Sorry to be so straight, but none of what you describe is any issue, but you seem to be completely flying blind and don't know a few basic things about AE.
This is the other string I was referring to.
And no, my strengths are not in AE. This is the reason I am using a template and not creating from scratch. If I was "flying blind" then I would not be seeking guidance from forums like this one. I am learning. Your comment helps no one.
The popup is to be expected. It's just letting you know that you're using a newer version, so it'll save it with a different file name. No big deal.
The large file size it's making is because you told it to. This should explain it: FAQ: Why is my output file huge?
The lack of music might not be an issue. How are you checking to see if there's music?
What do you mean by "dropping masks"?
I've found templates are often pretty confusing for beginners. AE is too complicated to just jump right into. You'll run into "gotchas" as you have done. We can try to help you work through it right now, but if you get a decent foundation first, you'll be a lot less frustrated. This resources is a good place to start: Getting started with After Effects
Thank you Szalam
I figured out the exporting options. I'm new to AE and thought the size would be smaller, more like a vector file...still learning.
The template came with a music file in the layers and in the folder. I removed the music layer and re-imported the wav file. The song plays in all other apps, still not AE. I decided to add the music using another app, for now.
The mask - I assumed a mask was used on an animation, like photoshop. The sample video showed animated stars inside a xmas ball. When I downloaded and opened the file, the stars were 400 times larger and all over the place, not contained. After breaking down the animation, I was able to resize those layers and it seems fine.
I agree with "AE is too complicated to jump right into", but definitely seems fun...without the "gotchas"
Thank you for your help!
I'm glad you're on your way. It'll be more fun once you get a handle on how it works. I love using it!
Music is now working. I exported as a mp4 and now I have sound. I exported as a QT, no sound...hmmm
It's dependent on your render settings (among other things).
It will take some getting used to.