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Setting the Time

Before you add footage to a composition, you must specify the time at which the layer will begin in the composition. By setting the composition's current time, you can also set the starting point for an added layer. And, of course, setting the time also allows you to view a particular frame of the composition in the Comp panel. You can set the current time via the Time Controls panel, the Composition panel, or the Timeline panel; you can also use keyboard shortcuts to accomplish the task.

Using the Time Controls panel

You can control the playback of the Footage, Composition, Timeline, and Layer panels using the Time Controls panel. Figure 4.26 shows how the panel's buttons function.

Figure 4.26

Figure 4.26 The Time Controls panel. (In this figure, the RAM preview options are hidden.)

To set the current time in the Timeline panel:

  • In the Timeline panel, drag the current time indicator to the frame you want (Figure 4.27).
    Figure 4.27

    Figure 4.27 In the Timeline panel, drag the current time indicator to change the current frame (displayed in the Composition panel).

    Use the current time display to see the current time numerically.

To cue the current time of the composition numerically:

  1. Do any of the following:
    • In the Composition panel, click the time display (Figure 4.28).
      Figure 4.28

      Figure 4.28 Click the time display in the Composition panel...

    • In the Timeline panel, click the time display (Figure 4.29).
      Figure 4.29

      Figure 4.29 ...or in the Timeline panel...

    • Press Shift-Opt-J (Mac) or Shift-Alt-J (Windows).
    The Go to Time dialog box appears.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Enter an absolute time (a specific frame number) to which you want to cue the current time (Figure 4.30).
      Figure 4.30

      Figure 4.30 ...or use the keyboard shortcut to open the Go to Time dialog box. Enter a specific frame number, or absolute time, to cue the current frame...

    • Enter a plus (+) or minus (-) and a relative time (the number of frames you want to add or subtract from the current frame) (Figure 4.31). Numbers greater than 99 are interpreted as seconds and frames.
      Figure 4.31

      Figure 4.31 ...or enter a time relative to the current frame by entering a plus (+) or minus (-) and the number of frames.

  3. Click OK to close the Go to Time dialog box.
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