Add responsive design to your graphics

Learn how to create and work with responsive design - time in After Effects.

The Responsive Design - Time feature allows you to author adaptive motion graphics. The feature enables adaptive time-stretching when a composition is nested or when it is exported as a Motion Graphics template. Adaptive time-stretching means that the the protected regions animate in the same amount of time even if you time-stretch the unprotected regions.

You can protect the intros, outros, and any arbitary region of a composition, and save the responsive design templates and reuse them in different projects to avoid duplicating and retiming.

With this feature, the animation pins to the graphic or sequence and adapts to the edits you make to them. This enables you to create complex animations and Motion Graphics templates that can responsively retime to align with a sequence in a project.

For example, you create a lower third and animate fade in/out and add responsive design-time. Responsive design preserves the animation time regardless of when the duration of the clip is extended or trimmed.

Understand Responsive Design - Time

Take the following example to illustrate the problem:

You create a text animation with a fade-in/out and you need the animation to be as long as the sequence. The animation comprises of two sets of text that fade in against a black background.

Add the same animation to a different sequence. Every element of the animation such as the font size, and the start and end time of the fade in/out, should match with the sequence. One way is to duplicate the animation to align it with the length of the sequence. However, this approach can be time-consuming as you need to move the animation keyframes to align the fade in/out with the sequence.

This is where you can use responsive design – Time. You can protect the fade in/out regions (comprising of keyframes) and extend the animation. This attaches the regions to the sequence and the amount of time they take to animate remains unaffected even when you time-stretch the animation to match the length of the sequence. Once attached, the animation dynamically adapts to the length of the sequence.

Apply Responsive Design - Time

You can apply Responsive Design – Time in the following three ways:

  1. Option 1:

    In the Composition menu, select one of the options from the Responsive Design – Time sub-menu:

    • Create Intro: Creates a protected region for 15% of the composition duration, starts on the first frame of the composition.
    • Create Outro: Creates a protected region for 15% of the composition duration, ends on the last frame of the composition.
    • Create Protected Region from Work Area: Creates a protected region with start and end points that align with the work area bar. The protected regions are shaded in blue.

  2. Option 2:

    Drag the work area bar to select the region you want to set as protected region. Right-click the work area bar, then select Create Protected Region from Work Area.

  3. Option 3:

    Click the marker icon at the right-side of the timeline and create a composition marker.

  4. In the Timeline panel, double-click the marker to open the Composition Marker settings dialog, and set a duration and enable the Protected Region option.

Add the animation to another composition

Once you set the protected regions, outros, and intros of your animation, you can add them to different compositions or sequences.

Refer to the following example to illustrate the process:

    • Name the animation with protected regions, for example, Comp A.
    • Name the composition you have to add the animation to, for example, Comp B.

    Open Comp B in the Timeline panel.

  1. In the timeline, drag and place the Comp A over Comp B.

  2. The timeline displays the protected regions as shaded in blue. Hold the end point of Comp A and drag it to match the end point of Comp B.

    When you preview the comp, the protected regions in the animation take the same amount of time to animate and only the unprotected regions are stretched.

Work with nested composition with multiple protected regions

  • When you drag the in and out points of a composition that has one or more protected regions and it is nested into another composition, it time-stretches the composition instead of trimming. The feature preserves the duration of the protected regions. For example, when you time-stretch a clip of 5 seconds that has protected regions of 2 seconds, to make it 10 seconds, the duration of the protected regions remains 2 seconds long.
  • To trim the in or out point of the layer instead of time-stretching, hold the Option (macOS) or Alt (Windows) key and drag the in and out points.
  • Protected regions are composition markers with the Protected Region option enabled, with different handle icons to make it easy to identify. Protected region markers behave the same as other composition markers, except that when you nest a composition with protected regions, those markers can not be modified. Instead, the layer bar for the nested composition is shaded to indicate the protected regions.
  • If you modify a protected region after you nest a composition, the protected region marker on the nested composition layer does not get automatically updated. To update markers on a nested composition layer, select the layer and choose Layer > Markers > Update Markers from Source.
  • You can also access the Protected Region option through scripting or expressions using the protectedRegion attribute of composition markers.

Export a composition with protected regions as a Motion Graphics template

When you export a composition with protected regions as a Motion Graphics template and add to a sequence in Premiere Pro, you can adust the length directly without doing time remap.

You can drag the in and out points of the clip to time-stretch the composition instead of trimming the in or out point. The duration of protected regions is preserved.

  • When you export a composition containining audio as a Motion Graphics template, it does not not time stretch adaptively in Premiere Pro.
  • Compositions that use the CINEMA 4D renderer and contain 3D layers, or that contain a CINEMA 4D layer that uses the CINEWARE effect, could face issues in smooth animation of non-protected regions when the composition is time-stretched.

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