Learn techniques and tools to simplify the process of selecting and animating multiple layers in your composition.

Select and label multiple layers in a composition

Work with multiple layers in a comp.

What you learned: Select and label multiple layers in a composition

  • To select multiple layers that are in a continuous stack in the timeline, select the top layer, hold Shift, and select the bottom layer. This selects both the top and bottom layers, and all layers in between. 
  • To select multiple layers that are not in a continuous stack, select a layer; then hold Control (Windows) or Command (macOS) and select additional layers in the timeline. This will skip over (and not select) other layers in the stack.
  • With multiple layers selected, click the colored square to the left of any one of the selected layers in the timeline to change the label color of all the selected layers. Changing the label color of multiple layers offers a visual method of grouping layers.
  • To select all layers with the same color label in the composition, click the square to the left of one layer in the timeline to open the drop-down Label menu and choose Select Label Group.

Animate groups of layers with Pre-compose

Use Pre-compose to animate groups of layers.

What you learned: Group layers using Pre-compose

  1. Select multiple layers in the Timeline using either Shift, Control (Windows) or Command (macOS), or the Label menu’s Select Layer Group command.
  2. From the main menu, choose Layer > Pre-compose.
  3. Double click on a Pre-composition in the timeline to open and view its layers.
  4. Use the tabs at the top of the Timeline panel to switch back to the main composition.

Drive animation with null objects

Use null objects to drive animation of multiple layers.

What you learned: Animate multiple layers

A null object is a layer that does not render in the composition but is visible in the Timeline. You can link a null object using Parenting to create animation in the linked layers.

To link a null object to drive animation of multiple layers as a parent:

  1. Select Layer > New > Null Object to add a null object in the composition.
  2. If the parent column isn’t visible in the Timeline, open the timeline menu in the tab at the top of the Timeline to the right of the composition name and select Columns > Parent. The panel will be visible in the Timeline whenever a check mark appears next to the name Columns in the timeline menu.
  3. Select all the layers you want to control in the Timeline and use the pick-whip in the Parent column from any of the selected layers to point to the Null and link those layers to the parent.
  4. Animate the null object to animate all layers linked to that null.

Any layer linked to a parent layer is called the child of the parent layer.


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