By Brady Betzel
As an editor, most of my day is spent inside of Avid Media Composer, but occasionally I will get to turn on my Spotify, groove to the music and crank out some Adobe After Effects or Maxon Cinema 4D work. Over the years I’ve found some shortcuts within After Effects that make my job easier, and I wanted to share five of my favorites… from an editor’s perspective.
Double Click in the project window to import an asset
When importing assets into an Adobe After Effects project I often see people do the archaic: File > Import. Instead, if you just double click in the Project Window you will save yourself a few steps. Simple, but I see it all the time.
Tilde key (`) to make full screen
Another shortcut that a lot of artists surprisingly don’t know about is the ability to quickly make any pane inside of After Effects full screen. When hovering over a window pane, like your composition timeline, hit the Tilde key (`) to make it go full screen. One workflow I typically use in a two monitor scenario is to put the Composition output monitor on one monitor at almost full screen all the time and the other panes on the other monitor, this way when I want a full screen timeline (by hovering over the timeline pane and hitting the Tilde key (`) I can still see my output at full screen.
Scaling keyframes evenly when lengthening an effect by holding Option
If you’ve ever been at a point where a client says, ‘I love everything you’ve done but I would like it four frames longer,” you may want to run into a wall, unless you know that highlighting all the keyframes you want to extend and holding Option while clicking and dragging the last keyframe will evenly scale all keyframes. This won’t always save your butt, but sometimes it will save you hours of work.
Viewing Waveforms in the timeline by clicking the layer and hitting ‘LL (L – 2 times)’
Just as it says, if you want to easily view a waveform to sync up an animation, hit the L button two times quickly while having the layer selected and they will pop up.
Enabling Guide Layers
This shortcut is more for broadcast folks who often need to be aware of placement of text and graphics for network deliverable specs. If you have a layer that you want to see most of the time but don’t want it to render out when it comes time to export, simply click Layer > Guide Layer. This is will save you tons of time from enabling and disabling that eyeball each time you want to see if your amazing graphic will be hit by sneaky networks teases during your show. This is also very helpful when a client wants to recreate graphics and somehow doesn’t have the After Effects file.
I use these shortcuts all the time, and hopefully they will help you too. I always love hearing about new shortcuts, so if you have any, tweet them to me @allbetzroff and @postPerspective on Twitter!
Brady Betzel is an editor at Bunim Murray Productions, a reality television production company. He is currently editing The Real World, and is one of the editors on Bad Girls Club. His typical tools at work are Avid Symphony, Adobe After Effects CC and Adobe Photoshop CC. You can email Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter, @allbetzroff.