Creating layers


After creating a composite shot, the first thing you need to do is add some layers to the timeline.

composite shot timeline

If you created your composite shot by converting a clip or layer, there will already be at least one layer on the new timeline.

Adding media from the Media panel

You can drag anything in your Project Media list straight into a composite shot. Simply find the media asset you want to use and drag it from the list onto your timeline.

When you drag media onto the timeline you need to choose where you want it to go. HitFilm makes this easier by showing you where the clip is going to appear.

After you've selected a media asset in your Project Media list and have begun to drag it, note how the mouse pointer changes to let you know if you are over a valid area. If you move a media asset over the Effects panel, for example, the pointer will indicate that you can't put the media asset there.

If you drag the clip over the timeline green lines will appear. These show the layer and frame where the media asset will be placed.

If you drag over the layer listing you will only see a single line indicating the layer placement. In this case the layer will always begin at frame 0. If you want to specify a start frame, drag over the layer view.

Every item in a composite shot exists on its own layer, so each layer can only hold a single item. This means that each time you add something to the composite shot a new layer is created.

If you want to do normal video editing and create a sequence of end-to-end clips, you should use the Editor sequence instead.

For more information on what you can do with your layers, see the Working with layers chapter.

Adding 3D effects from the Effects panel

3D effects are used as layers in composite shots. 3D effects can be dragged from the Effects panel onto a composite shot timeline in the same way as media.

2D effects cannot be used as standalone layers. Instead, they are applied to the Effects section of an existing layer or clip.

Generating special layers

There is also a New Layer menu on the timeline itself which creates special layer types.

new layer menu

Plane - a flat, colored, rectangular shape. Unlike the other special layers, planes are listed in your Media panel.
Text - highly customizable text of any font, color or size.
Grade - applies effects to all other layers below it.
Camera - virtual cameras are used when you work in 3D.
Light - virtual lights are used when you work in 3D.
Point - invisible reference layer for aiding positioning and adjustment of other layers.

Each of these layers is explained in detail elsewhere in this manual. Click on their name above to find out more.

RECAP Composite shots consist of lots of separate layers. Layers can be media from the Media panel or special layers created on the timeline.