Prep images for motion

Before you begin artworking, find out the screen size you’re working to and set up your Photoshop files to this size or larger. You can shrink objects in After Effects, but it’s much harder to scale things up and keep the quality high. Beware of making all your images massive though, as you might find After Effects struggles to cope and you get some long renders.

Another fundamental setting that you need to make sure is correct from the start is the colour mode. All your artwork should be RGB; After Effects won’t import CMYK files. If you’ve been given artwork from a print campaign it’ll generally be CMYK, so convert it to RGB and double-check that the colours haven’t altered – if they have, tweak them to match the original image.

Think about what does and doesn’t need to be animated. You want to give yourself options, but you don’t want to spend hours artworking up elements that are going to stay static in the background. Similarly, if you have lots of one particular object (like leaves on a tree) just create four or five variations and duplicate them up once in After Effects.

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