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New in After Effects CS5.5 you can drag to select a set of layers right in the Composition viewer. So you have a Comp viewer with a number of view files arrayed in 3D space. I will drag an area around the left side of the screen and everything that fell within that area is now selected, even though they're not in any particular order in the timeline. By holding down the Shift key, I can add little selection or of course,all the normal selection modes apply. I can go back to the old way of just point-selecting individual ones again with the Shift key to hold down, and that alone is pretty cool.
Here's an extra added point that I just wanted to emphasize. This clip has a mask around it. The mask is just on the right side of the frame. I'm going to go ahead and take that mask and actually just paste it to all the other layers, so they all have it. So now when I drag a selection around, it will only select the masked areas of the clip. So missed that one, even though if I look at the source of that clip, we're going to turn it off, the rest of the clip is there and with the mask turned off now it's selected that area.
So selecting layers in the Composition viewer in CS5.5 is quick and easy.
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