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After Effects Basic 10 Main tips for beginners

Hi! You have just begun to work with After Effects and don’t know the main tips yet? Here you can find the quickest ways to optimize your work and save your time. Let’s go!

Render MP4 video

When you’re ready to render your project, save it as MP4, not a large MOV file. This is the most common mistake to make as a newbie, to render a project in After Effects MOV format. You run the risk of ending up with a very heavy file weight. We saved a MOV first, to show the difference.

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The size of MOV file

This video goes for 14 seconds is 1.6 GB, which is actually a lot. Much better is to render MP4 video with Adobe Media Encoder or other plugins. Install Media Encoder in advance. Click to add Adobe Media Encoder Queue. Check the box to use Maximum Render Quality. Select the path and name your file. Also, don’t forget to select the H.264(Mp4) format. 

Rendering process

Click the render button. Video weights just 16.8 MB. 

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The size of MP4

Crop Composition

Many people don’t know how to trim a composition and create a new one. You can use Comp Settings to manually adjust the size of the composition. 

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Changing the size of your comp

Choose the region of interest. Select the area you want. Then click Trim Comp to Work Area.

Using region of Interest

It’s done!

Align Tools 

Don’t ignore Align Tool – it can become a handy thing to use in your work in After Effects. You don’t have to align layers manually and as you want. You can also align layers to each other – it will save you a lot of time. 

Using Align tools

Grids and rulers. Don’t work without them – they are keys to accurate and more advanced editing and vital in aligning layers. 

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Using grids

For example, with Title Action/Save, you can see the safe zones beyond which the text should not extend. If you post the video on YouTube, the text will overlap the timeline. Don’t forget to use grids to align your layer into the composition. Also, use the Rulers, they will help to lock the area and align your layer to it. 

Replace the layer

You have a video and you’ve applied some effects to it. After that, you want to replace it with other effects. Select the video in the Project panel, press Alt(win)/Option(mac). Now, drag it to the video layer on the timeline. The video is replaced with all the effects applied to it.

Replacing the layer

Collapse transformations

Let’s create a small composition and a shape inside of it. After that, you created a large composition and put the first smaller comp inside of it.If you enlarge it, we see that the quality of the shapes is ruined, because the shape is the same size as before, we have just made a comp larger. To fix it, turn on Collapse the Layer Switches panel and check the Collapse Transformation checkbox of your layer. 

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Collapse transformations

As you can see, the shape became more sharpen, because it’s size was optimized to the size of the composition. 

Use the extentions

We highly advise it – advanced editors got many useful extensions for their work. Among them, is one of ours – EasyEdit Viewer+Assets. You can install it for Mac or for Windows; After Effects or Premiere Pro. It’s main feature is giving access to more than 83 million media files from all over the internet – gifs, mp4’s, pics. and all for free. 

EasyEdit Viewer

Also, you can choose the pack you want among the large catalog. After that, instal it on your panel and start your work. From there, you can select the composition you like and import it to into the timeline. Then fill it with the content or just edit it in the Essential Graphics Panel. 

Keyframes EasyEase

Use EasyEase keyframes to make your animation smoother. 

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Let’s look at a few examples. Use the graph editor to adjust your animations to your need. 

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Using graph editor

FPS Value

When you are creating your animation don’t forget to set the correct FPS value for your project. If we set the value of 30, create a basic animation shape and than change the FPS to 15, the animation becomes less smooth. The lower the FPS is, the fewer frames became in the composition. On the contrary, more frames = smoother composition. 

Changing the FPS

Optimize Render & Resolution on Viewport

Often, it takes a long time for the computer to render a preview of your project. To fix this, you can change the resolution in a preview of your project. During the pause or during the rendering, you can change the resolution to Full, Half, Third or Quarter. You can also specify skipping a certain number of keyframes.

Changing the resolution

In this case, the video will be less smooth, but faster to render. 

Duplicate the Comp

Very simply duplicate your composition by clicking Ctrl+D or Comand+D. If you do this, try to replace the content inside one of the comps – you’ll notice that it will be replaced in the other. To change it, click on the layer and click Reveal Layer Source in Project. This is the layer you need to duplicate.

The easiest and fastest way is to use the True Comp Duplicator plugin. You should set the parameters you want, select the number of copies and click Duplicate Selected. After the comp is duplicated, you can select the content, it will be replaced only in the selected comp. And the other one will stay the same.

Duplicating our comp

Thanks for watching. Hope this one was useful for you and you can find new ways to optimize your work. See you in the next tutorial!
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