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Marking the Spot

After Effects markers can improve workflow By Stephen Schleicher
In the last After Effects exercise (Sequence This!), I casually mentioned adding markers to your After Effects Timeline. Markers allow you to mark important points in a composition or in a specific layer. Lets take a look at markers and what they can do for you.

Markers make it easier to align layers, you can add comments for other members of your team, embed web links for others to follow, or even chapter markers for DVD and CD-ROM (or even QuickTime movies).

So how do you create these wonderful little markers? For Composition Markers, you can actually do it a couple of ways. The first is by clicking on the Marker Icon in the Timeline and dragging it to the desired location. Each time you drag a new marker from the Marker Icon, it will have a new marker number (1, 2, 3, etc.).

The second method allows you to number your markers yourself, and, in my opinion, provides better marker placement. Position your Timeline Indicator in the Composition timeline and press the Shift key plus a number from the top of your keyboard (not your numeric keypad).

The problem with this method is you can only have up to 10 markers placed this way (0-9). If you try to hold the Shift key down and press 10, it will either place a maker labeled 1 or if a 1-Marker is already positioned in the Comp Timeline, it will move that marker to the new position. The upshot of this drawback is that it does allow you to move your marker easily. You can also click and drag the marker once placed to a new location.

If you need to remove a marker, you can hold down the Command key on the Mac or Control key on the PC and click on the marker in the Timeline.

Composition Markers dont have a lot fancy schmanziness that Layer Markers do (which will get to in a moment), but they do have some workflow advantages:

You can use Composition Markers to quickly jump around your Timeline. By pressing the number corresponding to the Comp Marker, your Timeline Indicator will instantly jump to that location

You can use Composition Markers to align other layers. By holding down the Shift key and clicking and dragging on a layer, the In or Out point of the layer will snap to the markers.

Layer Markers, on the other hand, are slightly different. To create a Layer Marker, select the layer in the Timeline and position the Timeline Indicator where you would like to place the Marker. Go to the menu and select Layer>Add Marker. This places a triangle in the layer for embedding comments, etc.

To remove a Layer Marker, again hold down the Command key (on the Mac) or Control key on the PC and move the cursor over the Layer Marker. The cursor will turn into a pair of scissors and you can cut/remove the marker.

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Related Keywords:markers, adobe after effects, schleicher


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