First, and unless you have some very specific reason for doing otherwise always use a full high definition sized comp. I prefer 29.97 fps. That will do it for your composition.
if you are just getting started with aftereffects take a half an hour and follow all three of these tutorials: How to add effects, motion graphics in After Effects | Adobe After Effects CC tutorials
The last video will show you how to render.
Thanks so much Rick. Those tutorials look great. But I am in CS5.5. i should have mentioned that. Do you think too much has changed for me to use those tutorials? again, thanks!
Rick, again, thank you for your help. When I set the preset as you suggest it gives me a measurement of 1440 x 1080. I am creating art files to import. It seems that i should create them at that size. Could you confirm that this is correct?
I've begun looking at the videos. Here's what's confusing in the first of the videos:
1. No preset is chosen. The narrator closes that window and says: let's start from scratch. I'm confused. What size movie does that create?
2. in that first opening dialog box you can create a new composition -- or -- open a project. That's quite confusing. What's the difference? Why can't I create a project -- or open a composition? I've learned tons of programs successfully - but I am finding AE very baffling. Many thanks for your help!
You picked the wrong preset... look at the PAR.
Use this one:
An After Effects project is a file that contains references to your source footage and any compositions you created. A composition is what eventually becomes a movie (video). You can have many compositions and many different sources of footage. The footage is never altered in any way, it is just used in a composition. If you move a footage file to another folder, the next time you open AE the footage will be reported as missing, because the Project file does not store footage, it only stores references to the footage. IOW, myCoolFootage.mov is stored on my D drive in the New Projects folder.
Does that help??? Work your way through the Basic Workflow tutorials and you'll get a good start on what's going on. The only thing that has really changed in the last 20 years in AE are the number of features and effects you can use. The operating principal has never changed. Import footage, put the footage in a composition, do something with the footage by applying effects or masks or blend modes and render your composition (your movie).
Rick. Many, many thanks for your patience & generosity. Yes - that clarification was very clear and helpful. I'm going to give these setting a try and go back those the movies you recommended. They were very clear. Re: AE versions - the only thing i see, so far, that is different in cloud AE - is the media encoder for out putting the movies.
I'm going to start a new thread to ask one more question about one thing that's really stumping me. The Layer Timeline window and the Footage(?) window. I hope you'll help me understand it! Again - so many thanks!