Can't find the perfect font for your logo?
Get hundreds of logo designs in under 5 minutes by completing 5 easy steps
  • 1 Choose some designs that you like
  • 2 Choose your colors
  • 3 Add your company name
  • 4 Pick some icons
  • 5 Download your logo

Give it a try:

Top 10 Adobe After Effects Hacks

by Campbell Jof Tweet - in Graphic Design

adobe after effects hacks

Last updated on September 10th, 2021

Designers can’t mandate artwork, they need to master the number of software to showcase their best. There are lots of design software in the market that are loved and used by a graphic as well as motion designers. Likewise, Adobe After Effects is one of the tools that has set certain standards for motion designs. Therefore, to help you with your ultimate motion graphics journey, we’ve listed the Top 10 Adobe After Effects Hacks used by all experts in the world.

Here Are The Top 10 Adobe After Effects Hacks

Hack 1: How To Undo Animating Wrong Layer Crisis

The moment comes in designing when you spend hours in creating the perfect flawless animation. But, later you realize that you have worked on the wrong layer or noticed a fatal design flaw in your image. Heartbreaking right!

After effects Hacks

Instead of beginning from the start, reformatting a new layer, copying & pasting the keyframes and trimming your clip, it’s very easy to fix in a few steps:

i. Select the layer which you want to erase or replace.

ii. Add your new layer while holding Alt / Option and drag your replacement layer directly over the existing layer.

iii. After this, your layer is now replaced with existing keyframes, length, and formatting.

This is quite a handy hack which you can keep in mind for future prospective. The time always comes when clients ask for a change in some of your frames annoyingly. All you can do is simply touch up the frames, drag them back into your library/composition and replace them. Voila!

Hack 2: Fixing Clip Length

Being a graphic designer, do feel you always get in the burden of fixing, dragging, shortening the clip length bar of your layers? If yes, then don’t worry. This hack will come into your rescue. How? There is a simple hack or shall we say a simple shortcut.

Adobe After Effect

i. Click on your layer.

ii. Choose the clip which you want to cut and place your time indicator cursor.

iii. Before your cursor, cut everything command: Press Alt / Option + [

iv. After Your Cursor, Cut Everything command: Press Alt / Option + ].

Hack 3: Fixing Videos In Minutes

Think. What would you do when you have so many videos and little time to render them all? This hack would definitely help you during this time. So, write it down.

Fixing Videos In Minutes

This is one of the important Adobe After Effects hacks which only a few designers know this. That, you can open multiple after-effects programs at once. There is a specific way to do so. How? Here are the steps:

i. Pick your video and start rendering.

ii. Open up the Finder. Click on “Applications” from the sidebar menu. Open the Adobe After Effects folder.

iii. Right-click Adobe After Effects.

iv. Select “Show Package Contents.” Select the “Content” folder. Open it.

v. Find folder and open it.

vi. By opening it, run the exec file “After Effects”.

vii. Voila! Now, you have two running After Effects programs.

Looking For Graphic Design Projects?

We have helped thousands of freelance graphic designers from all around the world to find clients and graphic design projects in the area of their expertise, such as logo design, website design, social media posts, banner design and much more.
Find Freelance Graphic Design JobsFind Graphic Design Projects

Hack 4: RAM Preview

When you use design software, you probably know how to preview your video, by pressing the space bar. However, in Adobe After Effects, it’s not quite simple. Why is it so? Due to the strain of the video effects on your laptop or computer, it’s become difficult to simply playback video in After Effects without rendering out a preview file. The process to simplify it is called as RAM Preview.

Before that, you need to go to After Effects > Preferences > Memory in the menu bar at the top of the After Effects interface. There, you’ll see a box that reads “RAM reserved for other applications”.

RAM Preview

To use RAM Preview, the number needs to be less than 75% of the total RAM installed on your computer. The idea behind is that keep RAM for the software helps to increase the processing speed.

Then, to begin with, all you need to do is press Ctrl / Cmd + O on your computer and select the RAM preview button on the far right of the preview panel. You can also preview audio using RAM preview in After Effects.

Hack 5: To Position The Anchor Point – Use Pan Behind Tool

You can adjust the position of the anchor point by using the Pan-Behind tool. There are times when you try to relocating the anchor point to the edges of a layer, it may enable you to apply the effects you want. For this, all you need is to simply click on the Pan-behind icon and hold the Cmd / Ctrl Key and find the perfect position for the anchor point.

Use Pan Behind Tool

Hack 6: How To Apply Animation Presets

For creating animation, you don’t need to create even the simplest of animations every time, when you can simply utilize animation presets. All you need to do is go to Animation > Browse Presets.

Apply Animation Presets

It will launch Adobe Bridge where you can preview a number of various forms of presets to create your design. After choosing it or to apply one, just simply double click the preset.

Hack 7: Use Third-Party Plugins

There are a number of third party plugins that can be used for Adobe After effects for smooth motion graphic journey. Element 3D, Trapcode Particular, Optical Flares, Newton 2 and Plexus are few essential third-party plugins that will unlock features in After Effects that would have been otherwise difficult to utilize.

Third-Party Plugins

For example, you can create 3D text with Element 3D in a few seconds while spending a lot of time stacking, rendering and stylizing layers to simulate 3D text in After Effects. Though these plugins are costly but worth it to create beautiful art.

Hack 8: Duplicating Layer Just Like That

As such, there is no hard & fast rule to create a layer in Adobe After Effects than to duplicate one that already exists. To duplicate the layer in After Effects, all you need to do is click Cmd / Ctrl +D. This hack or trick works on both layers and effects.

Duplicating Layer

Hack 9: Rendering Quality In Minutes

In After Effects, rendering can take a lot of time especially if you have lots of effects on multiple layers. But with this hack, you can cut your preview time significantly to select your render quality. How?

Adobe After Effects Hacks

i. Select the dropdown menu at the bottom of your composition panel.

ii. By default, it will be saved as Full. However, you can save time and drop it to half, third, quarter and custom.

While exporting your project, it will set to default to full-res no matter what your preview quality is set to.

Hack 10: Exporting Alpha Channels

If you need to export graphics to use them on another post-production software, you’ll likely to want video clips to have alpha channels. As graphic designers know, a pixel is composed of three channels i.e. Red, Green, and Blue.

after effects hacks

However, in Adobe After Effects, there is completely another channel that deals exclusively with transparency, called Alpha Channels. Not all codecs will allow you to export alpha channels and by default, your videos won’t have alpha channels included. How it’s done?

i. Make a note that your background is transparent.

ii. Add your composition to the render queue.

iii. Click the output module: “Lossless”.

iv. Set the video output to RGB + Alpha.


These are just 10 Adobe After effects hacks that might be useful to designers to avoid any future headaches. Utilize and practice these hacks and enhance your skill and profession as a graphic or motion graphic designer.

Get Your Graphic Design

I'm a blogger and designer and I work as a creative head for Designhill. I write on topics concerning design, ecommerce, startups, digital marketing, interactive content. My creative work has earned me several laurels over the years. Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Say thanks or boo to campbelljof



Need a Logo?
A powerful logo can give a company easy recognition. Create your unique business logo using our AI powered logo maker tool. Or, hire a designer to get your logo.
Best for when you want a logo in minutes. Our Artificial Intelligence powered logo maker creates dozens of unique designs in minutes. You can also edit colors, texts, icons and elements.
  • Uses power of AI & Machine Learning
  • Uses library of more than 10,000 fonts and 1M+ icons
  • No design experience required
  • Pricing starts at $20 but you pay only when you find a design you love.
Best for when you want to crowdsource ideas. Multiple designers submit entries for you to rate and review before you award a winner.
  • Fixed price packages starting from $199
  • Hand crafted designs from World-class designers
  • Dozens of concepts to pick from
  • Get 50+ designs in 7 days
  • 100% money back guarantee
Best for when you want to work with a single designer only. Explore the range of creative services offered by our highly talented designers.
  • Work with a single designer
  • Hand crafted designs from World-class designers
  • Options within all price ranges
  • Flexible turnaround time
  • Multiple revisions