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Tutorial: Adobe Essential Graphics for After Effects and Premiere Pro

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use the Essential Graphics panel that is now built into Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, which now features the ability to download and install either paid or free motion graphics templates.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use the Essential Graphics panel that is now built into Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. This is a great feature that they introduced last year, but recent updates have added new features, including the ability to download and install either paid or free motion graphics templates. Those are available now through Adobe Stock, which Adobe has really been pushing heavily. Adobe Stock has made a lot of strides in both still images, video all the way up to 4K, and now motion graphics templates.

It's a really powerful panel that you may not be taking advantage of. I was hesitant to start using it initially, because I didn't like the idea of everything being tied even more so into this single ecosystem, but the more I used it--such as on the project I’ll discuss in this article, which was an actual project I did for a client--I found it was just invaluable. And I really saw how much it could improve my workflow.

The Project

For this project, I was asked to create a lobby loop video for a bank chain. Basically, it's a very generic video that's going to display on monitors in lobbies in their different locations around the state, consisting of information about a lot of the different things that are offered to people that bank with them--for example, mobile banking, their mobile app, and online banking through their website. Those are the kinds of things the bank wanted to promote to help people know all the tools that they have at their disposal as customers of that bank.

Basically, we created a template, which is going to be background video or a still that's just going to pan, and then there's a main heading, which is Bullet Point 1, as you can see in Figure 1 (below). And then there's text that changes under those three points with the blue checkmarks also shown in Figure 1. This was actually styled after some other graphics that one of my colleagues had created for them that were still graphics for brochures and posters and the like.

Figure 1. The template we created in the Essential Graphics panel in After Effects for this bank lobby loop video. Click the image to see it at full size.

We tried to match the way the motion graphics look so that they would look similar to what people are already used to seeing in the bank’s other marketing materials. Since it was just a bunch of bullet points with bland text, there wasn't much reason to go crazy with effects. So I built a simple set of effects that would be used on one page of bullet points. Then, using the Essential Graphics panel, I was able to easily change those in Premiere Pro later without having to spend a ton of time in After Effects. Then I rendered everything out with an animation codec to bring into Premiere Pro later.

Building the Template in After Effects

I’ll start by showing you what I built here first. You can see my canvasses in the layers in Figure 2 (below). Each one is a different set of bullet points and has a different heading. We have E-statements (shown in Figure 2), BaZing, which is their own product, and then some other generic ones, including internet, mobile banking and mobile deposit.

Figure 2. Canvasses created for the banking project in After Effects. Click the image to see it at full size.

Then I created a background graphic that would be the same for the entire series for that particular product. For example, the BaZing graphic shown in the upper-left corner of the Composition panel in Figure 2. BaZing and this corner graphic are not going to change, and they actually animate in. You can see that animation at the 3:10 mark in the video that accompanies this article. You can see the blue slides in and things fade in, but then on top of that, you have a separate one, which is just the bullet points shown in Figure 1, and those bullet points themselves are completely independent.

So, I'm actually bringing two graphics in to Premiere Pro, but only the one with the bullet points is editable, and you can see in Figure 3 (below) that I have my Essential Graphics panel already open. It has a drop-down that shows all of the graphics that I've created, so you can easily switch among them, and then all you do is you dictate what properties you want to be editable in Premiere Pro.

Figure 3. Choose Premiere Pro-editable properties in this drop-down in the Essential Graphics panel in After Effects.

This is good if you're working with someone else, and you're the motion graphics designer and you don't want another editor accidentally messing up your work. You can say, "Okay, I'm going to limit the editor to only being able to change the text and nothing else." So, that's essentially what I did except it's for myself, so I'm not worried about messing up my own graphics.

You have your bullet points here, and I typed more text Bullet Point 1, as shown in Figure 1, just so I could make sure that it would overflow and not run out of room in the text box. So, I have three points, plus the checkmark, and that's actually animated as well. You can see the check marks and the bullet points fly in at the 4:15 mark in the tutorial video, and I put a little blur on them to make the movement look more natural.

But even with the animation, it retains all that in Premiere Pro, and all I have to do is change the text, and I have custom graphics that I can easily replicate throughout my timeline. I do this once in After Effects, and then I export this motion graphics template, which essentially repackages it in the background for Premiere Pro to be able to use.

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