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• To leave gaps between the layers, select Overlap and enter a negative Duration value.
See also“Select layers” on page 137
Copy or duplicate a layer When you copy a layer, you copy all of its properties, including effects, keyframes, expressions, and masks.
Duplicating a layer is a shortcut with which you copy and paste the layer with one command. Duplicating a layer with a track matte preserves the relative ordering of the layer and its track matte.
When you paste layers, they are placed in the order in which you selected them before copying. The first layer selected is the last one to be placed, so it ends up on the top in the layer stacking order. If you select layers from the top first, they will end up in the same stacking order when pasted.
If you have a component of a layer—such as a mask or keyframe—selected when you copy, you copy only that component. Before copying, press Shift+F2 to deselect all of a layer’s components and leave the layer selected.
• To copy selected layers and place the In points of the copies at the current time, choose Edit Copy, and then press Ctrl+Alt+V (Windows) or Command+Option+V (Mac OS).
• To copy selected layers and place the copies at the same times as the originals, choose Edit Copy, and then choose Edit Paste.
To place copies at the top of the layer stack in the Timeline panel instead of immediately above the originals, press F2 to deselect the originals before you paste.
• To duplicate selected layers, choose Edit Duplicate or press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS).
AFTER EFFECTS CS3 146 User Guide See also “Copy and paste keyframes” on page 191 “Work with layer properties in the Timeline panel” on page 152 “Shortcuts for working with layers” on page 645 Split a layer In the Timeline panel, you can split a layer at any time, creating two independent layers. This is a time-saving alternative to duplicating and trimming the layer—something you might do when you want to change the stacking-order position of the layer in the middle of the composition.
Note: To make new split layers appear above the original layer in the Timeline panel, select Create Split Layers Above Original Layer (Edit Preferences General (Windows) or After Effects Preferences General (Mac OS)). Deselect this option to make the layers appear below the original layer.
1 Select one or more layers.
2 Move the current-time indicator to the time at which to split the layers.
3 Choose Edit Split Layer.
When you split a layer, both resulting layers contain all of the keyframes that were in the original layer in their original positions. Any applied track mattes retain their order, on top of the layer.
After you split a layer, the duration of the original layer ends at the point of the split, and the new layer starts at that point in time.
If no layer is selected when you choose Edit Split Layer, all layers are split at the current time.
Paul Tuersley provides a script for splitting layers at layer-time markers:
See also “Change the stacking order for selected layers” on page 138 “Select layers” on page 137 “Shortcuts for working with layers” on page 645 Auto-Orientation options Each layer’s auto-orientation options (Layer Transform Auto-Orient) specify how its orientation depends on motion paths, points of interest, and cameras.
Off The layer rotates freely, independent of the motion path, point of interest, or other layers.
Note: If you specify an auto-orientation option, and then change the layer's Orientation or X, Y, or Z Rotation properties, the layer orientation is offset by the new values. For example, you can set a camera with Orient Along Path, and then rotate the camera 90 degrees to the right to depict the perspective of a passenger looking out the side window of a car as it moves.
The automatic orientation to point to the point of interest occurs before the Rotation and Orientation properties' transformations are applied. This means that a camera or light with the Orient Towards Point Of Interest option can still be made to look temporarily away from the point of interest by means of animation of the Rotation and Orientation transform properties.
See also “Working with 3D layers” on page 171 “Cameras, lights, and points of interest” on page 176 “Work with motion paths” on page 197 Managing layers View and change layer information
• To rename a layer or property group, select it in the Timeline panel and press Enter on the main keyboard (Windows) or Return (Mac OS).
Layer names can be no more than 31 characters long. The same is true for names of footage items in the Project panel.
• To alternate between viewing the name of a selected layer’s source footage item and the name of the layer in the Timeline panel, click the Layer Name/Source Name column heading in the Timeline panel.
• To show the name of a selected layer’s source footage file in the Info panel, press Ctrl+Alt+E (Windows) or Command+Option+E (Mac OS).
• To see what footage item is the source for a layer, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the layer in the Timeline panel and choose Reveal Layer Source In Project.
The source footage item is selected in the Project panel.
See also “Select layers” on page 137 “Working with footage items” on page 58 “Timeline panel overview” on page 109 “Shortcuts for working with layers” on page 645
To show or hide columns in the Timeline panel, click the Layer Switches, Transfer Controls, or In/Out/Duration/Stretch button in the bottom left of the Timeline panel. Press Shift+F4 to show or hide the Parent column. Press F4 to toggle the Switches and Modes columns.
The results of some layer switch settings depend on the settings of composition switches, which are in the upper right of the layer outline in the Timeline panel.
Quickly change the state of a switch for multiple layers by clicking the switch for one layer and dragging up or down that column for the adjacent layers.
Switches in the A/V Features column Toggles layer visuals on or off. (See “Exclude a layer from previews and final output” on page 148.) Video
Includes the current layer in previews and renders, ignoring layers without this switch set. (See “Solo a layer” Solo on page 149.) Locks layer contents, preventing all changes. (See “Lock or unlock a layer” on page 149.) Lock Switches in the Switches column Hides the current layer when the Hide Shy Layers composition switch is selected. (See “Show and hide Shy layers in the Timeline panel” on page 150.) Collapses transformations if the layer is a precomposition;
Collapse Transformations/Continuously Rasterize continuously rasterizes if the layer is a shape layer, text layer, or layer with a vector graphics file (such as an Adobe Illustrator file) as the source footage. Selecting this switch for a vector layer causes After Effects to rerasterize the layer for each frame, which improves image quality, but also increases the time required for previewing and rendering. (See “Render order and collapsing transformations” on page 115 and “Continuously rasterize a layer containing vector graphics” on page 151.) Toggles between Best and Draft options for layer quality for rendering, including rendering to the screen Quality for previews. (See “Layer image quality” on page 150.) Select to render the layer with effects. The switch does not affect the setting for individual effects on the Effect layer. (See “Delete or disable effects and animation presets” on page 352.) Sets frame blending to one of three states: Frame Mix, Pixel Motion, or off. If the Enable Frame Blend Frame Blending composition switch is not selected, the layer’s frame blending setting is irrelevant. (See “Apply frame blending to a layer” on page 225.) Toggles motion blur on or off for the layer. If the Enable Motion Blur composition switch is not Motion Blur selected, the layer’s motion blur setting is irrelevant. (See “Use motion blur” on page 200.) Identifies the layer as an adjustment layer. (See “Create an adjustment layer” on page 136.) Adjustment Layer Identifies the layer as a 3D layer. If the layer is a 3D layer with 3D sublayers—as is the case for a text 3D Layer layer with per-character 3D properties—the switch looks like this:. (See “About 3D layers” on page 171.) See also “Shortcuts for working with layers” on page 645
• To select the Video switch for all layers, choose Layer Switches Show All Video.
• To deselect the Video switch for all layers except the selected layers, choose Layer Switches Hide Other Video.
See also “Layer switches and columns in the Timeline panel” on page 147 Solo a layer You can isolate one or more layers for animating, previewing, or final output by soloing. Soloing excludes all other layers of the same type from being rendered—both for previews in the Composition panel and for final output. For example, if you solo a video layer, any lights and audio layers are unaffected, so they appear when you preview or render the composition. However, the other video layers do not appear.
• To solo one or more layers, select the layers in the Timeline panel, and click the Solo icon to the left of the layer names.
• To solo one layer and unsolo all other layers, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Solo icon to the left of the layer name.
The Video switch is dimmed for other layers when a layer is soloed, indicating that the other layers are not visible.
See also“Layer switches and columns in the Timeline panel” on page 147
Lock or unlock a layer The Lock switch prevents layers from being edited accidentally. When a layer is locked, you cannot select it in either the Composition or Timeline panels. If you try to select or modify a locked layer, the layer flashes in the Timeline panel.
When a layer is locked, the Lock icon appears in the A/V Features column, which appears by default to the left of the layer name in the Timeline panel.
• To lock or unlock a layer, click the Lock switch for the layer in the Timeline panel.
• To unlock all layers in the active composition, choose Layer Switches Unlock All Layers.
See also “Layer switches and columns in the Timeline panel” on page 147
• To change the color of a label for all layers with that label color, select one of the layers belonging to the label group, choose Edit Label Select Label Group, and choose Edit Label [color name].
• To change the default colors for labels, choose Edit Preferences Label Colors (Windows) or After Effects Preferences Label Colors (Mac OS).
• To change the default associations of label colors with source types, choose Edit Preferences Label Defaults (Windows) or After Effects Preferences Label Defaults (Mac OS).
See also“Select a color or edit a gradient” on page 236
Show and hide layers in the Timeline panel You can mark a layer as shy and then use the Hide Shy Layers composition switch at the top of the Timeline panel to hide all shy layers in the Timeline panel layer outline. Making layers shy is useful for making room in the Timeline panel to show the layers and layer properties that you want to adjust.
The icon in the Switches column indicates whether a layer is shy or not shy.
Shy layers are still rendered, both for previews and for final output. To exclude layers from previews or final output, use the Video switch or make the layer a guide layer.
• To toggle a layer between shy and not shy, click the Shy switch for the layer, or select the layer in the Timeline panel and choose Layer Switches Shy.
• To toggle between hiding and showing all shy layers, click to select or deselect the Hide Shy Layers composition switch at the top of the Timeline panel, or choose Hide Shy Layers from the Timeline panel menu.
See also“Layer switches and columns in the Timeline panel” on page 147
Layer image quality A layer’s quality setting determines how precisely it is rendered, as well as influencing the precision of other calculations involving the layer, such as motion tracking and the use of the layer as a control layer for a compound effect.
The default quality of new layers is determined by the Create New Layers At Best Quality preference in the General preferences category.
Duplicated or split layers retain the Quality setting of the original layer.
To toggle between Best and Draft quality of selected layers, click the Quality switch in the Timeline panel. To choose
from all three options, choose Layer Quality:
Best Displays and renders a layer using subpixel positioning, anti-aliasing, 3D shading, and complete calculation of any applied effects. Best requires the most time for rendering—both for previews and for final output.
Draft Displays a layer so that you can see it, but only at rough quality. Draft quality displays and renders a layer without anti-aliasing and subpixel positioning, and some effects are not precisely calculated. Draft quality is often the most useful setting for general work and for video layers (to avoid blurring when matching compositions to raw video footage).
Wireframe Displays a layer as a box, without layer contents. Layer wireframes are displayed and rendered faster than layers rendered with Best or Draft settings.
AFTER EFFECTS CS3 151 User Guide See also “Layer switches and columns in the Timeline panel” on page 147 “Preview modes” on page 124 Continuously rasterize a layer containing vector graphics When you import vector graphics, After Effects automatically rasterizes them. However, if you want to scale a layer that contains vector graphics above 100%, then you need to continuously rasterize the layer to maintain image quality. You can continuously rasterize vector graphics in layers based on Illustrator, Flash SWF, EPS, and PDF files.