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Locating missing files in After Effects

What you’ll learn in this After Effects Tutorial:

  • Locating missing files in After Effects
  • Importing image sequences
  • Importing After Effects compositions

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with Adobe After Effects media management. It is the third lesson in the Adobe After Effects CS6 Digital Classroom book. For more Adobe After Effects training options, visit AGI’s After Effects Classes.

Locating missing files in After Effects

When you import a file, After Effects creates a link to the original media file on your hard drive. This link is what you see in the Project panel. These files are linked and not actually a part of the project itself. If anything happens to the original file, i.e., it is deleted, moved, or renamed, this will cause a problem. When you attempt to open a project, After Effects checks the media links to ensure that they are all still intact, and if it encounters a problem will display a warning dialog telling you how many files are currently missing.

The number of missing files will vary depending on the project you are attempting to open.

To fix this problem you must relink the missing footage by replacing the original linked footage with itself. To find your missing files:

1 Click OK to close the initial warning dialog.

2 Locate one of the missing footage items in the Project panel. They will be easy to identify by the Color Bar icon () to the left of the footage name.

3 Right-click on any missing footage item and from the menu that appears, choose Replace Footage > File.

4 When the Replace Footage File dialog box appears, navigate to the folder that contains the missing file that corresponds to this footage item. The name of the file should be visible in the dialog box’s title bar.

5 Highlight the missing file and click Open. After a brief pause while your computer analyzes the folder’s content and relinks the missing files it finds here, a confirmation dialog will appear informing you that previously missing files have be found.

The number of recovered files will vary depending on the number of
missing items After Effects was able to locate.

Click OK to close this dialog box.

If all your files still have the same names and are in the same relative folder locations as when they were imported, this one replace operation should locate all your missing footage items. If not, you will have to repeat this process several times to locate all missing files. In general, it is far easier to locate your missing media files when they are simply moved and not renamed. If your footage items have been deleted, there is nothing After Effects can do to assist you. Your only course of action will be to recreate or restore the items from a backup copy of your hard-drive or media files.

These tutorials are created by and the team of expert instructors at American Graphics Institute.