The Essential Graphics panel allows you to build custom controls for motion graphics and share them as Motion Graphics templates via Creative Cloud Libraries or as local files. Essential Graphics panel works as a bucket in which you can add different controls, modify them, and then pack them as shareable Motion Graphics templates. A new workspace for working with the Essential Graphics panel in After Effects, named Essential Graphics, is available from the workspace bar. You can access the workspace from the Window > Workspace.
The Essential Graphics panel in After Effects can be used in three main ways:
- As a control surface within After Effects: Use the Essential Graphics panel as a control surface for your compositions. Drag parameters from your timeline into Essential Graphics panel to create shortcuts for the elements in your composition you change often.
- To create Master Properties that work as master controls that allow you to modify effect and layer properties of a composition when it is nested in another composition.
- To export Motion Graphics templates (.mogrt): Encapsulate your After Effects project into a Motion Graphics template that can be edited directly in Premiere Pro. All the source images, videos, and pre-comps necessary to maintain your design are packaged in the template. Only the controls you expose are available for customization in Premiere Pro that allows you to retain creative control of your design.
Creating Motion Graphics templates in After Effects
In the Essential Graphics panel, use the Master drop-down to select a composition in your project to start building a Motion Graphics template.
To open a composition in Essential Graphics panel in After Effects, do any of the following:
- To open current composition, select Composition > Open in Essential Graphics.
- To open a particular composition, right-click a composition in the Project panel, and select Open in Essential Graphics.
- To open any composition in your project, click the Master menu in the Essential Graphics panel.
The Master composition is the current composition in the Essential Graphics panel. You can add supported properties from the Master composition to the panel. You can also add properties from the compositions that are in the hierarchy of the master composition.
Properties from composition that are not in the hierarchy of the master composition are considered unrelated properties. When you add unrelated properties to the Essential Graphics panel, a warning message is displayed. The properties are still added to the panel, but are highlighted in red and have no effect when exported as a Motion Graphics template.
Tip: To use unrelated properties, nest the composition containing the properties into the master composition or the hierarchy.
Unrelated properties do not work when the composition is exported as a Motion Graphics template.
You can add supported properties from any effect or any layer property group such as - Transform, Masks, and Material Options.
Types of supported controls:
- Check box
- Numerical slider (a single-value numerical property), such as Transform > Opacity or the Slider Control expression control effect
- Source text
- 2D point properties, such as Transform > Anchor Point, Transform > Position, and the Point Control expression control effect
- 2D scale properties, such as Transform > Scale
- Angle properties, such as Transform > Rotate and the Angle Control expression control effect
If you add unsupported properties, After Effects displays a warning message, 'After Effects Error: Property type is not yet supported for use in Motion Graphics templates.'
To add a control, drag single or multiple selected properties from the timeline into the Essential Graphics panel.
You can also use the Add Property to Essential Graphics panel command to add properties to the Essential Graphics panel from either the Timeline or Effect Controls panels. Use any of the following steps to add properties:
- Select a property in the Timeline panel, then select Animation > Add Property to Essential Graphics.
- Right-click a property in the Timeline panel or Effect Controls panel, then select Add Property to Essential Graphics from the menu.
You can also assign a keyboard shortcut to the Add Property to Essential Graphics panel command. To learn the steps, see Visual Keyboard Shortcut Editor.
If you want to only view the properties supported by the Essential Graphics panel, click the Solo Supported Properties button in the panel. The button filters the properties and displays the supported properties in the timeline.
You can use the Essential Graphics panel to customize controls in the following ways:
- Rename a control: To rename a control, do any of the following:
- Click the name field of the control and enter a new name.
- Drag and highlight the current name and enter a new name.
- Reveal source properties: To reveal the source properties of a control in the timeline, right-click the control name and choose Reveal in Timeline from the context menu. The reveal option opens the related composition even if it is closed.
- Reorder the controls: To reorder the controls, drag them up or down in the panel.
The controls that you add to the Essential Graphics panel are linked to the source properties. Changing the value of a control also changes the value of the properties in the composition. For example, if you change the Opacity to 50% in the panel, the value of Opacity in the composition also changes to 50%.
The composition values are simultaneously updated as you slide the value of numerical controls in the panel. To disable the live update feature, hold Option (Mac) or Alt (Win) as you slide.
To add comments, click the Add Comment button at the bottom of the Essential Graphics panel. You can add multiple comments, rename them, and reorder them. You can also undo and redo adding comments, reorder them, and remove them if necessary.
- To rename, click the name field of the comment and enter a new name.
- To reorder, drag the comment up or down the panel.
To delete a comment, select the comment and press Backspace or Delete.
When you duplicate a composition in the Project panel (cmd+D Mac or ctrl+D Win), After Effects duplicates properties and comments added to the Essential Graphics panel for that composition.
To name or rename your Motion Graphics template, click the name field of the template, and enter a new name.
You can set the poster frame for your template. The poster frame is used as the thumbnail image for your template in Creative Cloud libraries and the Essential Graphics panel in Premiere Pro.
To set the poster frame, follow these steps:
In the Export As Motion Graphics Template dialog, click the Destination menu. The available destinations are:
- Creative Cloud Libraries: Add templates to your Creative Cloud Libraries.
- Essential Graphics: Add templates to the local folder by default. Templates stored in the Essential Graphics folder are directly available in the Essential Graphics panel in Premiere Pro.
- Local Drive: Save templates to a local directory. The templates you save to your local directory are not automatically available in the Essential Graphics panel in Premiere Pro.
Select a check box under Compatibility:
- Warn me if this Motion Graphics template uses fonts that are not available on Typekit: Enable this option if you want After Effects to warn you if any fonts used by the composition are not available on Typekit.
- Warn me if After Effects needs to be installed in order to customize this Motion Graphics template: Enable this option if you only want to export After Effects independent features - for example, any third-party plug-ins.
For more information on adding assets to Creative Cloud Libraries, see Creative Cloud Libraries in After Effects.
These options only display warnings, they do not modify the content of the Motion Graphics template. To edit the project to meet the requirements, cancel the export and make the changes, then export the Motion Graphics template again.
You can author Motion Graphics templates (.mogrt files) that do not require the user to have After Effects installed on their computer to customize them. Make sure that your templates meet the following requirements to ensure an After Effects install is not required for the user of your .mogrt:
- Only the Classic 3D composition renderer is supported; the CINEMA 4D and Ray-traced 3D renderers are not supported.
- All effects included with After Effects are supported, except: Camera-Shake Deblur, Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse, Maxon CINEWARE, Puppet, and Warp Stabilizer.
- Dynamic Link footage is not supported such as Premiere Pro sequences or Character Animator CC scenes in an After Effects composition.
- FLV format footage and third-party plug-ins are not supported.
To edit your After Effects Motion Graphics template (.mogrt files), you can open them in After Effects as a Project file. After you edit the template, re-export it as a .mogrt file.
To open a Motion Graphics template as a project, use the following steps:
You can also modify a Motion Graphics template used in a sequence in Premiere Pro 12.1 with the following steps:
- In After Effects, open the .mogrt file as a project. Modify one or more compositions, or add or change controls in the Essential Graphics panel.
- After you make the edits, in the Essential Graphics panel, click Export Motion Graphics Template button. You can either replace the original .mogrt file or select a new location or name for the updated file.
- In Premiere Pro, hold Option (MacOS) or Alt (Win) and drag the new or updated .mogrt from the Browse tab of the Essential Graphics panel and over the existing .mogrt clip in the sequence. Premiere Pro updates the Edit tab of the Essential Graphics panel with the new controls.
Master Properties work as master controls that allow you to access layer and effect properties of a composition when it is nested in another composition. This can be time-saving when you build complex animations across multiple nested compositions as you don't have to open separate precompositions to view their properties. Master Properties can override their original values and keyframes, which allows you to reuse the same composition as multiple instances with different values. The source composition remains the same, your edits only create instances that you can render after editing your comp. Refer to the Glossary of terms for a list of terms used to explain Master Properties.
To create Master Properties, in the Essential Graphics panel, add properties from a nested composition, or nest the composition (Layer > Precompose) after you add the properties. For more information on the property types supported by the Essential Graphics panel, see Types of supported controls. Once you nest the composition, the Timeline panel displays the Master Properties group of the precomposition layer.
The core workflow to create Master Properties is similar to how you create controls for a Motion Graphics template. The difference is how you use the properties - whether you use the master properties on a precomposition in After Effects or on a Motion Graphics template in Premiere Pro.
Refer to the glossary of terms (existing and new) to understand the commonly used terms when you work with compositions and Master Properties:
Nest and Precomposition
Parent composition and Child composition
Master composition and Master property
Linked properties - When you nest a master composition, the master properties of that precomposition link to the source properties. For example, if Comp B is nested in Comp A, the effect and layer properties of Comp B are the source properties. From Comp B, the properties that you add to the Essential Graphics panel are the Master Properties. When you modify the source properties, master properties of the precomposition also change.
Unlinked properties - When you modify master properties of the precomposition, however, they become unlinked. Unlinking creates an instance of the master composition. You can modify both the master properties and the source properties independently.
When you modify a master property, it overrides the value or keyframes of the source property. The precomposition is a unique instance of the master composition and only this instance renders with the modified value or keyframes.
When you modify a master property, the Pull and Push buttons in the Timeline panel are enabled, and the name of the master property turns bold. These are the indications that a property is unlinked.
The Pull and Push buttons relink a master property with the source property. There are Pull and Push buttons for each master property, and for the entire Master Properties group.
- Pull discards the modified value, keyframes, and expression of a master property.
- Push applies the modified value, keyframes, and expression of a master property to the source property.
After you click either the Pull or Push button, master properties again link to their source properties, and disable the Pull and Push buttons.
When you push a modified master property back to source property, all instances of the same master composition are updated if the same master property is linked. For example, you create a master composition for a credit roll and nest it multiple times, and modify the color master property on only one of the precompositions. When you push the new color value back to source value, all instances of the master composition render with the new color value.
- To relink multiple master properties of a precomposition with their source properties:
Select the specific master properties and click the Pull or Push button on the Master Properties group.
- To relink all master properties of a precomposition with their source properties:
Deselect all master properties in the Timeline panel and click the Pull or Push button on the Master Properties group.
In the context of a parent composition, you cannot use the Type tools to modify Source Text master properties in the Composition panel.
To modify the text string of a Source Text master property, do either of the following:
- Right-click the Source Text master property and select Edit Value. Edit the text string in the dialog, then click OK.
- Apply an expression to the Source Text master property. Ensure to include double quotes around the new string. For example, "She sells seashells by the sea shore."
While you work with Master Properties in After Effects, you can run into a few issues. For a complete list, see Known issues with Master Properties.