1. All of your imported design assets are externally linked files (just like PLACED files in Illustrator and not like EMBEDDED files in Illustrator). When you import them, they will be found in your PROJECT window.
2. COMPOSITIONS are like ‘layer groups’ in Photoshop. Think of them more like a musical composition (as a single entity comprised of multiple moving parts) and less like a static visual composition. They contain layers and animation, and can be ‘nested’ into other comps as a single layer for more complex animations.
3. The TIMELINE is where you’ll be spending most of your time. The timeline is layers based (just like in Photoshop) and is where your design assets will be animated.
4. By creating and editing KEYFRAMES on your LAYER PROPERTIES, you create animation. Keyframes are markers in time that hold VALUES. When you change those values, animation happens! Keyframes are live and can be modified at any time.
5. The GRAPH EDITOR is where you design the flavor of your motion. This is where you create smooth, gestural animations.
6. After Effects is not a realtime playback based program. To review your work, you’ll often be creating a RAM PREVIEW. That’s just how it goes.
7. When your work is done and looks baddass, you’ll need to RENDER it out to share with your homies.