Setting Up PSD files in After Effects - Part I

Free After Effects Tutorial & How To Guide

Download Project Files here

Organizing Photo Layers

  1. After opening the provided file, press L to use the Lasso tool.
  2. Select the photos layer.
  3. Draw a circle around the rightmost picture.
  4. Hit Cmnd-X (Mac) / Ctrl-X (PC) to cut the image.
  5. Hit Cmnd-V (Mac) / Ctrl-V (PC) to paste the image.
  6. Double click the new layer’s name in the layer window.
  7. Rename the layer to Family Photo.
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 for each photo, renaming them Dog Photo, Nature Photo, etc.
  9. Hit V to use the Selection tool.
  10. Click on each layer in the layer window and drag them wherever looks good. Preferably spread the photos out across the composition, with three on top and two on the bottom.
  11. Select the layer and hit Cmnd-R (Mac) / Ctrl-R (PC) to activate the Rotation tool to rotate any photos. Click and drag the cursor to the left or right to tilt the image.
  12. After the photos are in place, place each one in its group. To do this, click on a photo layer, and click the folder icon at the bottom of the layer window.
  13. Double click on the new group’s name to rename it. Name it according to the layer it contains, like Family Photo Group, Dog Photo Group, etc.
  14. Right-click on the group’s icon in the layer stack and choose a color to color code it.
  15. Repeat steps 12-14 for each photo layer and group.

Organizing Text

  1. Hit T for the Text tool.
  2. Click and drag out a text box in the composition window.
  3. Retype the word “family!”. The typeface used is Seaweed Script, a free Google font, and the average size used is 48 points.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 for every other word. Adjust size and rotation to match the previous words as needed.
  5. Click and drag each new text layer into position on their respective photos, using the layer named “text” as a guide.
  6. Delete the layer named “text.”
  7. Click and drag each new text layer into their respective groups.

New Logo File

  1. Double click on the Smart Object icon on the Photography Logo layer. Doing this will open Adobe Illustrator.
  2. Save the Illustrator file in an easily accessible location.

Final Details

  1. Back in PS, double click on Layer 0.
  2. Rename it to “BG.”
  3. Select Layer 2, the film grain layer, and delete it.
  4. Save the file.

Video Transcription

This is Tziporah Zions from Noble Desktop. And in this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to set up and use PMC files in Adobe After Effects. So we'll be taking this piece file here. Basically organizing the layers in such a way so it's easy to animate after effects. We're going to be dividing up a single layer to some groups.

We're doing some of the words here as text layers, placing the texture and turning the logo here into its own file so it can be animated. So here's what the project looks like when it's done. Now, this kind of thing is super important to know because very often you're going to be receiving DSD files that aren't optimally set up for after effects, whether you're working on a team or downloading assets, it's good to know how to set up a file so you can actually animate it.

Some stuff that looks good or works in Photoshop isn't great for after effects, but there's ways to translate your project so that it looks the same and actually animate. So for external assets, we're going to be using a DH, all these pictures and that logo on it. So the PSP file for this will be available in the video description below.

You're going to be making your own after effects file based on it. All right, let's check it out. So the first thing that we're going to be doing is showing you what each layers has in this. So you know, the layer called text, you can see you're out contains all the text. As you can see, it's all in one layer.

We're going to divide it up. This layer two is kind of film grain. It's set on screen. So, you know, we're we're acting as if someone handed the source in a project, the photography logo. You can see this icon means it's a smart object. Right down there. And Layer four, if we hide it and reveal it, that's all the pictures all together.

And then finally, layer zero is the word background. There's a couple of issues with how this is set up for after effects, but well, we'll get into that more in depth as we go along. But let's import this as this into AfterEffects and I'll show you what's going to happen. All right. So soon after effects and let's import it.

So now in after Effects, I'm importing my stuff. I'm going to photo collage import routine layer sizes. Import. Yes, editable. Thank you. And I'm going to drag it on to position. So this is for the purpose of showing you what the main issues are with how this is set up currently. So if I want to change the opacity of the text, for instance, well, first of all, in one layer, if I want to do each one by itself, the only way I'd be able to do it currently is like masking each part of this text layer and like hiding it and then revealing it.

And, you know, it's, it's a lot harder than it should be. You know, layer two, I'm like, well, what is layer two? You know, like what what does it contain? And only by like hiding it and revealing it, I'm like, Oh, it's the film Green. But the thing with that, like, because it's a static image, I can make it look grainy, you know, it's static, which again, for Photoshop, that's fine, but it's slow.

But animation, the photography logo, well, let's say that I want it to do that kind of right on reveal. There really isn't anything and has right now that I can use for that again. The only way I could kind of approximate that is by like drawing a mask and then animating the mask and you know, like that's a, you know, it's a pain in the neck and it's not exactly the fact that I want again, what's layer four?

All right. It's like the picture. So you know, if I want to animate that, you know, going from one position to another, OK, cool. But like they're all going to move together you know, it's not what I want. I want them all to be different. What if I want to tilt one, you know, and then layer zero, I mean, it's it's the word.

But again, like, what is it? It's just a layer zero. I could rename them in after effects, but why do that when I should be setting up the file for use in the first place? So as it is, this file can't be used in AfterEffects. All right, back in. The first thing that we're going to be doing is let's name our layers.

All right? So layer two is film green, but we're actually going to get rid of this layer and replace it with another one later on. Right now, I'm keeping it layer four. We're actually not going to name that because we're going to be cutting up that layer. And Layer Zero is Woods background. There we go. Now, first thing going to be doing is let's chop up these photos.

So I'm going to use my lasso tool you can cue to activate that and I'm going to cut it and paste it. So if you have a Mac, that's command X, if you see it, control X and then I'm going to shift control Z or, you know, shift command V, depending on the machine that you've got now. So that's one of them.

So here I'm going to name it Nature Photo and we're going to be chopping up each of these photos and putting it on their own layer. And then after that we name the layer. So let's go ahead through that. All right. As you can see, we've chopped up the text sorry, the photo layer into each of their own layers.

We've named each one and we're going to be repositioning them. So, for instance, the family photo, I'm going to hit my transform tool, command or control t when I rotate it, put it over here. And now since each of these are my own layer, it's a lot easier by the way to adjust position. You know, where things are in in Photoshop.

So that's what I recommend to you moving it like that. So we'll skip ahead to when these are opposition the way that we want it to rate. And the next thing we're going to be doing is making groups. So I'm going to go down here in Photoshop and I'm going to create a new group. I'm going to drop family photo into there and I'm going to name this group, family photo group.

And the reason why we're doing groups is because we're going to be adding text to this later. And when you import groups into after effects, after Effects reads it as a it's a pre comp and so it imports into aftereffects with all the content. So it's already organized again. So you get an idea here that we want things isolated and named and grouped together.

You want to do all your organization as much as you possibly can upfront in Photoshop so you don't have to do it an after effects because it's a lot more efficient. And also it just makes it like you can actually animate it. You know, if you don't do this before you can't animate it. All right. So we're done putting it all into groups.

I swapped nature photos with generation photos. This way we're going to animate. It makes more sense because we're going to land on this picture last want to in the top of my list factor, I'm also going to color for these. So right click on the group. I'm going to just pick a different color and do that for all of them.

All right. Now we're up to the text. So for text, what we're going to be doing is actually retyping all these words on actual text layers. Right now, this is a restorations layer and in AfterEffects, if it's rationalized, we can't use what are called text animators on them. As we said before, they're all on the same layer. If I want to play any kind of effect to them, it's just not going to take and it's not going to be efficient.

So we're going to be retyping these. So what I'm going to be doing is going to my text tool over here and I'm just going to be typing in see, this is way too big. So the font that we're going to be using, this proxy is a Google font. You can get it for free off of Google, but use whatever you're comfortable with, whatever works for the project.

And honestly, just, you know, retype the text. All right, so retype this text now. It's all done. And then I'm going to move it over here. And then just honestly rinse and repeat for all of these. You know, I'm going to type in summer so you get idea and spell that one. So, yeah, just go through all of these and then we'll skip ahead to when all of the text is done.

All right. All the text is done. So I'm going to go to my last post text layer here and delete it. And then I am going to actually position these so that they make sense with how we're going to animate them. So now that it's position in the the way that we want it to, we're going to drag and drop it into the correct group over here.

Right. And then rinse, repeat for the rest of these. All right. So now we have this all organized. We have all the photos chopped up. We have in reposition we have all the text as their own layers. And now we're going to be setting up a photography logo. So the photography logo is a smart object. It means a couple of things.

But for purposes of this project, basically it means that this is acting like a vector file, but really important to after effects. As you said, before, it just acts like a regular, pasteurized, plain old image file. And that means that it loses access to a lot of the text animators that are within after effects. And we want this thing to be very flexible and easy to animate.

So the way that we're going to be doing this, it's a bit of a roundabout method, but this is currently the best that we have. So we're going to be doing is go over to this little icon, inter layer stack, the smart object icon, and we're going to double click it and it's going to open it up in Illustrator.

And I'm just going to go to part changes. That's OK. Which illustrated load. All right, now it's loaded and basically what this has done is that we've gone to Photoshop and been like, hey, you know, someone gave us this file, the smart object file, but we need this smart object as its own separate file. So we when we double click that little icon, we're telling the program's, OK, I want you to open this up in its own separate file.

And that's really important because we're going to be saving this as its own vector file, its own separate vector file. So we're just going to save it and let's find a good location for it. So I've gone to the assets folder for my setting up these file. You know, put it somewhere where it's going to be collected with the rest of the assets that you're using.

So Conservatives Photography logo just agreed everything. Yes. And now when we animate it, we're going to have our own separate vector file that we've created from Smart Object that somebody gave us with this Photoshop file. Last thing we're going to be doing is honestly just delete this layer because we're going to be replacing it with something totally different.

All right. So that's it. For the first half of this tutorial, we're going to be doing a second half of this tutorial where we actually show you how to animate. Now, using your nicely organized Photoshop file, as always, you let us know what you think in the comments below stay tuned for that second half. And yes, if you have any comments or questions or even, you know, suggestions or or things you'd like to see in tutorials, definitely drop a comment below.

We would love to hear from you. And yeah, I'll see you in the next one. This has been Tziporah Zions for Noble Desktop.

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