40 After Effects Quick Tips for Faster Production

A List of After Effects Quick Tips you should definitely follow for Faster Production. These tips will surely help you speed up Motion Graphic Workflow.

You can also download a simple printable version of this list in a PDF file format.

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After Effects Quick Tips for Faster Production

  1. The Camera Lens blur effect has many of the same depth-of-field properties as a camera layer.
  2. To focus a camera on a layer, use one of the focus distance commands in the Layer > Camera menu.
  3. When using the Warp Stabilizer, you can analyze a portion of a layer by trimming it (setting In and Out points) before clicking Analyze.
    If you trim off unstable parts of your layer that you don’t need, the result will be smoother and less cropped.
  4. When drawing foreground strokes with Roto Brush tool, don’t use Undo for a stroke just because the initial segmentation includes too much of the background. Instead, draw a background strike on the part of the image that was misidentified as foreground. Think in terms of giving the Roto Brush more explicit information about what is foreground and what is background.
  5. Use the Left Arrow key and the Right Arrow key to expand and collapse groups and folders in the Project panel, Effect Controls panel, and Render Queue panel.
  6. Ctrl+Click the triangle next to any property group name in the Effect Controls or Timeline panel to show all properties in that group.
  7. Press FF to show all instances of missing effects on selected layers. If no layers are selected, missing effects are shown for all layers.
  8. Search for “missing” in the Project panel to show all footage items for which the source file is missing.
  9. You can save a project from After Effects CS6 in a format that can be used by After Effects CS5.5. Choose File > Save As > Save a copy of CS5.5. Some features are not backward compatible.
  10. Press Shift + ; (semicolon) in the Timeline panel to zoom all the way out to show the entire composition duration.
    Press Shift + ; again to zoom in back to the custom time range set by the Time Navigator.
  11. To toggle color management for your computer monitor on and off, press Shift + / (slash on the numeric keypad).
  12. When creating shapes with shape tools, many of the shape’s properties can be adjusted using modifier keys. For intance, while dragging to create a star, press the Up and Down Arrow keys to increase and decrease the number of points on the star.
  13. To adjust brush size, hold down Ctrl while dragging left or right. Release the Ctrl key and continue to drag to adjust the brush hardness.
  14. To light a 2D background, turn on the 3D switch for the layer and then parent the layer to a camera and adjust the z-depth.
  15. To reveal selected properties in the Timeline Panel, Press SS, This command will also hide any properties that are not selected.
  16. Use – (hyphen) and = (equals) on the man keyboard to zoom in time in the Timeline, Layer, and Footage panels.
  17. To animate text characters in 3D space, choose Animation > Animate Text > Enable Per-character 3D.
  18. The Auto-trace command in the Layer menu can be used to generate masks from an image based on its alpha channel, luminance, or any of the color channels.
  19. Undo and Redo in the Edit menu also has a History submenu. Select an entry in the History menu to undo or redo everything from that time forward.
  20. Add an effect to all selected layers by double-clicking the effect in the Effects & Presets panel.
  21. Press PP to show only paint strokes, Roto Brush strokes, and Puppet pins for selected layers in the Timeline Panel.
    If no layer is selected, properties are revealed for all layers.
  22. To create compositions automatically for file conversions and prerendering, drag footage items from the Project panel directly to the Render Queue Panel.
  23. To convert a text layers’s characters to shapes or to masks on a solid layer, select the characters to convert and then choose Layer > Create Shapes From Text or Create masks From Text.
  24. To remove a footage item from the project without receiving a warning, hold CTRL while deleting.
  25. To switch to the next or previous blending mode in the Timeline, press Shift + =(equals) or Shift + – (hyphen) on the main keyboard.
  26. Preview audio in the work area using Alt + period (.) on the numeric keypad.
  27. To paste a layer at current time, press ALT while pasting.
  28. You can create several different output files from a single render. Select the render item in the Render Queue panel and choose Composition > Add Output Module, or click the plus sign to the left of the Output To heading in the Render Queue panel.
  29. To center the active window on your main monitor, press CTRL + ALT + \. (useful for rescuing a window that is hidden off screen)
  30. To select all layers with same label, click a layer’s label and choose Select Label Group from the menu.
  31. To make your work area duration match the duration of selected layers, press CTRL + ALT +B.
  32. To make your work in After Effects more efficient, use keyboard shortcuts. Choose Help > Keyboard Shortcuts for a complete list.
  33. To hear audio while moving in time, hold CTRL as you drag the current-time indicator.
  34. To improve render speed, turn off your anti-virus software.
  35. You can copy and paste keyframes into a text editor or spreadsheet application, such as Microsoft Excel, and modify the values. This method works for all keyframe types except masks and some effects properties.
  36. To preview audio during motion sketch, select the Audio switch in the Preview Panel.
  37. To show the Audio Levels or Waveform properties in the Timeline, try the keyboard shortcuts:
    Audio Levels: L
    Audio Waveform: LL
  38. After Effects has 99 levels of undo. By default, the levels of undo are set to 32. Change the levels of undo by choosing Edit > Preference > General and entering a new number.
    Higher levels of undo require more RAM.
  39. Free up memory immediately by discarding undo and redo information, image caches, and snapshots all at once. Press CTRL + ALT + / (on the numeric keypad).
  40. Work at a resolution setting of Half and a Draft Quality setting for faster production.

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