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Tutorial: Creating Organic Transitions in Adobe After Effects

While there are many built-in transitions available within Adobe After Affects and Premiere Pro, there may come a time where you want to organically create something to switch from one piece of video to another. This tutorial will demonstrate 3 ways to do this in After Effects.

Importing the Transition into the Premiere Pro Project

Back in Premiere Pro, we can import the After Affects composition by double-clicking in the Project panel and navigating to the After Affects project (Figure 9, below). Select the correct composition and add it to your timeline.

Figure 9. Choosing the right After Effects comp to import.

Now, a quick trick I use to ensure that this transition looks right is to trim to the point where it takes up most of the screen, then mark the end point in the Premiere Pro Source Monitor, and then move it to the point where the two video clips align. Now, drag out the transition to the left. You can see a preview of what that looks like at the 3:06 mark in the video tutorial.

Creating the Second Transition

Moving on to our second transition, we'll use the first transition as a base to build upon for this next look. You can see a preview of what we'll create at the 3:12 mark in the video tutorial.

First, we'll duplicate the full screen color wipe composition in After Affects by selecting it and then navigating in the toolbar to Edit > Duplicate (Figure 10, below).

Figure 10. Duplicating the first transition so we can build the second one on it.

Now we're going to duplicate the color wipe in the timeline panel twice by selecting it and again choosing to Edit > Duplicate. Here, we'll go ahead and stagger the two duplicated color solids over the 1-second duration of our transition (Figure 11, below).

Figure 11. Staggering the starts of the duplicate wipes in the timeline.

Next, we'll apply a mask to each of these starting with the bottom color solid. We'll turn off the visibility at the top two layers by deselecting the eye icon to make this easier to see. Place the playhead ahead in time to where you can see the color solid, and navigate up to the rectangle tool and select it (Figure 12, below).

Figure 12. Choosing the Rectangle tool.

Now, with this tool, draw a rectangle from left to right which creates a mask around this color solid. We'll want the rectangle to take up about one-third the screen. Go to the the 4:08 mark in the video tutorial to see a preview of our animated color solid with a mask applied.

Now we'll apply the same steps to the middle color solid. We'll turn on the visibility for that layer and turn off the others. Again, navigate ahead in the timeline to where you can see the full color solid. Now grab the Rectangle tool and draw a mask in the middle part of this solid. You can turn on the visibility of the bottom color solid to see that mask.

Next, we'll do the same steps for the top color solid and draw a rectangle on the bottom portion of the screen. From here, we can adjust the timing of the masked solids so that they overlap a little more.

Adding More Movement

Now, if you're happy with this, then you can leave it as is, but I'm going to do a quick trick and a little more movement to the this transition.

Let's go ahead and duplicate (Edit > Duplicate) all three of our layers. Now, stagger each duplicated layer by moving them to the right in the timeline (Figure 13, below).

Figure 13. Staggering the additional duplicated layers.

Open up the position values by selecting the bottom duplicated layer and pressing P. Draw a bounding box by single-clicking around the position keyframes (Figure 14, below). They will highlight in gold if you have done this correctly.

Figure 14. Drawing a bounding box around the position keyframes.

Now, right-click on the first keyframe and go down to the Keyframe Assistant and choose Time-Reverse Keyframes (Figure 15, below). This action will reverse the position values for this layer.

Figure 15. Time-reversing the keyframes.

We'll do the same steps with the other two duplicated layers. Go to the 5:20 mark in the tutorial video to see a preview of what the finished project looks like. Now you may have to adjust the scale of position values of the transition so that perfectly fits your video. This is why I like using the actual After Affects project within Premiere Pro rather than using an exported file. If you make changes to anything in the After Affects project, they will also be applied to your Premiere Pro project.

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