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Keying in After Effects CS3

Article Description

Does the idea of keying conjure up images of a meteorologist on the evening news, or a shooting technique used in motion pictures? With After Effects, even the simplest, least-expensive project can take advantage of keying. The Adobe Creative Team takes us through a step-by-step example of this technique.

Copying Effects Across Two Layers

The Channel 5 news logo could use some pizzazz, similar to the improvements you made to the title Tuesdays with Taryn. The easiest way to make the same changes is to copy-and-paste them onto the logo.

  1. Select the Tuesdays with Taryn text layer in the Timeline panel, and press E to display all of the effects properties for the layer.
  2. Select the Drop Shadow property name for the Tuesdays with Taryn layer, and then choose Edit > Copy or press Ctrl-C (Mac OS: Command-C).
  3. Select the Logo/Channel 5 news layer in the Timeline panel, and then choose Edit > Paste or press Ctrl-V (Mac OS: Command-V).

    After Effects copies the drop shadow effect to the Channel 5 news logo, with the same settings you applied to the title text layer. Select the Logo/Channel 5 news layer and press E to see the drop shadow property (see Figure 36).

  4. Save your project, and then press the 0 key on the numeric keypad to create and watch a RAM Preview of the final spot. You might want to drag the work area end bracket to about 4:20 to preview only the first half, which is where most of the animation occurs.
  5. Press the spacebar when you want to stop playback.

Congratulations—you have successfully keyed a composition!