Using keyboard shortcuts within After Effects is hugely important in speeding up your workflow. Without using the keyboard shortcuts projects would take days rather than hours or minutes.
Layer shortcuts are one of the most common that I use to access properties for keyframing. Every shape, solid, adjustment layer, Null or Light has animatable transform properties including:
Scale (Keyboard Shortcut – S)
Position (Keyboard Shortcut – P)
Anchor Point (Keyboard Shortcut – A)
Rotation (Keyboard Shortcut – R)
Opacity (Keyboard Shortcut – T)
*I always pre-empt my animation and place keyframes on transform properties I know that I will animate, that way I can easily access and change them by pressing the show all keyframes shortcut (U).
You can navigate within a hierarchy of nested compositions using the Composition Navigator and Composition Mini-Flowchart. Use the Flowchart panel to see the structure of a complex composition or network of compositions.
Flowchart (Keyboard Shortcut – TAB)
The shortcuts for all of these are basically the starting letter except for opacity. To view position, I just press the letter (P) with layers selected. If I want to show scale, I just type (S). If I want to show more than just one value at a time hold shift and then I hit the letters of the value you wish to see.
If I want to animate the properties on a layer that I’ve put in, I’ll put a key frame on that position by hitting the Stop Watch. So now I now have a key frame on that layer just by hitting that button. If I know I wish to animate properties of this layer, I will set keyframes on both and then I would either go forward or back on the timeline depending on which way you want to animate from there.
So now if I toggle that away, I can’t see that I have any animation happening at the moment. There’s no timeline visible except for just the solids being visible. To view all you’re hard work you’ve put into your animation is just select all the layers you want, either by hitting control, lay or selecting the layers. And then the shortcut that I use is you. (U) is the most important shortcut in After Effects to learn, because it shows all of your work and is a great quick way to access your work. I’ll show you, in a more complex scenario. So this is obviously a much more complicated animation. So I’ve got left to right, I’ve got my layers, I’ve got some that are on some that often until it gets to hear all my key frames are hidden. If I select all of them and then hit you, I can see all my key frames.
So they’re all the key frames inside of this folder. Now that I’m inside of this composition, I’ll show you my next favourite shortcut, which is the one that will save you from getting lost. So you can see here that there’s quite a few things happening within my timeline. But going back to what I said, you can put folders inside of folders. So this is a composition, but each one of these, are actually separate compositions. They’re compositions inside of compositions. It’s sort of like in Photoshop, how you can group layers together. So think of these as groups to go inside of these groups. I just literally DoubleClick to enter the folder. The next shortcut that I want to teach you guys is (TAB). So anywhere on screen you just type tab, this is a flow chart of where you are inside of your project.
So you can do that anywhere on screen you like, you can hit tab wherever you are. It’s a little shortcut that just comes up and it shows you where you’re at with your project. I think is very cool as it shows you that I’m in a composition that I’ve called two yellow comp one and it’s inside of composition one. And I’ve also got other composition here, which is to yellow that I can go back and forth thing. So instead of double clicking on this one to go inside, I can just hit tab and I can click on that button there and it goes into it. Same thing going back. So if I go back, I can actually go that that back and I can go into the master composition just like that. So instead of running through here, and this is why I like, this looks really messy over here, and this is like God that I don’t know what’s what over here. So if you come into a composition, you can click on any of them and then you know exactly where you are because you can then start going inside and you can go back. You can always find that the final composition or your master composition, if you will, just by doing that.