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Managing Footage

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Rulers and Guides

Like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, After Effects lets you view rulers as well as set guides to help you arrange and align images. As usual, you can change the zero point of the rulers and toggle the rulers and guides on and off.

To toggle rulers on and off:

Do either of the following:

  1. In a Footage, Comp, or Layer panel's Grid and Guides pulldown menu vwr_guides.jpg , choose Rulers ( Figure 3.66 ).
    03_66_rulerpulldown.jpg

    Figure 3.66 After Effects uses the same keyboard shortcut to show and hide rulers—Command-R (Mac) or Ctrl-R (Windows).

  2. With a Footage, Comp, or Layer panel active, press Command-R (Mac) or Ctrl-R (Windows) to toggle the rulers on and off.

To set the zero point of rulers:

  1. If the rulers aren't visible, make them visible using one of the techniques described in the previous task.
  2. Position the pointer at the crosshair at the intersection of the rulers in the upperleft corner of the Footage, Composition, or Layer panel. The pointer becomes a crosshair ( Figure 3.67 ).
    03_67_crosshairs.jpg

    Figure 3.67 When you position the pointer at the intersection of the rulers, it becomes a crosshair icon.

  3. Drag the crosshair into the image area. Horizontal and vertical lines indicate the position of the mouse ( Figure 3.68 ).
    03_68_dragzero.jpg

    Figure 3.68 Drag the crosshair at the intersection of the rulers into the image area…

  4. Release the mouse to set the zero point ( Figure 3.69 ).
    03_69_newzeros.jpg

    Figure 3.69 …and release to set the zero point of the rulers.

    The rulers use the zero point you selected.

To reset the zero point of the rulers:

  • Double-click the crosshair at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical rulers. The rulers' zero point is reset to the upper-left corner of the image.

To set guides:

  1. If the rulers aren't visible, make them visible by pressing Command-R (Mac) or Ctrl-R (Windows).
  2. Position the pointer inside the horizontal or vertical ruler. The pointer changes into a Move Guide icon mi_moveguide_vert.jpg .
  3. Drag into the image area ( Figure 3.70 ). A line indicates the position of the new guide.
    03_70_dragguide.jpg

    Figure 3.70 Drag from a ruler into the image area to add a guide.

  4. Release the mouse to set the guide.

To reposition or remove a guide:

  1. Make sure the guides are visible and unlocked (see the following sections). You can't move a guide if guides are locked.
  2. Position the pointer over a guide. The pointer changes into a Move Guide icon mi_moveguide_vert.jpg .
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To reposition the guide, drag it to a new position.
    • To remove the guide, drag it off the image area.

To show and hide guides:

Do either of the following:

  1. In a Footage, Comp, or Layer panel, select or deselect Guides in the Grid & Guide Options pulldown menu ( Figure 3.71 ).
    03_71_showguides.jpg

    Figure 3.71 You can toggle guides using the Grid & Guide Options pulldown menu, but it's worth learning the keyboard shortcut: Command-; (Mac) or Ctrl-; (Windows). Photoshop uses the same shortcut.

  2. With the panel selected, press Command-; (Mac) or Ctrl-; (Windows).

To lock and unlock guides:

  • To lock guides, choose View > Lock Guides ( Figure 3.72 ).
  • To unlock guides, choose View > Unlock Guides.
03_72_lockguides.jpg

Figure 3.72 Choose View > Lock Guides to prevent guides from being moved unintentionally. To unlock the guides, Choose View > Unlock Guides.

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