• Post category:Learning

Are you an Adobe Premiere Pro editor that’s frequently in and out of After Effects?  Then you need to have easy ways to move projects and pieces of projects from Premiere Pro to After Effects and also the other way around.  Many of these workflows are well documented across the internet, but I’m here to tell you about an easy trick that isn’t that widely known.  Check out the video below to learn the easiest and fastest way to move between the two programs.  Then read on for some more helpful ways to bring Premiere Pro sequences into After Effects.


The Easiest Premiere Pro to After Effects Workflow?

Copy and Paste.  Yes, it’s seriously as simple as copying and pasting from Premiere Pro to After Effects or vice versa.  This method is quick and easy for finding the perfect clips for your After Effects projects, marking in / out points, and then simply copying / pasting that clip or clips directly into an After Effects comp.  What’s really amazing is the copy / paste method can also bring clip attributes like effects, masks, and transform properties from one program to the other.

Unfortunately this sweet trick isn’t perfect.  Because the nature of Premiere Pro and After Effects is inherently different, not everything can copy across the magic Adobe pipeline.  Sometimes an effect won’t copy and other times how the effect copies isn’t quite right.  In the end it’s a process of trial and error for what works and what doesn’t, but since the workflow is so fast, it never hurts to try.

Other Ways to Move Between Premiere Pro and After Effects

Sometimes it is best to use a more in-depth method for bringing sequences over from Premiere Pro into After Effects.  Fortunately After Effects provides a couple of options for how we can do this, both through the project window or import option in the File menu.

Premiere Pro to After Effects

Import Sequences as Compositions

Importing a Premiere Pro sequence into After Effects as a composition has a similar result to copying and pasting the contents of a timeline between the programs.  After saving your current Premiere Pro project, open After Effects, right click in the Project panel, and select “Import Adobe Premiere Pro Project“.  

A prompt will then pop up that allows you to choose which sequence (or all sequences) that you want to import.  Make your selection, hit OK, and then the magic happens.

Premiere Pro to After Effects

The Premiere Pro sequence has been converted into an After Effects composition that includes the same elements and attributes (that can transfer) as the source sequence.  Obviously the more intricate or complex a sequence is means there’s more opportunity for the import to not be perfect.  This technique is a great option for working on nested portions of a sequence that need a serious motion graphics touch.

Import Sequences as Footage

In some cases it’s nice to bring in a Premiere Pro sequence and treat it like a single clip of footage.  You might think that’s the same thing as exporting a sequence and then importing it, but where this method shines is that thanks to Adobe’s Dynamic Link, all changes in the sequence inside of Premiere Pro are also reflected in After Effects!  It’s basically the opposite of dynamically linking an After Effects composition inside of Premiere Pro.

To work this sorcery, simply go to the import window through the Project panel or File menu.  From there you can point AE to a Premiere Pro project as if it were any other type of file.  

After clicking “Import”, this window will pop up:

Select the sequence and click OK.  After effects will then import that sequence as a dynamic linked object and you’ll even notice a new “sequence” icon next to the file in the project panel.  You can the drag this clip into a comp and treat it as if it were any other type of footage, with the exception that it propagates changes from its source timeline inside of Premiere.  

There’s one major caveat I need to throw in here.  In my experience, this method of import works best when you’re not closing and opening After Effects.  That sounds confusing, I realize.  Basically, I’ve found that attempting to open a save AE project that contains a dynamically linked sequence from Premiere tends to have issues and causes crashes.  Never fun.  So there’s a time and place for this technique.  Use it wisely.

Looking For More?

Interested in learning more about dynamic linking and importing After Effects content into Premiere?  These in-depth guides from School of Motion and Premiere Bro should help.  Want to level up your professional video editing workflows?  Check this out:

Better Editor’s Advanced Workflows course.