Adding Footage to a Composition
When you add an item to a composition, you create a layer. A layer can be a footage item in the project, a solid layer generated in After Effects, or another composition. You can add an item to a composition more than once to create multiple layers, or you can duplicate existing layers (using the Copy, Paste, and Duplicate commands). In this section, you'll learn to create layers in a composition. Later chapters will show you how to rearrange and modify layers. (Eventually, you'll also learn about specialized layers such as adjustment layers, guide layers, and layers used in 3D compositing: 3D layers, lights, cameras, and null objects. But first things first.)
The method you use to add layers depends on how you want to set their initial position, starting point, and layer order in your composition. You can simply drag a layer to the timeline to position it at any time or level in the stacking order.
To add footage to a composition by dragging:
- Set the current time of the composition using one of the methods described earlier in this chapter.
- Drag one or more items from the Project panel to any of the following (Figure 4.32):
Composition panel—To place the layers in the desired position, at the current time, and layered in the order in which the files were selected in the Project panel
Timeline panel—To place the layers at the desired time and layer, and centered in the visible frame of the composition
Name or icon of a composition in the Project panel—To place the layers at the current time, centered in the visible frame of the composition, and layered in the order in which you selected the items in the Project panel
Figure 4.32 You can drag one or more items from the Project panel to a composition in the Project panel (1), its Composition panel (2), or the Timeline panel (3).