50 After Effects Tips, Tricks & Secrets for Beginners

50 After Effects Tips, Tricks & Secrets for Beginners


these are tips that when I learned them I
thought how did I not know this already existed if you’ve been using After
Effects for a while you’ll probably already know a few but I’m sure there’ll
be some gems in there that will save you a lot of time and trouble in your
projects let’s get started You’ve got some layers one has some cool effects on it
that you’d like to apply to the others we can copy these effects up here in the
effects control panel and paste them onto another layer but you can also
select those effects go to edit and select copy with property links paste
them onto another layer and if you change those effects in the original
layer they will change on every layer they were copied to wherever they are in
the project alright we’ve got this texture set to multiply and we want to
apply it to this Pentagon but we don’t to deal with any maps or masks we can
simply select preserve underlying transparency down here and it’ll only
apply to already visible layers in your composition you can apply the blending
mode stencil alpha to make visible only layers that appear underneath that layer
you can also use the blending mode silhouette alpha to get a reverse which
makes everything underneath that layer transparent say you’ve got a logo or a
vector element when you scale it up it goes all blurry or pixelated if you tick
continuously rasterize down here it turns nice and crisp we’ve got two
layers doing some animation with their position to move them to the left with
that pre-comping might be tricky but we can create a new null object parent
those two layers to that null move the null over to the left where we want them
and then delete the null removing all evidence that we were ever here if
you’ve got a timeline full of layers and you need to see more of it if you’ve got
your cursor over it and press the tilde key which is the curly one next to the
one on the top left of your keyboard press it over that panel and it will
make it full screen and if you press tilde again it will minimize it back to your
previous view it works on any panel if you want to navigate through your
project quickly use the mini flow chart if you go into this text comp and press
tab on our keyboard it’ll bring up this flow chart wherever your cursor is it
shows the comp that we’re in and on the left it shows all the comps that this is
nested in and on the right it shows all the comps that are inside this comp the
stars and the balls the blue line indicates which comp you came from in
that case it was comp 7 if you want to change something in your
pre-comp and see what it looks like in the above comps you can split your view
by looking at comp in your view here opening another comp and dragging that
out now you can go inside and make any edits in this comp on the right and
they will update in the main comp on the left here and you can easily see how it
will affect the comps above it if you want to alliance of objects
together you can do that with guides just simply drag out some guides select
view snap to guides and whenever you move an object it will snap into
position if the duration in your comp is too long you can drag over your work
area in your timeline view and then simply right click trim comp to work
area if you want to reduce the size of your comp perhaps to fit a layer click
on the region of interest down here and drag out the area that you would like it
to crop to and then select a composition crop comp to region of interest if you
want to parent one layer to another but you don’t want it to inherit all other
properties you can alt or option click on the property you want to parent and
then pick whip that to the specific property on the other layer now our
Pentagon is inheriting our square’s rotation but not its position we want
to create a mask on this Pentagon that our pen tool just keeps drawing shapes
if we select tool create mask and draw over the top now it creates a mask the
different blur effects and After Effects work slightly differently box blur and
camera lens blur get a more natural blurring but it does take longer to
render and gashing blur tends to be the fastest so choose wisely if you blur an
image it will automatically assume the edges of the image are transparent so
you’ll get this halo effect on the edges we see the layer underneath tick repeat
edge pixels to stop that happening but don’t feel too bad the walking-dead
titles didn’t realize this until season 3 to cycle through the film or stroke
modes hold alt and click on the square next to the mode and it will cycle
through all of the options you can also hold alt and click through to cycle all
the different tool modes if you want to duplicate a layer press control D to get
another version and if you want to split that layer press ctrl shift d and it
will split it at your playhead to move the start of your layer to your
player press the left square bracket on your keyboard and press the right square
bracket on your keyboard to move the end to your playhead to a trim your layer
press alt and hold the left square bracket to trim it at the beginning and
alt and the right square bracket to trim it at the end if you’ve animated some
transform properties like scale position rotation on your layer and you’d like to
add more while keeping the existing animation without adding a null or pre
comping you can add the effect transform and this will give you more options to
keyframe if suddenly you’re bounding box disappears and you don’t have the
outlines of your shape layers visible you might have accidentally turned them
off I did this all the time to turn the back on click this bounding box button
here or go up to view show layer controls if your project panel suddenly
disappears to get it back press ctrl and 0 I do this all the time as well because
that is the fit to view shortcut in Photoshop and I do it without thinking
if you want to line up elements from one comp to another or quickly reference
another comp you can take a snapshot of it by clicking this camera icon here and
then from whatever other come you’re in you can click the view snapshot button
and it will make that snapshot visible for you to use as a reference we’ve got
the square moving with its position property to get the rotation to follow
along we can select layer transform Auto
Orient and select orient along path and now the rotation follows along to create
a quick sine wave select your line go to add select zigzag toggle that down
adjust the size and the amount of ridges and then change the points from corner
to smooth if you’re tired of flat vector shapes use the roughen edges effect and tweak some of the settings to add a bit of grit to your animation if you
want to slightly expand or reduce the edges of your layer simply add the
effect a simple choker and adjust the choke map this is also great for adding
rounded corners if you want to quickly offset or stagger your layers select
them all trim their lengths to the amount you want to offset right click
select keyframe assistant sequence layers click OK and then drag out the
ends of all of them to convert text to a shape layer with
the text tool selected right-click and select create shapes from text now got
your text editable as paths if you want to morph a square into a circle keyframe
its roundness at zero move ahead and drag it up to its maximum roundness
where it will be circle and there you are you can do basic math operations in
any number fields if the number is inconvenient to calculate yourself let
After Effects do it this square is 400 pixels wide and I wanted to move that
far to the right so with its position property I’m gonna select its current
position and add + 400 and press Enter and there we go
you can use multiply and divide in here two if you need some free space on your
hard drive your disk cache might be using up more than it needs to you can
clear your disk cache by going to edit purge all memory and disk cache and
click OK to clear out some memory from projects you might not have opened in
years if your project is getting bloated with a bunch of assets and comps that
you no longer need you can go to file and then down to dependencies and remove
unused footage you can also reduce the project only the files needed in the
comps you have selected and you can also collect all of your files and every
linked asset into a folder which is very useful if you need to have the project
on to someone else on another machine or using another server if you want to know
what comp an asset was used in you can right click over in the project panel and
select reveal in composition which will take you to it you can also do it in
Reverse – you can right-click select reveal reveal layer source and project
and you can also right-click and select reveal reveal in Explorer to find the
exact source of that file if you need to replace a file or composition you can
select it down in your timeline find the layer of comp you’d like to replace it
with in the project panel hold alt and simply drag it into your composition or
timeline window and it will replace it keeping all the original animated
properties select your comp in the project window and drag it onto the new
composition window and that will create a new comp with the exact same sized
duration of that original comp with that comp nested inside if you want an image
or comp to be the exact height or width of a comp without doing it by hand and
eyeballing it with a scale property select layer
transform fit to comp height or width depending on your needs use the search
bar down in your timeline to easily access properties like path or stroke
width without toggling down a whole bunch of
layers we’ve got this pre comped animation of a snowman shape bouncing
and we want to add a quick shadow to it we can duplicate it with command D add a
fill effect select our shadow color then add the CC slant effect adjust the slant
and the height send that layer behind and now we’ve got an animated shadow if
you’ve got an animation in the pre comp you can change the speed by
right-clicking and select a time time stretch 50% makes it twice as fast 200
makes it twice as slow to reverse it right click and select time time reverse
layer if you have nothing selected in your timeline to add markers to the comp
press * on your keyboard and it’ll create a marker here if you do with
the layer selected it will create one on the layer you can double click to add a
comment to that marker or if you hold alt and click the asterisks it will open
up that dialog box as you create the marker you can also hold alt on your
keyboard and drag a marker to extend it to encompass a duration rather than a
single point if you want to reverse some properties of an animation you can
select the key frames you want reversed right click select keyframe resistant
and time reverse keyframes and that will swap the values of those keyframes if
you want to an extended animation they keep the same timing you can select all
the keyframes and while holding alt select the first or last keyframe and
drag it out to keep those proportions exactly the same you can also press J
and K on your keyboard to jump your playhead to the nearest keyframe J goes
to the nearest previous keyframe and K to the nearest upcoming keyframe if
you’ve got a whole bunch of layers taking up your timeline and you don’t
need to see them all for now select all of the ones you want to hide click the
shy icon lock the layer over here completely shy icon over here now
they’re hidden and there’s no chance you accidentally gonna move them now you’ve
got a lovely clean timeline and if you just need to view one or a couple of
layers in your composition window you can click the solo button here on as
many of layers as you need so you’re not distracted by the other layers and so
After Effects doesn’t need to render those layers as well very useful if
you’re using a lot of effect or a render heavy comp if you want to
apply an effect to the whole scene and know just one element instead of pre
comping you can use an adjustment layer create a new adjustment layer by going
up to layer new just Millea and whatever effects you applied to that layer will
affect everything beneath it change the color of your layers in your timeline to
keep it organized click the colored square down here and
choose any color you want if you choose select label group I’ll select all layers
with that color very handy when you’re working with a lot of layers if you’ve
pasted something and after effects has pasted them in the wrong order
here our bottom text should be underneath this rectangle to get it to paste in the
right order you need to select your top layer first then the others copy or cut
and then paste them and the layers that you’ve selected first or right on top in the layer stack
if you want to quickly test a bunch of fonts select your text click in the font
drop-down area and scroll through with your arrow keys till you find the font
you like you can also click this star over here on the left and they will put
them in this favorite folder so you can access the fonts you always use if
you’re annoyed that when you create a new shape layer the anchor point goes to
the middle of the comp rather than the middle of the shape layer you can fix
that by going to edit preferences general and select Center Anchor Point
in new shape layers isn’t that nicer I made a short playlist of some related
videos that’ll think you’ll enjoy if you’ve made it this far I’ll see you in
the next video and please consider subscribing if you’d like more of these
videos every week Subtitle: Zoe J Marriott

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  1. What an education tool. Seriously. How could I learn any more about Ae any faster than that?! I'd love to see more of these.

  2. Thanks again Ben for all the work – greatest AE tutorials in town.
    Here is the breakdown with timestamps:

    0:20 1. Copy effects / Copy with Property link (1 effect to rule the all)
    0:40 2. Persevere underlay transparency (No matte or mask layer method)
    0:53 3. Stencil Alpha (Alternative to masking / knocking out with shapes)
    1:05 4. Fix blurry vectors (ENHANCE!)
    1:13 5. No precomp – Moving layers but honour it's properties (Now you see null, now you don't)
    1:28 6. Expand Time line/any panel (~tilde? I hardly know her)
    1:46 7. Miniflow chart (I like maps)
    2:07 8. Real time precomp updates / split views (Preview inception)
    2:27 9. Align objects using guides (Snappy Toms)
    2:39 10. Shorten duration of composition (Ain't nobody got time for that)
    2:47 11. Crop layer to specific size (Custom bounding box)
    2:59 12. Linking single property of one object to another (Whip it)
    3:14 13. Pen tool masking (Somebody stop me)
    3:24 14. 3 Types of BLURS (Woo-hoo)
    3:35 15. Blur halo fix (Hal-no?)
    3:49 16. Quick cycle (Fill,tool,stroke)
    4:01 17. Duplicate and split layer (Splits where the playhead is)
    4:08 18. Move layer to start or end of playhead and trim to playhead (yes.)
    4:30 19. Adding more transform to a transformed shape. (extra timeline for keyframing)
    4:39 20. Show missing bounding box (! – SNAAAAAKE)
    4:54 21. Show missing project panel (! – Snake? Snake! SNAAAAAAAAKE! )
    5:02 22. Snapshot (quick before and after comparison)
    5:18 23. Make object rotate along the path as well (Almost half way…)
    5:30 24. Wavey sine wave (Cowabunga)
    5:43 25. Quick Grit / illustration effect (Half way!)
    5:50 26. Round edges (simple choker – darth.v )
    5:59 27. Offset Multiple layers (synchronised swimming)
    6:14 28. Convert text to paths (Who's boris?)
    6:24 29. Morph square to circle (It's morphing time!)
    6:32 30. Change numbers/units using maths (Math vegetables?! ewww)
    6:52 31. Empty Cache for HDD space (The Purge VI: after effects)
    7:05 32. Remove unused assets & comps / or repackage project (Dependencies)
    7:26 33. Target asset and find source (Got'em)
    7:45 34. Replace file in composition (Go hag mode)
    8:00 35. Duplicate comp with targeted comp nested (Very Nolan)
    8:08 36. Auto Fit asset to comp specs (Height or width)
    8:20 37. Search bar to target properties (Hello…)
    8:30 38. Instant animated shadow (Just add slant)
    8:50 39. Change prepomp speed (time stretch – ITS TURBO TIME)
    9:03 40. Reverse time (Draw 4, got cha)
    9:08 41. Add markers + more (so close…)
    9:33 42. Reverse specific property values (looc)
    9:47 43. Extend animation timing / keyframes (Honours property values)
    9:58 44. Jump to nearest keyframe (Teleporting~~)
    10:05 45. Hide layers you don't need (Shy guys)
    10:21 46. Show targeted layer and hide the rest (render resource saver)
    10:37 47. Apply effects to all layers with no pre-comping (Adjustment layer to the rescue!)
    10:49 48. Colour Labels (Diary planners unite!)
    11:01 49. Reorder upside down layer (tacocat)
    11:19 50. Font cycle (Weeeeee…. 20 minutes later – Helvetica)
    11:33 51.Default anchor point to centre when making new shapes (W….t….f)

    (Wow this is a long list….)

  3. Maybe it’s a dumb question after all these informations, but what is the font you used for the „Replaced.“ at 7:52 for example?
    Really nice video, loved it, really helpful! 🙂

  4. Ben you have very in depth knowledge of AE that I respect. If you dont mind answering, what source do you learn from?

  5. 1. copy and paste effects with property links

    2. 0:02, Preserve underly transparency

    3. 0:53 Silhouette Alpha, Stencil Alpha

    4. 1:08 rasterize vector

    5. 1:20 Move animating objects using null

    6. 1:31 tilde key with cursor hovering over panel

    7.1:50 Mini flow chart use tabs, left is where this comp is nested in right is the comps in this comp

    8. 2:08 Split View comps

    9. 2:30 Align objects with guides, view snap to guides

    10. 2:44 Trim comp to work area

    11. 2:50 Region of interest and crop

    12.3:05 Property parenting, alt click pick whip to to attribute

    13. 3:10 Pen tool creates mask

    14. 3:24 Blurring

    15. 3:40 Repeat edge pixels with blurring

    16. 3:50 cycle fill stroke modes hold alt, alt cycles through modes

    17. 4:00 Duplicate, duplicate split at playhead ctrl chift d

    18.4:10 Left Right square bracket to move layer, trim alt []

    19 4:30 Effects panel > distort transform more transform options without affecting layer

    20. 4:40 Bounding box on off, show layer controls

    21 4:52 control 0 to bring up project panel

    22 5:00 View snapshot as reference, camera icon in viewer panel

    23 5:20 Layer transform orient orient along path

    24 5:30 quick sine wave, add > zig zag, ridges corner smooth

    25 5:42 roughen edges effect

    26 5:50 simple choker

    27 6:04 offset stagger layers, key frame assistant, sequence layers

    28 6:15 create shapes from text

    29 6:23 square to circle

    30 6:34 use basic math add pixels to move

    31 6:49 Clean disk cache

    32 7:00 file > dependencies > remove unused footage, collect files into one folder

    33 7:25 Reveal in composition/explorer

    34 7:43 replace layer in composition, hold down alt and drag onto layer

    35 8:00 nesting multiple comps click drag comp onto create new comp

    36 8:08 make image comp fit to height or width layer transform fit comp height

    37 8:20 Search bar to access properties, path, stroke width

    38 8:30 Quick drop shadow, duplicate comp, fill effect, slant

    39 8:50 change speed of comp, right click select time time stretch

    40 9:04 Reverse it, right click select time time reverse layer

    41 9:07 Add marker, hit asterisk, double click to add comment, hold alt asterisk see what happens

    42 9:33 reverse keyframes on layer, select keyframes, right click keyframe assistant, time reverse key frames

    43 9:45 extend animation keeping same timing, select keyframes, hold alt, click drag last key frame

    44 9:55 J K to jump keyframes

    45 10:10 Shy Icon to hide unnecessary layers

    46 10:34 Solo layer

    47 10:40 Adjustment layer

    48 10:50 Color code layers, click color select label group

    49 11:10 Copy pasting layers, first selected layer will always go on top

    50 11:20 Preview fonts, use star to favorite common fonts

    51 11:42, Preferences > General, center anchor point to new shape layer

  6. Here I've been living this lie that I was an intermediate AE user… I'm a mere Padawan to your Jedi Master. Oy! I've been wasting so much time with my projects! This is going to help sooooo much, thank you.

  7. great!

    でも日本のキーボードに対応するショートキーが結構違います それを調べなきゃ⋯

  8. I didn't know about adding masks to shape layers thank you for that! I've been working professionally in After Effects for five years now still learning new things about it!

  9. Great Tipps…. Will hand it over to my team… Always the same questions… Now I point them to your video.. 😅

  10. Wow man at first I thought "let's give it a shot and be curious, click on this video" but it's AMAZING thanks a lot ! This is already a reference video !

  11. #34 if I knew that… oh the time I would have saved… Oh the precious time… Great tips… Even as an experienced user there is a lot I forgot over time and a few that will save my day in the future for sure…

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