In this After Effects tutorial we show you how to go about cutting and trimming your clips for the most effective workflow! Let’s get started!
Cut Clips in Adobe After Effects
So let’s start by importing a clip into After Effects. We can do this by going to file, import file. You can also do this by hitting Command + I on the keyboard or double-clicking in some empty space in your project panel. When you do this a window will pop up and you can navigate to your clip or clips then you just need to select them and then you can hit open. Once you do that you’ll find them in your project panel.
I’ll create a new composition by dragging one of my clips to the new composition button at the bottom of the project panel. This creates a new composition based on the clip. For this particular clip I want to split the layer so that I don’t lose any parts of the footage but I do break the clip into separate layers this can be useful for color correction and giving you a visual representation of different clips in the timeline. To do this I’ll move my play at to where I want to split the layer. In this case where there’s a cut in the footage to make more precise movements you can move one frame at a time by hitting page up or page down or Command left or right.
If you don’t have a full keyboard once you get your playhead where you want to split the layer you can go up to edit split layer or Command + Shift + D and you can see in the timeline that it’s broken up the footage into two separate layers based on where the playhead is. Now bring in another clip by dragging it from the project panel into the timeline. In this case I’ve got a long clip that I just want to select part from. If you move the selection tool to the edge of a layer in the timeline you’ll notice that it changes from the selection tool to double arrows and if I click and drag you can see that I’m trimming my layer. I’ll move my playhead to where I want to start my clip and then I’ll trim my layer to that point, and if I hold shift it’ll snap to where the playhead is.
You can also trim the start point of the layer to your playhead with option open bracket on the keyboard. Then I’ll repeat the process for where I want the clip to end. The shortcut for trimming the end of the layer to the playhead is option close bracket. Using the selection tool you can move your layers wherever you want in the timeline. All the techniques covered in this video work with any layer type so you can cut and split audio, solids, shapes, whatever. It also works on multiple layers at once you just need to make sure that the layers you want to trim or split are selected.
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