6 Replies Latest reply on Jul 16, 2012 6:40 PM by BenjaminMarkus

    After Effects v7 - help please?

    angelalien548 Level 1

      Hi, I still don't know my way around here. I'm using Adobe After Effects v7, but I don't know where to find the right forum to ask my questions regarding the help I need.

       

      I'm trying to animate a person where I cut out the segments for the person's body (torso, hips, R thigh, L thigh, R shin, L shin, etc) from a photograph using Photoshop CS2 and I saved each body segment as a separate layer which I then grouped as a "me" = person muliti-layer folder. I inported this into my After Effects, and although I can open this person and all body segments in AE's project menu and superimpose this whole person onto the background layer (such as a room in a building, or a corridor in a building), and in turn, drag both the background layer and the person layer (as a multi-layer group) onto the timeline, each time I select all of the person's body segments and go to Layer > Pre-compose, this person keeps getting pre-composed as a single icon in the timeline with no more individual body segments (everything gets made into a single "pre-composition" or "composition" icon and all body segments have disappeared within this pre-composition). So I try clicking on the little triangle next to (or below) the pre-comp icon (I think this is transformations, was working on it earlier today but did not pay much attention to what lsyer was opened by that little triangle) but there was still no individual body segments layers within this pre-comp - I'm stuck on how do I make all of the individual body segments show up in this pre-comp so I can parent them by anchoring to animate them?

       

       

      Also, I tried by trial and error to fix this and make the body parts show up but I think I made a mistake that caused the view monitor to shift the whole background image from its normal centered view off to the left with part of the view hidden by the project panel's right edge. I tried closing, reopening to reset everything, still shifted off to the left with part of the view hidden - how do I set the view back to its normal center view again like where I had it before I made that mistake?

       

      I'm pretty new to AE, I'm just learning it, startiing at the very beginning (I'm using Angie Taylor's Creative After Effects v7 workbook from Focal Press, skipped over a lot of the beginning, dived right in on the grouping lesson - this is lesson 06 from this book).

       

      Thanks in advance.

        • 1. Re: After Effects v7 - help please?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          It works as it should - pre-composing only creates a comp which then acts as a layer. If you want to parent things, you need to do so directly. And the viewport can be panned by holding down the spacebar to invoke the hand tool. Anyway, just forget your current issues and start at the beginning: Getting started with After Effects. Things will be much easier once you have down the basics.

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: After Effects v7 - help please?
            Dave LaRonde Level 6

            angelalien548 wrote:

             

            I'm pretty new to AE, I'm just learning it, startiing at the very beginning (I'm using Angie Taylor's Creative After Effects v7 workbook from Focal Press, skipped over a lot of the beginning, dived right in on the grouping lesson - this is lesson 06 from this book).

             

             

            Ah, there's the mistake: you skipped over the beginning.  AE's an application that will foil your best attempts to learn it if you blow off the basics and just skip to the fun stuff.  I know it's tempting to do so, but you have to fight the temptation to think, "How tough can this basic stuff be, anyway?"

             

            Mylenium pointed you to a valuable resource, but it's for more current versions of AE -- not one that's four versions behind.  You'd get confused by the teaching of newer features not present in your version.

             

            I recommend using the Good Ms. Taylor's book as your Bible and to start with Genesis, if you know what I mean....

            • 3. Re: After Effects v7 - help please?
              BenjaminMarkus Level 4

              I can definitely suggest something that might help you out a lot with the performance of After Effects when you're animating your AE puppet.  Instead of bringing the entire .psd file out of photoshop and into AE, I would use the photoshop script in File - Scripts - Export Layers to Files.  Then I would set the exports to png 24 + alpha with trimmed layers - this will trim the edges so that the final images will be smaller and easier for After Effects to deal with. You're then going to have to rebuild your puppet with those .png layers in AE, but it will make your entire project run much faster.  I made a 6 min short film with AE puppets last year and I found that the .psd files bogged down the performance and ram previews so much it became almost unusable.

               

              Also, you should parent the layers first before you pre-comp. Hit Y to move your anchor point to the desired location and then either use the pick whip or parent menu to connect the limbs to the body.  Once pre-comped you'll have to double click the pre-comp to go inside and view all the layers.  Since you probably don't want your background in the pre-comp, you might want to do your animation on the background and then precomp it when all the animation is finished.  I personally like to render out my finished animations as .png sequences + alphas before bringing them back into After Effects and compositing them on Backgrounds or with other puppets.  Let me know if you'd like to know how to do this.

               

              As for moving the monitor have you tried using H to get your hand tool so you can move the monitor around?  You can also use check the cameras down at the bottom.  You might have accidentally switched it to a different camera view.  This is usually used when you have 3D layers but you might have changed it by accident and something strange might not be showing up.  You can also try going to Window - Workspace - Reset all panels.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: After Effects v7 - help please?
                angelalien548 Level 1

                Guys, I fixed the problem of the view panel that was shifted off to the left and partly hidden by going in to my adobe folder after effect's files and deleting the preferences files to reset the program back to its defaults (I learned this from my AE v7 classroom in a book), then restarted AE, next thing I knew, the Comp Viewer was back to its normal center view and when I used AE after thiis the files I was working on remained in their normal center view with the comp panel remaining in its center position as it was originally.

                • 5. Re: After Effects v7 - help please?
                  angelalien548 Level 1

                  BenMarkus wrote:

                   

                  you should parent the layers first before you pre-comp. Hit Y to move your anchor point to the desired location and then either use the pick whip or parent menu to connect the limbs to the body.  Once pre-comped you'll have to double click the pre-comp to go inside and view all the layers.  Since you probably don't want your background in the pre-comp, you might want to do your animation on the background and then precomp it when all the animation is finished.  I personally like to render out my finished animations as .png sequences + alphas before bringing them back into After Effects and compositing them on Backgrounds or with other puppets.  Let me know if you'd like to know how to do this.

                   

                   

                  Yes, Ben, I'd like you to show me how to do this - thanks for offering to help me with this.

                   

                  Actually, I did not see your offer of help until now (after I made a new post today about an hour or so ago - if you want to take a look at that latest post, you may.

                  • 6. Re: After Effects v7 - help please?
                    BenjaminMarkus Level 4

                    Here you go.  Let me know if this makes sense.

                     

                    Screen Shot 2012-07-16 at 6.12.40 PM.png