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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
When you start having comps with tons of layers like this it could become really tedious trying to find the layer you want to select it, to say to add effects or to adjust it or something, and adjusting the Timeline panel like this every time you want to access the layer is really annoying and takes away from your workflow. So, I am going to give you two quick tips for selecting layers quickly. Number one, you will notice that in the Timeline panel there is a Number column here, and it gives you the number of the layer. And each layer is assigned a number in that order. And if you were to click and drag to reassign these, obviously the numbers would change.
But if you wanted to select a certain layer and you knew the number of the layer, you could simply type that number on the numeric keypad. So, if I want to apply, for example, an effect to the sword layer, I could simply type 5 on the numeric keypad, and then just double-click the effect in the Effects and Presets panel. To select a layer with a two or three digit number, just type the number quickly. So, 14, for example, I'll just type just type 1-4 and it gets me there. Make sure again that you are on the numeric keypad of your keyboard and not the main numbers on your keyboard, because as we saw earlier in this chapter, those main numbers will go to numbered markers and not select different layers.
So, be aware of that. Now when you have a layer selected, if you want to bump up to the next layer above it or below, you could do the Command key and the Up Arrow key on the Mac or Ctrl+Up Arrow, Down Arrow on the PC. So, if I hold Command+Up Arrow, you could see that I navigate to these different layers; Down Arrow I go back down to select different layers. So, a lot of times, I will want to select or apply the same effect to multiple layers, so I could just select one and then apply it and then just do Command+Down Arrow or Ctrl+Down Arrow on the PC and apply that and keep going that way.
So, between these two keyboard shortcuts, Command+Up and Down Arrow or Ctrl+Up and Down Arrow and also the numerical selection of individual layers, these really add a lot when you have complex projects with tons of layers.
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