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Working Motion Graphics in Context

2015-11-05

Always a good idea to work with a real video for context. Here's a quick tip.

How to do this? It's pretty easy if you use Adobe Creative Cloud.

First, get yourself a preview render of the show you're making graphics for. If you don't have it because it hasn't been filmed yet, make a mashup of talking heads from YouTube to simulate it. This will be your reference video.

Create a new project and import your reference program footage. Create a timeline based on this clip. Now, go and import your current After Effects file, not the render, but the source file. Premiere will ask you which comp inside the file you're bringing, which is really nice, and then add it to your project where you can use it the same way you'd use a video clip. Now you can drag it into the timeline and you'll have your motion graphics in context with the reference video.

Here's the nice thing though: the clip is actually linked to the AE source file, so you can go into After Effects, modify the comp, then save and back in Premiere the preview is updated automatically. So no more rendering between changes and importing back in Premiere, you can have the preview almost in real time. You can drag your clip around in the timeline to test different sections of the video and see how your graphics look in context. Great!

Now to turn it up a notch, if you use custom graphics inside After Effects, make them in a Photoshop file, which is also linked and automatically refreshed in AE. Now you make a change in the PS file, go to After Effects which hot-reloads it, save that file, and now the Premiere timeline is updated. This whole chain of workflow events makes the process of iterating in context really easy and fast. Now there's no excuse for lame motion graphics packages.

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