Managing Footage in Adobe After Effects
- Displaying Information in the Project Window
- Finding Items in a Project
- Sorting Footage in the Project Window
- Using Labels
- Organizing Footage in Folders
- Renaming and Removing Items
- Proxies and Placeholders
- Proxies in the Project Window
- Viewing Footage
- Opening Footage in the Original Application
- The Footage Window
- Cueing Motion Footage
- Magnification and Safe Zones
- Video-Safe Zones and Grids
- Rulers and Guides
- Viewing Transparency
- Correcting for Pixel Aspect Ratios
As you saw in the previous chapter, the Project window 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 window 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 window 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 window, which lets you not only see your footage but really scrutinize it. Most of the controls in the Footage window are also found in the Composition and Layer windows, which means that learning these controls now will go a long way toward providing the grounding you need later.
The Footage window 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 Window
The Project window ( 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 window, 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 window'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 17, "Complex Projects").
Figure 3.1 The Project window 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 window.
To display information about a footage item or composition
In the Project window, click a footage item to select it.
At the top of the Project window, 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 window, information about the selected item appears at the top of the window.
To display the file-type extension of the footage item
In the Project window, Option-click (Mac) or Alt-click (Windows) a footage item.
At the top of the Project window, underneath the other information about the footage item, the item's file-type extension appears in parentheses ( Figure 3.4 ).
Figure 3.4 When you Option-click (Mac) or Alt-click (Windows) an item in the Project window, the file-type extension also appears.
To show or hide the thumbnail image of an item in the Project window
Choose After Effects > Preferences > Display (Mac) or Edit > Preferences > Display (Windows) ( Figure 3.5 ).
Figure 3.5 Choose After Effects > Preferences > Display (Mac) or Edit > Preferences > Display (Windows).
The Display panel of the Preferences dialog box appears.
In the Display panel of the Preferences dialog box, do one of the following:
Click Disable Thumbnails in Project Window to prevent thumbnail images from being displayed there ( Figure 3.6 ).
Figure 3.6 Select Disable Thumbnails in Project Window to prevent thumbnail images from being displayed in the Project window.
Unselect Disable Thumbnails in Project Window to display thumbnail images in the Project window.
Click OK to close the dialog box.
Whether a thumbnail image displays in the Project window depends on the selection you made ( Figure 3.7 ).
Figure 3.7 When you choose to disable thumbnails, no image displays in the Project window when you select an item.