Start a New Composition

Phil Ebiner
A free video tutorial from Phil Ebiner
Top-Rated Instructor, 2 Million+ Students
4.6 instructor rating • 138 courses • 2,183,898 students

Lecture description

In this lesson of the After Effects CC course, learn how to start a new composition - choosing the right settings so you have a sequence that matches your quality. Also learn how to make adjustments to the composition panel itself, so you have a better playback experience.

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After Effects CC Masterclass: Complete After Effects Course

Learn After Effects CC to improve your videos with professional motion graphics and visual effects.

26:07:37 of on-demand video • Updated February 2021

  • You will know how to use After Effects to make your videos better than ever
  • You will be comfortable using After Effects - even if you're a beginner
  • Know how to create a video project from start to finish in After Effects
  • Create professional motion graphics that improve your videos
  • Add creative visual effects to your video projects
  • Export high quality videos from After Effects and know how to use it with Premiere Pro efficiently
  • You will have the full support of an instructor who loves teaching
English [Auto] Let's start a new composition there's multiple ways to do everything and after effects usually there's a button in the interface there's often a keyboard shortcut which you can get to if you go to help and then click on keyboard shortcuts. This will take you to the Adobe web site which has shortcuts for both Mac and PC users which is really helpful. And then lastly there might be a menu option appear in the top so if you go to composition for example you'll see the new composition button which will also show you the keyboard shortcut I'm using emacs so it's going to be command. Or just click this button down here in the project panel. This brings up your composition settings window remember. Think of this as an individual video or maybe an individual clip that you're working on. You can always rename this later but for example I would just call this after effects. One you can name it whatever you want. Then you have all of your sequence settings under the basic settings you have different presets. So if you're using a particular type of camera or footage you would just select this one of these presets. For example a lot of videos that I create I'm shooting at 19:20 by 10 80 pixels. This is what you your standard HD footage is and I shoot at twenty nine nine seven frames per second so I could find one of those presets that matches those settings such as this one HDTV 10:18 twenty nine point nine seven. That changes the width and height to match that. It also changes the frame rate down here. And you can customize the stuff yourself. For example if you want to create a square graphic for example if you're putting on social media like Facebook or Instagram which like square graphics you can just click in the width or the height and type in the pixels that you want. So if we want to square it we can do 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels and that would work fine. Typically your pixel aspect ratio should just be left out square. If you run into an issue or if someone wants you to do it differently you would select these. But for most of the projects you're using just leave it at Square. Next you have your Basically your timeline window options. The duration is an important one. This can also be changed later but this is where you set the duration of your composition which is different then again referring to Premiere Pro where if you started a new sequence it can basically be as long as the video you add you can keep adding clips that can start out as a minute. But then as you add more clips it turns into two minutes 10 minutes an hour with After Effects you set the duration. In the beginning. So if you want a clip or an animation to be five seconds long then you would set it as five seconds long like it shows here if you need it to be 10 seconds. You would change this to 10 seconds. For example this can also be changed later. But it's good to start out with something shorter like so background color. This is the background of the composition. This just depends on how you want it to look while you're editing. This doesn't actually change the background of the video itself. We'll be showing you how to add a background color in a future lesson. This is just think of it as the transparent background so that you can work on your project. Some people like a white background just to see what that looks like. Typically I'm just going to leave it as black when you're happy just click OK. And now you can see two things happen. One in our project tab over here we have this composition. And then down here our timeline has sort of opened up and you can adjust your timeline to zoom in and out you can see now that our timeline goes from zero seconds to five seconds and then you have the frames in between. Tim frames 20 frames than one second to zoom in you can take the top bar the time navigator and zoom in by dragging to the left or right. There's also this little slider at the very bottom for you to drive in and out. And that allows you to zoom in and out you can also use the plus or minus keys on your keyboard. Just a few more things about your composition panel down here at the bottom you have different ways to adjust the view on the left. You have this percentage. This will depend on the resolution of your screen. You can zoom in according to a percentage and this will zoom into your composition at that percentage. So if you just want to set it at a smaller percentage you can choose like 25 percent. So this is moving your 100 percent resolution composition and shrinking it to 25 percent. If you want it to just match the size of this panel you can choose up to 100 percent. And now you can adjust the panel size by clicking on the edge and dragging up or down. And this is helpful because oftentimes I'll find myself adjusting the size of these panels so that I have more room in the timeline for example. And that way the video or the composition adjusts while I change that panel. The other thing I want to mention right now is this resolution right now I have it set for full and this is the playback resolution not necessarily the export resolution of your video. And this helps if your computer is a little bit slower. Often times my after affects students as my computer's running slow it's lagging. The video plays back choppy. How do I make it playback smoothly. Usually the issue is that you don't have enough memory or ram processing power in your computer. I recommend at least 16 gigabytes of RAM on a Mac. You can see that information by clicking the apple button and clicking about this Mac you can probably find a similar setting on your PC as well and in your computer settings. So here you can see that my memory is 16 gigabytes right here. Even still when I'm using with using high resolution footage like for K.A. footage I do get a little bit of playback lag and so to fix that we can actually decrease the resolution of our playback. This will play back at a lower resolution so you're seeing a little bit lack of quality but that's better than having a choppy playback. In my opinion the last thing I want to talk about right now with this composition panel is this button right here which is the toggle transparency grid button so see if I click that you get this checkerboard view. When you see the checkerboard think transparent. So if you actually wanted to export this video right now with transparency what you would get is just a blank video with nothing. It wouldn't even be a black background even though the background of our video is set to black. Remember what I talked about and the composition settings which you can get back to if you go to composition composition settings or command K and your keyboard see the background color is black. If I set this at White for example click OK and then click OK. If I click the transparency grid button again it still shows that it's a transparent background. We're going to see how this comes to play when we create graphics like titles and we want to put them on to other videos in the future. But just know that you can click this button to see what in your composition is transparent. That's the basics of starting new compositions in the next lesson we're going to be importing graphics into our project panel and then we're going to be moving on and actually working with our composition and adding new layers.