My question would be - why do you want to do this? what are you trying to achieve?
Remember... everything in the project panel is just footage - elements to be used in your final piece. I can't think of a reason you would need to set the poster frame for a video clip that is in the project panel.
The piece does not become your final piece or working piece, until you have created it in the timeline. So once you drag elements to the timeline and edit them, add effects, etc. - then you can set the poster frame.
Now, on the otherhand, if you are saying:
- you have footage in you project panel
- you have created a piece in your timeline that you want to set a poster frame for (ie, this will be the movie you want to render)
- but you can't do so from the project panel
this is how AE is designed. You have to have the panel active that you are using. So if I have my piece created in the timeline, I want to render it - but first add a poster frame, I need to make sure that I have selected the timeline panel before I can do so.
Does this answer your questions? Let me know if I am not understanding you correctly.
Hi Elaine. Let me clarify why I would like this - it's nothing beyond pure organizational and efficiency intentions.
I have a templated comp for which I have to swap in many (~50 or so) pieces of footage. I do this by alt+dragging from the project panel to the placeholder layer in my (duplicated) template comp. The pieces of footage all have cryptic names from the camera ("AA0393_01","AA0421_01",etc.). They are shots of lights turning on in a dark room, and as a result, the first second or so of each clip is purely black (before the lights turn on). By default, After Effects picks the very first frame of a footage item as the poster frame for that item. By poster frame I mean the little thumbnail at the top of the project panel. I would like to set this poster frame to a few seconds into each of the clips, when the lights come on, so I can tell what the actual contents of the clip are when I'm replacing the placeholder layer in my comp.
It is true I could precomp all these footage items and set the poster frames for those comps and use those precomps instead of the footage items themselves but that seems like a rather silly workaround and added clutter just so I can set the poster frame in the project panel.
I hope that makes sense. I know in Premiere for example you can set that little thumbnail poster frame for any piece of footage - is there really no equivalent in After Effects?
I understand what you are saying - and agree that this would be an excellent feature!
The Premiere Pro team did a fantastic job of this in the new interface for CS6. Currently, I don't believe there is anyway to achieve the equivalent in After Effects. You can only set the poster frames for comps. I would recommend filing a feature request <https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform> to help make this happen.
Personally, I would love to see many of the new user interface features in Premiere become a part of AE in the next release.
A workaround: precomp all footage when you import, then create poster frames for the precomps and use them as your footage. Not ideal, but a few mere clicks extra.
I am having a similar issue (perhaps) and saw your response here. I am self-taught in AE and must have missed something basic here.
I am simply trying to set which image (frame) will appear as the icon for a renedered comp. I understand how to set the poster frame for a comp, and I get the desired result in the project window when the comp is selected. Following your advise, I "set poster time" while the timeline window is selected as well, but when my comp is renedered the icon is always the frame at 10 seconds on the timeline.
I've done quite a bit of research, but must be missing something obvious.