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Nesting Compositions

To achieve many effects, you must make a composition a layer in another composition—a process called nesting. For example, rotating each layer in the composition in Figure 4.48 doesn't achieve the desired effect. Each layer is rotated around its own anchor point and betrays the fact that each layer is a separate element. To make the layers appear unified, it would be extremely inconvenient to adjust each layer individually.

Figure 4.48

Figure 4.48 Merely rotating each layer in this composition doesn't achieve the desired effect.

With a nested composition, it's possible to rotate the entire composition as a single layer, as in Figure 4.49. As a single layer within another composition, all the elements rotate around a single anchor point. You can use nested compositions to produce complex effects, to control rendering order, or to apply effects to continuously rasterized or collapsed layers. You can always reopen the nested composition. Any changes you make to the original are reflected in the nested layer.

Figure 4.49

Figure 4.49 Nesting the composition makes it a single layer in another composition. Rotating the nested composition easily achieves the effect.

The following tasks show you how to make one composition a layer in another. Chapter 16 revisits nested compositions in more detail.

To make a composition a layer in another composition:

  1. Display the Composition panel or Timeline panel of the composition that will contain the nested composition.
  2. Drag a composition you want to nest from the Project panel to any of the following:
    • Composition panel of the target composition
    • Timeline panel of the target composition
    • Name or icon of the target composition in the Project panel
    The composition becomes a layer in the target composition. The composition layer starts at the current time and has the duration of the original composition (Figure 4.50).
    Figure 4.50

    Figure 4.50 The nested composition looks and behaves much like any other layer.

To nest one composition in a new one with the same settings:

  1. Drag a composition in the Project panel to the composition icon prj_newcomp.jpg at the bottom of the Project panel (Figure 4.51).
    Figure 4.51

    Figure 4.51 Drag a composition to the composition icon at the bottom of the Project panel to nest it in a new composition with the same settings.

    The composition becomes a layer in a new composition that uses the same composition settings as the nested one.

To open a comp's parent composition:

  1. In the Timeline panel, click the Open Parent Composition button and choose the name of the composition you want to open (Figure 4.52).
    Figure 4.52

    Figure 4.52 You can open a comp that contains the current comp by selecting its name in the Open Parent Comp button's pull-down menu.

    If the current comp isn't nested in any other comps, the button is grayed out and unavailable.
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