After Effects Stagger layers

In this video tutorial we stagger layers automatically on the After Effects timeline.

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Here we have a bunch of circles that we want to animate in one by one.

Let’s begin by creating some scale keyframes for one of the layers. We can also give it a bit of an overshoot by tweaking the graph like this.

Next we’ll copy and paste this animation for the other layers as well.

Now let’s cut the layers shorter so that the next step will be easier. We’ll make them about 4 seconds long in this case. You can cut your selected layers at the playhead by pressing shift control, d.

Then simply hit delete to get rid of the pieces on the right of the playhead.

We are ready to do the sequencing. Let’s select our layer with by holding down shift and then we can go to animation –> keyframe assistant –> sequence.

Make sure the overlap check box is turned on and then you can simply enter the overlap amount for the duration here. Our layers are four seconds long, so if we want to stagger them only slightly, we should use a number that is only slightly less than four seconds.

If we hit okay, the layers will get staggered. Let’s undo this attempt though, because we would like for the animation to start from the top circle and play clockwise from there.

We can actually customize the order of the effect by simply selecting the layers in a certain order. So we’ll start by selecting the top circle, then this one, and this one and so on. Let’s execute the sequence command again and now the animation plays in the order we wanted.

If you want to have the layers end at the same time, simply drag the end points longer and then do another split operation with shift, ctrl and d.

That’s how easy it is to offset animations with the sequence command in After Effects.

Thanks for watching and see you next time on one minute video

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