After Effects Pro Tips

Bite sized nuggets to get better at After Effects

Set a Default Folder Structure for New Projects

Tired of making the same folders each time you start a new project?

You can save a template that will automatically do that for you. Here's how:

  • Create a new project file with your preferred folder structure

Don't want to make your own template? You can have mine

  • Save this blank project somewhere.
  • Open Preferences β†’ New Project
  • Check "New Project Loads Template" and load your saved template file!

Now every time you create a new project, it will load up this template!

You could even use this to load a specific set of brand assets into a new project if you're working on something that requires many different project files.

But this begs the question...

Why should you keep your project organized?

It's crucial in working with a team or passing off projects to others.

Even if you work alone, have you ever opened up an old project from a couple years ago? Yikes.

Keep your projects organized: make future you happy.


Create Rough Tapered Stroke Lines

Drew Jackson shared this awesome breakdown of a rough tapered line look using shape layers and some simple effects.

Take a look πŸ‘‡

‍by Drew Jackson

I really like the idea of using a layer style like Inner Glow as a luma matte to control the texture of a layer.

You could experiment with this and use it with different layer styles and shape layers.

Really smart!


Keep your curves smooth in the Graph Editor

Here's how to keep your tangent handles locked to the same angle in the graph editor.

  • Select your keyframe, Right Click β†’ Keyframe Velocity
  • Check Continuous (Lock Outgoing to Incoming)‍

Done! Now your curves can be smooth as a baby's bottom.


Want to break the angle? Hold down alt/option + click and drag.



I set my Keyframe Velocity to a custom shortcut:

Shift + V

ο»ΏIt saves me a ton of time and a ton of clicks.


PPS: if you like video format, I recently made a Youtube quick tip covering this technique - go peep it if you want.

πŸŽ₯ How to get smooth animation curves in After Effects


Animate a Stylized Faux 3D Diamond

In this thread, Handel Eugene shows how to create a Faux 3D Diamond using shape layers.

I don't plan on sharing too many tutorials in these emails, but Handel's thread is full of smart workflow techniques - too good not to share.

I love how simple techniques like precomping, mask animation etc can be layered together to create such a complex looking animation.

Also, the addition of Transform Skew at the end is πŸ‘¨β€πŸ³πŸ˜˜πŸ‘Œ


by Handel Eugene

Don't like twitter? Check out the 3 minute tutorial on Vimeo instead


Create a Text Box with One Layer

One layer.

A simple stack of effects.

Here's a simple but effective technique to rig a background box to fit to a dynamic text layer.

I've always done this with expressions (which is still a more powerful and flexible solution), but for simple use and fast use cases, this thread by JC Tecklenburg is GOLD.

‍by JC Tecklenburg‍

‍How does this work?

‍Shift Channels - "Set Alpha From" to "Full On", makes anything within the layer's bounds fully opaque. The text layer is completely filled in.


CC Repetile extends the edges of a layer by mirroring or tiling to add padding to the box.

The Fill effect, fills all of the opaque areas of the layer with a color.

CC Composite composites the original layer back on top of the stack of effects. So it grabs the original text (with normal transparency) and plops it back over our new background.


ou can add a Simple Choker between CC Repetile and CC Composite to give a quick, hacky rounded corner effect.