15 Replies Latest reply on Dec 22, 2011 5:33 PM by Rick Gerard

    Undoing a precomp


      I'm using Premiere Pro to edit a proect and am doing a LOT of AE work to it (and I'm somewhat new to AE, so pardon my stupidity if this is obvious). When I'm working on the Premiere Pro timeline and chose to "replace with AE composition," all of the layers I'm working with in Premiere open in AE already precomposed. For the most part, this isn't a big deal but if I need to motion track a clip AE won't allow me to do that to the precomp - and when I double-click and open up the source comp, it's the entire take (sometimes very long - and therefore difficult to just copy and paste into my dynamically linked comp).


      All I want is to be able to motion track a short clip ported over from Premiere Pro without having to go into the source clip. The easiset (hypothetical) way to do this would be to un-precompose the clip (which AE doesn't seem to be able to do) or not send individually-precomposed clips from Premiere in the first place. I hope all this makes sense - but if anyone knows how I can avoid the annoying step of having to leave the media I've set up in Premiere Pro and messing with raw footage again, I'd greatly appreciate it.



        • 1. Re: Undoing a precomp
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          In After Effects select the Track Motion work area or open up the Tracker panel by going to Window>Tracker. Open up the composition that contains the footage that you want to track. In the tracker Panel Select Pre-comp from the Motion Source. In the timeline select the Pre-comp layer. Track motion.


          There you go. It wouldn't be any easier if you'd read the directions.


          Screen Shot 2011-12-21 at 12.51.12 PM.png

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          • 2. Re: Undoing a precomp
            Neptunesalad1 Level 1

            Firstly, thanks for the answer!


            I have tried doing that from the start, and the problem is that when I import video from Premiere (I'm using CS 5.5 incidentally), all of my precomps are greyed out and are not slectable by the tracker when I try to select them. In this case, "Bad Guesser Josh Tk 2" is the precomp s it was brought in from Premiere Pro. And I can track it if I open the source clip, which in this case is coverage of an entire scene of one of the actors, and I need to track about 2 seconds.


            Thanks again!




            Screen Shot 2011-12-21 at 12.55.32 PM.png

            • 3. Re: Undoing a precomp
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I'm not sure your workflow is right. If you select a shot or multiple shots in Premiere Pro then right click and select Replace with After Effects Composition, AE should open up and you should get a new composition in AE. With that composition open you should see the assets from premiere including the shot that you want to track. You should then be ablt to select that in the motion source and track away. I just tried it and it works just fine for me.  Give me 10 min and I'll show you a movie.

              • 4. Re: Undoing a precomp
                Neptunesalad1 Level 1

                Cool, thanks. I wonder if I have some weird preference ticked that's forcing Premiere to send AE precomped files or something. All I want is the raw shot, not precomped, and ready to use in AE. Either that or I'd like to be able to track a precomp.


                I look forward to your movie.

                • 5. Re: Undoing a precomp
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Couple of things. I'd love to see your entire AE work area and a flow chart. I've never seen a Pre-comp that I couldn't select as a track.


                  Here's the video. It takes about 25 seconds to get ready to track a shot in AE.


                  • 6. Re: Undoing a precomp
                    Neptunesalad1 Level 1

                    Firstly, thank you so much for doing that. I really appreciate it even if that doesn't fix the issue I'm having.


                    I MUST have a preference screwed up somewhere. If I did what you just did, each track would import already precomped, and after import I would not be permitted by AE to select any of those precomps for motion tracking.

                    • 7. Re: Undoing a precomp
                      Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      There are no preferences for that. Post the AE project without footage and I'll take a look.


                      Are you getting the footage in AE? Have you done this before? Have you tried trashing your preferences? Have you run the latest Adobe Updates?


                      I've never had a problem with this that wasn't user error.

                      • 8. Re: Undoing a precomp
                        Neptunesalad1 Level 1

                        Here's a link to the file in question, entitled "sketchbox":
                        I'm a relative newbie to AE (less than a year) so I assume it's operator error in some way! BTW, not to reduce my own "new guy" status," but I'm a 10 year veteran of FCP who jumped over to CS5.5 back in June when FCPX came out, and before that I used to cut in Media 100 (about another 3 years). I've cut stuff for major clients and for broadcast in FCP, and I'm still getting my sea legs in Adobe - which has been an awesome process for the most part by the way. And as for motion graphics, I'm relatively new to it but have used it on several recent projects. And I think this happened on all of them, but I didn't have a lot of motion tracking to do so I just thought it was normal.
                        I'll try to answer your questions. Am I getting the footage in AE? If you mean "is the footage showing up in there?" absolutely. My workflow on this current project is importing video (in this case, H.264 video shot on a Canon 5D Mk II) into Premiere with no transcode, and doing 99% of all work in Premiere. When I need to do some VFX work (putting an image onto a greenscreeened television screen, for instance), I do exactly what you showed me how to do and it works great except that every piece of media, when opened in AE, is already precomposed.
                        And I'm using version for what it's worth. And on a Mac if that makes any difference.
                        And like I said, this really doesn't effect my workflow very much except in the rare case that I need to motion track the footage. Because - for whatever reason - AE won't let me track the precomps.

                        • 9. Re: Undoing a precomp
                          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          I took a look at your project and it's a bit confusing because you've organized a bunch of the footage items in folders. The only way you can get dynamic link to put a pre-comp in an AE project is to have a nested sequence in Premiere. IOW, you add a sequence or timeline to another timeline in Premiere and then convert that sequence to an AE composition. If that's the case, you should still be able to track it. Just to make sure we should see a screenshot of your PPro project.


                          I did find an easy way to track your pre-comp though. Just pre-compose it, moving all attributes, and all is well.

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                          • 10. Re: Undoing a precomp
                            Neptunesalad1 Level 1

                            Here's a screenshot of one of the timelines. I haven't been nesting anything at all in this particular project, although it makes sense that nesting would create precomps since they're kind of the same thing. Either way, I haven't been doing that.


                            The reason I've organized the footage the way I have in AE is because if I don't AE just puts everything into the project panel and it gets pretty messy pretty quickly. So I created a folder for linked comps and a folder for media - then any media I brought in (like Video Copilot Action Essentials, which I'm using a crapload of in this piece) I put in their own folder so it's easier for me to find them. As of now I have 31 linked comps - and growing -  in this project so it's kind of important to try to keep it organized or I will go insane picking through the dustbin of random files.


                            Thank you so much for all your help, and hopefully I can get to the bottom of this mystery.


                            Screen Shot 2011-12-22 at 9.56.54 AM.png

                            • 11. Re: Undoing a precomp
                              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              What happens start with AE closed and you take just that timeline and select say the fourth Bad Guesser TK4  video clip and choose replace with after Effects composition?


                              After Effects should open and ask you to save the file. Then the assets should load. You should end up with a AE project with a single source footage file for Bad Guesser TK4 and a comp with a single layer. That layer should be footage and not a pre-comp. If it's a pre-comp then I'd like to know what the source of the video clip is. It looks like you may have double system sound because you have a folder called Synched Tracks. If that is true, then how did you sync the tracks. If that's the case, selecting only the video assets you want to work in AE may solve the problem.


                              Also, did you try just pre-composing the tracks you can't track. That should work for you just fine.

                              • 12. Re: Undoing a precomp
                                Neptunesalad1 Level 1

                                I just did that - closed AE and used dynamic linking to create a new AE project and everything still came in precomped.


                                This project was created double system, and we used a visual slate to synch everything up - pretty old-school, but it works. It was shot on the Canon 5D Mk II and audio was recorded separately and I synched the takes manually. A little tedious, but Plural Eyes for Premiere isn't quite as easy to use as it is for FCP.


                                And as I've been working, I've ONLY been selecting the video assets to work with in AE, as synch shouldn't be an issue with dynamic linking.


                                Again, thatnks for all the help!

                                • 13. Re: Undoing a precomp
                                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  I think the double system is your problem. If you just select the pre-composed layer you want to track and precomp it again moving all attributes to the new composition, you should be able to track and nothing else should change.

                                  • 14. Re: Undoing a precomp
                                    Neptunesalad1 Level 1

                                    I honestly don't think double system is the problem - when I synch the footage I don't nest it. I just line it up and mark it in synch. And when I send it to AE, I don't send the audio anyway.


                                    I tried precomping one of my imported precomps and it would not let me track it either.


                                    Again, I'm sure it's got to be something I'm doing wrong as every AE pro is telling me it's not supposed to do what it's doing. Thank you again for your time and help.

                                    • 15. Re: Undoing a precomp
                                      Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      If you couldn't track it it is because you missed moving all elements to a new composition. If that still doesn't work then I'd suggest a reinstall of your Suite and running the updates again. You should be able to track anything that you precompose.