Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

After Effects Apprentice 08: Nesting and Precomposing

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Overview

Learn how to use multiple compositions to group layers, accommodate client changes, and rewire the internal render order in After Effects.
please wait ...
After Effects Apprentice 08: Nesting and Precomposing
Video duration: 0s 2h 25m Intermediate Updated Nov 29, 2012


Let Chris and Trish Meyer share with you two of the core secrets required to become an efficient After Effects user: understanding the render order (the internal order of operations After Effects uses when calculating masks, effects, transformation, track mattes, and layer styles) and the use of multiple compositions where a composition may be nested into one or more other comps. This makes it easier to group layers, efficiently re-use a common element to quickly accommodate client changes, pan around large composites of multiple layers, and solve render order issues.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the Online Training Library®.

Topics include:
  • Grouping layers by nesting and pre-composing
  • Identifying and solving render order issues
  • Navigating composition hierarchies
  • Editing a precomp while viewing the result in another composition
  • Preserving the frame rate of a nested composition
After Effects


Hi! I'm Chris Meyer of Crish Design and welcome to the After Effects Apprentice lesson on nesting and precomposing. One of the strengths of After Effects is you don't have to do everything in one composition or in one timeline. You can go ahead and create an element in one composition, drag that comp into a second composition and it'll be treated just as if it was a single footage item. You don't have to manage all those layers individually in the final comp. There are lots of uses for this. For example, you can create a small element or small bug in one comp and reuse it in multiple compositions throughout the chain. Or you can create a much larger composition, say a map or a very wide panorama, and panorama the composition inside a second comp. Tish will then show you how to precompose, where you select one or more layer in the current composition and send it back up to chain to a pre-comp, a previous composition that's nested in the one you are currently working in. This is really handy when you need to group layers perhaps or applying an effect or to rewire the rendering order inside After Effects to get it to do something different than it normally would do. Then at the end, we'll show you an Idea Corner of how to finish off one of the comps we're working on, challenge you with a few Quizzlers to see what you've learned, and also give you few sidebar movies related to nesting and precomposing, including how to navigate and how to keep compositions. This is where you start to really become an expert After Effects user, where you get the idea of setting up a hierarchy of comps that will make your life much easier when it comes time to animate or accommodate client changes. So let's dive in and have some fun.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 08: Nesting and Precomposing .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: This course was updated on 11/29/2012. What changed?
A: We added a new chapter, "Render Order Exceptions." It contains four new movies: Continuous rasterization, The Transform effect, Collapse transformations, and Compound effects. We also added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files, including the new exercise files designed for After Effects CS6.





Don't show this message again
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed After Effects Apprentice 08: Nesting and Precomposing.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a Member and Create Custom Playlists

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of online learning video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Log in

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

You started this assessment previously and didn’t complete it.

You can pick up where you left off, or start over.

Resume Start over

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.