After Effects Shortcuts that Speed up Workflow

Using Adobe After Effects is very fun, exciting and it allows you to bring your ideas to life. The downside that comes from this is that it can be very tricky to maintain a fast workflow without using shortcuts. These can help speed up the process and bring in great results. It’s definitely important to avoid any rush, but having shortcuts that work right out of the gate can really make a difference here.

Duplicate layers

CTRL+D does this for you and it allows you to easily duplicate any layer you want at any given time. The great thing is that you can start creating many different layers and thus speed up your workflow immensely with such an approach.

Zoom preview window to fit

Alt + / will give you this result, and the great thing is that you can easily preview your work while also having it fit in the workflow. That can be really handy if you want a quick preview to see if things are going smoothly. Then you can adapt and implement things accordingly based on your needs.

Add composition to your queue

You can use CTRL+M to do this and it will make it easy for you to continue adding your composition to the render queue. It speeds things up and it also makes the experience simpler for an editor. You always end up working with lots of compositions, and sometimes you may forget adding it to the render queue. Having a shortcut like this helps immensely.

Play and pause

You just need to press Space for this. It’s a very important shortcut that will make it really easy to check on your animation and see how it progresses. And in case you encounter a problem, you just need to adapt and improve accordingly. Even if it’s a simple shortcut, it definitely has its importance.

Trim the selected layer

ALT + [ / ALT + ] can be used for this and your focus is to try and trim the layer based on the chosen start and end points. You always want to be certain that you implement and adapt the workflow coherently, and doing that can be a great idea. It’s an important aspect to keep in mind, and in the end that can make a huge difference every time. 

Access the layer settings

There are many times when you want to customize layer settings based on the project you are working on. You can use the CTRL + SHIFT + Y shortcut for that, and you just need to have a single layer selected.

Choose the beginning or end of the working area in your composition

For the beginning you just have to press B, then choose the desired point. For the end, you can press N, and then set the timeline indicator. It’s always important to have a beginning and an ending for the working area, and this can help you quite a bit.

There’s more…

There are a plethora of After Effects shortcuts you can use, and all of them can boost your workflow speed. The most important aspect here is taking your time and figuring out what shortcuts can actively make a difference. Then you can slowly add them to your workflow!