Tutorial: Master Properties Will Revolutionize the Way You Work in Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects
The folks at Adobe have done it again.

The new feature Master Properties option in After Effects allows you to create various versions of a composition without duplicating and changing a plethora of properties each time. You can now simply nest your master composition to create various iterations and then push or pull desired properties from the master. Master Properties show up as keyframeable attributes in the parented layer, paving the way for an entirely new workflow.

Let me show you how you can use these new Master Properties.

1. Isolate your desired properties

Adobe After Effects
First, you’ll want to select which properties you would like to edit. The Essential Graphics panel provides users with a heads-up display of the properties which they specify. Be sure to name your motion graphics template and select the composition. To add new properties, simply drag and drop each one from the Timeline into the Essential Graphics panel. The latest release of Adobe After Effects supports a large number of properties, but not all of them. To see which are available, press the Solo Supported Properties button.

2. Nest your master composition

Adobe After Effects
After you have your desired properties highlighted in the Essential Graphics panel, the next step is to nest your composition. Once nested, you’ll notice a Master Properties drop-down menu in the Timeline panel of your parent comp. Not only are all of your properties here, but now they are all keyframeable. They also have a few new symbols next to them that might look unfamiliar. These are the Push and Pull options.

3. Edit, Push and Pull

Adobe After Effects
The Push and Pull buttons are where the magic of the new workflow really resides. Once you edit one of the Master Properties in the parent composition, you have two options. You can apply those changes back to the master composition with Push to Master Comp, or you can revert the property back to the original with Pull from Master Comp. This opens up a number of options, giving you the versatility to create numerous versions and edit individual properties without modifying multiple layers.

Check out all of the new features in Adobe After Effects in the video below.

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Except that push/pull feature this was possible before with expressions, only it is much easier, of course. It probably is useful to some people but the way I work (using it since 2002) it will be of very limited use most of the times since I rarely know beforehand which exact parameters in the subcomp I may need to tweak. I'd rather have access to each and every of them. Next there is a huge issue with the levels of subcomps. Often times I need to nest stuff multiple levels deep, like in the last job I did. And the issue this features doesn't fix at all, a major one: you can't slip the contents within the subcomps. This feature shows that Adobe is only doing fractional solutions. For years and years users suggested to have access to the subcomp content in a way like we already have with the properties, open and twirl down...

April 6, 2018 at 2:42PM


Like Gerard said, this isn't a solution for a problem that has been real since the birth of AE and something most other compositors that are nod-based have solved.

In Nuke, Flame or Fusion this is a piece of common cake but simple and fast, not like this. Even the discontinued and old Shake had this kind of features years ago.

So finally Adobe realises they ned to act to make an attempt for the most sought after feature missing from AE compared with other compositors and they don't even bother to do it properly. They really want the next generation pushed away to Fusion.

Why didn't they just introduce a proper nod workflow. They have had Flowchart for ages. They could have just added a button to check on the layers to disconnect that particular layer form the layer structure like looking it or hiding it. So when you push that button the layer starts to flow and than you enter Flowchart (nod tree) and connect your connections like a real nod based system but still with the ease and speed of a layer based system.

Please undo this mess and go for a nod workflow or Adobe, you will eventually lose this game.

April 6, 2018 at 3:52PM


Very interesting idea! I've been thinking for some time how to combine layers and nodes.

April 7, 2018 at 9:16AM