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See this for an idea of the kinds of information that are useful when asking questions: "FAQ: What information should I provide when asking a question on this forum?"
I'm using after effects cc, I recently downloaded a template for after effects from video copilot. it came in a zip folder and after effects won't let me open it. not sure how to open it in after effects. I try to open it by going to file, open project, click open with the zip file and it says after effects error: can't import file unsupported filetype or extentsion. Do I have to extract the contents from the zip folder? Or am I just doing this wrong? I feel like this should be easy.
Yes, you need to unzip the file first.
If you're having trouble with a file that you bought from Video Copilot, I'm sure that they'd be willing to help you, too.
Start here to learn After Effects:
Not to be rude, but it doesn't sound like you have a whole lot of AE experience.
I'm also here to tell you that without a good knowledge of the basics, templates aren't going to make your life any easier in AE: templates typically assume that you have a pretty good general knowledge of AE: text layers, nested comps (and lots of 'em), how to tweak an expression, how to replace footage... you get the idea.
Before you jump into the deep end of the pool with lead weights on your feet, I strongly recommend a good deal of quality time here:
Just like the won't let you drive until you pass driver's ed, you won't get AE work done without knowing the basics.
But to answer your question directly: unzip the template. Then open it.