Adobe After Effects CC (2015) Help 2015 En

User Manual: adobe After Effects - CC (2015) - Help Free User Guide for Adobe After Effects Software, Manual

Open the PDF directly: View PDF PDF.
Page Count: 750 [warning: Documents this large are best viewed by clicking the View PDF Link!]

Adobe® Aer Eects®
CC
Help
Last updated 6/8/2015
Legal notices
Legal notices
For legal notices, see http://help.adobe.com/en_US/legalnotices/index.html.
iii
Last updated 6/8/2015
Contents
Chapter 1: What's new
New features summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Chapter 2: Workspace and workflow
Planning and setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Setup and installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
General user interface items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Workflows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Dynamic Link and After Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Keyboard shortcuts reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Working with After Effects and other applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
After Effects keyboard shortcuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Workspaces, panels, and viewers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Sync Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Modify keyboard shortcuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Chapter 3: Projects and compositions
Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Precomposing, nesting, and pre-rendering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Composition basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Timecode and time display units . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Chapter 4: Importing footage
Importing and interpreting footage items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Importing and interpreting video and audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Preparing and importing 3D image files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Working with footage items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
CINEMA 4D and Cineware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Importing from After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Preparing and importing still images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Chapter 5: Layers and properties
Creating layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Selecting and arranging layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Managing layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Layer properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Blending modes and layer styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
3D layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Cameras, lights, and points of interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
iv
AFTER EFFECTS
Contents
Last updated 6/8/2015
Chapter 6: Views and previews
Previewing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
Modifying and using views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
Video preview with Mercury Transmit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
Chapter 7: Animation and Keyframes
Face Tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
Animation basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Setting, selecting, and deleting keyframes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
Editing, moving, and copying keyframes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
Assorted animation tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
Tracking and stabilizing motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244
Animating with Puppet tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251
Tracking 3D camera movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258
Time-stretching and time-remapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
Keyframe interpolation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
Chapter 8: Color
Creative Cloud Libraries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Color basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
Color management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Chapter 9: Drawing, painting, and paths
Paint tools: Brush, Clone Stamp, and Eraser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
Overview of shape layers, paths, and vector graphics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
Creating shapes and masks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Managing and animating shape paths and masks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
Shape attributes, paint operations, and path operations for shape layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
Mask Tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Compositing Options and Mask Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
Chapter 10: Text
Live Text Templates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
Creating and editing text layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353
Formatting characters and the Character panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
Examples and resources for text animation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
Animating text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371
Extruding text and shape layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382
Formatting paragraphs and the Paragraph panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 387
Chapter 11: Transparency and compositing
Roto Brush, Refine Edge, and Refine Matte effects | CC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Alpha channels, masks, and mattes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 401
Compositing and transparency overview and resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 412
Keying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
v
AFTER EFFECTS
Contents
Last updated 6/8/2015
Chapter 12: Effects and animation presets
Effects and animation presets overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 418
Detail-preserving Upscale effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 446
Effect list . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 446
Audio effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 455
Blur and Sharpen effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 458
Keying effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 465
Transition effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
Noise and Grain effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 483
Channel effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 504
Distort effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 510
Utility effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 527
Color Correction effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 531
Simulation effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 548
Obsolete effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 579
Generate effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 586
Matte effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 603
3D Channel effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 604
Stylize effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 610
Text effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 620
The Rolling Shutter Repair effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 622
Perspective effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 623
Chapter 13: Markers
Layer markers and composition markers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 628
XMP metadata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 632
Chapter 14: Memory, storage, performance
Improve performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 638
GPU (CUDA, OpenGL) features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 641
Memory and storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 643
Chapter 15: Expressions and automation
Plug-ins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 654
Automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 656
Expression basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 656
Expression language reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 670
Expression examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 693
Scripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 698
Chapter 16: Rendering and Exporting
Basics of rendering and exporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 700
Supported GPUs for ray-traced 3D renderer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 717
Using the GoPro CineForm codec in After Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 719
Rendering and exporting still images and still-image sequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 722
Automated rendering and network rendering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 723
Export an After Effects project as an Adobe Premiere Pro project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 730
vi
AFTER EFFECTS
Contents
Last updated 6/8/2015
Rendering and exporting for Flash Professional and Flash Player . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 731
Converting movies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 738
Chapter 17: System Requirements
System requirements for After Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 744
1
Last updated 6/8/2015
Chapter 1: What's new
New features summary
Create dynamic, visually stunning motion graphics and visual effects wherever inspiration strikes. After Effects
connects with Creative Cloud mobile and desktop apps seamlessly, allowing your creativity to inspire you — wherever
you are.
Creative Cloud Libraries
New in After Effects CC 2015 | June
The inclusion of Creative Cloud Libraries in After Effects CC 2015 puts all your creative assets right at your finger tips.
All your favorite assets can now be accessed from within the Libraries panel in After Effects.
You can save, access, and reuse assets stored in Creative Cloud Libraries across Adobe's desktop (such as Photoshop,
Illustrator, and more) and mobile apps (such as Adobe Hue CC).
Library sharing makes it easy to collaborate with teams and maintain consistency across projects with common assets
like graphics, colors, Looks, or type styles.
Select Win dow > Libraries to open the Libraries panel in After Effects.
You can also choose assets from the Creative Cloud Market.
For more information about using Creative Cloud Libraries, see .
Integration with Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock is a new service that sells millions of high-quality, royalty-free photos, illustrations, and graphics.
You can search for Adobe Stock content directly from within After Effects, using the Libraries panel (Window >
Libraries) by clicking the Search Adobe Stock button in the panel. You can then purchase a license for an asset you want
to use and include it in your After Effects Library. Or, you can add an unlicensed preview (watermarked) copy to your
Library and purchase a license for it later.
For more information, see Add photos using Adobe Stock .
Changes to Preview workflow
Uninterrupted Preview
Enhanced in After Effects CC 2015 | June 2015
You can now make changes to a project while previewing within After Effects. View design iterations, adjust properties,
and even resize panels without stopping playback of your compositions.
2
What's new
Last updated 6/8/2015
In previous versions of After Effects, after you started a preview in a composition, layer, or footage viewer, clicking
anywhere in the user interface would stop preview. Previews will now continue, until you stop the preview manually.
For more information, see Previewing.
Unified and Configurable Preview
Enhanced in After Effects CC 2015 | June 2015
You can now customize Preview behaviors using the updated Preview panel. If you're new to After Effects, you will find
the default Preview, started by pressing Spacebar, intuitive with real-time playback of audio and cached frames. For you,
the experienced After Effects user, Preview options are configurable to suit your working style.
Note that the these new changes have dissolved the differences between the old RAM preview and Standard preview
(spacebar) behaviors, and After Effects no longer uses those terms. Preview is now considered to be unified, with user-
configurable behaviors.
New controls in the Preview panel allow you to configure preview behaviors for each keyboard shortcut: audio, looping,
caching, range, and layer controls.
For more information, see Previewing.
Face Tracker
New in After Effects CC 2015 | June 2015
After Effects CC 2015 now includes face tracking capabilities. You can detect and track human faces with exceptional
accuracy by managing the level of detail you track.
Simple mask tracking lets you quickly apply effects only to a face, such as selective color correction or blurring a
persons face, and more. However, with Face Tracking, you can also track specific points on the face such as pupils,
mouth, and nose, allowing you to isolate and work on these facial features with greater detail. For example, change
colors of the eyes or exaggerate mouth movements without frame-by-frame adjustments.
Face Tracking also lets you extract and copy facial measurements. Tracking of facial measurements tells you details such
as how open the mouth is and how open each eye is. You can also export detailed tracking data to Adobe Character
Animator for performance-based character animation.
For more information, see Face Tracking.
Integration with Adobe Character Animator (Preview)
New in After Effects CC 2015 | June 2015
Adobe Character Animator (Preview), a companion application, tracks your facial movements, records a voice over,
and even triggers bodily movement with simple keyboard actions and automated features that give life to characters
you create in Illustrator or Photoshop. When you talk, your character talks. When you feign surprise, so does your
character. When you’re grumpy, your character is too.
Adobe Character Animator is for two different types of artists: those who want to rig complex characters without
creating a confusing tangle of expressions, and those who just want to create simple characters easily. Either way, once
the character is set up in Photoshop or Illustrator, Adobe Character Animator brings it to life. It does this by users acting
out a performance in front of their webcam and talking into their microphone.
For more information, see Adobe Character Animator .
Note: For the After Effects CC 2015 release, Adobe Character Animator is only available as a technological preview.
3
What's new
Last updated 6/8/2015
Interactive performance improvements
Enhanced in After Effects CC 2015 | June 2015
There are significant architectural code changes in After Effects CC 2015 release that allow the user interface and image
rendering to be processed separately by the CPU. The following improvements are a direct result of these changes:
The user interface is now much more responsive as it no longer needs to wait for frames to finish rendering.
Conversely, frames can continue to render while you work with the user interface. This responsiveness makes for a
smoother interaction with the user interface at all times.
Far fewer instances of delays or beach ball during a Preview.
You can now interrupt or cancel frame renders by making a change to the composition.
Fast scrubbing, even when the frames take a long time to render.
Faster image caching.
More efficient evaluation of expressions.
Previews continue to play back while After Effects is in the background.
Changes to expression evaluation
Enhanced in After Effects 2015 | June 2015
Evaluation of expressions in After Effects has been significantly enhanced. Overall, you may find that expressions are
evaluated faster; the improvement will vary depending on the expression.
When an expression fails to evaluate, there are two major changes:
1Expression errors appear in a warning banner at the bottom of the Composition panel instead of in a dialog box.
The expression is not disabled.
2The expression will continue to evaluate and will display the warning banner until the problem with the expression
is fixed.
On the right side of the expression error warning banner are Left, Down, and Right arrow buttons:
1Click the Left or Right arrow buttons to display the previous or next expression error when multiple expressions fail
to evaluate.
2Click the Down arrow to display the property with the failing expression in the Timeline panel. The expression error
text is clipped to the width of the Composition panel. To see the full expression error in a dialog box, click on the
yellow error triangle icon for the expression in the Timeline panel.
User interface enhancements
Color icons for compositions and image sequences
Icons for compositions and image sequences in the Project and Timeline panels are now multicolored instead of
monochrome.
Preference for user interface highlight brightness
4
What's new
Last updated 6/8/2015
In Preferences > Appearance there is a new Highlight Colors section wherein you can in which you can adjust the
brightness of interactive controls and focus indicators.
You can see the changes to the slider values reflected live in the user interface behind the Preferences dialog.
Panel group enhancements
Several changes have been made to how panel groups work
No tab well for single panels - When there is only one panel in a panel group, the tab well does not appear. You can
still drag other panels into the tab row to dock them in that panel group.
Menu instead of scroll bar - When there are more panel tabs than that will fit in the width of a panel group, a menu
( >>) appears on the right side of the tab well instead of a scroll bar. You can choose a tab from the tab well.
Panel Group Settings sub-menu - In panel menus, panel group commands have been moved to the Panel Group
Settings sub-menu:
Close Panel Group
Undock Panel Group
Maximize Panel Group
Close Other Panels In Group: In panel menus, there is a new command to close other panels in the same group.
Maxon Cineware 2.0.15 plug-in
Enhanced in After Effects CC 2015 | June 2015
Cineware 2.0.15 for After Effects includes the following enhancements:
CINEMA 4D Layers are no longer automatically synchronized - When adding multiple instances of a CINEMA 4D
scene layer in a composition, including adding Multi-Pass layers, Cineware no longer automatically synchronizes
CINEMA 4D Layers. You will see an on/offcheckbox at the top of the Effect Controls panel that has been relabeled
to Synchronize AE Layer. When this preference is enabled, the Render Settings and Camera options on all instances
of the layer will automatically synchronize as before, but CINEMA 4D layers can be set independently. If this
checkbox is disabled for a specific CINEMA 4D scene layer, then none of that layer's settings will synchronize with
the rest of the layers in the composition.
Updated CINEMA 4D Layers dialog window - "Non-Layer Items" has been renamed "Items not on Layers". By
unchecking this setting, all objects that are not associated with any CINEMA 4D Layers will be turned off.
Resizable dialog windows - The CINEMA 4D Layers and Cineware Settings dialogs have been updated so they can
be resized as needed.
Miscellaneous updates
Removal of Memory and Multiprocessing preference
The Multiprocessing preference has been removed due to the inclusion of new threading architecture in After Effects
CC 2015. The preference that was earlier named Memory and Multiprocessing is now named only Memory.
The Composition > Cache Work Area In Background command was dependent on the Multiprocessing feature. This
functionality has been removed.
5
What's new
Last updated 6/8/2015
Brainstorm has been removed in After Effects CC 2015. You can still use Brainstorm in After Effects CC 2014 and
earlier versions/releases. You can read about using Brainstorm in AFter Effects in the Use Brainstorm to experiment
and explore settingsarticle.
RED camera raw (.r3d) file decoding has been updated with the newest RED SDK. New functionality includes
Dragon Enhanced Blacks, REDcolor4, and DRAGONcolor 2.
6
Last updated 6/8/2015
Chapter 2: Workspace and workflow
Planning and setup
Planning your work
Correct project settings, preparation of footage, and initial composition settings can help you to avoid errors and
unexpected results when rendering your final output movie. Before you begin, think about what kind of work you’ll be
doing in After Effects and what kind of output you intend to create. After you have planned your project and made some
basic decisions about project settings, you’ll be ready to start importing footage and assembling compositions from
layers based on that footage.
The best way to ensure that your movie is suitable for a specific medium is to render a test movie and view it using the
same type of equipment that your audience will use to view it. Its best to do such tests before you have completed the
difficult and time-consuming parts of your work, to uncover problems early.
Aharon Rabinowitz provides an article on the Creative COW website about planning your project with the final
delivery specifications in mind.
For more information about encoding and compression options, see this FAQ entry: “FAQ: What is the best format for
rendering and exporting from After Effects?
Storyboards and scripts (screenplays)
Before you begin shooting footage or creating animations, it is often best to start by planning your movie with
storyboards and a script (screenplay).
You can use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to create storyboards. You can use Adobe Story to collaboratively
write and manage screenplays. Adobe Story also converts information from a screenplay into XMP metadata that can
automate the creation of shooting scripts, shot lists, and more.
Acquiring, choosing, and preparing footage
Before importing footage, first decide which media and formats you'll use for your finished movies, and then determine
the best settings for your source material. Often, it’s best to prepare footage before importing it into After Effects.
For example, if you want an image to fill your composition frame, configure the image in Adobe Photoshop so that the
image size and pixel aspect ratio match the composition size and pixel aspect ratio. If the image is too large when you
import it into After Effects, you’ll increase the memory and processor requirements of the compositions that use it. If
the image is too small, you’ll lose image quality when you scale it to the desired size. See Pixel aspect ratio and frame
aspect ratio.
If you can shoot footage with consistent lighting and colors—and otherwise prevent the need to do a lot of tedious
utility work in post-production—then you’ll have more time for creative work.
7
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
If possible, use uncompressed footage or footage encoded with lossless compression. Lossless compression means
better results for many operations, such as keying and motion tracking. Certain kinds of compression—such as the
compression used in DV encoding—are especially bad for color keying, because they discard the subtle differences in
color that you depend on for good bluescreen or greenscreen keying. Its often best to wait until the final rendering
phase to use compression other than lossless compression. See Keying introduction and resources.
If possible, use footage with a frame rate that matches that of your output, so that After Effects doesnt have to use frame
blending or similar methods to fill in missing frames. See Frame rate.
The kind of work that you’ll be doing in After Effects and the kind of output movie that you want to create can even
influence how you shoot and acquire your footage. For example, if you know that you want to animate using motion
tracking, consider shooting your scene in a manner that optimizes for motion tracking—for example, using tracking
markers. See Motion tracking workflow.
Also consider shooting at a larger frame size than what you need for final delivery if you want "head-room" for post-
production, whether for fake pans and zooms, or for stabilization.
Project settings
Project settings fall into three basic categories: how time is displayed in the project, how color data is treated in the
project, and what sampling rate to use for audio. Of these settings, the color settings are the ones that you need to think
about before you do much work in your project, because they determine how color data is interpreted as you import
footage files, how color calculations are performed as you work, and how color data is converted for final output. See
Color managementand Timecode and time display units .
If you enable color management for your project, the colors that you see are the same colors that your audience will see
when they view the movie that you create.
Note: Click the color depth indicator at the bottom of the Project panel to open the Project Settings dialog box. Alt-click
(Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) to cycle through color bit depths: 8 bpc, 16 bpc, and 32 bpc. See Color depth and high
dynamic range color.
Composition settings
After you prepare and import footage items, you use these footage items to create layers in a composition, where you
animate and apply effects. When you create a composition, specify composition settings such as resolution, frame size,
and pixel aspect ratio for your final rendered output. Although you can change composition settings at any time, it’s
best to set them correctly as you create each new composition to avoid unexpected results in your final rendered output.
For example, the composition frame size should be the image size in the playback medium. See Composition settings.
If you’ll be rendering and exporting a composition to more than one media format, always match the pixel dimensions
for your composition to the largest pixel dimensions used for your output. Later, you can use output modules in the
Render Queue panel to encode and export a separate version of the composition for each format. See Output modules and
output module settings.
Performance, memory, and storage considerations
If you work with large compositions, make sure that you configure After Effects and your computer to maximize
performance. Complex compositions can require a large amount of memory to render, and the rendered movies can
take a large amount of disk space to store. Before you attempt to render a three-hour movie, make sure that you have
the disk space available to store it. See Storage requirements for output files .
If your source footage files are on a slow disk drive (or across a slow network connection), then performance will be
poor. When possible, keep the source footage files for your project on a fast local disk drive. Ideally, you’ll have three
drives: one for source footage files, one from which the application runs, and one for rendered output.
8
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
For more information, see Improve performanceand Memory & Multiprocessing preferences .
Planning for playback on computer monitors and mobile devices
When you create a movie for playback on a personal computer—whether downloaded from the Web or played from a
CD-ROM—specify composition settings, render settings, and output module settings that keep file size low. Consider
that a movie with a high data rate may not play well from an older CD-ROM drive that cannot read data from the disc
fast enough. Similarly, a large movie may take a long time to download over a dial-up network connection.
When rendering your final movie, choose a file type and encoder appropriate for the final media. The corresponding
decoder must be available on the system used by your intended audience; otherwise they will not be able to play the
movie. Common codecs (encoders/decoders) include the codecs installed with media players such as Flash Player,
Windows Media Player, and QuickTime Player.
Aharon Rabinowitz provides an article on the Creative COW website about planning your project with the final
delivery specifications in mind.
Trish and Chris Meyer provide an article on the Artbeats website that describes some of the considerations for creating
video for the Web.
For more information about encoding and compression options for After Effects, see this FAQ entry: “FAQ: What is
the best format for rendering and exporting from After Effects?”
Mobile devices
Many of the considerations for creating movies for playback on mobile devices, such as mobile phones and the Apple
iPod, are similar to the considerations for creating movies for playback on personal computers—but the limitations are
even more extreme. Because the amount of storage (disk space) and processor power are less for mobile phones than
for personal computers, file size and data rate for movies must be even more tightly controlled.
Screen dimensions, video frame rates, and color gamuts vary greatly from one mobile device to another.
Use these tips when shooting video for mobile devices:
Tight shots are better. Its hard to see a face on a tiny screen unless its shot in relative close-up.
Light your subjects well, and keep them separated from the background; the colors and brightness values between
background and subject should not be too similar.
Avoid excessive zooming and rolling, which hinder temporal compression schemes.
Because stable (non-shaky) video is easier to compress, shoot video with a tripod to minimize the shaking of the
camera.
Avoid using auto-focus and auto-exposure features. When these features engage, they change the appearance of all
of the pixels in an image from one frame to the next, making compression using interframe encoding schemes less
efficient.
Use these tips when working in After Effects (for mobile devices):
Use a lower frame rate (12-24 fps) for mobile devices.
Use motion-stabilization tools and noise-reduction or blur effects before rendering to final output, to aid the
compressor in reducing file size.
Match the color palette to the mobile devices that you are targeting. Mobile devices, in general, have a limited color
gamut.
Consider using cuts and other fast transitions instead of zooming in and out or using fades and dissolves. Fast cuts
also make compression easier.
9
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Cross-platform project considerations
After Effects project files are compatible with Mac OS and Windows operating systems, but some factors—mostly
regarding the locations and naming of footage files and support files—can affect the ease of working with the same
project across platforms.
Project file paths
When you move a project file to a different computer and open it, After Effects attempts to locate the project’s footage
files as follows: After Effects first searches the folder in which the project file is located; second, it searches the files
original path or folder location; finally, it searches the root of the directory where the project is located.
If you are building cross-platform projects, it’s best if the full paths have the same names on Mac OS and Windows
systems. If the footage and the project are on different volumes, make sure that the appropriate volume is mounted
before opening the project and that network volume names are the same on both systems.
It’s best to store footage in the same folder as the project file or in another folder within that folder. Heres a sample
hierarchy:
/newproject/project_file.aep
/newproject/source/footage1.psd
/newproject/source/footage2.avi
You can then copy the new project folder in its entirety across platforms, and After Effects will properly locate all of the
footage.
Use the Collect Files feature to gather copies of all the files in a project into a single folder. You can then move the folder
containing the copied project to the other platform. See Collect files in one location.
File-naming conventions
Name your footage and project files with the appropriate filename extensions, such as .mov for QuickTime movies and
.aep for After Effects projects. If files will be used on the Web, be sure that filenames adhere to applicable conventions
for extensions and paths.
Note: For After Effects CS6 and earlier versions, do not use high-ASCII or other extended characters in filenames that will
be used cross-platform.
Supported file types
Some file types are supported on one platform but not others. See Supported import formatsand Supported output
formats.
Resources
Ensure that all fonts, effects, codecs, and other resources are available on both systems. Such resources are often plug-
ins.
If you use a native After Effects effect in a project on one operating system, the effect will still work on the other
operating system to which youve transferred your project. However, some third-party effects and other third-party
plug-ins may not continue to operate, even if you have versions of these plug-ins on the target system. In such cases,
you may need to reapply some third-party effects.
10
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
More Help topics
Adobe Story workflow
Composition settings
Output modules and output module settings
Render settings
Plug-ins
Fonts
Setup and installation
To submit a feature request or bug report about After Effects, choose Help > Send Feedback.
Installing the software
Before installing Adobe After Effects software, review the complete system requirements .
In addition to the full version of Adobe After Effects, you can also install additional copies on additional computers to
use as After Effects render engines to assist with network rendering. You install render engines in the same manner as
the full version of the application. You run the render engine using the Adobe After Effects Render Engine shortcut in
the Adobe After Effects folder.
Limitations of the trial version
The trial version of After Effects includes all of the codecs that are included with the full version of After Effects. This
means that you can import and export to all of the supported file formats using the trial version. The free trial version
of Adobe After Effects software does not include some features that depend upon software licensed from parties other
than Adobe. For example, Cycore (CC) effects, mocha-AE, mocha Shape, FreeForm, and Color Finesse are available
only with the full version of Adobe After Effects software. (Keylight is included, however.) If your installation of After
Effects is missing some third-party components, contact your system administrator to ensure that all licensed
components have been installed correctly.
Activate the software
Activation is a simple, anonymous process. After installation, your Adobe software attempts to contact Adobe to
complete the license activation process. No personal data is transmitted.
A single-user retail license activation supports two computers. For example, you can install the software on a desktop
computer at work and on a laptop computer at home.
For more information on product licensing and activation, see the Read Me file or go to the Adobe website.
More Help topics
Network rendering with watch folders and render engines
Plug-ins
11
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
General user interface items
Activate a tool
The Tools panel can be displayed as a toolbar across the top of the application window or as a normal, dockable panel.
Note: Controls related to some tools appear only when the tool is selected in the Tools panel.
Click the button for the tool. If the button has a small triangle at its lower-right corner, hold down the mouse button
to view the hidden tools. Then, click the tool you want to activate.
Press the keyboard shortcut for the tool. (Placing the pointer over a tool button displays a tool tip with the name and
keyboard shortcut for the tool.)
To cycle through hidden tools within a tool category, repeatedly press the keyboard shortcut for the tool category.
(For example, press the Q key repeatedly to cycle through the pen tools.)
To momentarily activate a tool, hold down the key for the desired tool; release the key to return to the previously
active tool. (This technique does not work with all tools.)
To momentarily activate the Hand tool, hold down the spacebar, the H key, or the middle mouse button. (The
middle mouse button does not activate the Hand tool under a few circumstances, including when the Unified
Camera tool is active.)
To pan around in the Composition, Layer, or Footage panel, drag with the Hand tool. Hold Shift, too, to pan faster.
To show or hide panels most relevant to the active tool, click the panel button if available. For example, clicking this
button when a paint tool is active opens or closes the Paint and Brushes panels. Select the Auto-Open Panels option in
the Tools panel to automatically open the relevant panels when certain tools are activated.
Open panel, viewer, and context menus
Panel menus provide commands relative to the active panel or frame. Viewer menus provide lists of compositions,
layers, or footage items that can be shown in the viewer, as well as commands for closing items and locking the viewer.
Context menus provide commands relative to the item that is context-clicked. Many items in the After Effects user
interface have associated context menus. Using context menus can make your work faster and easier.
To open a p anel menu, click the button in the upper-right corner of the panel.
To open a viewer menu, click the name of the active composition, layer, or footage item in the viewer tab.
To open a context menu, right-click (Windows or Mac OS) or Control-click (Mac OS). This action is sometimes
referred to as context-clicking.
Columns
The Project, Timeline, and Render Queue panels contain columns.
To show or hide columns, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a column heading (or choose Columns
from the panel menu), and select the columns that you want to show or hide. A check mark indicates that the
column is shown.
12
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Note: In general, the search and filter functions in the Project and Timeline panels only operate on the content of columns
that are shown.
To reorder columns, select a column name and drag it to a new location.
To resize columns, drag the bar next to a column name. Some columns cannot be resized.
To sort footage items in the Project panel, click the column heading. Click once more to sort them in reverse order.
Search and filter in the Timeline, Project, and Effects & Presets panels
The Project, Timeline, and Effects & Presets panels each contain search fields that you can use to filter items in the
panel.
To place the insertion point in a search field, click in the search field.
To place the insertion point in the search field for the active panel, choose File > Find or press Ctrl+F (Windows) or
Command+F (Mac OS).
To clear the search field, click the button that appears to the right of the text in the search field.
When you type in the search field, the list of items in the panel is filtered, showing some items and hiding others. Only
items with entries that match the search query that you’ve typed are shown. The folders, layers, categories, or property
groups that contain the matched items are also shown, to provide context.
In general, only text in columns that are shown is searched for this filtering operation. For example, you may need to
show the Comments column to search and filter by the contents of comments. (See Columns.)
If one or more layers are selected in a composition, the filtering operation in the Timeline panel only affects selected
layers. In this case, unselected layers are not filtered out (hidden) if they dont match the search query. However, if no
layers are selected in the composition, the filtering operation applies to all layers in the composition. This behavior
matches that for showing and hiding of layer properties by pressing their property shortcut keys. (See Show or hide
properties in the Timeline panel.)
Clearing the search field and ending the search causes expanded folders and property groups to collapse (close).
Therefore, it’s easier to work with the items that are found by the filter operation if you operate on them before you clear
the search field and end the search.
If the text that you type in the search field in the Project or Timeline panel contains spaces, the spaces are treated as
and-based operators. For example, typing dark solid matches footage items or layers named Dark Red Solid and Dark
Gray Solid. In the Effects & Presets panel, spaces are treated as space characters in the search field. For example, typing
change color matches the Change Color effect, but not the Change To Color effect.
Project, Timeline, and Effects & Presets panels accept or-based searching. In an or-based search, a comma denotes an
or, with and-based operators taking precedence over or-based ones. For example, sometimes the name of the property
that determines the amount for a blur effect is Amount, sometimes it is Blurriness, and sometimes it is Blur Radius. If
you search for Amount, Blurriness, Radius, then you will see the equivalent values for all of your blur effects.
When you type in a search field, recent search strings that match your input appear.
This search method also allows a way to save items you use often via a menu that opens when you click the search icon
in the search field. The search menu consists of two lists, separated by a divider. The top list contains the six most recent
searches, with the most recent one at the top. The bottom list contains saved search items. As you type, the top list filters
to show matching terms.
To save a search item, Shift-click it in the top list of the search menu. Up to ten items may be saved.
To delete a saved search item from either list, hover the mouse over the the item to highlight it, and then press Delete
or Backspace.
13
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
See this video on the Video2Brain website to learn about the new features for searching and filtering in panels.
Examples of searches in the Project panel
To show only footage items for which the name or comment contains a specific string, start typing the string.
To show only footage items for which the source file is missing, type the entire word missing. (This search works
whether or not the File Path column is shown, which is an exception to the general rule that only shown columns
are searched.)
To show only unused footage items, type the entire word unused.
To show only used footage items, type the entire word used.
To show only Cineon footage items, type Cineon with the Type column shown.
Examples of searches in the Timeline panel
To show only layers and properties for which the name or comment contains a specific string, type the string. For
example, type starch to show pins created by the Puppet Starch tool.
To show only properties that have an expression that uses a specific method, type the method name.
To show only layers with a specific label, type the label name. (See Color labels for layers, compositions, and footage
items.)
Click the swatch for a label to see the context menu that lists the label names. Alternatively, drag the right edge of the
Label column heading to expand the column to read the label names.
Scroll or zoom with the mouse wheel
You can use the mouse wheel to zoom in the Timeline, Composition, Layer, and Footage panels. You can use the mouse
wheel to scroll in the Timeline, Project, Render Queue, Flowchart, Effect Controls, Metadata, and Effects & Presets
panels.
To zoom into the center of the panel, or into the feature region when tracking, roll the mouse wheel forward.
To zoom out of the center of the panel, or out of the feature region when tracking, roll the mouse wheel backward.
To zoom into the area under the pointer, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you roll the mouse wheel
forward. In the Timeline, Footage, and Layer panels, this action zooms in time when the pointer is over the time
navigator or time ruler.
To zoom out of the area under the pointer, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you roll the mouse
wheel backward. In the Timeline, Footage, and Layer panels, this action zooms in time when the pointer is over the
time navigator or time ruler.
To scroll vertically, roll the mouse wheel forward or backward.
To scroll horizontally, hold down Shift as you roll the mouse wheel backward or forward. In the Timeline, Footage,
and Layer panels, Shift-rolling backward moves forward in time and vice versa when the pointer is over the time
navigator or time ruler.
You can scroll or zoom with the mouse wheel in a panel even if it is not currently active, as long as the pointer is over it.
Undo changes
You can undo only those actions that alter the project data. For example, you can undo a change to a property value,
but you cannot undo the scrolling of a panel or the activation of a tool.
14
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
You can sequentially undo as many as 99 of the most recent changes made to the project.
To avoid wasting time undoing accidental modifications, lock a layer when you want to see it but do not want to modify
it.
To undo the most recent change, choose Edit > Undo [action] or Ctrl-Z
To undo a change and all changes after it, choose Edit > History, and select the first change that you want to undo.
To revert to the last saved version of the project, choose File > Revert. All changes made and footage items imported
since you last saved are lost. You cannot undo this action.
After Effects user interface tips
Use ClearType text anti-aliasing on Windows. ClearType makes the outlines of system text, such as menus and
dialog boxes, easier to read. See Windows Help for information on how to enable ClearType text anti-aliasing.
To show tool tips, select the Show Tool Tips preference (Edit > General > Preferences (Windows) or After Effects >
Preferences > General (Mac OS)).
Use a workspace that contains the Info panel, and leave that panel in front of other panels in its panel group
whenever possible. The Info panel shows messages about what After Effects is doing, information about items under
the pointer, and much more.
In Windows, disable the Aero compositing mode. Hardware acceleration of panels and OpenGL features perform
better in After Effects when Windows is operating in Basic mode. For information, see the Microsoft website.
Use context menus.
Use keyboard shortcuts.
More Help topics
Activating tools (keyboard shortcuts)
Effects and Presets panel
Organize, view, manage, and trim footage items
Select layers
Zoom an image for preview
Zoom in or out in time for a composition
Move or adjust a camera or working 3D view with the Camera tools
Lock or unlock a layer
Workflows
General workflow in After Effects
15
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Overview of general workflow in After Effects
Whether you use Adobe After Effects to animate a simple title, create complex motion graphics, or composite realistic
visual effects, you generally follow the same basic workflow, though you may repeat or skip some steps. For example,
you may repeat the cycle of modifying layer properties, animating, and previewing until everything looks right. You
may skip the step of importing footage if you intend to create graphical elements entirely in After Effects.
1. Import and organize footage
After you create a project, import your footage into the project in the Project panel. After Effects automatically
interprets many common media formats, but you can also specify how you want After Effects to interpret attributes
such as frame rate and pixel aspect ratio. You can view each item in a Footage panel and set its start and end times to
fit your composition. For more information, see Importing and interpreting footage items .
2. Create, arrange, and composite layers in a composition
Create one or more compositions. Any footage item can be the source for one or more layers in a composition. You can
arrange the layers spatially in the Composition panel or arrange them in time using the Timeline panel. You can stack
layers in two dimensions or arrange them in three dimensions. You can use masks, blending modes, and keying tools
to composite (combine), the images of multiple layers. You can even use shape layers, text layers, and paint tools to
create your own visual elements. For more information, see Composition basics, Creating layers, Compositing and
transparency overview and resources, Overview of shape layers, paths, and vector graphics , and Creating and editing
text layers .
3. Modify and animate layer properties
You can modify any property of a layer, such as size, position, and opacity. You can make any combination of layer
properties change over time, using keyframes and expressions. Use motion tracking to stabilize motion or to animate
one layer so that it follows the motion in another layer. For more information, see Animation basics, Expression basics,
and Tracking and stabilizing motion (CS5) .
4. Add effects and modify effect properties
You can add any combination of effects to alter the appearance or sound of a layer, and even generate visual elements
from scratch. You can apply any of the hundreds of effects, animation presets, and layer styles. You can even create and
save your own animation presets. You can animate effect properties, too, which are simply layer properties within an
effect property group. For more information, see Effects and animation presets overview .
5. Preview
Previewing compositions on your computer monitor or an external video monitor is fast and convenient, even for
complex projects. You can change the speed and quality of previews by specifying their resolution and frame rate, and
by limiting the area and duration of the composition that you preview. You can use color management features to
preview how your movie will look on another output device. For more information, see Previewingand Color
management.
6. Render and export
Add one or more compositions to the render queue to render them at the quality settings you choose and to create
movies in the formats that you specify. You can use File > Export or Composition > Add to Render Queue.
For more information, see Basics of rendering and exporting and the encoding quick start section in Adobe Media
Encoder.
Online resources for general workflow in After Effects
Read a basic step-by-step introduction to the general workflow in an excerpt from After Effects Classroom in a Book.
16
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Read Trish and Chris Meyers step-by-step introduction to creating a basic animation in a PDF excerpt from their book,
The After Effects Apprentice.
For an overview of After Effects project navigtion, see the video tutorial, Walking Through A Mini Project, by Jeff
Sengstack and Infinite Skills.
Basic workflow tutorial: Create a simple movie
This tutorial assumes that you have already started After Effects and have not modified the empty default project. This
example skips the step of importing footage and shows you instead how to create your own synthetic visual elements.
After you have rendered a final movie, you can import it into After Effects to view it and use it as you would any other
footage item.
Some people prefer to use the mouse and menus to interact with After Effects, whereas others prefer to use keyboard
shortcuts for common tasks. For several steps in this example, two alternative commands are shown that produce the
same result—the first demonstrating the discoverability of menu commands and the second demonstrating the speed
and convenience of keyboard shortcuts. You’ll likely find that you use some combination of keyboard shortcuts and
menu commands in your work.
1Create a new composition:
Choose Composition > New Composition.
Press Ctrl+N (Windows) or Command+N (Mac OS).
2Change the Duration value in the Composition Settings dialog box by entering 5.00 (5 seconds), choose Web Video
from the Preset menu, and click OK.
3Create a new text layer:
Choose Layer > New > Text.
Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+T (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift+T (Mac OS).
4Type your name. Press Enter on the numeric keypad or press Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Command+Return (Mac
OS) on the main keyboard to exit text-editing mode.
5Set an initial keyframe for the Position property:
Click the triangle to the left of the layer name in the Timeline panel, click the triangle to the left of the Transform
group name, and then click the stopwatch button to the left of the Position property name.
Press Alt+Shift+P (Windows) or Option+Shift+P (Mac OS).
6Activate the Selection tool:
Click the Selection Tool button in the Tools panel.
Press V.
7Using the Selection tool, drag your text to the bottom-left corner of the frame in the Composition panel.
8Move the current-time indicator to the last frame of the composition:
Drag the current-time indicator in the Timeline panel to the far right of the timeline.
Press End.
9Using the Selection tool, drag your text to the top-right corner of the frame in the Composition panel.
A new keyframe is created at this time for the Position property. Motion is interpolated between keyframe values.
10 Preview your animation using standard preview:
Click the Play button in the Preview panel. Click Play again to stop the preview.
17
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Press the spacebar. Press the spacebar again to stop the preview.
11 Apply the Glow effect:
Choose Effect > Stylize > Glow.
Type glow in the search field at the top of the Effects & Presets panel to find the Glow effect. Double-click the
effect name.
12 In the Render Queue panel, click the underlined text to the right of Output To. In the Output Movie To dialog box,
choose a name and location for the output movie file, and then click Save. For the location, choose something easy
to find, like your desktop.
13 Click the Render button to process all items in the render queue. The Render Queue panel shows the progress of the
rendering operation. A sound is generated when rendering is complete.
You’ve created, rendered, and exported a movie.
You can import the movie that you’ve created and preview it in After Effects, or you can navigate to the movie and play
it using a movie player such as QuickTime Player or Windows Media Player.
More Help topics
Activating tools (keyboard shortcuts)
Import footage items
Dynamic Link and After Effects
Dynamic Link features work only between applications of the same major version, such as the 2014 release of After
Effects CC with the 2014 release of Premiere Pro CC. Dynamic Link features do not work between applications that are
not of the same major version, such as After Effects CC and Premiere Pro CS6. For CS6 versions of the applications,
Dynamic Link features are only available with the Creative Suite Production Premium and Creative Suite Master
Collection editions; Dynamic Link features do not work between CS6 applications that have been installed and
activated as separate applications.
About Dynamic Link
In the past, sharing media assets among post-production applications required you to render and export your work
from one application before importing it into another. This workflow was inefficient and time-consuming. If you
wanted to change the original asset, you rendered and exported the asset again. Multiple rendered and exported
versions of an asset consume disk space, and they can lead to file-management challenges.
Dynamic Link offers an alternative to this workflow. You can create dynamic links between After Effects and Adobe
Premiere Pro. Creating a dynamic link is as simple as importing any other type of asset. Dynamically linked assets
appear with unique icons and label colors to help you identify them. Dynamic links are saved in projects generated by
these applications.
Create and link to After Effects compositions with Dynamic Link
You can create new After Effects compositions, and dynamically link to them from Adobe Premiere Pro. You can also
dynamically link to existing After Effects compositions from Adobe Premiere Pro.
18
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Create a composition from clips in Adobe Premiere Pro
You can replace selected clips in Adobe Premiere Pro with a dynamically linked After Effects composition based on
those clips. The new composition inherits the sequence settings from Adobe Premiere Pro.
1Open Premiere Pro and select the clips you want to replace.
2Right-click any of the selected clips.
3Select Replace With After Effects Composition.
After Effects opens (if it is not already open) and a new linked composition is created.
Create a dynamically linked composition from Adobe Premiere Pro
Creating a new dynamically linked composition from Adobe Premiere Pro launches After Effects. After Effects then
creates a project and composition with the dimensions, pixel aspect ratio, frame rate, and audio sample rate of the
originating project. (If After Effects is already running, it creates a composition in the current project.) The new
composition name is based on the Adobe Premiere Pro project name, followed by Linked Comp [x].
1In Adobe Premiere Pro, choose File > Adobe Dynamic Link > New After Effects Composition. In the 2014 version
of Premiere Pro, you can import compositions using Media Browser. See the following sections in Premiere Pro for
more information:
Import files with Media Browser
Adobe Dynamic Link
2If the After Effects Save As dialog box appears, enter a name and location for the After Effects project, and click Save.
When you create a dynamically linked After Effects composition, the composition duration is set to 30 seconds. To
change the duration, select the composition in After Effects, choose Composition > Composition Settings. Click the
Basic tab, and specify a new value for Duration.
Link to an existing composition
For best results, match composition settings (such as dimensions, pixel aspect ratio, and frame rate) to the settings in
the Adobe Premiere Pro.
Do one of the following:
In Adobe Premiere Pro, choose File > Adobe Dynamic Link > ImportAfter Effects Composition. Choose an After
Effects project file (.aep), and then choose one or more compositions.
In Adobe Premiere Pro, choose an After Effects project file and click Open. Then choose a composition in the
displayed dialog box and click OK.
Drag one or more compositions from the After Effects Project panel to the Adobe Premiere Pro Project panel.
Drag an After Effects project file into the Premiere Pro Project panel. If the After Effects project file contains
multiple compositions, the Import Composition dialog box opens.
Note: You can link to a single After Effects composition multiple times in a single Adobe Premiere Pro project.
Modify a dynamically linked composition in After Effects
Use the Edit Original command in Adobe Premiere Pro to modify a linked After Effects composition. Once the
composition is open in After Effects, you can change the composition without having to use the Edit Original
command again.
1Select the After Effects composition in Adobe Premiere Pro, or choose a linked clip in the Timeline, and choose Edit
> Edit Original.
19
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
2Change the composition in After Effects. Then, switch back to Adobe Premiere Pro to view your changes.
The changes made in After Effects appear in Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe Premiere Pro stops using any preview files
rendered for the clip before the changes.
Note: You can change the name of the composition in After Effects after creating a dynamic link to it from Adobe Premiere
Pro. Adobe Premiere Pro does not update the linked composition name in the Project panel. Adobe Premiere Pro does retain
the dynamic link, however.
Delete a dynamically linked composition or clip
You can delete a linked composition from an Adobe Premiere Pro project at any time, even if the composition is used
in a project.
You can delete linked clips from the timeline of an Adobe Premiere Pro sequence or timeline at any time.
In Adobe Premiere Pro, select the linked composition or clip and press the Delete key.
Create a linked sequence in Adobe Premiere Pro with Dynamic Link
Link to a new sequence
Creating an Adobe Premiere Pro sequence from After Effects launches Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe Premiere Pro then
creates a project and sequence with the dimensions, pixel aspect ratio, frame rate, and audio sample rate of the
originating project. (If Adobe Premiere Pro is already running, it creates a sequence in the current project.)
In After Effects, choose File > Adobe Dynamic Link > New Premiere Pro Sequence.
Link to an existing sequence
For best results, match sequence settings and project settings in Adobe Premiere Pro (such as dimensions, pixel aspect
ratio, and frame rate) to those settings in the After Effects project.
Do one of the following:
In After Effects, choose File > Adobe Dynamic Link > Import Premiere Pro Sequence. Choose an Adobe Premiere
Pro project, and then choose one or more sequences.
Drag one or more sequences from the Adobe Premiere Pro Project panel to the After Effects Project panel.
Dynamic Link performance
A linked clip can refer to a complex source composition. Actions you perform on the complex source composition
require additional processing time. After Effects takes time to apply the actions and make the final data available to
Adobe Premiere Pro. In some cases, the additional processing time delays preview or playback.
To reduce playback delays, do one of the following:
take the linked composition offline
disable a linked clip to temporarily stop referencing a composition
render the composition and replace the dynamically linked composition with the rendered file
If you commonly work with complex source compositions, try adding RAM or a faster processor.
20
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Note: A linked After Effects composition will not support Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing. See
Improve performance by optimizing memory, cache, and multiprocessing settings.
More Help topics
Working with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
Importing from After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro
Keyboard shortcuts reference
General (keyboard shortcuts)
Result Windows Mac OS
Select all Ctrl+A Command+A
Deselect all F2 or Ctrl+Shift+A F2 or Command+Shift+A
Rename selected layer, composition, folder,
effect, group, or mask
Enter on main keyboard Return
Open selected layer, composition, or footage
item
Enter on numeric keypad Enter on numeric keypad
Move selected layers, masks, effects, or render
items down (back) or up (forward) in stacking
order
Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow or Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow Command+Option+Down Arrow or
Command+Option+Up Arrow
Move selected layers, masks, effects, or render
items to bottom (back) or top (front) of
stacking order
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Down Arrow or
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Up Arrow
Command+Option+Shift+Down Arrow or
Command+Option+Shift+Up Arrow
Extend selection to next item in Project panel,
Render Queue panel, or Effect Controls panel
Shift+Down Arrow Shift+Down Arrow
Extend selection to previous item in Project
panel, Render Queue panel, or Effect Controls
panel
Shift+Up Arrow Shift+Up Arrow
Duplicate selected layers, masks, effects, text
selectors, animators, puppet meshes, shapes,
render items, output modules, or
compositions
Ctrl+D Command+D
Quit Ctrl+Q Command+Q
Undo Ctrl+Z Command+Z
Redo Ctrl+Shift+Z Command+Shift+Z
Purge All Memory Ctrl+Alt+/ (on numeric keypad) Command+Option+/ (on numeric keypad)
Interrupt running a script Esc Esc
Display filename corresponding to the frame
at the current time in the Info panel
Ctrl+Alt+E Command+Option+E
21
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Projects (keyboard shortcuts)
Preferences (keyboard shortcuts)
Panels, viewers, workspaces, and windows (keyboard shortcuts)
Note: (Mac OS) Shortcuts involving function keys F9-F12 may conflict with shortcuts used by the operating system. See
Mac OS Help for instructions to reassign Dashboard & Expose shortcuts.
Result Windows Mac OS
New project Ctrl+Alt+N Command+Option+N
Open project Ctrl+O Command+O
Open most recent project Ctrl+Alt+Shift+P Command+Option+Shift+P
New folder in Project panel Ctrl+Alt+Shift+N Command+Option+Shift+N
Open Project Settings dialog box Ctrl+Alt+Shift+K Command+Option+Shift+K
Find in Project panel Ctrl+F Command+F
Cycle through color bit depths for project Alt-click bit-depth button at bottom of Project
panel
Option-click bit-depth button at bottom of
Project panel
Open Project Settings dialog box Click bit-depth button at bottom of Project
panel
Click bit-depth button at bottom of Project
panel
Result Windows Mac OS
Open Preferences dialog box Ctrl+Alt+; (semicolon) Command+Option+; (semicolon)
Restore default preferences settings Hold down Ctrl+Alt+Shift while starting After
Effects
Hold down Command+Option+Shift while
starting After Effects
Result Windows Mac OS
Open or close Project panel Ctrl+0 Command+0
Open or close Render Queue panel Ctrl+Alt+0 Command+Option+0
Open or close Tools panel Ctrl+1 Command+1
Open or close Info panel Ctrl+2 Command+2
Open or close Preview panel Ctrl+3 Command+3
Open or close Audio panel Ctrl+4 Command+4
Open or close Effects & Presets panel Ctrl+5 Command+5
Open or close Character panel Ctrl+6 Command+6
Open or close Paragraph panel Ctrl+7 Command+7
Open or close Paint panel Ctrl+8 Command+8
Open or close Brushes panel Ctrl+9 Command+9
Open or close Effect Controls panel for
selected layer
F3 or Ctrl+Shift+T F3 or Command+Shift+T
Open Flowchart panel for project flowchart Ctrl+F11 Command+F11
22
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Activating tools (keyboard shortcuts)
Note: You can activate some tools only under certain circumstances. For example, you can activate a camera tool only when
the active composition contains a camera layer.
To momentarily activate a tool with a single-letter keyboard shortcut, hold down the key; release the key to return to
the previously active tool. To activate a tool and keep it active, press the key and immediately release it.
Switch to workspace Shift+F10, Shift+F11, or Shift+F12 Shift+F10, Shift+F11, or Shift+F12
Close active viewer or panel (closes content
first)
Ctrl+W Command+W
Close active panel or all viewers of type of
active viewer (closes content first). For
example, if a Timeline panel is active, this
command closes all Timeline panels.
Ctrl+Shift+W Command+Shift+W
Split the frame containing the active viewer
and create a new viewer with opposite
locked/unlocked state
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+N Command+Option+Shift+N
Maximize or restore panel under pointer ` (accent grave) ` (accent grave)
Resize application window or floating window
to fit screen. (Press again to resize window so
that contents fill the screen.)
Ctrl+\ (backslash) Command+\ (backslash)
Move application window or floating window
to main monitor; resize window to fit screen.
(Press again to resize window so that contents
fill the screen.)
Ctrl+Alt+\ (backslash) Command+Option+\ (backslash)
Toggle activation between Composition
panel and Timeline panel for current
composition
\ (backslash) \ (backslash)
Cycle to previous or next item in active viewer
(for example, cycle through open
compositions)
Shift+, (comma) or Shift+. (period) Shift+, (comma) or Shift+. (period)
Cycle to previous or next panel in active frame
(for example, cycle through open Timeline
panels)
Alt+Shift+, (comma) or Alt+Shift+. (period) Option+Shift+, (comma) or Option+Shift+.
(period)
Activate a view in a multi-view layout in the
Composition panel without affecting layer
selection
click with middle mouse button click with middle mouse button
Result Windows Mac OS
Cycle through tools Alt-click tool button in Tools panel Option-click tool button in Tools panel
Activate Selection tool V V
Activate Hand tool H H
Temporarily activate Hand tool Hold down spacebar or the middle mouse
button.
Hold down spacebar or the middle mouse
button.
Activate Zoom In tool Z Z
Activate Zoom Out tool Alt (when Zoom In tool is active) Option (when Zoom In tool is active)
Result Windows Mac OS
23
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Compositions and the work area (keyboard shortcuts)
Activate Rotation tool W W
Activate Roto Brush tool Alt+W Option+W
Activate and cycle through Camera tools
(Unified Camera, Orbit Camera, Track XY
Camera, and Track Z Camera)
C C
Activate Pan Behind tool Y Y
Activate and cycle through mask and shape
tools (Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Ellipse,
Polygon, Star)
Q Q
Activate and cycle through Type tools
(Horizontal and Vertical)
Ctrl+T Command+T
Activate and cycle between the Pen and Mask
Feather tools. Note - You can turn off this
setting in the Preferences dialog box.
G G
Temporarily activate Selection tool when a
pen tool is selected
Ctrl Command
Temporarily activate pen tool when the
Selection tool is selected and pointer is over a
path (Add Vertex tool when pointer is over a
segment; Convert Vertex tool when pointer is
over a vertex)
Ctrl+Alt Command+Option
Activate and cycle through Brush, Clone
Stamp, and Eraser tools
Ctrl+B Command+B
Activate and cycle through Puppet tools Ctrl+P Command+P
Temporarily convert Selection tool to Shape
Duplication tool
Alt (in shape layer) Option (in shape layer)
Temporarily convert Selection tool to Direct
Selection tool
Ctrl (in shape layer) Command (in shape layer)
Result Windows Mac OS
New composition Ctrl+N Command+N
Open Composition Settings dialog box for
selected composition
Ctrl+K Command+K
Set beginning or end of work area to current
time
B or N B or N
Set work area to duration of selected layers or,
if no layers are selected, set work area to
composition duration
Ctrl+Alt+B Command+Option+B
Open Composition Mini-Flowchart for active
composition
Tab Tab
Activate the most recently active composition
that is in the same composition hierarchy
(network of nested compositions) as the
currently active composition
Shift+Esc Shift+Esc
24
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Time navigation (keyboard shortcuts)
Previews (keyboard shortcuts)
Result Windows Mac OS
Go to specific time Alt+Shift+J Option+Shift+J
Go to beginning or end of work area Shift+Home or Shift+End Shift+Home or Shift+End
Go to previous or next visible item in time
ruler (keyframe, layer marker, work area
beginning or end)
note: Also goes to beginning, end, or base frame
of Roto Brush span if viewing Roto Brush in Layer
panel.
J or K J or K
Go to beginning of composition, layer, or
footage item
Home or Ctrl+Alt+Left Arrow Home or Command+Option+Left Arrow
Go to end of composition, layer, or footage
item
End or Ctrl+Alt+Right Arrow End or Command+Option+Right Arrow
Go forward 1 frame Page Down or Ctrl+Right Arrow Page Down or Command+Right Arrow
Go forward 10 frames Shift+Page Down or Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow Shift+Page Down or Command+Shift+Right
Arrow
Go backward 1 frame Page Up or Ctrl+Left Arrow Page Up or Command+Left Arrow
Go backward 10 frames Shift+Page Up or Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow Shift+Page Up or Command+Shift+Left Arrow
Go to layer In point I I
Go to layer Out point O O
Go to previous In point or Out point Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Left Arrow Command+Option+Shift+Left Arrow
Go to next In point or Out point Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Right Arrow Command+Option+Shift+Right Arrow
Scroll to current time in Timeline panel D D
Result Windows Mac OS
Start or stop preview spacebar, 0 on numeric keypad, Shift+0 on
numeric keypad
spacebar, 0 on numeric keypad, Shift+0 on
numeric keypad
Reset preview settings to replicate RAM
Preview and Standard Preview behaviors
Alt + click Reset on Preview panel Option + click Reset on Preview panel
Preview only audio, from current time . (decimal point) on numeric keypad* . (decimal point) on numeric keypad* or
Control+. (period) on main keyboard
Preview only audio, in work area Alt+. (decimal point) on numeric keypad* Option+. (decimal point) on numeric keypad*
or Control+Option+. (period) on main
keyboard
Manually preview (scrub) video Drag or Alt-drag current-time indicator,
depending on Live Update setting
Drag or Option-drag current-time indicator,
depending on Live Update setting
Manually preview (scrub) audio Ctrl-drag current-time indicator Command-drag current-time indicator
Preview number of frames specified by
Alternate Preview preference (defaults to 5)
Alt+0 on numeric keypad* Option+0 on numeric keypad* or
Control+Option+0 (zero) on main keyboard
25
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Note: Some shortcuts are marked with an asterisk (*) to remind you to make sure that Num Lock is on when you use the
numeric keypad.
Views (keyboard shortcuts)
Toggle Mercury Transmit video preview / (on numeric keypad) / (on numeric keypad), Control+/ on main
keyboard
Take snapshot Shift+F5, Shift+F6, Shift+F7, or Shift+F8 Shift+F5, Shift+F6, Shift+F7, or Shift+F8
Display snapshot in active viewer F5, F6, F7, or F8 F5, F6, F7, or F8
Purge snapshot Ctrl+Shift+F5, Ctrl+Shift+F6, Ctrl+Shift+F7, or
Ctrl+Shift+F8
Command+Shift+F5, Command+Shift+F6,
Command+Shift+F7, or Command+Shift+F8
Fast Previews > Off Ctrl+Alt+1 Command+Option+1
Fast Previews > Adaptive Resolution Ctrl+Alt+2 Command+Option+2
Fast Previews > Draft Ctrl+Alt+3 Command+Option+3
Fast Previews > Fast Draft Ctrl+Alt+4 Command+Option+4
Fast Previews > Wireframe Ctrl+Alt+5 Command+Option+5
Result Windows Mac OS
Turn display color management on or off for
active view
Shift+/ (on numeric keypad) Shift+/ (on numeric keypad)
Show red, green, blue, or alpha channel as
grayscale
Alt+1, Alt+2, Alt+3, Alt+4 Option+1, Option+2, Option+3, Option+4
Show colorized red, green, or blue channel Alt+Shift+1, Alt+Shift+2, Alt+Shift+3 Option+Shift+1, Option+Shift+2,
Option+Shift+3
Toggle showing straight RGB color Alt+Shift+4 Option+Shift+4
Show alpha boundary (outline between
transparent and opaque regions) in Layer
panel
Alt+5 Option+5
Show alpha overlay (colored overlay on
transparent regions) in Layer panel
Alt+6 Option+6
Show Refine Edge X-ray (After Effects CC 12.0
and later)
Alt+X Option+X
Center composition in the panel Double-click Hand tool Double-click Hand tool
Zoom in in Composition, Layer, or Footage
panel
. (period) on main keyboard . (period) on main keyboard
Zoom out in Composition, Layer, or Footage
panel
, (comma) , (comma)
Zoom to 100% in Composition, Layer, or
Footage panel
/ (on main keyboard) / (on main keyboard)
Zoom to fit in Composition, Layer, or Footage
panel
Shift+/ (on main keyboard) Shift+/ (on main keyboard)
Zoom up to 100% to fit in Composition, Layer,
or Footage panel
Alt+/ (on main keyboard) Option+/ (on main keyboard)
26
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Footage (keyboard shortcuts)
Set resolution to Full, Half, or Custom in
Composition panel
Ctrl+J, Ctrl+Shift+J, Ctrl+Alt+J Command+J, Command+Shift+J,
Command+Option+J
Open View Options dialog box for active
Composition panel
Ctrl+Alt+U Command+Option+U
Zoom in time = (equal sign) on main keyboard = (equal sign) on main keyboard
Zoom out time - (hyphen) on main keyboard - (hyphen) on main keyboard
Zoom in Timeline panel to single-frame units
(Press again to zoom out to show entire
composition duration.)
; (semicolon) ; (semicolon)
Zoom out in Timeline panel to show the entire
composition duration (Press again to zoom
back in to the duration specified by the Time
Navigator.)
Shift+; (semicolon) Shift+; (semicolon)
Prevent images from being rendered for
previews in viewer panels
Caps Lock Caps Lock
Show or hide safe zones ' (apostrophe) ' (apostrophe)
Show or hide grid Ctrl+' (apostrophe) Command+' (apostrophe)
Show or hide proportional grid Alt+' (apostrophe) Option+' (apostrophe)
Show or hide rulers Ctrl+R Command+R
Show or hide guides Ctrl+; (semicolon) Command+; (semicolon)
Turn snapping to grid on or off Ctrl+Shift+' (apostrophe) Command+Shift+' (apostrophe)
Turn snapping to guides on or off Ctrl+Shift+; (semicolon) Command+Shift+; (semicolon)
Lock or unlock guides Ctrl+Alt+Shift+; (semicolon) Command+Option+Shift+; (semicolon)
Show or hide layer controls (masks, motion
paths, light and camera wireframes, effect
control points, and layer handles)
Ctrl+Shift+H Command+Shift+H
Result Windows Mac OS
Import one file or image sequence Ctrl+I Command+I
Import multiple files or image sequences Ctrl+Alt+I Command+Option+I
Open movie in an After Effects Footage panel Double-click the footage item in the Project
panel
Double-click the footage item in the Project
panel
Add selected items to most recently activated
composition
Ctrl+/ (on main keyboard) Command+/ (on main keyboard)
Replace selected source footage for selected
layers with footage item selected in Project
panel
Ctrl+Alt+/ (on main keyboard) Command+Option+/ (on main keyboard)
Replace source for a selected layer Alt-drag footage item from Project panel onto
selected layer
Option-drag footage item from Project panel
onto selected layer
Delete a footage item without a warning Ctrl+Backspace Command+Delete
27
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Effects and animation presets (keyboard shortcuts)
Layers (keyboard shortcuts)
Note: Some operations do not affect shy layers.
Open Interpret Footage dialog box for
selected footage item
Ctrl+Alt+G Command+Option+G
Remember footage interpretation Ctrl+Alt+C Command+Option+C
Edit selected footage item in application with
which its associated (Edit Original)
Ctrl+E Command+E
Replace selected footage item Ctrl+H Command+H
Reload selected footage items Ctrl+Alt+L Command+Option+L
Set proxy for selected footage item Ctrl+Alt+P Command+Option+P
Result Windows Mac OS
Delete all effects from selected layers Ctrl+Shift+E Command+Shift+E
Apply most recently applied effect to selected
layers
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E Command+Option+Shift+E
Apply most recently applied animation preset
to selected layers
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F Command+Option+Shift+F
Result Windows Mac OS
New solid layer Ctrl+Y Command+Y
New null layer Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Y Command+Option+Shift+Y
New adjustment layer Ctrl+Alt+Y Command+Option+Y
Select layer (1-999) by its number (enter digits
rapidly for two-digit and three-digit numbers)
0-9 on numeric keypad* 0-9 on numeric keypad*
Toggle selection of layer (1-999) by its number
(enter digits rapidly for two-digit and three-
digit numbers)
Shift+0-9 on numeric keypad* Shift+0-9 on numeric keypad*
Select next layer in stacking order Ctrl+Down Arrow Command+Down Arrow
Select previous layer in stacking order Ctrl+Up Arrow Command+Up Arrow
Extend selection to next layer in stacking
order
Ctrl+Shift+Down Arrow Command+Shift+Down Arrow
Extend selection to previous layer in stacking
order
Ctrl+Shift+Up Arrow Command+Shift+Up Arrow
Deselect all layers Ctrl+Shift+A Command+Shift+A
Scroll topmost selected layer to top of
Timeline panel
X X
Show or hide Parent column Shift+F4 Shift+F4
Show or hide Layer Switches and Modes
columns
F4 F4
28
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Setting the sampling method for selected
layers (Best/Bilinear)
Alt+B Option+B
Setting the sampling method for selected
layers (Best/Bicubic)
Alt+Shift+B Option+Shift+B
Turn off all other solo switches Alt-click solo switch Option-click solo switch
Turn Video (eyeball) switch on or off for
selected layers
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+V Command+Option+Shift+V
Turn off Video switch for all video layers other
than selected layers
Ctrl+Shift+V Command+Shift+V
Open settings dialog box for selected solid,
light, camera, null, or adjustment layer
Ctrl+Shift+Y Command+Shift+Y
Paste layers at current time Ctrl+Alt+V Command+Option+V
Split selected layers (If no layers are selected,
split all layers.)
Ctrl+Shift+D Command+Shift+D
Precompose selected layers Ctrl+Shift+C Command+Shift+C
Open Effect Controls panel for selected layers Ctrl+Shift+T Command+Shift+T
Open layer in Layer panel (opens source
composition for precomposition layer in
Composition panel)
Double-click a layer Double-click a layer
Open source of a layer in Footage panel
(opens precomposition layer in Layer panel)
Alt-double-click a layer Option-double-click a layer
Reverse selected layers in time Ctrl+Alt+R Command+Option+R
Enable time remapping for selected layers Ctrl+Alt+T Command+Option+T
Move selected layers so that their In point or
Out point is at the current time
[ (left bracket) or ] (right bracket) [ (left bracket) or ] (right bracket)
Trim In point or Out point of selected layers to
current time
Alt+[ (left bracket) or Alt+] (right bracket) Option+[ (left bracket) or Option+] (right
bracket)
Add or remove expression for a property Alt-click stopwatch Option-click stopwatch
Add an effect (or multiple selected effects) to
selected layers
Double-click effect selection in Effects &
Presets panel
Double-click effect selection in Effects &
Presets panel
Set In point or Out point by time-stretching Ctrl+Shift+, (comma) or Ctrl+Alt+, (comma) Command+Shift+, (comma) or
Command+Option+, (comma)
Move selected layers so that their In Point is at
beginning of composition
Alt+Home Option+Home
Move selected layers so that their Out point is
at end of composition
Alt+End Option+End
Lock selected layers Ctrl+L Command+L
Unlock all layers Ctrl+Shift+L Command+Shift+L
Set Quality to Best, Draft, or Wireframe for
selected layers
Ctrl+U, Ctrl+Shift+U, or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+U Command+U, Command+Shift+U,
Command+Option+Shift+U
Cycle forward or backward through blending
modes for selected layers
Shift+ - (hyphen) or Shift+= (equal sign) on
the main keyboard
Shift+ - (hyphen) or Shift+= (equal sign) on
the main keyboard
Find in Timeline panel Ctrl+F Command+F
29
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Note: Some shortcuts are marked with an asterisk (*) to remind you to make sure that Num Lock is on when you use the
numeric keypad.
Showing properties and groups in the Timeline panel (keyboard shortcuts)
Note: This table contains double-letter shortcuts (for example, LL). To use these shortcuts, press the letters in quick
succession.
Result Windows Mac OS
Find in Timeline panel Ctrl+F Command+F
Toggle expansion of selected layers to show
all properties
Ctrl+` (accent grave) Command+` (accent grave)
Toggle expansion of property group and all
child property groups to show all properties
Ctrl-click triangle to the left of the property
group name
Command-click triangle to the left of the
property group name
Show only Anchor Point property (for lights
and cameras, Point Of Interest)
A A
Show only Audio Levels property L L
Show only Mask Feather property F F
Show only Mask Path property M M
Show only Mask Opacity property TT TT
Show only Opacity property (for lights,
Intensity)
T T
Show only Position property P P
Show only Rotation and Orientation
properties
R R
Show only Scale property S S
Show only Time Remap property RR RR
Show only instances of missing effects FF FF
Show only Effects property group E E
Show only mask property groups MM MM
Show only Material Options property group AA AA
Show only expressions EE EE
Show only modified properties UU UU
Show only paint strokes, Roto Brush strokes,
and Puppet pins
PP PP
Show only audio waveform LL LL
Show only properties with keyframes or
expressions
U U
Show only selected properties and groups SS SS
30
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Showing properties in the Effect Controls panel (keyboard shortcuts)
Modifying layer properties (keyboard shortcuts)
Hide property or group Alt+Shift-click property or group name Option+Shift-click property or group name
Add or remove property or group from set
that is shown
Shift+property or group shortcut Shift+property or group shortcut
Add or remove keyframe at current time Alt+Shift+property shortcut Option+property shortcut
Result Windows Mac OS
Toggle expansion of selected effects to show
all properties
Ctrl+` (accent grave) Command+` (accent grave)
Toggle expansion of property group and all
child property groups to show all properties
Ctrl-click triangle to the left of the property
group name
Command-click triangle to the left of the
property group name
Result Windows Mac OS
Modify property value by default increments Drag property value Drag property value
Modify property value by 10x default
increments
Shift-drag property value Shift-drag property value
Modify property value by 1/10 default
increments
Ctrl-drag property value Command-drag property value
Open Auto-Orientation dialog box for
selected layers
Ctrl+Alt+O Command+Alt+O
Open Opacity dialog box for selected layers Ctrl+Shift+O Command+Shift+O
Open Rotation dialog box for selected layers Ctrl+Shift+R Command+Shift+R
Open Position dialog box for selected layers Ctrl+Shift+P Command+Shift+P
Center selected layers in view (modifies
Position property to place anchor points of
selected layers in center of current view)
Ctrl+Home Command+Home
Move selected layers 1 pixel at current
magnification (Position)
arrow key arrow key
Move selected layers 10 pixels at current
magnification (Position)
Shift+arrow key Shift+arrow key
Move selected layers 1 frame earlier or later Alt+Page Up or Alt+Page Down Option+Page Up or Option+Page Down
Move selected layers 10 frames earlier or later Alt+Shift+Page Up or Alt+Shift+Page Down Option+Shift+Page Up or Option+Shift+Page
Down
Increase or decrease Rotation (Z Rotation) of
selected layers by
+ (plus) or - (minus) on numeric keypad + (plus) or - (minus) on numeric keypad
Increase or decrease Rotation (Z Rotation) of
selected layers by 10°
Shift++ (plus) or Shift+- (minus) on numeric
keypad
Shift++ (plus) or Shift+- (minus) on numeric
keypad
Increase or decrease Opacity (or Intensity for
light layers) of selected layers by 1%
Ctrl+Alt++ (plus) or Ctrl+Alt+- (minus) on
numeric keypad
Control+Option++ (plus) or
Control+Option+- (minus) on numeric keypad
Result Windows Mac OS
31
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
3D layers (keyboard shortcuts)
Note: (Mac OS) Shortcuts involving function keys F9-F12 may conflict with shortcuts used by the operating system. See
Mac OS Help for instructions to reassign Dashboard & Expose shortcuts.
Increase or decrease Opacity (or Intensity for
light layers) of selected layers by 10%
Ctrl+Alt+Shift++ (plus) or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+-
(minus) on numeric keypad
Control+Option+Shift++ (plus) or
Control+Option+Shift+- (minus) on numeric
keypad
Increase Scale of selected layers by 1% Ctrl++ (plus) or Alt++ (plus) on numeric
keypad
Command++ (plus) or Option++ (plus) on
numeric keypad
Decrease Scale of selected layers by 1% Ctrl+- (minus) or Alt+- (minus) on numeric
keypad
Command+- (minus) or Option+- (minus) on
numeric keypad
Increase Scale of selected layers by 10% Ctrl+Shift++ (plus) or Alt+Shift++ (plus) on
numeric keypad
Command+Shift++ (plus) or Option+Shift++
(plus) on numeric keypad
Decrease Scale of selected layers by 10% Ctrl+Shift+- (minus) or Alt+Shift+- (minus) on
numeric keypad
Command+Shift+- (minus) or Option+Shift+-
(minus) on numeric keypad
Modify Rotation or Orientation in 45°
increments
Shift-drag with Rotation tool Shift-drag with Rotation tool
Modify Scale, constrained to footage frame
aspect ratio
Shift-drag layer handle with Selection tool Shift-drag layer handle with Selection tool
Reset Rotation to Double-click Rotation tool Double-click Rotation tool
Reset Scale to 100% Double-click Selection tool Double-click Selection tool
Scale and reposition selected layers to fit
composition
Ctrl+Alt+F Command+Option+F
Scale and reposition selected layers to fit
composition width, preserving image aspect
ratio for each layer
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H Command+Option+Shift+H
Scale and reposition selected layers to fit
composition height, preserving image aspect
ratio for each layer
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+G Command+Option+Shift+G
Result Windows Mac OS
Switch to 3D view 1 (defaults to Front) F10 F10
Switch to 3D view 2 (defaults to Custom View
1)
F11 F11
Switch to 3D view 3 (defaults to Active
Camera)
F12 F12
Return to previous view Esc Esc
New light Ctrl+Alt+Shift+L Command+Option+Shift+L
New camera Ctrl+Alt+Shift+C Command+Option+Shift+C
Move the camera and its point of interest to
look at selected 3D layers
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+\ Command+Option+Shift+\
Result Windows Mac OS
32
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Keyframes and the Graph Editor (keyboard shortcuts)
Note: (Mac OS) Shortcuts involving function keys F9-F12 may conflict with shortcuts used by the operating system. See
Mac OS Help for instructions to reassign Dashboard & Expose shortcuts.
With a camera tool selected, move the camera
and its point of interest to look at selected 3D
layers
F F
With a camera tool selected, move the camera
and its point of interest to look at all 3D layers
Ctrl+Shift+F Command+Shift+F
Turn Casts Shadows property on or off for
selected 3D layers
Alt+Shift+C Option+Shift+C
Result Windows Mac OS
Toggle between Graph Editor and layer bar
modes
Shift+F3 Shift+F3
Select all keyframes for a property Click property name Click property name
Select all visible keyframes and properties Ctrl+Alt+A Command+Option+A
Deselect all keyframes, properties, and
property groups
Shift+F2 or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+A Shift+F2 or Command+Option+Shift+A
Move keyframe 1 frame later or earlier Alt+Right Arrow or Alt+Left Arrow Option+Right Arrow or Option+Left Arrow
Move keyframe 10 frames later or earlier Alt+Shift+Right Arrow or Alt+Shift+Left
Arrow
Option+Shift+Right Arrow or
Option+Shift+Left Arrow
Set interpolation for selected keyframes (layer
bar mode)
Ctrl+Alt+K Command+Option+K
Set keyframe interpolation method to hold or
Auto Bezier
Ctrl+Alt+H Command+Option+H
Set keyframe interpolation method to linear
or Auto Bezier
Ctrl-click in layer bar mode Command-click in layer bar mode
Set keyframe interpolation method to linear
or hold
Ctrl+Alt-click in layer bar mode Command+Option-click in layer bar mode
Easy ease selected keyframes F9 F9
Easy ease selected keyframes in Shift+F9 Shift+F9
Easy ease selected keyframes out Ctrl+Shift+F9 Command+Shift+F9
Set velocity for selected keyframes Ctrl+Shift+K Command+Shift+K
Add or remove keyframe at current time. For
property shortcuts, see Showing properties
and groups in the Timeline panel (keyboard
shortcuts).
Alt+Shift+property shortcut Option+property shortcut
33
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Text (keyboard shortcuts)
Result Windows Mac OS
New text layer Ctrl+Alt+Shift+T Command+Option+Shift+T
Align selected horizontal text left, center, or
right
Ctrl+Shift+L, Ctrl+Shift+C, or Ctrl+Shift+R Command+Shift+L, Command+Shift+C, or
Command+Shift+R
Align selected vertical text top, center, or
bottom
Ctrl+Shift+L, Ctrl+Shift+C, or Ctrl+Shift+R Command+Shift+L, Command+Shift+C, or
Command+Shift+R
Extend or reduce selection by one character
to right or left in horizontal text
Shift+Right Arrow or Shift+Left Arrow Shift+Right Arrow or Shift+Left Arrow
Extend or reduce selection by one word to
right or left in horizontal text
Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow or Ctrl+Shift+Left
Arrow
Command+Shift+Right Arrow or
Command+Shift+Left Arrow
Extend or reduce selection by one line up or
down in horizontal text
Shift+Up Arrow or Shift+Down Arrow Shift+Up Arrow or Shift+Down Arrow
Extend or reduce selection by one line to right
or left in vertical text
Shift+Right Arrow or Shift+Left Arrow Shift+Right Arrow or Shift+Left Arrow
Extend or reduce selection one word up or
down in vertical text
Ctrl+Shift+Up Arrow or Ctrl+Shift+Down
Arrow
Command+Shift+Up Arrow or
Command+Shift+Down Arrow
Extend or reduce selection by one character
up or down in vertical text
Shift+Up Arrow or Shift+Down Arrow Shift+Up Arrow or Shift+Down Arrow
Select text from insertion point to beginning
or end of line
Shift+Home or Shift+End Shift+Home or Shift+End
Move insertion point to beginning or end of
line
Home or End Home or End
Select all text on a layer Double-click text layer Double-click text layer
Select text from insertion point to beginning
or end of text frame
Ctrl+Shift+Home or Ctrl+Shift+End Command+Shift+Home or
Command+Shift+End
Select text from insertion point to mouse click
point
Shift-click Shift-click
In horizontal text, move insertion point one
character left or right; one line up or down;
one word left or right; or one paragraph up or
down
Left Arrow or Right Arrow; Up Arrow or Down
Arrow; Ctrl+Left Arrow or Ctrl+Right Arrow; or
Ctrl+Up Arrow or Ctrl+Down Arrow
Left Arrow or Right Arrow; Up Arrow or Down
Arrow; Command+Left Arrow or
Command+Right Arrow; or Command+Up
Arrow or Command+Down Arrow
In vertical text, move insertion point one
character up or down; one left or right; one
word up or down; or one paragraph left or
right
Up Arrow or Down Arrow; Left Arrow or Right
Arrow; Ctrl+Up Arrow or Ctrl+Down Arrow; or
Ctrl+Left Arrow or Ctrl+Right Arrow
Up Arrow or Down Arrow; Left Arrow or Right
Arrow; Command+Up Arrow or
Command+Down Arrow; or Command+Left
Arrow or Command+Right Arrow
Select word, line, paragraph, or entire text
frame
Double-click, triple-click, quadruple-click, or
quintuple-click with Type tool
Double-click, triple-click, quadruple-click, or
quintuple-click with Type tool
Turn All Caps on or off for selected text Ctrl+Shift+K Command+Shift+K
Turn Small Caps on or off for selected text Ctrl+Alt+Shift+K Command+Option+Shift+K
Turn Superscript on or off for selected text Ctrl+Shift+= (equals) Command+Shift+= (equals)
Turn Subscript on or off for selected text Ctrl+Alt+Shift+= (equals) Command+Option+Shift+= (equals)
Set horizontal scale to 100% for selected text Ctrl+Shift+X Command+Shift+X
Set vertical scale to 100% for selected text Ctrl+Alt+Shift+X Command+Option+Shift+X
34
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Masks (keyboard shortcuts)
Auto leading for selected text Ctrl+Alt+Shift+A Command+Option+Shift+A
Reset tracking to 0 for selected text Ctrl+Shift+Q Command+Shift+Control+Q
Justify paragraph; left align last line Ctrl+Shift+J Command+Shift+J
Justify paragraph; right align last line Ctrl+Alt+Shift+J Command+Option+Shift+J
Justify paragraph; force last line Ctrl+Shift+F Command+Shift+F
Decrease or increase font size of selected text
by 2 units
Ctrl+Shift+, (comma) or Ctrl+Shift+. (period) Command+Shift+, (comma) or
Command+Shift+. (period)
Decrease or increase font size of selected text
by 10 units
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+, (comma) or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+.
(period)
Command+Option+Shift+, (comma) or
Command+Option+Shift+. (period)
Increase or decrease leading by 2 units Alt+Down Arrow or Alt+Up Arrow Option+Down Arrow or Option+Up Arrow
Increase or decrease leading by 10 units Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow or Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow Command+Option+Down Arrow or
Command+Option+Up Arrow
Decrease or increase baseline shift by 2 units Alt+Shift+Down Arrow or Alt+Shift+Up Arrow Option+Shift+Down Arrow or
Option+Shift+Up Arrow
Decrease or increase baseline shift by 10 units Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Down Arrow or
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Up Arrow
Command+Option+Shift+Down Arrow or
Command+Option+Shift+Up Arrow
Decrease or increase kerning or tracking 20
units (20/1000 ems)
Alt+Left Arrow or Alt+Right Arrow Option+Left Arrow or Option+Right Arrow
Decrease or increase kerning or tracking 100
units (100/1000 ems)
Ctrl+Alt+Left Arrow or Ctrl+Alt+Right Arrow Command+Option+Left Arrow or
Command+Option+Right Arrow
Toggle paragraph composer Ctrl+Alt+Shift+T Command+Option+Shift+T
Result Windows Mac OS
New mask Ctrl+Shift+N Command+Shift+N
Select all points in a mask Alt-click mask Option-click mask
Select next or previous mask Alt+` (accent grave) or Alt+Shift+` (accent
grave)
Option+` (accent grave) or Option+Shift+`
(accent grave)
Enter free-transform mask editing mode Double-click mask with Selection tool or
select mask in Timeline panel and press Ctrl+T
Double-click mask with Selection tool or
select mask in Timeline panel and press
Command+T
Exit free-transform mask editing mode Esc Esc
Scale around center point in Free Transform
mode
Ctrl-drag Command-drag
Move selected path points 1 pixel at current
magnification
arrow key arrow key
Move selected path points 10 pixels at current
magnification
Shift+arrow key Shift+arrow key
Toggle between smooth and corner points Ctrl+Alt-click vertex Command+Option-click vertex
Redraw Bezier handles Ctrl+Alt-drag vertex Command+Option-drag vertex
Result Windows Mac OS
35
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Paint tools (keyboard shortcuts)
Note: Some shortcuts are marked with an asterisk (*) to remind you to make sure that Num Lock is on when you use the
numeric keypad.
Invert selected mask Ctrl+Shift+I Command+Shift+I
Open Mask Feather dialog box for selected
mask
Ctrl+Shift+F Command+Shift+F
Open Mask Shape dialog box for selected
mask
Ctrl+Shift+M Command+Shift+M
Result Windows Mac OS
Swap paint background color and foreground
colors
X X
Set paint foreground color to black and
background color to white
D D
Set foreground color to the color currently
under any paint tool pointer
Alt-click Option-click
Set foreground color to the average color of a
4-pixel x 4-pixel area under any paint tool
pointer
Ctrl+Alt-click Command+Option-click
Set brush size for a paint tool Ctrl-drag Command-drag
Set brush hardness for a paint tool Ctrl-drag, then release Ctrl while dragging Command-drag, then release Command
while dragging
Join current paint stroke to the previous
stroke
Hold Shift while beginning stroke Hold Shift while beginning stroke
Set starting sample point to point currently
under Clone Stamp tool pointer
Alt-click Option-click
Momentarily activate Eraser tool with Last
Stroke Only option
Ctrl+Shift Command+Shift
Show and move overlay (change Offset value
of aligned Clone Stamp tool or change Source
Position value of unaligned Clone Stamp tool)
Alt+Shift-drag with Clone Stamp tool Option+Shift-drag with Clone Stamp tool
Activate a specific Clone Stamp tool preset 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 on the main keyboard 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 on the main keyboard
Duplicate a Clone Stamp tool preset in Paint
panel
Alt-click the button for the preset Option-click the button for the preset
Set opacity for a paint tool Digit on numeric keypad (for example,
9=90%, 1=10%)*
Digit on numeric keypad (for example,
9=90%, 1=10%)*
Set opacity for a paint tool to 100% . (decimal) on numeric keypad* . (decimal) on numeric keypad*
Set flow for a paint tool Shift+a digit on numeric keypad (for example,
9=90%, 1=10%)*
Shift+a digit on numeric keypad (for example,
9=90%, 1=10%)*
Set flow for a paint tool to 100% Shift+. (decimal) on numeric keypad* Shift+. (decimal) on numeric keypad*
Move earlier or later by number of frames
specified for stroke Duration
Ctrl+Page Up or Ctrl+Page Down (or 1 or 2 on
the main keyboard)
Command+Page Up or Command+Page
Down (or 1 or 2 on the main keyboard)
Result Windows Mac OS
36
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Shape layers (keyboard shortcuts)
Markers (keyboard shortcuts)
Result Windows Mac OS
Group selected shapes Ctrl+G Command+G
Ungroup selected shapes Ctrl+Shift+G Command+Shift+G
Enter free-transform path editing mode Select Path property in Timeline panel and
press Ctrl+T
Select Path property in Timeline panel and
press Command+T
Increase star inner roundness Page Up when dragging to create shape Page Up when dragging to create shape
Decrease star inner roundness Page Down when dragging to create shape Page Down when dragging to create shape
Increase number of points for star or polygon;
increase roundness for rounded rectangle
Up Arrow when dragging to create shape Up Arrow when dragging to create shape
Decrease number of points for star or
polygon; decrease roundness for rounded
rectangle
Down Arrow when dragging to create shape Down Arrow when dragging to create shape
Reposition shape during creation Hold spacebar when dragging to create shape Hold spacebar when dragging to create shape
Set rounded rectangle roundness to 0 (sharp
corners); decrease polygon and star outer
roundness
Left Arrow when dragging to create shape Left Arrow when dragging to create shape
Set rounded rectangle roundness to
maximum; increase polygon and star outer
roundness
Right Arrow when dragging to create shape Right Arrow when dragging to create shape
Constrain rectangles to squares; constrain
ellipses to circles; constrain polygons and
stars to zero rotation
Shift when dragging to create shape Shift when dragging to create shape
Change outer radius of star Ctrl when dragging to create shape Command when dragging to create shape
Result Windows Mac OS
Set marker at current time (works during
preview and audio-only preview)
* (multiply) on numeric keypad * (multiply) on numeric keypad or Control+8
on main keyboard
Set marker at current time and open marker
dialog box
Alt+* (multiply) on numeric keypad Option+* (multiply) on numeric keypad or
Control+Option+8 on main keyboard
Set and number a composition marker (0-9) at
the current time
Shift+0-9 on main keyboard Shift+0-9 on main keyboard
Go to a composition marker (0-9) 0-9 on main keyboard 0-9 on main keyboard
Display the duration between two layer
markers or keyframes in the Info panel
Alt-click the markers or keyframes Option-click the markers or keyframes
Remove marker Ctrl-click marker Command-click marker
37
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Motion tracking (keyboard shortcuts)
Saving, exporting, and rendering (keyboard shortcuts)
Note: On Mac OS, some keyboard commands used to interact with the operating system conflict with keyboard commands
for interacting with After Effects. Select Use System Shortcut Keys in the General preferences to override the After Effects
keyboard command in some cases in which theres a conflict with the Mac OS keyboard command.
Keyboard shortcuts graphic
Click the link below to download a pdf of about 50 of the more commonly used and pouplar keyboard shortcuts.
AE_KeyboardShortcuts.pdf
Working with After Effects and other applications
Working with Adobe Bridge and After Effects
Adobe Bridge is the control center for Adobe Creative Suite software. Use Adobe Bridge to browse for project templates
and animation presets; run cross-product workflow automation scripts; view and manage files and folders; organize
your files by assigning keywords, labels, and ratings to them; search for files and folders; and view, edit, and add
metadata.
To open Adobe Bridge from After Effects, choose File > Browse In Bridge.
Result Windows Mac OS
Move feature region, search region, and
attach point 1 pixel at current magnification
arrow key arrow key
Move feature region, search region, and
attach point 10 pixels at current magnification
Shift+arrow key Shift+arrow key
Move feature region and search region 1 pixel
at current magnification
Alt+arrow key Option+arrow key
Move feature region and search region 10
pixels at current magnification
Alt+Shift+arrow key Option+Shift+arrow key
Result Windows Mac OS
Save project Ctrl+S Command+S
Increment and save project Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S Command+Option+Shift+S
Save As Ctrl+Shift+S Command+Shift+S
Add active composition or selected items to
render queue
Ctrl+Shift+/ (on main keyboard) Command+Shift+/ (on main keyboard)
Add current frame to render queue Ctrl+Alt+S Command+Option+S
Duplicate render item with same output
filename as original
Ctrl+Shift+D Command+Shift+D
38
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
To reveal a file in Adobe Bridge, select a file in the Project panel and choose File > Reveal In Bridge.
To use Adobe Bridge to browse for animation presets, choose Animation > Browse Presets.
Adobe Bridge is part of the Creative Cloud suite of applications and can be downloaded and installed through Creative
Cloud. See the help documentation and the Adobe Bridge CC product page for more information.
See this video to get an overview of Adobe Bridge CC.
After Effects includes template projects that include entire DVD menus for you to use as a basis for your own DVD
menus. To use Adobe Bridge to browse and import these template projects, choose File > Browse Template Projects. (See
Template projects and example projects.)
Working with Photoshop and After Effects
If you use Photoshop to create still images, you can use After Effects to bring those still images together and make them
move and change. In After Effects, you can animate an entire Photoshop image or any of its layers. You can even
animate individual properties of Photoshop images, such as the properties of a layer style. If you use After Effects to
create movies, you can use Photoshop to refine the individual frames of those movies.
Comparative advantages for specific tasks
The strengths of After Effects are in its animation and automation features. This means that After Effects excels at tasks
that can be automated from one frame to another. For example, you can use the motion tracking features of After Effects
to track the motion of a microphone boom, and then automatically apply that same motion to a stroke made with the
Clone Stamp tool. In this manner, you can remove the microphone from every frame of a shot, without having to paint
the microphone out by hand on each frame.
In contrast, Photoshop has excellent tools for painting and drawing.
Deciding which application to use for painting depends on the task. Paint strokes in Photoshop directly affect the pixels
of the layer. Paint strokes in After Effects are elements of an effect, each of which can be turned on or off or modified
at any time. If you want to have complete control of each paint stroke after you’ve applied it, or if you want to animate
the paint strokes themselves, use the After Effects paint tools. If the purpose of applying a paint stroke is to permanently
modify a still image, use the Photoshop paint tools. If you are applying several paint strokes by hand to get rid of dust,
consider using the Photoshop paint tools.
The animation and video features in Photoshop Extended include simple keyframe-based animation. After Effects uses
a similar interface, though the breadth and flexibility of its animation features are far greater.
After Effects can also automatically create 3D layers to mimic the planes created by the Photoshop Vanishing Point
feature.
Exchanging still images
After Effects can import and export still images in many formats, but you will usually want to use the native Photoshop
PSD format when transferring individual frames or still image sequences between After Effects and Photoshop.
When importing or exporting a PSD file, After Effects can preserve individual layers, masks, layer styles, and most
other attributes. When you import a PSD file into After Effects, you can choose whether to import it as a flattened image
or as a composition with its layers separate and intact.
It is often a good idea to prepare a still image in Photoshop before importing it into After Effects. Examples of such
preparation include correcting color, scaling, and cropping. It is often better for you to do something once to the source
image in Photoshop than to have After Effects perform the same operation many times per second as it renders each
frame for previews or final output.
39
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
By creating your new PSD document from the Photoshop New File dialog box with a Film & Video preset, you can start
with a document that is set up correctly for a specific video output type. If you are already working in After Effects, you
can create a new PSD document that matches your composition and project settings by choosing File > New > Adobe
Photoshop File.
Exchanging movies
You can also exchange video files, such as QuickTime movies, between Photoshop and After Effects. When you open a
movie in Photoshop, a video layer is created that refers to the source footage file. Video layers allow you to paint
nondestructively on the movies frames, much as After Effects works with layers with movies as their sources. When
you save a PSD file with a video layer, you save the edits that you made to the video layer, not edits to the source footage
itself.
You can also render a movie directly from Photoshop. For example, you can create a QuickTime movie from Photoshop
that can then be imported into After Effects.
Color
After Effects works internally with colors in an RGB (red, green, blue) color space. Though After Effects can convert
CMYK images to RGB, you should do video and animation work in Photoshop in RGB.
If relevant for your final output, it is better to ensure that the colors in your image are broadcast-safe in Photoshop
before you import the image into After Effects. A good way to do this is to assign the appropriate destination color
space—for example, SDTV (Rec. 601)—to the document in Photoshop. After Effects performs color management
according to color profiles embedded in documents, including imported PSD files.
Working with Flash and After Effects
If you use Adobe® Flash® to create video or animation, you can use After Effects to edit and refine the video. For
example, from Flash you can export animations and applications as QuickTime movies or Flash Video (FLV) files. You
can then use After Effects to edit and refine the video.
If you use After Effects to edit and composite video, you can then use Flash to publish that video.
Flash and After Effects use separate terms for some concepts that they share in common. The following table lists the
differences between the terms used in the two applications:
Additional resources
The following articles provide additional information about using Flash and After Effects together:
Richard Harrington and Marcus Geduld provide an excerpt, "Flash Essentials for After Effects Users", of their book
After Effects for Flash | Flash for After Effects on the Peachpit website. In this chapter, Richard and Marcus explain
Flash in terms that an After Effects user can understand. http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1350895
After Effects Flash Professional
Composition Movie Clip
Composition frame (Composition panel) Stage
Project panel Library panel
Project files FLA files
Render and export a movie Publish SWF file
40
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Richard Harrington and Marcus Geduld also provide "After Effects Essentials for Flash Users", another excerpt from
their book After Effects for Flash | Flash for After Effects. In this chapter, Richard and Marcus explain After Effects
in terms that a Flash user can understand. http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1350894
Robert Powers provides a video tutorial on the Slippery Rock NYC website that shows the basics of using After
Effects from the perspective of someone who is familiar with Flash Professional.
Exporting QuickTime video from Flash
If you create animations or applications with Flash, you can export them as QuickTime movies using the File > Export
> Export Movie command in Flash. For a Flash animation, you can optimize the video output for animation. For a Flash
application, Flash renders video of the application as it runs, allowing the user to manipulate it. This lets you capture
the branches or states of your application that you want to include in the video file.
Importing and publishing video in Flash
When you import a movie file into Flash, you can use various techniques, such as scripting or Flash components, to
control the visual interface that surrounds your video. For example, you might include playback controls or other
graphics. You can also add graphic layers on top of the movie for composite results.
Composite graphics, animation, and video
Flash and After Effects each include many capabilities that allow you to perform complex compositing of video and
graphics. Which application you choose to use will depend on your personal preferences and the type of final output
you want to create.
Flash is the more web-oriented of the two applications, with its small final file size. Flash also allows for run-time
control of animation. After Effects is oriented toward video and film production, provides a wide range of visual effects,
and is generally used to create video files as final output.
Both applications can be used to create original graphics and animation. Both use a timeline and offer scripting
capabilities for controlling animation programmatically. After Effects includes a larger set of effects.
Both applications allow you to place graphics on separate layers for compositing. These layers can be turned on and off
as needed. Both also allow you to apply effects to the contents of individual layers.
In Flash, composites do not affect the video content directly; they affect only the appearance of the video during
playback in Flash Player. In contrast, when you composite with imported video in After Effects, the video file you
export actually incorporates the composited graphics and effects.
Because all drawing and painting in After Effects is done on layers separate from any imported video, it is always non-
destructive. Flash has both destructive and nondestructive drawing modes.
Importing Flash SWF files into After Effects
Flash has a unique set of vector art tools that make it useful for a variety of drawing tasks not possible in After Effects
or Adobe® Illustrator®. You can import SWF files into After Effects to composite them with other video or render them
as video with additional creative effects. Interactive content and scripted animation are not retained. Animation
defined by keyframes is retained.
Each SWF file imported into After Effects is flattened into a single continuously rasterized layer, with its alpha channel
preserved. Continuous rasterization means that graphics stay sharp as they are scaled up. This import method allows
you to use the root layer or object of your SWF files as a smoothly rendered element in After Effects, allowing the best
capabilities of each tool to work together.
41
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Working with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
Adobe Premiere Pro is designed to capture, import, and edit movies. After Effects is designed to create motion graphics,
apply visual effects, composite visual elements, perform color correction, and perform other post-production tasks for
movies.
You can easily exchange projects, compositions, sequences, tracks, and layers between After Effects and Adobe
Premiere Pro:
You can import an Adobe Premiere Pro project into After Effects. See Import an Adobe Premiere Pro project.
You can export an After Effects project as an Adobe Premiere Pro project. See Export an After Effects project as an
Adobe Premiere Pro project .
You can copy and paste layers and tracks between After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro. See Copy between After
Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro.
You can render and replace After Effects compositions in Premiere Pro to speed up VFX-heavy sequences. See
Render and Replace After Effects compositions in Adobe Premiere Pro .)
If you have Adobe Premiere Pro, you can do the following:
Use Adobe Dynamic Link to work with After Effects compositions in Adobe Premiere Pro. A dynamically linked
composition appears as a clip in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Use Adobe Dynamic Link to work with Adobe Premiere Pro sequences in After Effects. A dynamically linked
sequence appears as a footage item in After Effects.
Start After Effects from within Premiere Pro and create a new composition with settings that match the settings of
your Premiere Pro project.
Select a set of clips in Adobe Premiere Pro and convert them to a composition in After Effects.
For information on using Dynamic Link with After Effects and Premiere Pro, see Dynamic Link and After Effects and
Dynamic Link sections in Adobe Premiere Pro Help.
Working with Adobe Media Encoder and After Effects
You can use Adobe Media Encoder to export video from After Effects. Use Adobe Media Encoder to encode formats
like H.264, MPEG-2, and WMV. Formats such as these are encoded at a higher quality than the Render Queue. Other
formats, are available in Adobe Media Encoder, but not in After Effects. For example, the DNxHD format is available
in Adobe Media Encoder CC, but not in After Effects CC.
You can add After Effects project files to a watch folder in Adobe Media encoder, and the project is automatically added
to the encoding queue Adobe Media Encoder. See the Import files with Watch folder section in Adobe Media Encoder
for detailed information.
For details about using Adobe Media Encoder with After Effects, see Render and export with Adobe Media Encoder.
See this tutorial to learn how to export After Effects compositions using Adobe Media Encoder.
Edit in Adobe Audition
While working in After Effects, you can use the more comprehensive audio-editing capabilities of Adobe Audition to
fine-tune your audio. You can use the Edit in Adobe Audition command to start Adobe Audition from within After
Effects.
42
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
If you edit an audio-only file (for example, a WAV file) in Adobe Audition, you change the original file. If you edit a
layer that contains both audio and video (for example, an AVI file), you edit a copy of the source audio file.
1Select the layer that contains the audio that you want to edit. The item must be of a type that is editable in Adobe
Audition.
2Choose Edit > Edit In Adobe Audition to open the clip in Edit view in Adobe Audition.
3Edit the file, and then do one of the following:
If you’re editing an audio-only layer, choose File > Save to apply your edits to the original audio file. You can also
choose File > Save As to apply your edits to a copy of the audio file. If you choose File > Save As, import the copy
of the file into After Effects.
If youre editing a layer that contains both audio and video, choose File > Save As. After you save the file, import
it into After Effects. Then, add it to the composition, and mute the original audio in the audio-video clip by
deselecting the Audio switch in the Timeline panel.
Note: Any effects applied to audio in After Effects aren’t included in the copy that is sent to Adobe Audition.
Tutorials and resources about using Adobe Audition to modify audio from After Effects can be found on this post from
the After Effects Region of Interest blog.
More Help topics
Adobe Bridge
Template projects and example projects
Animation presets overview and resources
Preparing and importing Photoshop files
3D object layers from Photoshop
Video and animation overview
3D
Vanishing Point
Web links, chapter links, cue points, and markers
Importing from Adobe After Effects
After Effects keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to speed up your tasks and also work more efficiently. Here is a downloadable
shortcuts graphic of about 50 of the more commonly used and popular After Effects shortcuts.
AfterEffects_KeyboardShortcuts.pdf
The complete list of After Effects keyboard shortcuts is available here .
Workspaces, panels, and viewers
43
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Workspaces and panels
Adobe video and audio applications provide a consistent, customizable user interface. Although each application has
its own set of panels, you move and group panels in the same way in each application.
The main window of a program is the application window. Panels are organized in this window in an arrangement
called a workspace.
Each application includes several predefined workspaces that optimize the layout of panels for specific tasks. You can
also create and customize your own workspaces by arranging panels in the layout that best suits your working style for
specific tasks.
You can drag panels to new locations, move panels into or out of a group, place panels alongside each other, and undock
a panel so that it floats in a new window above the application window. As you rearrange panels, the other panels resize
automatically to fit the window.
A Application window B Grouped panels C Individual panel
To increase the available screen space, use multiple monitors. When you work with multiple monitors, the application
window appears on the main monitor, and you place floating windows on the second monitor. Monitor configurations
are stored in the workspace.
Workspaces are stored in XML files in the preferences folder. With some caveats regarding monitor size and layout,
these workspaces can be moved to another computer and used there.
(Windows) [drive]:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\After Effects\13.0\ModifiedWorkspaces
(Mac OS) [drive]/Users/[user_name]/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/13.0/ModifiedWorkspaces
See this video tutorial about workspaces by Andrew Devis on the Creative Cow website for more details.
Choose a workspace
Choose Window > Workspace, and select the desired workspace.
Choose a workspace from the Workspace menu in the Tools panel.
If the workspace has a keyboard shortcut assigned, press Shift+F10, Shift+F11, or Shift+F12.
To assign a keyboard shortcut to the current workspace, choose Window > Assign Shortcut To [Workspace Name]
Workspace.
44
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Save, reset, or delete workspaces
Save a custom workspace
As you customize a workspace, the application tracks your changes, storing the most recent layout. To store a specific
layout more permanently, save a custom workspace. Saved custom workspaces appear in the Workspace menu, where
you can return to and reset them.
Arrange the frames and panels as desired, and then choose Window > Workspace > New Workspace. Type a name
for the workspace, and click OK.
Note: (After Effects, Premiere Pro) If a project saved with a custom workspace is opened on another system, the application
looks for a workspace with a matching name. If the application cannot find a match (or the monitor configuration doesn’t
match), it uses the current local workspace.
Reset a workspace
Reset the current workspace to return to its original, saved layout of panels.
Choose Window > Workspace > Reset workspace name.
Delete a workspace
1Choose Window > Workspace >Delete Workspace.
2Choose the workspace you want to delete, and then click OK.
Note: You cannot delete the currently active workspace.
Dock, group, or float panels
You can dock panels together, move them into or out of groups, and undock them so they float above the application
window. As you drag a panel, drop zones—areas onto which you can move the panel—become highlighted. The drop
zone you choose determines where the panel is inserted, and whether it docks or groups with other panels.
Docking zones
Docking zones exist along the edges of a panel, group, or window. Docking a panel places it adjacent to the existing
group, resizing all groups to accommodate the new panel.
Grouping zones
45
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Grouping zones exist in the middle of a panel or group, and along the tab area of panels. Dropping a panel on a grouping
zone stacks it with other panels.
Dock or group panels
1If the panel you want to dock or group is not visible, choose it from the Window menu.
2Do one of the following:
To move an individual panel, drag the gripper area in the upper-left corner of a panel’s tab onto the desired drop
zone.
To move an entire group, drag the group gripper in the upper-right corner onto the desired drop zone.
46
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
The application docks or groups the panel, according to the type of drop zone.
Undock a panel in a floating window
When you undock a panel in a floating window, you can add panels to the window and modify it similarly to the
application window. You can use floating windows to use a secondary monitor, or to create workspaces like the
workspaces in earlier versions of Adobe applications.
Select the panel you want to undock (if it’s not visible, choose it from the Window menu), and then do one of the
following:
Choose Undock Panel or Undock Frame from the panel menu. Undock Frame undocks the panel group.
Hold down Ctrl (Windows®) or Command (Mac OS®), and drag the panel or group from its current location.
When you release the mouse button, the panel or group appears in a new floating window.
Drag the panel or group outside the application window. (If the application window is maximized, drag the panel
to the Windows taskbar.)
Resize panel groups
To quickly maximize a panel beneath the pointer, press the ` (accent grave) key. (The accent grave is the unshifted
character under the tilde, ~, on standard US keyboards.) Press the key again to return the panel to its original size.
When you drag the divider between panel groups, all groups that share the divider are resized.
1Do either of the following:
To resize either horizontally or vertically, position the pointer between two panel groups. The pointer becomes
a double arrow .
To resize in both directions at once, position the pointer at the intersection between three or more panel groups.
The pointer becomes a four-way arrow .
2Hold down the mouse button, and drag to resize the panel groups.
47
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
A Original group with resize pointer B Resized groups
Open, close, and show panels and windows
Even if a panel is open, it may be out of sight, beneath other panels. Choosing a panel from the Window menu opens it
and brings it to the front of its group.
When you close a panel group in the application window, the other groups resize to use the newly available space. When
you close a floating window, the panels within it close, too.
To open or close a panel, choose the panel from the Window menu.
To close a panel or window, click its Close button . If you accidentally close a panel, choose the panel from the
Window menu, and the panel will be displayed again.
To open or close a panel, use its keyboard shortcut.
If a frame contains multiple panels, place the pointer over a tab and roll the mouse scroll wheel forward or backward
to change which panel is active.
If a frame contains more grouped panels than can be shown at once, drag the scroll bar that appears above the tabs.
Viewers
A viewer is a panel that can contain multiple compositions, layers, or footage items, or multiple views of one such item.
The Composition, Layer, Footage, Flowchart, and Effect Controls panels are viewers.
48
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Locking a viewer prevents the currently displayed item from being replaced when you open or select a new item.
Instead, when a viewer is locked and a new item is opened or selected, After Effects creates a new viewer panel for that
item. If you select the item from the viewer menu of a locked viewer, a new viewer isn't created; the existing viewer is
used.
Instead of housing multiple items in a single viewer and using the viewer menu to switch between them, you can choose
to open a separate viewer for each open composition, layer, or footage item. When you have multiple viewers open, you
can arrange them by docking or grouping them, like any other panels.
For example, you can create one Composition viewer each for different 3D views (Top, Bottom, Back, Front, custom
views) so that you can maximize each of the views with the ` (accent grave) keyboard shortcut, which maximizes or
restores the panel under the pointer.
To create a custom workspace with multiple viewers, ensure that all viewers are unlocked before you save the workspace.
Locked viewers are associated with a specific project context and are therefore not saved in the preferences file.
To create a new viewer, choose New from the viewer menu. (See Open panel, viewer, and context menus.)
To lock or unlock a viewer, choose Locked from the viewer menu, or click the Toggle Viewer Lock button.
To lock the current viewer, split the current frame, and create a new viewer of the same type in the new frame, press
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+N (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift+N (Mac OS).
To cycle forward or backward through the items in the viewer menu list for the active viewer, press Shift+period (.)
or Shift+comma (,).
Edit this, look at that (ETLAT) and locked Composition viewers
If a Composition viewer is locked, the Timeline panel for another composition is active, and the Composition viewer
for the active composition is not shown, then most commands that affect views and previews operate on the
composition for which the viewer is shown.
For example, pressing the spacebar can start a standard preview for the composition visible in a locked Composition
viewer rather than the composition associated with the active Timeline panel.
This behavior facilitates a working setup sometimes referred to as edit-this-look-at-that (ETLAT). The most common
scenario in which this behavior is useful is the scenario in which you make a change in the Timeline panel for a nested
(upstream) composition and want to preview the result of the change in a containing (downstream) composition.
Note: ETLAT behavior works for keyboard shortcuts for zooming, fitting, previewing, taking and viewing snapshots,
showing channels, showing and hiding grids and guides, and showing the current frame on a video preview device.
To prevent this behavior, unlock the Composition viewer or show the Composition viewer for the composition that you
want to view or preview.
See this video on the Video2Brain website to learn about the improvements in ETLAT (edit-this-look-at-that) workflow
in After Effects CS5.5 and later.
More Help topics
Panels, viewers, workspaces, and windows (keyboard shortcuts)
Choose a viewer to always preview
Previews (keyboard shortcuts)
Views (keyboard shortcuts)
About precomposing and nesting
49
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Preferences
The following sections describe the Preferences menu and and the various tasks that can be performed using this menu.
The Preferences menu
To open the Preferences menu, go to:
Edit > Preferences > [category name] (Windows)
After Effects > Preferences > [category name] (Mac OS)
Use the following keyboard shortcuts to open the Preferences > General menu:
Ctrl+Alt+; (semicolon) (Windows)
Command+Option+; (semicolon) (Mac OS)
Reset preferences
To restore the default preference settings, press and hold the following keys while the application is starting.
Ctrl+Alt+Shift (Windows)
Command+Option+Shift (Mac OS)
To restore default keyboard shortcuts, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the OK button.
50
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Reveal preferences
Preferences, including keyboard shortcuts and workspaces, are stored as files in the following locations:
(Windows) \Users\\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\After Effects\13.0
(Mac OS) /Users//Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/13.0
To reveal the preferences in After Effects without searching on your hard drive, go to:
Edit > Preferences > General and click Reveal Preferences in Explorer button (Windows)
After Effects > Preferences > General and click Reveal Preferences in Finder button (Mac OS)
It is recommended that you do not modify the files in this directory manually; use the Preferences dialog box to modify
the preferences. For information on modifying keyboard shortcuts, see Modify keyboard shortcuts. For information
on managing workspaces, see Workspaces and Panels.
Note: The Library folder in Mac OS X is hidden. See the following article to learn how to access hidden user files on Mac
OS:http://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/global/access-hidden-user-library-files.html
The following list briefly describes the different options listed under the Edit > Preferences menu, especially those
options that are not self-explanatory.
General preferences
Levels Of Undo: Undo changes
Path Point Size: Specifies size of Bezier direction handles and vertices for masks and shapes, direction handles for
motion paths, and other similar controls.
Show Tool Tips: After Effects user interface tips
Create Layers At Composition Start Time: Layers overview
Switches Affect Nested Comps: About precomposing and nesting
Default Spatial Interpolation To Linear: About spatial and temporal keyframe interpolation
Preserve Constant Vertex Count When Editing Masks: Designate the first vertex for a Bezier path
Pen Tool Shortcut Toggles B etween Pen and MaskFeather Tools: Variable-widt h mask fe ather
Synchronize Time Of All Related Items: Preferences and composition settings that affect nested compositions
Expression Pick Whip Writes Compact English: Edit an expression with the pick whip
Create Split Layers Above Original Layer: Split a layer
Allow Scripts To Write Files And Access Network: Loading and running scripts
Enable JavaScript Debugger: After Effects scripting guide at the Adobe After Effects Developer Center on the Adobe
website
Use System Color Picker: Choose a color picker
Create New Layers At Best Quality: Layer image quality and subpixel positioning
Use System Shortcut Keys (Mac OS only): Keyboard shortcuts reference
Dynamic Link with After Effects Uses Project File Name with Highest Number: About Dynamic Link (Production
Premium or Master Collection only)
51
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Previews preferences
Adaptive Resolution Limit: Preview modes and Fast Previews preferences
Also, see Fast Previews (CS6).
The GPU Information dialog box is available to check the texture memory for your GPU, and to set the ray-tracing
preference to the GPU, if it is available. The OptiX version number is available, as well as the Copy button to copy
the general information at the top of the dialog box to the system clipboard.
Viewer Quality (Zoom Quality and Color Management Quality): Viewer Quality preferences
Audio Preview Duration: Preview video and audio
Display preferences
Motion Path: Motion paths
Disable Thumbnails In Project Panel: Composition thumbnail images
Show Rendering Progress In Info Panel And Flowchart: Preview video and audio
Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, And Footage Panels: Improve performance
Import preferences
Still Footage: Create layers from footage items or change layer source
Sequence Footage: Import a single still image or a still-image sequence
Interpret Unlabeled Alpha As: Alpha channel interpretation: premultiplied or straight
Drag Import Multiple Items As: Import footage items by dragging
There is a dropdown menu to choose drop-frame or non-drop-frame timecode for Indeterminate Media NTSC,
which applies to imports like still image sequences in which timecode values are not present or are unknown.
Output preferences
Segment Sequences At, Segment Movie Files At, and Audio Block Duration: Segment settings
Use Default File Name And Folder: Name output files automatically
Grids & Guides preferences
Safe zones, grids, guides, and rulers
Labels preferences
Color labels for layers, compositions, and footage items
Media & Disk Cache preferences
Enable Disk Cache and Maximum Disk Cache Size: Caches: RAM cache, disk cache, and media cache
Conformed Media Cache and Clean Database & Cache: Media cache
Create Layer Markers From Footage XMP Metadata and Write XMP IDs To Files On Import: XMP metadata in
After Effects
Video Preview preferences
Preview on an external video monitor
52
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Appearance preferences
Use Label Color For Layer Handles And Paths and Use Label Color For Related Tabs: Color labels for layers,
compositions, and footage items
Cycle Mask Colors: Cycle through colors for mask paths
Use Gradients: Use gradients in user interface.
Brightness: Brightens or darkens user interface (UI) colors.
Auto-Save preferences
Project links embedded in QuickTime, Video for Windows files
Memory & Multiprocessing preferences
Memory & Multiprocessing preferences
Audio Hardware and Audio Output Mapping preferences
Preview video and audio
Sync Settings
The Sync Settings feature enables you to synchronize preferences and settings through the Creative Cloud. For detailed
information, see the Sync Settings article.
Migrate settings from previous versions
After Effects will prompt you to migrate settings from a previous version if it finds a preference folder from a previous
version and no preference folder for the current version. This occurs when you start After Effects for the first time and
when you delete the entire preferences folder.
If you want to migrate settings from your previous version of After Effects, see the Migrating your settings from a
previous minor version of After Effects section.
Sync Settings
When you work on multiple computers, managing and syncing preferences among the computers can be time-
consuming, complex, and error prone.
The new Sync Settings feature in After Effects enables you to sync preferences and settings via Creative Cloud. For
example, if you use two computers, the Sync Settings feature makes it easy for you to keep those settings synchronized
across these two computers.
The synchronization takes place via your Adobe Creative Cloud account. Settings are uploaded to your Creative Cloud
account and then are downloaded and applied on the other computer. You can also synchronize settings from another
Creative Cloud account. After Effects creates a user profile on your computer and uses it to synchronize settings to and
from the associated Creative Cloud account.
You can initiate the synchronization manually; it does not happen automatically and it cannot be scheduled.
53
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Synchronize your settings
To initiate the synchronization, choose Edit > [your Adobe ID] > Sync Settings Now (Windows) or After Effects > [your
Adobe ID] > Sync Settings Now.
Download Settings: Synchronize Settings from Creative Cloud to your computer; overwrite the local version with
the Creative Cloud version of settings.
Upload Settings: Synchronize settings from this local computer to Creative Cloud.
Progress and details about the synchronization is displayed in the Info panel (Window > Info).
Restart After Effects to apply downloaded preferences after using Sync Settings .
Synchronize settings from a different account
By default, the Adobe ID associated with the license for the product is used to synchronize the preferences. To use a
different Adobe ID to synchronize the settings, from the Edit menu (Windows) or After Effects menu (Mac OS), choose
[your Adobe ID] > Use Settings From a Different Account. Enter the Adobe ID and password.
Managing synchronization
Clear Settings
Select Edit > [your Adobe ID] > Clear Settings (Windows) or After Effects [your Adobe ID] > Clear Settings (Mac OS),
to clear all settings and reset them to the default state. Clear Settings also resets the token that is used to indicate the
user's settings that was used to sync the settings.
Click Quit to clear the current preferences, and close After Effects. When the application is launched again, default
preferences are set.
Manage Sync Settings
To change the settings for the Sync Settings feature (Windows):
Click Edit > [your Adobe ID] > Manage Sync Settings
Click Edit > Preferences > Sync Settings
54
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
To change the settings for the Sync Settings feature (Mac OS):
Click After Effects > [your Adobe ID] > Manage Sync Settings
Click After Effects > Preferences > Sync Settings
You can change the following settings in the settings dialog:
Automatically clear user profile on application quit Enable this option to clear the user profile when you quit After
Effects. On next launch, preferences are fetched from the default Adobe ID used to license the product.
Select the preferences to synchronize.
1Synchronizable Preferences
2Keyboard Shortcuts
3Composition Settings Presets
4Interpretation Rules
5Render Settings Templates
6Output Module Settings Templates
Note: Synchronizable preferences refer to preferences that are not dependent on computer or hardware settings.
Note: Keyboard shortcuts created for Windows synchronize only with Windows and Mac OS keyboard shortcuts
synchronize only with Mac OS.
Choose one of the following options from the drop-down menu to instruct After Effects when to synchronize the
settings :
Ask my preference
Always Upload Settings
Always Download Settings
Note: The Sync Settings feature does not synchronize files that are manually placed in the preferences folder location.
55
Workspace and workflow
Last updated 6/8/2015
Modify keyboard shortcuts
To modify keyboard shortcuts in After Effects, do the following:
1In After Effects, depending on your operating system, select:
Edit > Preferences > General (Windows)
After Effects > Preferences > General (Mac OS)
2On the Preferences dialog, click the Reveal Preferences in Explorer (Windows) or Reveal Preferences in Finder
(MAC OS) button.
3The Install Directory is opened, with the Preferences file selected. Depending on your operating system, open either
of the following files:
Adobe After Effects <version> Win en_US Shortcuts.txt OR
Adobe After Effects <version> Mac en_US Shortcuts.txt
You can modify keyboard shortcuts in this text file.
Note: If you modify a keyboard shortcut to a combination that already exists, it results in a conflict. Ensure that the new
combination you enter has not been used already.
Note: On Mac OS, some keyboard commands for interacting with the operating system conflict with keyboard commands
for interacting with After Effects. Select Use System Shortcut Keys in the General preferences to override the After Effects
keyboard command in some cases in which theres a conflict with the Mac OS keyboard command.
56
Last updated 6/8/2015
Chapter 3: Projects and compositions
Projects
About projects