Layer properties (2024)

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Layer properties in the Timelinepanel

Each layer has properties, manyof which you can modify and animate. The basic group of propertiesthat every layer has is the Transform group, which includes Positionand Opacity properties. When you add certain features to a layer—for example,by adding masks or effects, or by converting the layer to a 3D layer—thelayer gains additional properties, collected in property groups.

Alllayer properties are temporal—they can change the layerover time. Some layer properties, such as Opacity, have only a temporalcomponent. Some layer properties, such as Position, are also spatial—theycan move the layer or its pixels across composition space.

Youcan expand the layer outline to display layer properties and changeproperty values.

Most properties have a stopwatch Layer properties (1). Anyproperty with a stopwatch can be animated—that is, changed overtime. (See Aboutanimation, keyframes, and expressions.)

Layer properties (2)

Layer properties (3)

Properties inthe Effects property group (effect properties) arealso layer properties. Many effect properties can also be modifiedin the Effect Controls panel.

Show or hide properties in theTimeline panel

  • To expand or collapse a property group, click the triangle to the left of the layer name or property group name.
  • To expand or collapse a property group and all of its children, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the triangle.
  • To expand or collapse all groups for selected layers, press Ctrl+` (accent grave) (Windows) or Command+` (accent grave) (Mac OS).
  • To reveal an effect property in the Timeline panel, double-click the property name in the Effect Controls panel.
  • To hide a property or property group, Alt+Shift-click (Windows) or Option+Shift-click (Mac OS) the name in the Timeline panel.
  • To show only the selected properties or property groups in the Timeline panel, press SS.


The SS shortcut is especially useful for working with paint strokes. Select the paint stroke in the Layer panel, and press SS to open the property group for that stroke in the Timeline panel.

  • To show only a specific property or property group, press its shortcut key or keys. (See Showing properties and groups in the Timeline panel (keyboard shortcuts).)
  • To add a property or property group to the properties shown in the Timeline panel, hold Shift while pressing the shortcut key for the property or property group.
  • To show only properties that have been modified from their default values, press UU, or choose Animation > Reveal Modified Properties.
  • To show only properties that have keyframes or expressions, press U, or choose Animation > Reveal Animating Properties.


The U and UU commands are especially useful for learning how animation presets, template projects, or other animated items work, because they isolate the properties that were modified by the designer of those items.

You can also filter layers in the Timeline panel to show only layers with properties that match a search string. See Search and filter in the Timeline, Project, and Effects & Presets panels.

Select a property or property groupin the Timeline panel

Layer properties (4)

  • To select a property or property group—including all values, keyframes, and expressions—click the name in the layer outline in the Timeline panel.

Copy or duplicate a property orproperty group in the Timeline panel

  • To copy properties from onelayer or property group to another, select the layer, property,or property group, press Ctrl+C (Windows) or Command+C (Mac OS),select the target layer, property, or property group, and pressCtrl+V (Windows) or Command+V (Mac OS).
  • To duplicate a property group, select the property groupand press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS).

    You can only duplicate some property groups, includingshapes, masks, and effects. However, you can’t duplicate top-levelproperty groups such as Contents, Masks, Effects, and Transforms.If you attempt to duplicate a top-level property group, the entirelayer is duplicated, instead.

Copy a value from a layer propertythat contains no keyframes

You can copy the current value of a layerproperty to another layer, even when the original layer containsno keyframes.

  1. In the Timeline panel, show the layer propertycontaining the value you want to copy.

  2. Click the name of the layer property to select it.

  3. Choose Edit > Copy.

  4. Select the layer into which you want to paste the value.

  5. If the target layer contains keyframes, move the current-timeindicator to the time where you want to paste the value. If thetarget layer does not contain keyframes, the new value applies tothe entire duration of the layer.

  6. Choose Edit > Paste.

Set a property value

If multiple layers are selected and you changea property for one layer, then the property is changed for all selectedlayers. Sliders, angle controls, and some other property controlsare only available in the Effect Controls panel.


Tochange the units for a property, right-click (Windows) or Control-click(Mac OS) the underlined value, choose Edit Value, and choose fromthe Units menu. The available units are different for differentproperty types. You can’t change the units for some properties.

  • Place the pointer over the underlined value, and drag to the left or right.
  • Click the underlined value, enter a new value, and then press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS).


You can enter simple arithmetic expressions for property values and other number entries. For example, you can enter 2*3 instead of 6, 4/2 instead of 2, and 2e2 instead of 200. Such entries can be especially useful when incrementing a value by a specific amount from its original value.

  • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the underlined value and choose Edit Value.
  • Drag the slider left or right.
  • Click a point inside the angle control or drag the angle control line.


After you click inside the angle control, you can drag outside it for more precision.

  • To increase or decrease the property value by 1 unit, click the underlined value and press the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key. To increase or decrease by 10 units, hold Shift while pressing the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key. To increase or decrease by 0.1 units, hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) while pressing the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key.
  • To reset properties in a property group to their default values, click Reset next to the property group name. To reset an individual property, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the property name (not the value) and choose Reset from the context menu.

    If the property contains keyframes, a keyframe is added at the current time with the default value.


Alan Shisko provides a video tutorialon his Motion Graphics 'n Such blog shows howto use label colors and multiple selections to rapidly change propertiesfor multiple layers simultaneously.

Charles Bordenave(nab) provides a script on the AfterEffects Scripts website that sets the properties in the Transformgroup for selected layers to random values within constraints thatyou set.

The LockProperties script, availablefrom the After Effects Scripts website, locks only specified propertiesso that you can prevent accidental changes.

Layer anchor points

Transformations, such as rotation and scale,occur around the anchor point (sometimes called transformationpoint or transformation center) of the layer.By default, the anchor point Layer properties (5) formost layer types is at the center of the layer.

Though thereare times when you’ll want to animate the anchor point, it’s most commonto set the anchor point for a layer before you begin animating.For example, if you’re animating an image of a person made up ofone layer for each body part, you’ll probably want to move the anchorpoint of each hand to the wrist area so that the hand rotates aroundthat point for the whole animation.


The easiestway to pan and scan over a large image is to animateAnchor Point and Scale properties.

Alan Shisko providesa detailed video tutorial on his website, demonstrating how tocreate a complex 3D environment from 3D layers, beginning with simple2D assets. Manipulating layer anchor points is a crucial part ofthis tutorial.

Layer properties (6)

Layer properties (7)


Ifyou don’t see the anchor point in the Layer panel, select AnchorPoint Path from the View menu at the lower-right area of the Layerpanel.

Move a layer anchor point

  • Drag the anchor point using the Selection tool in the Layer panel


Layers of some types, such as text layers and shape layers, can’t be opened in the Layer panel.

  • To move a layer anchor point 1 pixel, choose Anchor Point Path from the View menu at the lower-right area of the Layer panel, and press an arrow key. To move 10 pixels, hold Shift as you press an arrow key. Pixel measurements are at the current magnification in the Layer panel.
  • To move a layer anchor point in the Composition panel without moving the layer, select the layer and use the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) tool Layer properties (8) to drag the anchor point.


Moving an anchor point with the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) tool changes Position and Anchor Point values so that the layer remains where it was in the composition before you moved the anchor point. To change only the Anchor Point value, Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) with the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) tool.

Charles Bordenave (nab) provides a script on the After Effects Scripts website that movesthe anchor points of selected layers without moving the layers inthe composition frame.

Reset a layer anchor point

  • To reset the anchor pointto its default location in the layer, double-click the Pan Behind(Anchor Point) tool Layer properties (9) buttonin the Tools panel.
  • To reset the anchor point to its default location inthe layer, Alt-double-click (Windows) or Option-double-click (MacOS) the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) tool button. The layer moves tothe center of the composition

Set layer anchor point to center of content

You can set the anchor point to be in the center of the layer content in any of the following ways:

  • Select Layer > Transform > Center Anchor Point In Layer Content
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Home (Windows) or Command+Option+Home (Mac OS)
  • Ctrl+double-click (Windows) or Command+double-click (Mac OS) the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) tool

Here are a few uses of this command:

  • setting the anchor point of a shape layer to the center of a single shape or to the centroid of a group of shapes in a shape layer
  • setting the anchor point for a text layer to the center of the text content
  • setting the anchor point of a layer to the center of the visible area within a masked region

Scale or flip a layer

As with other transformations, scaling ofa layer occurs around the anchor point of the layer. If you movethe anchor point away from the center of the layer, the layer maymove when you flip it. Some layers—such as camera, light, and audio-onlylayers—don’t have a Scale property.

You can scale a layerbeyond the composition frame.

For information on scalingexponentially, as with a zoom lens, see Use ExponentialScale to change the speed of scaling.

For informationon scaling or resizing entire movies rather than a single layer,see Scalinga movie up and Scalinga movie down.

To flip a layer is to multiplythe horizontal or vertical component of its Scale property valueby -1. A layer flips around its anchor point.

  • To flip selected layers, choose Layer > Transform > Flip Horizontal or Layer > Transform > Flip Vertical.
  • To scale a layer proportionally in the Composition panel, Shift-drag any layer handle.
  • To scale a layer freely in the Composition panel, drag a corner layer handle.
  • To scale one dimension only in the Composition panel, drag a side layer handle.
  • To increase or decrease Scale for a selected layer by 1%, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you press + or – on the numeric keypad.
  • To increase or decrease Scale for selected layers by 10%, hold down Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS) as you press + or – on the numeric keypad.
  • To scale an entire composition, choose File > Scripts > Scale Composition.jsx.
  • To scale and center selected layers to fit in the composition frame, choose Layer > Transform > Fit To Comp.
  • To scale and center selected layers to fit the width or height of the composition frame, while preserving the aspect ratio of the layer, choose Layer > Transform > Fit To Comp Width, or Layer > Transform > Fit To Comp Height.
  • To scale a layer proportionally in the Timeline panel, select the layer, press S to display the Scale property, click the Constrain Proportions icon Layer properties (10) to the left of the Scale values, and enter a new value for the x, y, or z scale.


To activate the Constrain Proportions icon and match the height to the width, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) it.

  • To scale to a specific set of pixel dimensions, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the Scale value in the Timeline panel, choose Edit Value, and change the units to pixels in the Scale dialog box. Select Include Pixel Aspect Ratio to see and adjust dimensions in terms of the composition’s pixel aspect ratio.

Scaling down a raster (non-vector) layer sometimes causesa slight softening or blurring of the image. Scaling up a rasterlayer by a large factor can cause the image to appear blocky orpixelated.

Detail-preserving Upscale effect

The Detail-preserving Upscale effect is capable of scaling up images by large amounts while preserving details in the image.

For more information, see Detail-preserving Upscale effect.

Bilinear and bicubic sampling

You can choose betweenbicubic and bilinear samplingfor selected layers, which determines how pixels are sampled for scaling and for all transformations applied using the Transform effect.

For more information, see Layer image quality and subpixel positioning.


Adobe Photoshop provides fine controlover resampling methods used for scaling of images. For fine controlof resampling, you can export frames to Photoshop to change theimage size and then import the frames back into After Effects.

Though it's not very well suited for movies, the content-aware scaling feature in Photoshop is very useful for extending and scaling still images. This feature can be useful when repurposing images for wide-screen formats that were created for standard-definition formats.

For a script that scales multiple compositions simultaneously, go to the AE Enhancers forum.

Lloyd Alvarez provides a script on the After Effects Scripts website that scales selected layers to fit the composition frame, and provides options for cropping or letterboxing.

Aharon Rabinowitz provides a video tutorial on the Creative COW website that demonstrates the uses of changing and animating a 3D layer's Scale property, including changing only the z dimension of Scale.

Rotate a 2D layer

As with other transformations, rotation ofa layer occurs around the anchor point of the layer.


To reveal the Rotation property value for selectedlayers in the Timeline panel, press R.

The first partof the Rotation property value is the number of whole rotations;the second part is the fractional rotation in degrees.

Forinformation on rotating 3D layers, see Rotateor orient a 3D layer.

  • To rotate a layer by dragging in theComposition panel, drag the layer using the Rotation tool Layer properties (11). Toconstrain rotation to 45° increments, hold down Shift as you drag.
  • To rotate selected layers by 1 degree, press plus (+)or minus (-) on the numeric keypad.
  • To rotate selected layers by 10 degrees, press Shift+plus(+) or Shift+minus (-) on the numeric keypad.

Adjust audio volume levels

When you use footage containing audio, thedefault audio level for playback is 0 dB, meaning that the levelis unadjusted in After Effects. Setting a positive decibel levelincreases volume, and setting a negative decibel level decreasesvolume.


Double-clicking an Audio Levels keyframe activatesthe Audio panel.

The VU meter in the Audio panel displaysthe volume range for the audio as it plays. The red blocks at thetop of the meter represent the volume limit of your system.


For more precision in setting audio levels by draggingsliders, increase the height of the Audio panel.

  1. In the Audio panel, to adjust volume, do one ofthe following:

    • To set the level of the left and rightchannels together, drag the center slider up or down.

    • To set the level of the left channel, drag the leftslider up or down, or type a new value in the levels box at thebottom of the left slider.

    • To set the level of the right channel, drag theright slider up or down, or type a new value in the levels box atthe bottom of the right slider.

Parent and child layers

To synchronize changes to layers by assigningone layer’s transformations to another layer, use parenting.After a layer is made a parent to another layer, the other layeris called the child layer. When you assign a parent,the transform properties of the child layer become relative to theparent layer instead of to the composition. For example, if a parentlayer moves 5 pixels to the right of its starting position, thenthe child layer also moves 5 pixels to the right of its position.Parenting is similar to grouping; transformations made to the groupare relative to the anchor point of the parent.

Parentingaffects all transform properties except Opacity: Position, Scale, Rotation,and (for 3D layers) Orientation.


When parenting layers, helpful text describing alternate parenting behaviors is displayed on the layer bar below the mouse position and in the Info panel.

A layer can have only oneparent, but a layer can be a parent to any number of layers in thesame composition.

You can animate child layers independentof their parent layers. You can also parent using null objects,which are hidden layers.

You cannot animate the act of assigningand removing the parent designation—that is, you cannot designatea layer as a parent at one point in time and designate it as a normallayer at a different point in time.

When you create a parentingrelationship, you can choose whether to have the child take on thetransform property values of the parent or retain its own. If you chooseto have the child take on the transform property values of the parent,the child layer jumps to the parent’s position. Ifyou choose to have the child retain its own transform property values,then the child stays where it is. In both cases, subsequent changesto the transform property values of the parent are applied to thechild. Similarly, you can choose whether the child jumps whenthe parenting relationship is removed.


When parenting layers, you can use the Shift key to move the child layer to the location of the parent. This can be useful when you want to attach a layer to a null, but have the layer move to the location of the parent null (for example, attaching a 3D text layer to a null layer created from the 3D Camera Tracker).

Layer properties (12)


Toshow or hide the Parent column in the Timeline panel, choose Columns> Parentfrom the Timeline panel menu.

  • To parent a layer, in the Parent column,drag the pick whip from the layer that is to be the child layerto the layer that is to be the parent layer.
  • To parent a layer, in the Parent column, click the menuof the layer that you want to be the child, and choose a parentlayer name from the menu.
  • To remove a parent from a layer, in the Parent column,click the menu of the layer to remove the parent from, and chooseNone.
  • To extend the selection to include all child layers ofa selected parent layer, right-click (Windows) or Control-click(Mac OS) the layer in the Composition or Timeline panel, and chooseSelect Children.
  • To make a child layer jump when a parent is assignedor removed, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you assignor remove the parent.
  • To remove a parent from a layer (that is, set Parentto None), Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the parentingpick whip of the child layer in the Timeline panel. Alt+Ctrl-click(Windows) or Option+Command-click (Mac OS) the parenting pick whipof the child layer to remove the parent and cause the child layerto jump.

Online resources about parent andchild layers

Paul Tuersley provides a script on the AE Enhancers forum for duplicating a parent layer and all of its children, preserving the parenting hierarchy.

Carl Larsen provides a video tutorial on the Creative COW website that demonstrates how to use expressions and parenting to relate the rotation of a set of wheels to the horizontal movement of a vehicle.

Robert Powers provides a video tutorial on the Slippery Rock NYC website that demonstrates the use of parenting and the Puppet tools to animate a character.

Null object layers

To assign a parent layer, but keep that layer from being a visible element in your project, use a null object. A null object is an invisible layer that has all the properties of a visible layer so that it can be a parent to any layer in the composition. Adjust and animate a null object as you would any other layer. You use the same commands to modify settings for a null object that you use for a solid-color layer (Layer > Solid Settings).


You can apply Expression Controls effects to null objects and then use the null object as a control layer for effects and animations in other layers. For example, when working with a camera or light layer, create a null object layer and use an expression to link the Point Of Interest property of the camera or light to the Position property of the null layer. Then, you can animate the Point Of Interest property by moving the null object. It is often easier to select and see a null object than it is to select and see the point of interest.

A composition can contain any number of null objects. A null object is visible only in the Composition and Layer panels and appears in the Composition panel as a rectangular outline with layer handles. Effects are not visible on null objects.

  1. To create a null object, select the Timeline orComposition panel and choose Layer> New>Null Object.


The anchor point of a new null object layer appearsin the upper-left corner of the layer, and the layer is anchoredin the center of the composition at its anchor point. Change theanchor point as you would for any other layer.


Ifa null object is visually distracting in your composition frame,consider dragging it out of the frame, onto the pasteboard.

Andrew Kramer provides a video tutorial on his Video Copilot website that demonstrates the use of a null object to animate a 3D stroke.

Guide layers

You can create guide layers fromexisting layers to use for reference in the Composition panel, tohelp you position and edit elements. For example, you can use guidelayers for visual reference, for audio timing, for timecode reference,or for storing comments to yourself.

A guide layer icon Layer properties (13) appearsnext to the name of a guide layer or its source in the Timelinepanel.

By default, guide layers aren’t rendered when you createoutput but can be rendered when desired by changing the render settingsfor the composition.


Guide layers in nested compositionscan’t be viewed in the containing composition.

  • To convert selected layers to guidelayers, choose Layer > Guide Layer.
  • To render a composition with its visible guide layers,click Render Settings in the Render Queue panel, and choose CurrentSettings from the Guide Layers menu in the Render Settings dialogbox.
  • To render a composition without rendering guide layers,click Render Settings in the Render Queue panel, and choose AllOff from the Guide Layers menu in the Render Settings dialog box.
Layer properties (2024)


What are the properties of layers? ›

The properties saved in a Layer State include Layer On/ off, Freeze/ thaw, Lock/ unlock, Color, Linetype, Lineweight, Transparency, Plot style, Plot/ no plot, New VP Freeze and VP Freeze. Layer States can be imported, saved from the current Layer Properties setup, or restored in a drawing at any time.

Why are my layer properties not showing? ›

Check the palette position on a multiscreen setup

In Windows, if multiple monitors are connected, test if a change in screen resolution displays the misplaced the palette. Right-click on the desktop and choose Display Settings. Switch off all displays but the main one. The layer manager should appear.

How do I show layer properties? ›

Right-click, and then click CAD Drawing Object > Properties. Click the Layer tab. The layers from the original AutoCAD drawing are listed along with their associated visibility, color, and weight options.

What is the use of layer properties in AutoCAD? ›

The Layer Properties Manager helps you organize, sort, and group layers, and allows you to work with layer standards, layer key styles, layer filters, layer overrides, and saved layer states.

What are layers in short answer? ›

A layer of a material or substance is a quantity or flat piece of it that covers a surface or that is between two other things. A fresh layer of snow covered the street. If you layer something, you arrange it in layers.

What are the properties of the layers of the earth answer? ›

The inner core is solid, the outer core is liquid, and the mantle is solid/plastic. This is due to the relative melting points of the different layers (nickel–iron core, silicate crust and mantle) and the increase in temperature and pressure as depth increases.

How do I save layer properties? ›

Save Layer States
  1. On the Layer Properties Manager, click Layer States Manager. The Layer States Manager dialog box opens.
  2. On the Layer States Manager, click New.
  3. Enter a name for the layer state, for example Default, and click OK.
  4. Click Close to return to the drawing.

How do you copy layer properties? ›

Copy properties
  • In an open map, in the Contents pane, choose the source layer or table that contains the properties you want to copy.
  • On the Map tab, in the Clipboard group, click Copy . ...
  • In the Contents pane, click the target layer or table to select it.

How do I reset layer properties in AutoCAD? ›

AutoCAD products
  1. In the host drawing, on the command line in AutoCAD, type VISRETAIN and set it to 1.
  2. Verify that drawing geometry in the xref is not placed on layer 0.
  3. On the command line in AutoCAD, type XREFOVERRIDE and set it to 1. ...
  4. If a nested xref is involved, try unnesting it and referencing it directly.
Apr 17, 2024

How do you match layer properties in AutoCAD? ›

Match Properties
  1. Open a drawing of your own or create a drawing with the following: ...
  2. Click Home tab > Properties panel > Match Properties. ...
  3. Select the line with the properties that you want to copy to the other lines, the magenta line in my example. ...
  4. Select the line that you want to copy the properties to.

How do I unlock layer properties in AutoCAD? ›

To Lock or Unlock a Layer
  1. Click Window menu > Layers.
  2. Select the layers you want to lock or unlock.
  3. Click in the Lock column to set the status of the selected layers. The icon becomes visible when you mouse over the area. = locked. blank = unlocked.

How do I pop out layer properties in AutoCAD? ›

Click Home tab Layers panel Layer Properties.

How do I hide layer properties in AutoCAD? ›

Hide or show layers in an AutoCAD drawing
  1. Right-click the CAD drawing, point to CAD Drawing Object, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Layer tab.
  3. Select the layer, and click the Visible field.

What are the properties of layered materials? ›

4.3 2D materials. Layered materials are characterized by an anisotropy of binding forces. In two dimensions (within a layer plane) the atoms or ions are held together by strong covalent or ionic binding forces. In the third dimension (between two layers) only weak van der Waals binding forces are acting.

What are the properties of the physical layers of the Earth? ›

Layers Of the Earth As Defined By Physical Properties
  • Lithosphere (sphere of rock) The term lithosphere is used to describe the rigid outer part of the Earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle. ...
  • Asthenosphere (weak sphere) ...
  • Mesosphere (or Lower Mantle) ...
  • Earth's Core.
Feb 14, 2021

What are the properties of the crust layer? ›

The Earth's outermost layer, its crust, is rocky and rigid. There are two kinds of crust: continental crust, and ocean crust. Continental crust is thicker, and predominantly felsic in composition, meaning that it contains minerals that are richer in silica.

What are the chemical properties of Earth's layers? ›

The mantle extends from the crust 2900km down and is composed of silicates with large amounts of iron and magnesium. The third layer, the core, extends a further 3400km to the centre of the Earth. The core is primarily made of iron and nickel metals and is very hot - from 3200°C to 4000°C.


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