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Earlier this month we released version 14.2 of After Effects CC, which added many often-requested features as well as an exciting new workflow for sharing motion graphics.

In this article, we’re sharing more detail about how the new Essential Graphics panel works, as well as Motion Graphics templates and how to share them and apply them in Premiere Pro.

Please, if you want to ask questions about these new and changed features, come on over to the After Effects Forums. That’s the best place for questions. Questions left in comments on a blog post are much harder to work with; the blog comment system just isn’t set up for conversations. If you’d like to submit feature requests or bug reports, you can do so at this page.


Essential Graphics panel


The new Essential Graphics panel in After Effects CC and Premiere Pro CC allows you to build controls for motion graphics and then share your composition as a Motion Graphics template via Creative Cloud Libraries, or as a local file. Create lower-third titles, brand identities, or other graphics, and share them with your team. Editors in Premiere Pro can easily change variables such as text, color, layout, or mood of the graphics without opening them in After Effects.

In After Effects, the Essential Graphics panel acts as a control panel for your composition. Drag and drop frequently-used properties into the panel for easy access without having to twirl into the layer parameters. When you share the composition as a Motion Graphics template, the controls you added to the Essential Graphics panel are accessible in Premiere Pro.

In Premiere Pro, you can browse and apply Motion Graphics templates in the Essential Graphics panel, and then control the properties you added to the template in After Effects. You can also author Motion Graphics templates in Premiere Pro by using the new text and shape tools.

A set of more than 70 professionally-designed Motion Graphics templates are pre-installed with Premiere Pro and After Effects. Premiere Pro includes Motion Graphics templates for credits, captions, lower thirds, and other onscreen titles and graphics. After Effects installs three additional packages of animated Motion Graphics templates that offer advanced customization features and a variety of design styles.

The Essential Graphics panel expands on the text templates introduced in previous versions of After Effects. As a result, options and menu commands related to text templates in After Effects have been removed.


Getting Started


There are three main tasks you perform in the Essential Graphics panel:

  • Author: In After Effects, choose a master composition, then drag properties from the Timeline panel into the Essential Graphics panel. You can rename the controls, add comments, and drag to reorder the items. If you like, you can stop here and simply use the Essential Graphics panel as a control panel for your composition.
  • Share: Click the Export Motion Graphics Template button to share your composition as a Motion Graphics template via Creative Cloud Libraries, or save it to your local drive as a Motion Graphics template (.mogrt) file. The Motion Graphics template contains all source files, such as video or images, that are used in the composition.
  • Apply: In Premiere Pro, click on the Browse tab in the Essential Graphics panel to view the Motion Graphics templates. Choose from Motion Graphics templates either in your Creative Cloud Libraries or on your local drive, then drag the Motion Graphics template into your sequence. You can also drag Motion Graphics templates directly from the Creative Cloud Libraries panel. To control the Motion Graphics template’s properties, select it in the sequence, then click on the Edit tab in the Essential Graphics panel. You can also control the Motion Graphics template’s properties in the Effect Controls panel.

Author in the Essential Graphics panel in After Effects



Open the Essential Graphics panel

Open the Essential Graphics panel from the Window menu > Essential Graphics.

A new workspace for working with the Essential Graphics panel in After Effects, also named Essential Graphics, is available from the workspace bar or the Window > Workspace menu.


Open and close compositions in the Essential Graphics panel

Do any of the following to open a composition in the Essential Graphics panel:

  • Choose Composition > Open in Essential Graphics to open the active composition.
  • Right-click on a composition in the Project panel and choose Open in Essential Graphics to open that composition.
  • Click on the Master menu in the Essential Graphics panel to open any composition in your project.

The Master menu lists all compositions in your project. Compositions that are open in the Essential Graphics panel are above a dividing line, and compositions that are not open in the Essential Graphics panel are below that line.

To show the current master composition in the Project panel, choose Reveal Master Composition in Project from the menu in the Essential Graphics panel tab.

To close a composition from the Essential Graphics panel, click the Master menu and choose Close (the name of your composition). Choose Close All to close all compositions from the Essential Graphics panel.


About master compositions and related properties

When a composition is open and active in the Essential Graphics panel, it is called the master composition.

You can add properties to the Essential Graphics panel from the master composition or any child composition in its hierarchy. These are considered related properties.

Properties from compositions that are not in the master composition’s hierarchy are considered unrelated. Properties that are linked by expressions to the master composition’s hierarchy, but are not in the master composition’s hierarchy themselves, are also considered unrelated.

If you add an unrelated property to the Essential Graphics panel, you will receive a warning. The control will be added but highlighted in red. The red highlight will disappear if you nest the unrelated property’s composition into the master composition or its hierarchy, which relates the property to the master composition.

Controls for unrelated properties will not have any effect when the composition is exported as a Motion Graphics template. Only compositions in the hierarchy of the master composition are included in the Motion Graphics template.

Before exporting a master composition as a Motion Graphics template, you should nest any compositions containing unrelated properties into the master composition’s hierarchy. This will avoid including controls that don’t do anything in the Motion Graphics template. If necessary, disable the video and/or audio switches for the nested composition layer.


Add controls to the Essential Graphics panel

To add a control, drag a supported property from the Timeline panel into the controls box in the Essential Graphics panel.

The Essential Graphics panel currently supports the following types of controls:

  • Checkbox
  • Color
  • Numerical Slider (i.e., a single-value numerical property, such as Transform > Opacity or the Slider Control expression control effect)
  • Source Text

You can add supported properties from any effect or any layer property group (transform, masks, material options, etc.) as long as it is one of the above types. You will receive a warning if you try to add a property that is not of a supported control type; the control will not be added.

The Solo Supported Properties button changes the view in the Timeline panel to show only supported properties in the master composition.


Customize controls

Controls are directly linked to their source properties. Changing the value of a control also changes the value of the property in the composition.

Controls can be renamed. Renaming controls will help clarify the purpose of the control, especially when used as a Motion Graphics template, which hides the underlying properties. For example, if your composition uses the Fill effect on a solid layer to set the background color, after you add the Fill effect’s Color property to the Essential Graphics panel you should rename the control to “Background Color”.

To rename a control, click into its name field or click and drag to highlight the current name, then edit the name.

To reveal a control’s source property in the Timeline panel, double-click on the control or right-click on it and choose Reveal in Timeline.


Add and customize comments

To add a comment, click the Add Comment button. Type your comment in the text field next to the comment name.
You can add as many comments as you want. Comments can be reordered along with the other controls. You can use them to leave notes, give instructions for how your Motion Graphics template works, or as dividers for different sections of the Motion Graphics template.

To rename a comment, click into its name field or click and drag to highlight the current name, then edit the name.


Reorder controls and comments

To reorder a control or comment, click and drag it up or down to change its position in the controls box.


Remove controls and comments

To remove a control or comment, select the control or comment, then press the Delete or Backspace key on the keyboard.


Using keyframes and expressions on controlled properties in Motion Graphics templates

When you are authoring Motion Graphics templates, be aware that there are differences in how properties with keyframes behave when you apply the Motion Graphics template in Premiere Pro.

When you export a Motion Graphics template from After Effects, keyframes will be ignored for properties that are controlled in the Essential Graphics panel. These properties will be changed to a static value. The default value will be the value of that property at the composition’s current time (the position of the Current-Time Indicator) when the Motion Graphics template is exported.

This is because the Essential Graphics panel does not allow you to create or modify keyframes on a property. Controls can only represent static values. Therefore, keyframes are ignored.

This does not affect properties with keyframes that are not controlled by the Essential Graphics panel. Those properties will animate as expected in the Motion Graphics template.

Properties with expressions are not affected, unless the expression evaluates keyframes on a property that is controlled in the Essential Graphics panel. In that case, the expression will fail to evaluate.

If you want to design a Motion Graphics template with properties that are both animated and controlled in the Essential Graphics panel, consider the following options:

  • Duplicate and split the layer into animated and static sections. Only control the properties on the static section.
  • Use expressions to drive the animation instead of keyframes. Control the expression via expression control effects (Slider, Checkbox, or Color), and add those properties to the Essential Graphics panel.

Share a Motion Graphics template in After Effects



Change the Motion Graphics template name

To change the name for the Motion Graphics template, type a new name in the Name field in the Essential Graphics panel.


Set the Motion Graphics template poster frame

To change the poster frame for a Motion Graphics template, move the Current-Time Indicator for the master composition to the desired frame, then click the Set Poster Frame button in the Essential Graphics panel.

The poster frame is used as the thumbnail for the Motion Graphics template in Creative Cloud Libraries and in the Essential Graphics panel in After Effects and Premiere Pro.


Export a Motion Graphics template to Creative Cloud Libraries

To export your composition as a Motion Graphics template to your Creative Cloud Libraries:

  1. Click the Export Motion Graphics Template button in the Essential Graphics panel.
  2. In the Export As Motion Graphics Template dialog, click on the Destination menu.
  3. Choose the name of one of your libraries, which are listed below the dividing line after Local Drive.
  4. Click OK.

If your project has been changed since it was saved or if it has never been saved, you will be prompted to save the project.


Export a Motion Graphics template to your local drive

To export your composition as a Motion Graphics template to your local drive:

  1. Click the Export Motion Graphics Template button in the Essential Graphics panel.
  2. In the Export As Motion Graphics Template dialog, click on the Destination menu.
  3. Choose one of the following:
    • Essential Graphics: This local folder is the default location. Motion Graphics templates saved here automatically appear in the Essential Graphics panel in Premiere Pro.
    • Local Drive: Select this and then click the Browse button to choose any local directory.
  4. Click OK.

If your project has been changed since it was saved or if it has never been saved, you will be prompted to save the project.


Apply a Motion Graphics template in Premiere Pro



Open the Essential Graphics panel

Open the Essential Graphics panel from the Window menu > Essential Graphics.

A new workspace for working with the Essential Graphics panel in Premiere Pro, named Graphics, is available from the workspace bar or the Window > Workspace menu.


Browse Motion Graphics templates

Click on the Browse tab in the Essential Graphics panel to browse Motion Graphics templates in your Creative Cloud Libraries or your local drive.

At the top of the Browse tab, click on the location menu to choose Motion Graphics templates from either your local Essential Graphics directory or your Libraries.

The Essential Graphics directory contains Motion Graphics templates on your local drive, including both your own custom Motion Graphics templates and a set of pre-installed, professionally-designed Motion Graphics templates. Premiere Pro includes Motion Graphics templates for credits, captions, lower thirds, and other onscreen titles and graphics. After Effects installs three additional packages of animated Motion Graphics templates with news, sports, and gaming themes.

You can also open a folder in the Essential Graphics directory from the Choose Folder menu. To add a folder to the Essential Graphics directory, click on the Add Folder button.

To organize your Motion Graphics templates, right-click on a Motion Graphics template and choose Move, Rename, or Delete.

To add a Motion Graphics template from a different directory on your local drive to the Essential Graphics directory, click the Install Motion Graphics Template button to the right of the location menu or choose Install Motion Graphics Template from the Graphics menu.


Add a Motion Graphics template to your sequence

You can add a Motion Graphics template to your sequence from either the Essential Graphics panel or the Libraries panel.

To add a Motion Graphics template from the Essential Graphics panel:

  1. Open the Essential Graphics panel.
  2. Click on the Browse tab.
  3. Select the Motion Graphics template that you want to use and drag it into a video track in your sequence.

To add a Motion Graphics template from the Libraries panel:

  1. Open the Libraries panel.
  2. Choose the library that you want to select a Motion Graphics template from.
  3. Select the Motion Graphics template that you want to use and drag it into a video track in your sequence.

When you add a Motion Graphics template to a sequence, Premiere Pro will display the Media Offline graphic until the Motion Graphics template completes loading.

If the Motion Graphics template you add requires a font that is not installed, the Resolve Fonts dialog will open.

Note that, by default, Motion Graphics templates are track items in Premiere Pro. They do not appear in the Project panel as project items (master clips). Assets the Motion Graphics template relies on to render, however, will be managed like other project media.


Control a Motion Graphics template

After you have added a Motion Graphics template to your sequence, you can control the properties of the Motion Graphics template in the Essential Graphics panel to modify its appearance.

To control a Motion Graphics template:

  1. Select the Motion Graphics template in your sequence.
  2. Open the Essential Graphics panel.
  3. Click on the Edit tab.
  4. Change the Motion Graphics template controls as desired.

The Motion Graphics template will update in real-time as you change the controls.


Use Premiere Pro Graphic Objects in After Effects


Text and shapes created with the new graphics tools in Premiere Pro can be brought into After Effects as editable text and shape layers by any of the following methods:

  • Copy and paste a Premiere Pro graphics clip from a sequence into a composition After Effects.
  • Import a Premiere Pro project into After Effects.
  • Use the Replace with After Effects Composition command on a graphics clip in Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro graphics clips become a nested composition in After Effects which contain the text and shape layers.

The Shadow property of text and shape objects in Premiere Pro is not converted by After Effects, and will be missing. All other properties, including keyframes, will be converted into the After Effects composition.


Additional Information


To apply Motion Graphics templates authored by After Effects in Premiere Pro, you need to have After Effects installed on the same computer. If your Creative Cloud subscription does not include After Effects, it can be installed as a trial, and applying Motion Graphics templates will work in conjunction with your subscription for Premiere Pro. This will continue to work after the trial period for After Effects has expired.

Text template files (.aecap) saved by previous versions of After Effects (14.0 or 14.1) can still be used in Premiere Pro, however you can no longer export these files from After Effects. They are replaced by the new Motion Graphics template (.mogrt) files.

The Live Text template workflow between After Effects and Premiere Pro still works: when you import an After Effects composition into Premiere Pro, any unlocked text layers can be customized in the Effect Controls panel for the composition’s master clip project item. Note that, as in the previous release of After Effects (14.0 and 14.1), the Text Template option in Composition Settings has been removed; any composition can be a Live Text template.

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