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spritelyjim

How often do you nest/precompose?

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In AE, you can either keep layers in your final comp to tweek with keyframes on a whim (and spend hours shying and unshying, etc), or you precompose animation sets only to fish through the hierarchy later, hoping to get the timing right compared to the final comp. (The third option, not yet implemented by Adobe, is the much sought after option of layer-sets.)

 

So, the question is: To precompose or not to precompose, what do you do more often?

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Guest Sao_bento

In AE, you can either keep layers in your final comp to tweek with keyframes on a whim (and spend hours shying and unshying, etc), or you precompose animation sets only to fish through the hierarchy later, hoping to get the timing right compared to the final comp. (The third option, not yet implemented by Adobe, is the much sought after option of layer-sets.)

 

So, the question is: To precompose or not to precompose, what do you do more often?

Pre composing serves a purpose, it's not something to do for fun or just to be organized. Pre-comping is a way to subvert the render pipeline, concatenate properties, etc.

if you don't like it, try Motion, it has layer sets.

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I precomp ALL the time, and like Sao said, the purpose is not just to organize your layers. That said, I find it very helpful in keeping organized, I've no idea what layer sets are but I can't say I feel I'm missing something big in that respect.

 

 

 

My only gripe is that when precomping a bunch of layers that do not span the whole timeline, the precomp ignores that and creates a composition across the full timeline. There's a script somewhere that overcomes this but it's not really convenient to reach for the script menu every time I need to precompose. I regard this as a silly oversight on the programmer's side and I hope it gets fixed...

 

 

 

BTW nice moniker you got there, spritelyjim ;)

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In AE, you can either keep layers in your final comp to tweek with keyframes on a whim (and spend hours shying and unshying, etc), or you precompose animation sets only to fish through the hierarchy later, hoping to get the timing right compared to the final comp. (The third option, not yet implemented by Adobe, is the much sought after option of layer-sets.)

 

So, the question is: To precompose or not to precompose, what do you do more often?

 

I think I know where this is heading, but it's pretty pointless to argue the usefulness of nesting. Anyone having a problem with it should come to see it as a tool, not a burden. Anyway I concur with the others - pre-composing is not something you do on a personal preference basis. Many times it's the only way to even achieve the results you need. The timing problem you were refering to is none. What you describe is a poorly organized setup, regardless which method you prefer as it doesn't figure in specific workflows of AE like copy&paste and animation/ effects presets.

 

As for myself, I prefer to pre-compose whenever I can, even if it's just a simple two layer matte setup. This pays huge dividends, as I often recycle elemnets throughout multiple comps and whne I update one, the others will inherit all changes.

 

I really don't see why everybody is so crazy about layer sets. At best they would only be a different representation of nesting and I think don't need it. The added convolutedness and user interface noise are just not worth it.

 

Mylenium

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Guest Sao_bento

I will mention this little annoyance regarding pre-composing. With Adobe's new UI style, I always end up with a hundred comp tabs open, which in itself is not the end of the world. The problem comes when you edit a pre comp, then need to move back to the parent comp - Option+double clicking the pre-comp in the parent opens the pre comp, but when you need to return to the parent, you have to either double click the comp icon in the project window, or sort through all the open comp tabs. Avid's version of pre-composing (called "stepping into" a sequence) works with little arrows that point up and down at the bottom of the timeline. To move downward in the hierarchy, you click the down arrow, to move upwards, you click the up arrow - quite similar to navigating through standard OS windows actually. Something along those lines would be a nice addition to each comp's timeline. As another option, they could make the node view actually work.

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I will mention this little annoyance regarding pre-composing. With Adobe's new UI style, I always end up with a hundred comp tabs open, which in itself is not the end of the world. The problem comes when you edit a pre comp, then need to move back to the parent comp - Option+double clicking the pre-comp in the parent opens the pre comp, but when you need to return to the parent, you have to either double click the comp icon in the project window, or sort through all the open comp tabs. Avid's version of pre-composing (called "stepping into" a sequence) works with little arrows that point up and down at the bottom of the timeline. To move downward in the hierarchy, you click the down arrow, to move upwards, you click the up arrow - quite similar to navigating through standard OS windows actually. Something along those lines would be a nice addition to each comp's timeline. As another option, they could make the node view actually work.

 

Much agreed! A node view would do wonders in AE.

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I understand the need to precompose as a form of "baking" effects/masks/mattes in a certain order, but other than compositing (which often requires no keyframing at all), how do you prefer to organize your timeline?

 

...The reason I'm asking is I just inhereted a 3 minute project that is a mess of 8-10 .aep files (I guess you could call them scenes) using hundreds of unlabled elements scattered about with no apparent rhyme or reason. I've been trying to consolidate it all into one project file, and integrate the scenes with decent transitions. The problem is, everytime I see so many layers just strewn all over I just freeze for about 10 minutes trying to get my bearings on where I am, which doesn't look good to the clients sitting behind me.

 

So, is there a better way to organize things than precomposing? Do you use some perfecty articulated shatter effect to bring pieces of a layer in? or for better timing control do you mask each element separately only to increase the layer count exponentially? Do I need to just get used to scrolling through hundreds of layers in one timeline?

 

 

 

Thanks for the compliment Spritely. B)

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Guest Sao_bento

I understand the need to precompose as a form of "baking" effects/masks/mattes in a certain order, but other than compositing (which often requires no keyframing at all), how do you prefer to organize your timeline?

 

...The reason I'm asking is I just inhereted a 3 minute project that is a mess of 8-10 .aep files (I guess you could call them scenes) using hundreds of unlabled elements scattered about with no apparent rhyme or reason. I've been trying to consolidate it all into one project file, and integrate the scenes with decent transitions. The problem is, everytime I see so many layers just strewn all over I just freeze for about 10 minutes trying to get my bearings on where I am, which doesn't look good to the clients sitting behind me.

 

So, is there a better way to organize things than precomposing? Do you use some perfecty articulated shatter effect to bring pieces of a layer in? or for better timing control do you mask each element separately only to increase the layer count exponentially? Do I need to just get used to scrolling through hundreds of layers in one timeline?

Thanks for the compliment Spritely. B)

Pre-composing to clean up someone else's mess is a lot more reasonable than working in an organized fashion to begin with. Working with other people's projects is almost never a good situation (3 Pin Media - I'm looking at you).

 

The good thing in terms of timing stuff out is that Time Remapping is smart enough to look backwards through pre-comps and re-sample keyframes accordingly, so you don't lose anything in terms of smoothness by time remapping animated pre-comps - just be careful about using this approach with comps that contain rendered footage.

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So, is there a better way to organize things than precomposing? Do you use some perfecty articulated shatter effect to bring pieces of a layer in? or for better timing control do you mask each element separately only to increase the layer count exponentially? Do I need to just get used to scrolling through hundreds of layers in one timeline?

Thanks for the compliment Spritely. B)

 

Your problem is not pre-composing or not, it's general footage naming and referencing which sounds like a serious mess. You should make it a point to take care of that first. After that I'm sure you will find many layers that have the same properties or are even actually linked to the same references, so consolidate further. Where you can't use AE's automated functions, replace your clips in the timeline wherever you can and use the "Reveal in Explorer" function to see where redundant files are. Re-link as needed. Once you got thru that, you can think of pre-composing identical setups and replace them as well.

 

Mylenium

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So, is there a better way to organize things than precomposing?

When it's more advantageous to keep things in one comp, I often make use of the ability to assign layers color labels - grouping similar layers that way.

 

I also just ran across this script called ShySets, which will let you set (and name) different "sets" of shy layers and "shy" them on and off at will. The downside is that if you change the number of layers, you create the sets all over again. So I guess in certain situations it could be useful, but I haven't used it yet.

 

But the truth is, most everyone I've met that really knows their way around AE uses precomp and nesting like crazy. Better get used to it.

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I precomp constantly, partially because theres a good possibility someone else will be using my files. I name things correctly and leave comments if nessessary.

 

If timings your problem, then put a null layer or adjustment layer down, and lay out markers on timing hits. Copy and paste your timing null into precomps and adjust to fit.

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I used to feel the same way about precomping... I thought it just made it harder for me to change stuff later on, but once you get the hang of it, it'll save you HOURS. Also, in AE7, there is a little icon on the top left corner of the composition window, and if you click it it will "lock" that composition to the viewer, so no matter what timeline you're working on you can see the parent composition. This is awesome because you can easily work on a precomp and see it in context if you need to. This is definitely my favorite new feature.

 

joey

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Guest spence

You could actually lock a comp window like that in 6.5 as well... though I think you had to set it up through the options menu.

 

And I have to say... I precomp too much, so much so that I end up causing myself problems later on once I'm about 12 pre-comps deep :P

Edited by spence

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i think it would be nice if they added something similar to the way flash works, so that when you open the pre-comp, it just dims out the bg where its being used.

 

 

Thats called 'Edit in place' as used in flash - I've thought that might be useful also.

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