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Using Adobe After Effects CS4: Creating Compositions in Device Central

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Screen dimensions, video frame rates, and color gamuts vary greatly from one mobile device to another. In this excerpt adapted from Adobe After Effects CS4 Classroom in a Book, learn how to create compositions in Device Central to create movies that play correctly and look as you intend on the mobile devices you choose.
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Screen dimensions, video frame rates, and color gamuts vary greatly from one mobile device to another. Adobe Device Central contains device profiles that provide information about these characteristics. Using this information, you can create movies that play correctly and look as you intend on the mobile devices you choose. You create your compositions in Device Central—a Device Master composition, and a composition for each of the mobile devices you select. You design, animate, and prepare your movie in the Device Master composition, and then use the device-specific compositions for previews and to render for final output.

Because you're preparing this project for mobile devices as well as high-resolution devices, you'll begin by creating the compositions in Device Central, which is installed when you install After Effects.

  1. Start Adobe Device Central CS4.
  2. In the welcome screen, click After Effects File under the Create New Mobile heading.

    This creates a new composition in Device Central. No specific devices are targeted yet.

    Available mobile devices are listed in the Online Library panel, but nothing is listed in the Local Library panel. In this lesson, you'll use the Nokia 3120 and Sony Ericsson K630i phones, as well as Flash Lite 2.1. You'll need to add the phones to your local library first.

  3. In the Online Library panel, click the triangle next to the Flash Lite group to see its contents.
  4. Double-click Flash Lite 2.1 16-bit 320 x 240 to add it to the Local Library panel. (You may need to expand the panel to see the full name.)
  5. Collapse the Flash Lite group.
  6. Expand the Nokia group, and then double-click Nokia 3120 to add it to your local library. Then, collapse the Nokia group.
  7. Expand the Sony Ericsson group, and then double-click K630i. Collapse the Sony Ericsson group.
  8. In the Local Library panel, expand each group to display the devices you want to target.
  9. Press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) as you select the three devices (Flash Lite 2.1 16-bit 320 x 480, Nokia 3120, and Sony Ericsson K630i) in the Local Library panel.

    The devices are added to the New Composition panel.

  10. Select Create Master Composition at the top of the New Composition panel. This option creates a composition that contains the selected devices as well as a Master Devices composition (see Figure 1).
  11. Click Create.

    After Effects CS4 opens.

  12. Click Close to close the Welcome window.

    The Project panel contains two folders: Device Central Comps and Solids.

  13. Double-click the Device Central Comps folder to see its contents.

    It contains a Device Master composition, a composition for each of the devices you selected, a Preview composition, and a Guide Comps folder. Collapse the Device Central Comps folder.

  14. Choose File > Save As.
  15. In the Save As dialog box, navigate to the AESC4_CIB/Lessons/Lesson09/Finished_ Project folder, and name the project Lesson09_Finished.aep.

Importing the Footage

You need to import two footage items for this lesson.

  1. Choose File > Import > File.
  2. Navigate to the AECS4_CIB/Lessons/Lesson09/Assets folder. Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) to select the and files, and then click Open.

    The footage items appear in the Project panel. You will organize them before getting underway.

  3. Choose File > New > New Folder to create a new folder in the Project panel, or click the Create A New Folder button ( ) at the bottom of the panel.
  4. Type mov_files to name the folder, press Enter or Return to accept the name, and then drag the two footage items into the mov_files folder.
  5. Expand the folder so that you can see the items inside (see Figure 2).
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