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After Effects Rendering / Exporting Tutorial

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This seems to be the most common question with After Effects so here’s a tutorial that will show you how to export/render in After Effects.

1. Generally when working in After Effects you’ll constantly be setting the work area start/end points (B key / N key) so you can preview only the part of your composition that you’re working on. Before you add your composition to the render queue you’ll need to reset this (assuming you want to render the whole composition).

2. Place the playhead at the start of your composition. You can drag, but pressing the home key is the easier and more reliable method.

3. Now that the playhead is in the right location press B to set the work area start location. Again, you could drag the bar below the playhead, but using the shortcut keys is easier, more efficient, and more reliable.

4. Now drag the playhead to the end of the composition or press the end key.

5. Press the N key and set your work area end location. Then add the composition to the render queue.

6. The Render Queue tab will appear in the timeline area. I’ll be leaving the name of my file and output location alone, but if you want to give your movie a filename to be saved as you would click on the “” text and it would bring up the “Output Movie To” menu. The menu will also allow you to change the location of where your movie will be saved.

7. Before you render you’ll want to check your settings. Click the text (in red box) to bring up the Output Module Settings window. I can’t tell you what settings to use since it depends on your project and what you’ll be using it for, but I will mention that by default audio output is turned off in After Effects. If you want to export with audio then you’ll need to check off Audio Output at the bottom of the Output Module Settings. When you’re happy with your settings click OK.

8. Click the render button and that’s it. When your movie is done rendering go to the location you picked for the movie to be saved to and your file should be there.

Lastly, I’ll mention you can also export by going to File > Export, but you’ll loose the ability to set some settings and it’s generally not the preferred method for rendering. You should get in the habit of using the render queue if you don’t already.

After Effects Tutorials