Once you get down the basics of animation and object placement you can move on the fun stuff, being creative with your composition, adding elements from different resources, and using the tools that help you with this blend.Perhaps one of the greatest features of After Effect CS5 is its versatility. It is easy to blend text animations with your expressive shapes, easy to blend real video with cartoon. It is because of this versatility that you can spend a lot of time on your creative ideas but spending a little time in the After Effects classroom every day will definitely sharpen your learning curve. There are ongoing improvements and additions and this most recent release brought new features too.Whatever you’re doing in After Effects, there are always messages, about the space you are working in, about the layer you are working on, about the effect you are about to apply. Some of these are more obvious than others. Many become like checking your ‘rearview’ as you’re backing up. After a while you process this information without even realizing it.
When you add anything to your composition, selecting it in the resource area of your timeline panel will display it’s boundary against the backdrop of your composition. You might not think this is valuable but as you start adding many resources then sizing them and blending them, it can get confusing. I even use a cheap trick occasionally choosing a resource, then choosing its ‘Position’ attribute (by entering the shortcut ‘P’), and then changing its ‘x’ or ‘y’ value, just to see it move! If you do this, you have to remember to enter ‘CtrlZ’ to ‘undo’ your move changes but that becomes second nature too.On the left side of your resources you see the eye icon that lets you turn it off and on, the audio icon that does the same for a layer with sound, but all layers have a little round ball, ‘solo’ icon that lets you see that layer by itself. You will use this a lot to focus on single layer changes and to view that layer by itself. click to read
When you look at your timeline section, you see all your resource time blocks. This becomes intuitive as large blocks that practically use all the composition window must be ‘star players’, perhaps your leading video whereas little blocks spaced along the timeline in different spaces must be sections where you have applied effects or an enhancement.When you get so many resources in your timeline it becomes hard to keep up, ‘right click’ on a resource and one option will be ‘Reveal Layer Source in Project’ highlighting where in your project resources this came from. Not sure where it come outside your After Effects project? Right click on this same resource in your project window and you will see 2 options, ‘Reveal in Explorer’ and ‘Reveal in Bridge’ that will open window showing where this resource is on your computer.