Use this page to know about the Essential Graphics panel in After Effects and how to work with Motion Graphics templates and Master Properties.

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 four 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.
  • To group controls together, control font properties, and add controls for CSV and TSV spreadshseet data sources to a Motion Graphics template. You can access the groups with the Add Formatting menu in the Essential Graphics panel. The Add Comment command can be accessed from this menu.

Creating Motion Graphics templates in After Effects

Creating Motion Graphics templates in After Effects
Watch this video to learn about creating Motion Graphics templates in After Effects

Work with Essential Graphics panel

Compositions in Essential Graphics panel

In the Essential Graphics panel, use the Master drop-down to select a composition in your project to start building a Motion Graphics template.

Viewing compositions from Master menu
Viewing compositions from Master menu

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.

Master composition

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.

Note:

Unrelated properties do not work when the composition is exported as a Motion Graphics template.

Add and modify controls

Add controls

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
  • Color
  • 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.

Adding controls in the Essential Graphics panel
Adding controls in the Essential Graphics panel

View supported properties

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.

Modify controls

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.

Create groups of controls

You can group controls in the Essential Graphics panel for better navigation and to reduce clutter. This is particularly helpful when you add long lists of editable controls or the master properties of nested compositions to the panel.

To create a group, click the Add Formatting menu in the lower-left corner of the Essential Graphics panel, then select Add Group.

To add a control to a group, drag it over the group name.

Font controls

When you add a text layer to the Essential Graphics panel, you can modify and control the font family, font style, size, and faux styles of that layer in a Motion Graphics template. Use the following steps to add font property controls to the panel:

  1. Add the Source Text property of a text layer to the Essential Graphics panel.

  2. Click Edit Properties option on the right side of the control row.

     

  3. In the Source Text Properties dialog, select the font properties to control from the following options:

    • Enable Custom Font Selection - Adds the Font Family and Font Style controls.
    • Enable Font Size Adjustment - Adds the Font Size control.
    • Enable Faux Styles - Adds Faux Bold, Faux Italic, All Caps, and Small Caps controls.

    Click OK.

    There is another option in this dialog - Use layer as fallback text box, when you check it on, you can select a comp/subcomp and a shape or clip layer to determine an alternate text box for editing the text in Premiere Pro Program Monitor. This is needed because so many mogrts have text rects which are are unusable - either offscreen, incorrect size, or incorrect placement.

    Alternate text rects
    Alternate text rects

Note:

Font controls are unsupported as master properties of a nested composition.

Add comments in Essential Graphics panel

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.

Modifying controls
Modifying controls

Note:

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.

Export as Motion Graphics templates

Name the template

To name or rename your Motion Graphics template, click the name field of the template, and enter a new name.

Set poster frame for the template

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:

  1. In the master composition, place the current-time indicator on the frame you want to select.

  2. Click the Set Poster Time button in the Essential Graphics panel.

Export a template

To export your composition as a Motion Graphics template, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Export Motion Graphics Template button at the bottom of the Essential Graphics panel. Compositions in the hierarchy of the master composition are included in the template.

  2. 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.
  3. Exporting the Motion Graphics templates
    Exporting the Motion Graphics templates

    Select a check box under Compatibility:

    • Warn me if this Motion Graphics template uses fonts that are not available from Adobe Fonts: Enable this option if you want After Effects to warn you if any fonts used by the composition are not available on Adobe Fonts.
    • 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.

    Note:

    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.

  4. Choose the export destination from the Destination menu and click OK.

Note:

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.

Open Motion Graphics templates as a project

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:

  1. Select File > Open Project.

  2. In the Open Project dialog, select a .mogrt file, then click Open.
  3. When you open a .mogrt as a project, After Effects extracts the project file and assets. In the Extract "<filename>.mogrt" dialog, choose a location to extract the .mogrt contents, then click Extract.

You can also modify a Motion Graphics template used in a sequence in Premiere Pro 12.1 with the following steps:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. In After Effects, open the .mogrt file as a project. Modify the compositions, or add or modify controls in the Essential Graphics panel.

  2. After you edit, 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.

  3. In Premiere Pro, in the Browse tab of the Essential Graphics panel, hold Opt (MacOS) or Alt (Win) and drag the new or updated .mogrt over the existing .mogrt clip in the sequence. Premiere Pro updates the Edit tab of the Essential Graphics panel with the new controls.

Work with data-driven Motion Graphics templates

Data-driven Motion Graphics templates allow you to quickly and accurately customize bar charts, line graphs, and more, without manual entry or deep knowledge of motion graphics.

With this feature, you can add controls for CSV (comma-separated value) and TSV (tab-separated value) spreadsheet data to the Essential Graphics panel. When you export these Motion Graphics templates with data controls to Premiere Pro, you can modify or replace them in Premiere Pro.

Another use is that the data controls in the Essential Graphics panel can work as a data browser or editor for CSV or TSV data layers in your composition without exporting it as a template. When you add a composition with spreadsheet data to the panel, the panel displays all the related data which is editable. If you are working with a nested composition, the data controls are not accessible as master properties of that composition.

Use the following steps to add data controls to the Essential Graphics panel:

  1. Import a CSV or TSV file into your project and add it to your composition.

  2. In the Timeline panel, twirl open the layer properties for the data layer.

  3. Select and drag the data property group of the layer to the Essential Graphics panel.

You can modify the following properties for spreadsheet data in the Essential Graphics panel:

  • Spreadsheet Properties: Click Edit Properties to the right of the data group to modify the following:
    • Data property type: Choose the data type for the values in each column. Use this to change how the spreadsheet values are represented in Premiere Pro. An After Effects author sets the type for each column in After Effects. In Premiere Pro, the type translates as either a text string, a hot text slider for numbers, or a hexadecimal value for color (for example, #EE0473).
    • Minimum Rows: In Premiere Pro, you can modify the number of rows used in the Motion Graphics template. Set the minimum number of rows allowed.
  • Rows: In Premiere Pro, you can modify the number of rows used in the Motion Graphics template. Set the maximum number of rows allowed.
  • Data properties:
    • Column names: Modify the column names that display in the Motion Graphics template.
    • Data values: Modify the value of a spreadsheet cell. To choose the row you edit, change the Row menu at the top of the Data values group.

Note:

When you add the Data property group of a data layer to the panel, it removes the expressions that link the data properties of the layer to the source data file. It changes them to static values. If you modify the source data file outside of After Effects, the static data values automatically update.

For more information on how to use these templates in Premiere Pro, see Work with data-driven Motion Graphics templates.

Note:

If you are working with .tsv files, specifically with Excel in German (but this impacts any language that uses a comma instead of a decimal), Excel saves the .tsv files as .txt files. You need to manually change the file extension to .tsv before attaching it to a Motion Graphics template in Premiere Pro.

Alternatively, you can use other spreadsheet tools like Open Office or Google Sheets.

Basics of Master Properties

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.

For detailed information, see Work with Master Properties to create Motion Graphics templates.

Use expressions to create dropdown menus in the Essential Graphics panel

When you author a Motion Graphics template, it is common to keep the MOGRT flexible for editors using them in Premiere Pro by giving sliders and checkboxes to customize properties. However, for more complex workflows with multiple options, using sliders or checkboxes is not always intiuitive, and is time consuming. You can use the Dropdown Menu Control which is especially helpful for authors of Motion Graphics Templates and editors in Premiere Pro as the menu makes it easier to have more control options and a simpler experience to adjust parameters.

For detailed information, see Use expressions to create Dropdown menu in the Essential Graphics panel.

For more information on how it works in Premiere Pro, see Use Motion Graphics templates in Premiere Pro.

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