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How to Use Dynamic Link With Adobe After Effects And Premiere Pro

Being able to fluidly switch between Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro workflows can drastically speed up your editing process, particularly when working with tight deadlines.

Thanks to the Dynamic Link function, you can connect timelines and projects, swapping quickly between two workflows. This linked composition can be edited and adjusted within After Effects, and then get “dynamically” updated within your Premiere timeline.

In this article, we’ll examine the process for creating an After Effects linked composition within Premiere Pro, and how to switch between the two.

Creating Your Dynamic Composition

It’s relatively easy to get your two Adobe projects linked with Dynamic Link, a feature that allows both programs to share their sequences collaboratively.

To get started, first ensure that you have both After Effects and Premiere Pro open, with your projects named, saved, and ready to link. Dynamic Link automatically creates After Effects projects if none are open, but this can quickly become messy and confusing.

Once you’ve done this, navigate to the clip (or selection of multiple clips) in your Premiere timeline that you wish to designate as an After Effects composition for further work. This may be a set of footage that needs an overlay, or clips that need chroma keying with the Keylight plugin.

Right-click on this selection, and from the menu, select Replace With After Effects Composition. Upon doing this, the footage is replaced with a new single clip in your timeline.

Replace After Effects menu

Within After Effects, your footage should now appear in a new composition, where you can apply the whole range of effects and motion graphics that the software offers.

Using Linked Compositions

A linked composition is a composition in your After Effects project that is represented by a clip in your Premiere timeline/project. In layman’s terms, adjusting any of the clips in your linked After Effects composition results in those changes being mirrored in the clip in Premiere.

Linked compositions are an exceptionally useful feature, and come in handy if you want to add After Effects clips and features to your Premiere edit. This way, you don’t need to go through the more complex process of exporting your edit into After Effects, creating those effects, and exporting it back into Premiere Pro.

This cuts down on time and means that you can quickly update your graphics, titles, and effects without having to re-render, and export.

Importing an Existing After Effects Composition

If you’ve already crafted visual content or graphics in After Effects, and want to bring them into an existing Premiere edit, you can also link your existing composition into Premiere Pro. To do this, simply import your After Effects project file (AEP) using the FileImport function.

Importing Ae sequence

Upon importing your After Effects file, a popup window appears where you can select the composition to link from the list. It will then appear in your Premiere project as a linked composition.

Example: Adding Custom Titles With After Effects

There’s a lot to digest in this article, and you may still be a little unsure of how Dynamic Link functions. It can take a few tries to get used to working between the two programs.

We’ll now go over an example, which covers creating a basic edit sequence in Premiere Pro, and sending a section of footage over to apply animated title graphics in After Effects. Using the feature in practice should make the process a lot simpler.

You can start by constructing a basic sequence of clips within a timeline in Premiere Pro. In this example, a selection of footage from Pexels will be used, which is just one of many sites that offer royalty-free stock footage for you to play around with.

Once your timeline is constructed, you can select the clips to send to After Effects for further work. Select the opening clip to apply a title graphic. Once again, right-click on the clip, and select Replace With After Effects Composition.

Replace with after effects composition

Editing Within After Effects

In After Effects, you should see the clip in a new composition, having been sent across by Premiere Pro.

Linked composition

You can now overlay an animated title or graphic across the footage. Create and animate some example text to sit on top.

Inputting text

You may also wish to use After Effect’s 3D layers to give your text a sense of depth. For more information on doing this, check out this tutorial on using 3D workflows in After Effects.

Once you’re happy with the look and feel of your titles, don’t forget to save your project! Switch back over to your Premiere Project and voilà—the linked composition should now be playing within your Premiere timeline.

Further Adjustments

After some reflection, the font and animation style chosen for this title doesn’t fit the overall feel of the video. So, while you would usually adjust your titles and effects within Premiere, you need to return to After Effects to change the linked composition.

Jump back into After Effects and make some changes. First, change the font of the text layer, and adjust your motion keyframes to make the movement blend in with the video.

After effects amend

Once happy, save your project and move back over to Premiere Pro. Your dynamic composition should’ve been automatically updated to reflect the changes applied within After Effects.

Amends in Premiere

And that’s that—you should now be able to augment and improve your workflows by dynamically linking projects between After Effects and Premiere Pro. Using the two software collaboratively in this way really opens up a number of avenues for more intuitive working—so start creating!

Now that you know how to use the Dynamic Link feature, make sure to take full advantage of it. A common use of Dynamic Link is to send any footage that requires chroma keying to After Effects from within Premiere Pro. This definitely comes in handy if you’re working with a green screen.

Featured image for Keylight article
Getting Started With the Keylight Plugin in After Effects

Need to key out the background in your footage? Here’s how to do it using the Keylight plugin.

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