AE: Duplicate composition with it’s precomps

In this quick video we demonstrate a simple way of duplicating compositions that contain nested precomps, without the need for any 3rd party tools. If your project is very complicated, you can first save a temporary copy and use the “reduce project” command to eliminate all other comps besides the ones you need to duplicate before importing it to your main project.

Written version:

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Using merge paths to combine shapes in After Effects

The merge paths functionality allows you to form more complex shapes by combining different shapes together. It can be a bit tricky to get just right though. This tutorial walks you trough the process of combining shapes with merge paths.

Written version:

Begin by creating a shape layer. Add another shape into the same shape layer and drag it below the first shape in the timeline. Click on the part that says contents to select it. Open the small add menu and select merge paths. Change the mode to suit your situation. We want to subtract the triangle from the circle in this case.

The two shapes are now united into one shape, which you can verify by giving it a stroke.

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After Effects: “shadows only” for a layer

After Effects doesn’t have any built-in method of creating a so-called shadow catcher, which means creating a surface that displays only the shadows cast on top of it. In this tutorial we show you a way of working around that limitation: