Hotkey quiz in TWO WEEKS!


Download the study guide here.


Don't forget you also need to know five ways to import a file and five ways to create a new composition.

Daily Inspiration


Keeping your projects clean and neat is not only helpful for you, but incredibly important when working in AE professionally. An orderly AE user should name compositions and files properly, create organized folders in the project window, and make finding the "final comp" easy for other users. This is not only for your benefit, it is also the courteous and professional thing to do when working with others. Also, your homework will be partially graded on your organization.





































Creating Solid Layers

Applying Effects to Layers

You can import files into AE and create cool animations and graphics with them, but you can also create a lot of graphics and cool looks without using any outside source material. We'll create some solids, some text layers, some vector/shape layers, and apply some cool effects.

Nesting and Precomposing

Nesting simply means putting a composition or timeline into another composition or timeline. To understand nesting, let Yzma explain how it works with a bug in a box:

Assume the "bug" is your first composition. It has many of the moving parts or animated layers. When you nest that composition into a new composition, it's like putting it into a box. Now, if you move the box around, the bug goes with it. If you nest that composition into a third composition (like putting the box with the bug in another box) and you move that around, everything inside it moves with it. Nesting is like "grouping" or "linking."

This assignment will be do next week at the end of class.




First, download the homework files from the orange button link above. Then, view the sample animation in that folder called "Tangram2_nesting_example_1.mp4." For this assignment, I have already started an AEP file for you. Open it in After Effects and then save it and rename it somewhere on your computer. Be sure to add your last name to the AEP file name when saving it. 


For most homework projects you need to imitate the sample as closely as possible. This animation, however, lets you take some liberties. HERE ARE THE CRITERIA YOU MUST MEET:


  1. Don't forget to apply motion blur to ALL layers in ALL compositions and to apply easy ease to some or all of the keyframes in your project.

  2. Use the START_HERE comp I've already given you to start! 

  3. Start about 2 seconds in and animate the tangram however you want (you can use last week's animation if you want, but it should start later)

  4. Once you've finished all the animation in the first comp, nest the START_HERE comp into the END_HERE comp.

  5. Now animate that layer (your START_HERE comp layer) as a single object both at the beginning and ending to have a "transition on" and "transition off"

  6. You will not get full credit if you do not use actual nesting (a comp within a comp) to create this. Do not use parenting! Good luck!


Turning in homework:


Use your personal or student e-mail to turn in homework. My e-mail address is I will create an assignment online and you only need to send your After Effects Project to me! The After Effects Project should have a ".aep" extension and will probably be less than 100K (pretty small). Include your last name in the file name (roundy_TangramNesting.aep, e.g.). As always, you can email me with questions at