By default, After Effects presents you with a black background in the comp window. While this is often useful, it may not work in all situations. Sometimes a contrasting background color may be needed when adjusting shadows or dark tones. Choose Composition>Background Color or press Cmd+Shift+B (Ctrl+Shift+B) to pick a new color. This color is temporary, and is not included in the render. It will be replaced with black when the comp is rendered.