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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.

Adding the Background Animation

With a clean key, you're ready to add the background to the composition.

  1. Press the Home key to make sure that the current-time indicator is at the beginning of the time ruler.
  2. Click the Project tab, and drag the L7BG.mov item from the Project panel to the Timeline panel, placing it at the bottom of the layer stack (see Figure 23).

    Let's see how the keyed actor looks against the animated background.

  3. Press the 0 key on the numeric keypad to watch a RAM Preview of the composition. If you have a sharp eye, you may still notice a few aliasing artifacts here and there around the actor. Remember, you're working with footage that originated in MiniDV, so some aliasing is going to occur. Also, keep in mind that the computer monitor has a better resolution than a television set. To judge the results of your key accurately, you need to connect your system to a video monitor and view the results there.
  4. When you're done watching the RAM Preview, press the spacebar to stop playback.
  5. Choose File > Save to save your work.
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