Get a Grip! How to Manage Your Footage in After Effects 7
- Displaying Information in the Project Panel
- Finding Items in a Project
- Sorting Footage in the Project Panel
- Organizing Footage in Folders
- Renaming and Removing Items
- Proxies and Placeholders
- Viewing Footage
- Opening Footage in the Original Application
- The Footage Panel
- Cueing Motion Footage
- Magnifying an Image
- Viewing Safe Zones and Grids
- Rulers and Guides
- Viewing Transparency
- Correcting for Pixel Aspect Ratios
As you saw in the previous chapter, the Project panel is basically a list of all your footage and compositions. The more complex the project, the lengthier and more unwieldy this list becomes. As the receptacle of this essential information, the Project panel can resemble either a cluttered junk drawer or a neat filing cabinet, a cardboard box filled with books or the Library of Congress. In this chapter, you'll learn how to use the Project panel to organize and sort the items contained in your project. You'll also learn about other aspects of asset management—such as how to replace missing footage, and how to use placeholders and proxies to temporarily stand in for footage items. As always, taking a little time to prepare will save you a lot of time in the long run.
This chapter also introduces you to the Footage panel, which lets you not only see your footage but really scrutinize it. Most of the controls in the Footage panel are also found in the Composition and Layer panels, which means that learning these controls now will go a long way toward providing the grounding you need later.
The Footage panel also includes editing buttons; however, an in-depth explanation of those features will wait for Chapter 4, "Compositions," where you'll learn how to add footage as layers in a composition.
Displaying Information in the Project Panel
The Project panel (Figure 3.1) furnishes you with several ways to manage your footage and compositions. Icons that resemble those used on the desktop (Mac) or Explorer (Windows) provide an easy means of distinguishing between footage types (Figure 3.2). You can also view more detailed information about items in the Project panel, organize items into folders, and sort items according to categories. Depending on your needs, you can rearrange, resize, hide, or reveal the categories. You can even create a custom category and custom color labels. And if you still need help locating an item, you can find it using the Project panel's Find button. There's also a button that lets you access a flowchart view of your project—but that explanation will wait for later when it will make more sense (see Chapter 16, "Complex Projects").
Figure 3.1 The Project panel doesn't simply list items; it helps you identify, sort, and organize them.
Figure 3.2 Icons identify the types of items in the Project panel. This figure shows an incomplete list.
To display information about a footage item or composition:
In the Project panel, click a footage item to select it.
At the top of the Project panel, a thumbnail image of the footage item appears. Next to the thumbnail image, the name of the footage item appears, as well as information about the footage itself, such as frame size, color depth, codec, and so on (Figure 3.3).
Figure 3.3 When you select an item in the Project panel, information about the selected item appears at the top of the panel.