Learn Adobe After Effect's basic tools and techniques with the Get Started series. Get familiar with the workspace and how to create and save your work.

Open and save projects

Open, create, and save new projects.


What you learned: Open or create projects

  • The Start screen contains a list of previously opened projects.
  • Click the New Project button on the Start screen to create a new project, or the Open Project button to open a project file.


Tour the interface

Get to know the interface.


What you learned: The interface

  • Active panels are highlighted in blue. When you click any panel you make it active and are able to access its options.
  • Menu bar (at the very top) shows the File, Edit, Composition, and other menus that give you access to a variety of commands, adjustments, and panels.
  • Tools panel (under the menu bar, upper left) contains tools for adding and editing elements in your compositions. Similar tools are grouped together. You can access related tools in a group by clicking and holding a tool in the panel.
  • Project panel (upper left corner below the Tools panel) is the area where you import, search, and organize assets in your After Effects projects. In the bottom of the panel you can create new folders and compositions as well as change item and project settings.
  • Composition panel (center) is a viewport showing the currently loaded composition. Compositions contain one or more layers of video and or graphic elements stacked in the timeline.
  • Timeline (bottom) displays layers of the currently loaded composition.
  • Close a project: Choose File > Close Project.


Import media

Import assets for use in a project.


What you learned: Import media into a project

  • In the menu bar, choose File > Import > File to open the Import dialog box, navigate the files accessible to your system and choose the elements to import.
  • Double-click in an empty area of the Project panel to automatically open the Import dialog box without having to go to the menu bar.
  • Imported files are not embedded in your After Effects Project. Their location is referenced by the project.
  • All files imported into a project don’t have to reside in a composition.

Organize projects

Create order for assets in the Project panel.


What you learned: Organize assets in the Project panel

  • Dragging an element in the Project panel down to the New Folder icon will create a folder and add the dragged element directly into that new folder.
  • Labels are another method for organizing and selecting multiple elements in a project.
  • You can browse and organize elements using columns in the Project panel.
  • The search field in the Project panel can help you find specific assets.
  • Dragging an element in the Project panel down to the trash icon will delete the file from the project.


Up next: Work with compositions



Presenter: Ian Robinson

Contributor: Will Freeman

Contributor: David K. Helmly 

Contributor: Dave Werner


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