After Effects and Premiere Pro Dynamic Link Workflow

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In this article, we’ll take a look at the connection between Premiere Pro and After Effects via the Dynamic Link feature. From After Effects, we have a direct dynamic link that allows us to do edits in real time in After Effects and only render at the very end.

In other words, all the edits that we do in After Effects will automatically be updated on the Premiere Pro side

So let’s go ahead and take a look at how this works step by step:

  • Inside Premiere Pro we can right click on the footage layer and select “Replace With After Effects Composition”. This will start After Effects and ask us to select a name for the content and then it will go ahead and create the composition automatically
  • after-effects-and-premiere-pro-dynamic-link-workflow-1
  • Our clip will show up in After Effects and right now we can do the edit to it. We’ll add some text for the purpose of this example
  • after-effects-and-premiere-pro-dynamic-link-workflow-2
  • In the Effects & Presets panel, we’ll choose a simple text effect and drag it onto the text layer
  • Back in Premiere Pro, we can now notice that the name of the clip has changed to .aep, which is the extension for the After Effects project file that’s running live in the background
  • after-effects-and-premiere-pro-dynamic-link-workflow-3
  • Any changes that we make in After Effects will reflect life in the Premiere Pro composition. This includes adding third-party effects and plugins as well


Once the edits are done we’re ready to do the final export and for this, we can use some easy predefined settings like so:

  • We’ll choose File-Export-Media, which will bring up the media encoder
  • For the format, we’ll choose “H264” and under format, we’ll choose the YouTube 1080p HD Preset
  • after-effects-and-premiere-pro-dynamic-link-workflow-4
  • This will match all the project settings and we’ll be able to export correctly.
  • Click next to “output file” to set the destination path of your render and then click “export”

Tips for best workflow:

  • It’s important to know that and note that this process works seamlessly the other way around too. We can do edits in Premiere Pro that will reflect in After Effects instantly. This is a great feature, especially when using color correction. So we can apply a nice color correction in Premiere Pro and continue to edit and composite in After Effects
  • We can also import a whole Premiere Pro project in After Effects, instead of sending individual clips, by choosing File-Import and selecting the premiere project file, and this will import the whole sequence as a single footage layer
  • We can also drag After Effects project files inside the timeline in Premiere Pro
  • Using the Dynamic Link has a bit of limitation since it lowers the quality of the playback in Premiere Pro, so it’s best to set it to ¼. Another alternative would be to hit the “Return” key to render a particular clip and this will change the color of the line in the timeline, from yellow to green, which means we can play it back in real-time
  • Once we make additional changes inside After Effects, the line will change to red since the source file, which in this case is the After Effects project, has changedafter-effects-and-premiere-pro-dynamic-link-workflow-5
  • The workaround for this is to render the clip and also replace it with the rendered output. To do that right click and choose “Render and Replace”. This will enable us to keep playing the video in realtime, while making changes to it
  • Another great tip for fast workflow is to double click on the After Effects composition inside Premiere Pro and this will bring up the actual source in the source monitor and then right click on the clip in the timeline and choose “Replace With Clip – From Source Monitor”. The clip will auto-update and now we can re-render it again

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Thank you for checking out our blog and stay tuned for more cool articles and tips & tricks for After Effects coming soon

Remus Hosu

Remus Hosu

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