4 Replies Latest reply on May 5, 2016 4:01 PM by JimSned

    Need help with getting my new composition going

    JimSned Level 1

      I'm using AE 13.7.   I'm very new to AE, and I've basically learned by doing, as opposed to sitting through endless tutorials that don't give me the answers to my specific questions.

       

      So, here are my questions.

       

      1.  When I open a new composition, I have to choose the height and width.  How do I know what they're supposed to be?   I imagine I need to choose the dimensions based on the video I'm importing, but don't know how to find that information.

       

      2.  Once I've imported a video file and successfully dragged it from the upper left-hand corner into the main Composition area in the center of the screen, I can either press the space bar to start my video or go to Preview in the upper-right area and press the Play button.  But once I get the video to play, it barely moves along.  I notice that as the blue Time Indicator inches along, it leaves a thin horizontal trail of either a dark blue or lime green line.  I've deduced that this has something to do with how much of the video has actually been recognized in some way by AE, because if I try and manually move the Time Indicator beyond the blue or green line, the video breaks down. 

       

      I'm assuming there must be a step or two that I'm missing here.  I would think that the video, once imported as a new composition, would be immediately available in its entirety.  What am I missing or doing wrong here?  Thanks for your help!

        • 1. Re: Need help with getting my new composition going
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          1. When I open a new composition, I have to choose the height and width. How do I know what they're supposed to be?

           

          Entirely depends on your target output spec and your workflows. Obviously one would pick a HD preset for TV playback, other presets for other stuff. This could be identical to the input source, but not necessarily. All the same nothing stops you from creating arbitrary comp sizes when they are needed e.g. for nested comps during project creation. It's not uncommon to create e.g. towel-long/-wide compositions for all sorts of scrolling, parallax and panorama effects just as for instance particle effects may want a square aspect comp of small pixel size to be used as a custom particle shape. Beyond what I said in the first sentence thus there cannot be a definite answer set in stone.

           

          2. Once I've imported a video file and successfully... [snip]

           

          Erm, well... You know, I'd yell in your face if you stood in front of me. Sorry, but there's no other way to say it, but this is simply a "Why oh why don't people read the help?" thing. How AE's preview and caching system works is elaborately explained there, including what those fancy colors mean.

           

          What am I missing or doing wrong here?

           

          As per the above: Not reading the help files is your biggest neglect.

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: Need help with getting my new composition going
            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            JimSned wrote:

             

            I'm very new to AE, and I've basically learned by doing,

            You seriously cannot learn to use After Effects that way. It is way too complicated.

             

            JimSned wrote:

             

            as opposed to sitting through endless tutorials that don't give me the answers to my specific questions.

            You might not need to go through a tutorial on Rotoscoping to do what you want to do, but, dude, you seriously need to get a foundation in the basics of how AE works at the very least.

             

            You are approaching AE like it's a video editing program and it is not. Please do yourself a huge favor and go through some of the basics at least.

             

            This is a good resource for starting off.

             

            If you don't want to take the time to learn how to use After Effects, perhaps you should look into using something aimed less at professionals.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Need help with getting my new composition going
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              Just to add to the comments above -- don't learn AE by doing.  Many have tried.  All have failed.  Bite the bullet.  Look at the Help and look at the tutorials.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Need help with getting my new composition going
                JimSned Level 1

                Mylenium, Sazalam, and Dave:

                 

                Thanks for the replies!  I realized after I posted this that I probably sounded like a smartass, claiming that I don't need tutorials and can get by just with trial and error and asking people here questions.   (Hey, I learned iMovie by myself, so what could be so difficult about After Effects?  (snicker))

                 

                Now I know that I do need to invest the time if I want to get anything done.  And I know that will be time well spent. I did have some one-one-one help last year with another project, so I figured that was all I needed to know.  But really, I was just scratching the surface then.

                 

                Excuse me, I need to go watch a tutorial and check some help files.  Later!