible coincidence that it errored out just a couple seconds after I dreamed a sheep noise.

                                       

                                      I then got up, read the message and dumped a couple of gigs of hard drive space and that was enough to make the difference to go ahead and allow the project to finish rendering about four hours later.

                                       

                                      Before that I was also getting an error message saying, "After Effects error: opening sound component (-2166)", but it would render one part with one WAVE sound file plugged in but error on another part with another WAVE sound file.  So I did a search and found that there was a conflict with QuickTime 7 that caused that error and years ago some people were replacing QuickTime 7 with QuickTime 6.5.2 and that would solve that problem.  But then it would disable iTunes.  So I found another forum post that talked about simply converting the plugged in WAVE audio files to AIFF format, and that solved that error.

                                       

                                      The other error message was a very ambiguous one... "After Effects can't continue: sorry, an abnormal condition has been detected. (2) (0=42)"... which sounds like a good error message for life in general.  That error message came up after four hours of rendering the first time, in the last 19 seconds of the project.  But I think that was related to a memory problem also because later after opening up just a little more hard drive space, that message and the memory error message never bothered me again.

                                       

                                      A few "baaaaaad" experiences were then solved.

                                       

                                      Thanks allot,

                                       

                                      digi