A video artist using After Effects will manually set the length of sequential layers by first adjusting the layers and then playing the video to see how the adjustments look. The artist will be pleasantly surprised to discover After Effects' automation sequence layer option. The sequence layers will automatically arrange layers in a sequence or in overlaps with a chosen duration. The first layer selected is the initial time, and the other layers will move down the timeline to new times.
Stack the layer on the timeline in the order of the sequence. For example, the layer to appear first goes on the top and the layer to be viewed second goes directly below the first layer.
Set the duration of the layers in a sequence so it does not exceed the duration of the composition. If the total composition is 30 seconds, then the length of each layer when totaled together should not exceed 30 seconds.
Press "Ctrl" and then click to select the layers in the order of appearance. Click "Animation" on the main menu and "Keyframe Assistant" then "Sequence Layers" from the pullout menu. The "Sequence Layers" dialog box will open.
Click "OK" on the sequence layer box to arrange the layers one after the other. Click the "Overlap" box to overlap the layers. The duration value is for the duration you want the layers to overlap and the transition option is how the layers go from one layer to next, such as cross-dissolving. Enter a negative value for the duration to leave gaps between layers.
- "Creating Motion Graphics With After Effects"; Meyer; 2002
- Adobe After Effects CS5 & CS5.5: Arrange Layers in Time Sequentially
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