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3 Tips to Utilize Animation Source Files

All digitally animated videos are created in softwares like Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate, or ToonBoom Harmony. But no matter the software, there is a series of data, drawings, and files that make up every project. These networks of interconnected data, known as source files, collect files, working files, or art files, can enable edits or tweaks for years beyond a project’s completion. Wondering how you can utilize your animation source files? Here are three main steps to better understand your project files!

1. Uncompress Your Zip File

Zip files are a commonly used file format that compresses multiple files into one single file that is smaller and easier to exchange. Typically, you can double-click a zip file to open it up and access its contents. However, if you’re struggling to unzip or uncompress a zip file, many free websites and softwares can do it for you.

Before you open a zip file, make sure it is in the location that you’d like it to live. Sometimes during the process of moving collect files, certain file paths can become un-linked. Be sure to avoid relocating, renaming, or deleting any contents from a source file folder to avoid unlinking important assets.

2. Open After Effects

When first opening your AEP file in After Effects – or even a PRPROJ file in Premiere – there is a small chance you may see a popup indicating a missing file. If the missing files exist in the project folder, you can relocate and relink them within the software. If you receive an error indicating a missing font, be sure to close the software without saving, and download the exact fonts to your computer before editing your video file.

Additionally, if you receive an error indicating a missing effect or plug-in, this typically should not affect the project. Most professional studios in the industry often use plug-ins to quickly achieve high quality effects, transitions, and character movements. To adjust animated sequences created using plugins, you can buy or subscribe to the original plugin software online.

If you’d like to make edits or additions to your project files, it’s generally best to think out all your visual goals and transitions before editing the files, so that you know exactly what to change before re-working your video.

3. Navigate the Adobe Platform

The upper-left section of the default After Effects platform displays a list of all the assets, shapes, files, and compositions that make up your project. What are compositions? Compositions are local scenes within After Effects that contain both internally and externally created layers. In complex animated videos, animators often embed compositions within each other to maintain organized and clean layers.

Across the top and upper-right sides of the platforms, you’ll find an infinite variety of tools, effects, and variables to design and adjust your project. By double clicking a composition in the upper-left list panel, it will open in the timeline tab across the lower center of the platform. As you scrub through the composition timeline or adjust its layer attributes, you can see your edits in the center playback panel.

If your video is awkwardly sized during playback, be sure to change your zoom percentage drop down under your playback to ‘Fit’ into the frame. If it is struggling to load or plays slowly, try lowering the ‘Full’ resolution dropdown to ‘Half’, ‘Third’, or ‘Quarter’ of the maximum render quality to decrease load time.

Reach Out with Questions!

While this only scratches the surface of the many capabilities of Adobe After Effects to create our complex project files, we certainly hope it helps your editing journey! As always, we are always here to help or answer any questions you may have.

Ready to produce a new Explainer Video? Schedule a video consultation today!

Technical Terminology in Video Production

Animators, editors, and film experts of all kinds use a vast vocabulary of terms during video production. Whether you’re brand new to the video world or a seasoned expert in need of a refresher, the following terminology is a must-know! Frame Rate The frame rate refers to the number of frames per second (fps) that a camera captures or that a video displays. While 24 fps is typical, 25, 29.97, 30, and 60 fps are all also common for different purposes. Higher frame rates result in larger file sizes and are not always necessary. However, depending on your video's purpose, it can provide more crisp, appealing movement. Color Correction vs. Color Grade Color correction is the vital process of adjusting the colors and tones of a video in order to remove off-color casts, brighten light objects, and to darken dark objects. After color correction, color grading is the adjustment of a video’s colors in order to achieve a specific aesthetic effect. Audio Mix / Audio Production During the final stages of production, the team mixes a video's individual audio tracks to balance dialogue, music, sound effects, room tone, and more. Rudimentary audio mixing can be done within some basic softwares, but fine tuning can be achieved in post-production softwares such as Adobe Audition & Adobe Premiere, or Logic Pro. Resolution Professionals use resolution as a term to describe the length and width of pixels. High resolution looks better but results in larger files. Compression lowers resolution slightly, but it’s usually negligible between 4k and 1080p. Even 720p is good enough for most phone screens! Compression Beautiful high res video often means large files! To avoid taking up storage space, and to post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more, use compression. Compressing videos can minimize file sizes while preserving key qualities by removing unnecessary, redundant, or non-functional data from your video file. While it does take a bit of time to reduce the amount of data in a video file, compression is usually recommended for online uploads because of the time and storage it’ll save you later. Bitrate (Mbps / Kbps) The amount of data used per second in a video defines the bitrate or data rate. Bitrate affects the way fast-moving objects look, and can also contribute to overly large file sizes. We stick to 10 to 16 Megabits-per-second VBR/CBR as a high-quality bitrate for most HD videos. Rendering & Exporting Exporting a video means combining all clips, images, sounds, and effects into one final file. This final file can be in formats like .mov or .mp4. Although, professionals also sometimes refer to exporting as rendering; a render typically describes the real-time view within the editing software. This gives you an idea of what your export will look like. Most computers cannot view high-quality renders in real-time. This is why high processing power is essential for a video production studio. Codec & Container All video files are made up of two parts: the codec and the container. Codecs are different specific algorithms that compress and decompress all data contained in a video file. This is necessary because most videos contain elements that are too large to result in a playable final video. Different codecs used in softwares like Adobe Premiere, Adobe Media Encoder, Adobe After Effects, iMovie, or QuickTime will determine which media players can play back a video. Here are a few common codecs and which file formats they work with: X264 compresses H.264 standard HD videos FFmpeg works with formats including MPEG-2 DVD and MPEG-4 files DivX works will certain MPEG-4 files Different codecs result in different video qualities and different containers, such as MP4, MOV, and AVI file types. ProRes 422 can be great for high-res archival purposes. Although, you can’t go wrong with H.264 for most types of online videos! File Types Video file types and formats - made up of the codec and the container - define the type of computer file that a video is stored as. Different file formats have different purposes, so it’s important to choose the correct type for different projects. MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14) is the most common video format, preferred by Apple, YouTube, and many social networks and devices. However, it has a slightly lower definition than other file formats. MOV (QuickTime Movie) files generally have higher quality output, which unfortunately comes with larger file sizes. MOV files are ideal for high quality viewing in QuickTime, on TV, or on YouTube. AVI (Audio Video Interleave) is one of the oldest video file formats used today. Fun Fact: it was created in 1992 for Windows operating systems! While AVI files are large, they provide some of the highest-quality playbacks. Plus, they work with nearly every Mac, Windows, and Linux web browser. Other formats like WMV, AVCHD, FLV, F4V, SWF, MKV, WEBM, HTML5, and MPEG-2, all have purposes for different devices and viewing platforms, such as DVDs, website embeds, and streaming services. Ready to learn even more? Reach out to the Explainly team with questions anytime at www.explainly.com/contact-explainly!

Customer Service in Video Production

Customer service is extremely important when clients are vetting which agency they want to partner with. At Explainly, we provide all of our clients with ‘white glove’ customer service. Meaning that we work in tandem with them to become an extension of their team, whether it be marketing or internal communications. All our project managers are equipped with the tools to provide seamless project management service to every client, even down to tailoring our communication styles to meet our clients’ preferences.

3 Tips to Utilize Animation Source Files

All digitally animated videos are created in softwares like Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate, or ToonBoom Harmony. But no matter the software, there is a series of data, drawings, and files that make up every project. These networks of interconnected data, known as source files, collect files, working files, or art files, can enable edits or tweaks for years beyond a project’s completion. Wondering how you can utilize your animation source files? Here are three main steps to better understand your project files!

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