But wait, there's more. Now highlight the bg layer, which contains no keyframes whatsoever, and press
(two Us in quick succession). All of the properties that have been set to any value other than their defaultincluding those with keyframes (of which there are none in this case)are revealed.
The utility of the
shortcut is immediately obvious: It's a quick way to get at keyframes to edit them or to find a keyframe that you suspect is hiding somewhere. But
is a full-on problem-solving tool all to itself. It allows you to quickly investigate what has been edited on a given layer, is helpful when troubleshooting your own layer settings, and is priceless when investigating an unfamiliar project. Highlight all of the
in your comp, press
, and you have before you all of the edits that have been made to all of the layer properties.
What's missing from the
shortcut's reach? Any settings in nested compositions cannot be seen, other than by Alt-clicking (Option-clicking) to
on their layers as well. Locked layers are not affected by
, and shy layers
shy (and thus
hidden, although their properties are revealed). Key settings that affect a layer's appearance but are not properties, such as Blending Modes and Motion Blur (discussed later) are not revealed by
Dissecting a Project
If you've been handed an unfamiliar project and need to make sense of it quickly, there are a couple of other tools to help you.
The Flowchart view offers a broad overview of the project's structure; it can be enabled with the right-most button along the bottom of the Composition panel, via Window > Flowchart or using
. You have to see it to believe it: a nodal interface in After Effects (
), the least nodal of any of the major compositing applications.
Figure 2.25. What node-based compositing application is this? Why, the decidedly non-nodal After Effects. You cannot interact with this view the way a Shake
might expect, although you can open (or even delete) compositions (or even footage and layers) from this view.
This view shows how objects (layers, compositions and effects) have been used and how they interrelate. The + button above a composition reveals its
; for the cleanest view, toggle layers and effects off at the lower left.
In the panel menu you can choose your view; Left to Right fits well on a typical monitor. Whether you choose straight or
connecting lines is up to you, but you can clean up the view by clicking this toggle holding the Alt/Option key.
You can open any comp by double-clicking it in the Flowchart.
off the Shy toggle at the top if it's on, highlight all of the layers (
), and enter
to reveal all
properties. Now preview the composition, stopping at any frame where you have questions and investigating which settings and animations apply to that point in time. If you find a nested composition, open it and investigate in the same manner.
It's most effective to start with the top-level compositions (those not contained in other compositions) and work your way backward. I wouldn't call this process speedy with a complex project, but if you approach it in this logical manner, you can escape feeling like you're in that dream where you showed up to work without any pants on.
Keyframe Navigation and Selection
Although no shortcut can hold a
to the berkey, there are several other useful animation shortcuts:
keys navigate backward and forward, respectively, through all visible keyframes (and layer markers, and Work Area boundaries).
hit all revealed keyframes, so to navigate in one channel only, you can click the arrows that appear under A/V Features (the Keys column). Or reveal only the keyframes in that channel;
will ignore the rest.
To select all keyframes for a property, click that property's
Context-click on a keyframe to Select Previous Keyframes or Select Following Keyframes. There is even an option to Select Equal Keyframes (those with an identical value).
You can use
the shortcut corresponding to a transform property (
) to set the first keyframe.
You can also use any stopwatch in the Effect Controls to set the first keyframe for an effect property at the current frame.
To add a keyframe in Effect Controls without changing any values, context-click on the stopwatch and choose Add Keyframe.
Read on; you are not a keyframe Jediyet.
Multi-selection works differently with keyframes in the Layer Bar view than
else in the application. To add or subtract a single frame from a selected
, Shift-click. Ctrl/Cmd-clicking on keyframes converts them to Auto-Bezier mode. This is not the case in the Graph Editor view.
To offset the values of multiple keyframes by the same amount, select them all,
make certain that the Current Time Indicator is resting on a frame with one of the selected keyframes
, and drag the text value of one of them by your offset amount. If instead, you edit one of these by typing in a new value, all keyframes will be set to that valuenot, in most cases, what you want.
Other tips for working with multiple keyframes include
Nudge selected keyframes (one or many) forward or backward in time using
Deselect keyframes using
. Select all visible keyframes (without selecting their layers) using
Delete a bunch of keyframes (using the Delete key), and the value of the
keyframe remains; turn off the stopwatch to clear them, and the
is useful for deleting a bunch of keyframes while leaving the source layers.