The following sections describe the Preferences menu and and the various tasks that can be performed using this menu.
The Preferences menu
To open the Preferences menu, go to:
- Edit > Preferences > [category name] (Windows)
- After Effects > Preferences > [category name] (Mac OS)
Use the following keyboard shortcuts to open the Preferences > General menu:
- Ctrl+Alt+; (semicolon) (Windows)
- Command+Option+; (semicolon) (Mac OS)
To restore the default preference settings, press and hold the following keys while the application is starting.
- Ctrl+Alt+Shift (Windows)
- Command+Option+Shift (Mac OS)
To restore default keyboard shortcuts, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the OK button.
Preferences, including keyboard shortcuts and workspaces, are stored as files in the following locations:
- (Windows) \Users\\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\After Effects\13.0
- (Mac OS) /Users//Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/13.0
To reveal the preferences in After Effects without searching on your hard drive, go to:
- Edit > Preferences > General and click Reveal Preferences in Explorer button (Windows)
- After Effects > Preferences > General and click Reveal Preferences in Finder button (Mac OS)
It is recommended that you do not modify the files in this directory manually; use the Preferences dialog box to modify the preferences. For information on modifying keyboard shortcuts, see Modify keyboard shortcuts. For information on managing workspaces, see Workspaces and Panels.
The Library folder in Mac OS X is hidden. See the following article to learn how to access hidden user files on Mac OS:
The following list briefly describes the different options listed under the Edit > Preferences menu, especially those options that are not self-explanatory.
- Levels Of Undo: Undo changes
Path Point Size: Specifies size of Bezier direction handles and vertices for masks and shapes, direction handles for motion paths, and other similar controls.
Show Tool Tips: After Effects user interface tips
Create Layers At Composition Start Time: Layers overview
Switches Affect Nested Comps: About precomposing and nesting
Default Spatial Interpolation To Linear: About spatial and temporal keyframe interpolation
Preserve Constant Vertex Count When Editing Masks: Designate the first vertex for a Bezier path
Pen Tool Shortcut Toggles Between Pen and Mask Feather Tools: Variable-width mask feather
Synchronize Time Of All Related Items: Preferences and composition settings that affect nested compositions
Expression Pick Whip Writes Compact English: Edit an expression with the pick whip
Create Split Layers Above Original Layer: Split a layer
Allow Scripts To Write Files And Access Network: Loading and running scripts
Use System Color Picker: Choose a color picker
Create New Layers At Best Quality: Layer image quality and subpixel positioning
Use System Shortcut Keys (Mac OS only): Keyboard shortcuts
- Dynamic Link with After Effects Uses Project File Name with Highest Number: About Dynamic Link (Production Premium or Master Collection only)
- Show Start Screen at Startup: Select to display the Start screen when you launch After Effects CC.
- Show Start Screen when Opening a Project: Select to display the Start screen dialog when you open an After Effects project (this option is not enabled by default). You can see a list of projects on the screen.
Adaptive Resolution Limit: Preview modes and Fast Previews preferences
Also, see Fast Previews (CS6).
The GPU Information dialog box is available to check the texture memory for your GPU, and to set the ray-tracing preference to the GPU, if it is available. The OptiX version number is available, as well as the Copy button to copy the general information at the top of the dialog box to the system clipboard.
Viewer Quality (Zoom Quality and Color Management Quality): Viewer Quality preferences
Show Internal Wireframes: Shows bounding box wireframes for components of collapsed precompositions and per-character 3D text layers.
Mute Audio When Preview is not Real-time: Choose whether to play audio during previews when the frame rate is slower than realtime. When the frame rate is slower than realtime, audio will stutter to maintain sync.
Still Footage: Create layers from footage items or change layer source
Sequence Footage: Import a single still image or a still-image sequence
Interpret Unlabeled Alpha As: Alpha channel interpretation: premultiplied or straight
Drag Import Multiple Items As: Import footage items by dragging
There is a dropdown menu to choose drop-frame or non-drop-frame timecode for Indeterminate Media NTSC, which applies to imports like still image sequences in which timecode values are not present or are unknown.
Use Label Color For Layer Handles And Paths and Use Label Color For Related Tabs: Color labels for layers, compositions, and footage items
Cycle Mask Colors: Cycle through colors for mask paths
Use Gradients: Use gradients in user interface.
Brightness: Brightens or darkens user interface (UI) colors.
The Sync Settings feature enables you to synchronize preferences and settings through the Creative Cloud. For detailed information, see the Sync Settings article.
After Effects will prompt you to migrate settings from a previous version if it finds a preference folder from a previous version and no preference folder for the current version. This occurs when you start After Effects for the first time and when you delete the entire preferences folder.
If you want to migrate settings from your previous version of After Effects, see the Migrating your settings from a previous minor version of After Effects section.