Transferring Layers with Style Effects

After Effects doesn't utilize layer styles the way Photoshop does, so it's important to know how to transfer layers and keep the applied effects in place. In most cases, merely merging the layer with the style effect applied to a new blank layer will do the trick.

Although they are not editable in After Effects, there are only four layer styles that will transfer correctly visually: Drop Shadow, Bevel And Emboss, Color Overlay, and Inner Shadow (Figure 2.4).

After Effects Layer Style Animation

Figure 2.4

When the layers are transferred to After Effects,only four layer style effects appear correctly.

Figure 2.4

When the layers are transferred to After Effects,only four layer style effects appear correctly.

When the Photoshop file is imported into After Effects as a composition, it will give you all of the actual Photoshop layers, plus a composition layer for each layer that has an effect applied to it. It will also give you a composition layer for every layer set you have in your file; however, all of the layers in the layer set composition will not be separately movable (Figure 2.5).

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Composition layers are created when importing layers and layer sets with style effects applied.

Figure 2.5

Composition layers are created when importing layers and layer sets with style effects applied.

When applying effects that won't transfer—especially when several effects are applied to one layer—you will need to create a new layer and link it with the style layer. Select Merge Layers from the Layers palette menu, and the effects will be rendered and rasterized, as shown in Figure 2.6. In this example, the layer with style effects applied was duplicated to demonstrate how both layers will transfer to After Effects.

Figure 2.6 Merge styled layers with new blank layers to render the effects in one layer and retain all transparency of the layer's content.

Importing this example file with one rendered layer and one layer with the style effects applied shows how the effects will not transfer correctly unless rendered first (see Figure 2.7).

Figure 2.7

After importing the Photoshop file with both a style effect layer (black) and a rendered layer, you can see what the preferred method would be.

Figure 2.7

After importing the Photoshop file with both a style effect layer (black) and a rendered layer, you can see what the preferred method would be.

However, if you don't render the layers first, you can import the file as footage and merge the layers. This will render all of the style effects on the fly, but it will also flatten the file so no editable layers will remain (see Figure 2.8).

Figure 2.8 When you import the Photoshop file as footage and merge the layers,you will get a flattened image with all of the style effect layers rendered.
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