5 Nifty Tricks That Will Save You Time in Adobe After Effects

Don't work harder, work smarter (in After Effects).

Making visual effects and motion graphics in After Effects can be an arduous endeavor that takes a lot of time and effort. However, there are some pretty nifty little tricks, some of which that you don't know about, that can help speed up your workflow and get you working more efficiently. In this video from Pond5, you'll get to learn 5 helpful shortcuts and tricks that will save you time as you work on projects in After Effects. Check it out below:

Here's a quick rundown of the tips from the video:

  • Organize your Project Panel:  The first thing you should do when starting a new project is to make sure your Project Panel is in order. Come up with a file management system for all of your media. Seriously, you'll thank yourself later. (This isn't a "shortcut" or "trick," but it's probably one of the most important things you can do to speed up your workflow.) 
  • Expand or contract keyframes: If you work for any significant amount of time in After Effects, you know that you'll have keyframes for days. If you want to edit an animation, don't go through each one manually. Hold Alt/Option key and click and drag to move multiple keyframes at once.
  • Lower-resolution previews:  High res previews can slow down your computer and bring your progress to a grinding halt. Lower the resolution on your previews to lessen the workload on your machine and speed up your workflow.
  • Quickly replace layers:  If you want to replace a layer with a new file, here's an easy way to do. Select the layer you want to replace, then select the file you want to replace it with in your Project Panel. After that, hold the Alt/Option key as you click and drag the asset onto your layer in the comp. The new asset will replace the old one with all of the same settings.
  • Easily deploy the hand tool: You can move your main window around with the hand tool.

After Effects is a powerful program with lots of tools that can help you speed up your workflow. Which ones do you use? Let us know down in the comments.     

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Your Comment


If you've ever used AE for more than an hour you are already doing all of these as standard.

February 2, 2018 at 12:58AM


I think the best way for me to save time in AE was simply not to use AE.

February 2, 2018 at 5:08AM

Noah Leon
Filmmaker @ Moosefuel Media

I wish I had saved time by not reading this comment

February 3, 2018 at 12:48PM


Nifty Tricks?! That's a bit like saying, "To speed up your car, try pressing down on the accelerator" is a nifty driving trick. Legit info, wrong title.

February 4, 2018 at 10:57PM, Edited February 4, 10:57PM

Taz Goldstein