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After Effects CS4 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickPro Guide by Antony Bolante

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Chapter 2. Importing Footage into a Project

Think of an After Effects project as a musical score. Just as a score refers to instruments and indicates how they should be played, your project lists the files you want to use and how you want to use them. The project contains neither the sources nor the end result, any more than a sheet of music contains a tuba or a recording of the concert. For this reason, a project file takes up little drive space.

Source files, on the other hand, consume considerably more storage. You need both the project and the source files to preview or output your animation, just as a composer needs the orchestra to hear a work in progress or, ultimately, to perform it in concert. Nonlinear editing systems (such as Adobe Premiere ...

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