Unit 01 - Introductions & Overview

Unit Objectives

  • Familiarize yourself with the course and After Effects
  • Be ready to complete homework for next week

Introduction to Course

Introduction to After Effects

File types

  • Master project After Effects files have a ".aep" extension
  • We will explore other type of files to output later

The Interface

  • Project - Where all your assetts are
    • Two types of assets
      • Footage
      • Compositions
  • Footage - Still images, video clips, audio files, vector art, etc.
  • Compostition Area - Composed of layers that contain footage. The combined layers are merged to create an image
    • Layers - staking multiple images (like the trays that the picture slide into. layer of transparency
  • Keyframe - main tool in After Effect to make changes to properties such as scale, rotation, opacity and much more.
  • Stopwatch - To create first key frame
  • Current time indicator - displays where you are in the composition
  • Timeline - Where you put the composition together
  • Rendering - RAM preview
  • How to change workspace
  • Adjust position
  • Tools -
    • The Arrow /Selection tool
    • The Hand tool
    • The Zoom tool


  • Animations basics and shape Tweening
  • Keyframes
  • Compositions layers
  • Transform properties
  • Previewing animations
  • Vector shapes and text
  • Intro to Presets

Short Cuts

You need a full keyboard to access some short cuts.

  • V - Selection tool
  • ALT+ SHIFT + Any Following Keys to display different options in layer;
  • T - Opacity
  • A - Anchor Point
  • S - Scale
  • P - Position
  • R - Rotation
  • O - Jump to the end of the timeline
  • HOME - Jump to the beginning of the timeline
  • END - Jump to end of timeline
  • SPACE BAR - Play/Preview
  • CTRL + D - Duplicate Layers
  • U - see all active effects
  • 0 - to play back video and audio
  • Command I - new solid layer
  • . the one to the right hand side of the zero on an Alphanumeric keyboard to playback sound only
  • Command D to duplicate a layer
  • Command Shift Y - to change color of a solid layer
  • Shift Command C - Pre-comp

The Exercise

  • Work on some simple original abstract animation


Create an abstract animation using using shapes and simple animation. Don't bring in artwork from any other medium except AE including presets.