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# 13.7 How to Duplicate Layer in After Effects

In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of layer duplication and see how you can use multiple instances of the same layer to create cool elements for your projects!

## 13.Frequently Asked Questions8 lessons, 1:34:42

### 13.7 How to Duplicate Layer in After Effects

In this lesson, you will learn the basics of layer duplication and see how you can use multiple instances of the same layer to create some cool elements for your projects. [MUSIC] So duplication in After Effects is something that you will probably use a lot, and it's very, very easy. Whether it's effects, or layers, it doesn't matter what kind of layers, solids, text layers, footage layers, or even comps over here in the Project panel, duplication is super simple. It's just Ctrl+D on the keyboard. Same thing down here, if I select this layer, Ctrl+D will duplicate it. Now, you can also come up to the menu and go to Edit &gt; Duplicate, but you're gonna wanna memorize that shortcut because it is very, very handy. For example, you may wanna duplicate a layer, maybe you have some kind of animation or layout that you really like with some text. You may say, that's great, I'm going to duplicate this. I'm gonna turn this bottom layer off and I'm just gonna experiment with maybe a different kind of layout here for the text. And you can kind of keep your other one safe down here and make some changes to this new layer. You can also experiment with adding effects to your layers. So maybe you add a blur, something like a Gaussian Blur, I'll just double-click to add that. And maybe you want to experiment with duplicating some effects. So maybe you like a horizontal blur here, and then maybe on this one, you want to do like a vertical blur or something, and see if that looks different than the standard kind of horizontal and vertical. Or maybe you add a glow. And you want to see what you can do to get a really unique glow. And sometimes, to do that, it involves duplicating your glows and kind of really dialing in the settings here, and getting something that you can't get with one instance of this glow layer here. It may take a little bit of massaging with multiple instances of the same effect. So you duplicate layers, you duplicate effects. It happens all the time and it's very easy, just Ctrl+D on the keyboard. Now, you also use duplication over here in the Project panel to duplicate your comps. Sometimes you wanna create another version of it. Most commonly, the way I use it is to version my comps. So I'm gonna throw my layer dupe here into a folder. I'll call it Dup or Dup, if you will. And what I usually do when I know that this is the comp, if this is the final comp that I am going to be rendering and sending out for approval, is I will put an _V1 at the end. And people have different workflows, this is just one workflow that works. This way, I don't have to keep track of multiple project versions, although that is something that folks do as well. What I do is when there's a new version required, all I do is I duplicate my composition and then I start the new changes from this new comp. So maybe in this new comp I want to do something slightly different here with the layers, and then this will be my second version, as amazing as that looks. And the benefit of doing this is when I go to render this, I don't have to worry about what version this is, because the versioning is already done in the comp. And so by default, when I hit Ctrl+M, this will export as Layer Dup_V2. Now, the cool thing about duplication is that After Effects will automatically increment the duplication with a number. Which is why I usually, when I'm duplicating something or I'm using something that I know I'm going to duplicate, I make the name of whatever it is and in a number so that when I make another duplicate of it, After Effects will increment that for me. So for example, let me set up another comp here. I have a folder called Elements, I'm going to make a new comp. I'm gonna call it Rectangle Wipe, I'll do 2200 by 2200. And in here I'm just going to draw a rectangle really quickly, and I'm gonna make something really quick here. And I know I'm gonna duplicate this layer a bunch of times. So to keep track of which layer is which, I'm just going to name this, Rec_01, and then I'll know that this is the first rectangle. Now, when I go to duplicate this, you can see that all of those increment very nicely. It's very easy to keep track of what is what. Now, another cool thing you can do with layer duplication is you can come up with a really simple animation, and then you can cascade that animation through layer duplication to create some really interesting elements that you can use for your projects. And let me show you how that works. So with my rectangle here, I'm going to dive down into the rectangle and then the rectangle path, and I'm gonna make this exactly 2200, then I'll hit Tab, and I'll make this 100 pixels tall. And my thinking is, I'm gonna make 22 copies of this and stack them bertically. And I'll do a little animation on the first one, so that I don't have to animate all of them individually. I'm gonna jump down to the transform controls of the shape layer, not the transform controls for the layer, and I'll hit Y on the keyboard and select the Anchor Point tool. And I'm gonna move the Anchor Point right over here, right to the edge, just like that. And then at the beginning of my comp, I'm going to set a scale key frame and I'm going to set the x scale to 0, and then I'm gonna go forward, maybe 30 frames, which on my keystroke viewer, this says Shift+Next, but that's actually Shift+Page Down. So if you see that in any of the lessons, just know that that's not the right thing. It's Shift+Page Down and Shift+Page Up, for whatever reason. This is reading the Page Down as Next but 30 frames out. So I'm going to go at 1 second because I'm in 29.97, or 30p, and I'm going to set the scale to 100%. Then I'll grab the key frames, I'm going to hit F9 to ease them, and then I'll just put some nice handles on them. I'm going to switch this to the value graph. Actually, no, I'm gonna leave it on the speed graph. I'll click Fit All Graphs to View, and I'll grab this first handle here and slide it this way while holding down Shift. And then I'll grab this second handle here and slide it to the left while holding down Shift, and that will kind of lock it in. And that'll make this really nice kind of almost exponential curve, which looks like this. It's not terribly exciting, but that's okay. All right, I'm gonna grab my layer here, hit Y, and grab the anchor point to this layer. Zoom right up here, and I'm gonna put the anchor point right. On this top left transform handle. And to make it snap there, I'm going to hold Ctrl and that will temporarily enable snapping. And then I can use the align window or panel over here to align left and then align top to the composition, and that will make sure it's in the upper left hand corner. If you don't have the align panel just go to Window and then right just off the screen here, it's align is up there. Okay, so that's really the hardest part. So now what I wanna do is duplicate this a bunch of times and then stack this vertically. Now you can set up an expression to have these kind of automatically stack, and to do that, you would do something like, Alt-click on the position and type something like variable i = index -1; variable x = 0; variable y = i times 100. That's supposed to be var. And then open bracket x comma y. So index is the number of the layer here. And the next variable here I'm just saying x = 0 because I don't want this to move on the x axis at all. And then the next variable I'm saying y = index, or 1 times 100. But up here, I did an index -1 so right now, index is actually equal to 0. And then, the brackets here are basically just inputting all of this stuff into the coordinates here, so that when I click away, you'll see that nothing happens. And this is exactly right. But check out what happens when I select this layer and I duplicate it. The very next layer moves down 100 pixels because now on this layer, the index is actually equal to 2, right? So index is the layer number so that's 2- 1 is 1 times 100 and so this expression is telling the position x = 0, y now equals 100. And I made my shape layer 100 pixels tall so that every time that I duplicate this, it's gonna move the next layer down 100 pixels. So check this out. All I have to do is just duplicate this and make sure that there are 22 copies. And for sanity, I'm just gonna move that rec02 down here, it really makes no difference. It would sort of bother me if I left it up like that. So that's just a really quick expression. I don't think I've gone into expressions before in the After Effects for Beginners course. But that's a really simple expression to just set the position. Now alternatively, you could just move them manually and position them manually. But that's a little bit more annoying. A little bit of work upfront makes this really, really easy. So if we play this from the beginning, you are going to be really impressed. Whoa, we made a giant rectangle and 22 pieces moved across the screen at the same time. Okay, I admit that is not the most impressive thing. However, the next step makes this pretty mundane looking animation look much, much cooler. And that involves staggering these layers. Now you can do this manually. And the idea here is I want every subsequent layer starting from the bottom to be one frame later. So what I could do is select all of these layers and then hit Alt + Page Down. Again, it's not Alt next it's Alt + Page Down. And then Ctrl+click the bottom most layer in that selection. And hit Alt + Page Down again, Ctrl+click, Alt + Page Down, Ctrl+click, Alt + Page Down, Ctrl+click, Alt + Page Down, Ctrl+click, Alt + Page Down. Ctrl+click, Alt + Page Down, Ctrl+click, Alt + Page Down, Ctrl+click, Alt + Page Down, Ctrl+click, Alt + Page Down. There are other ways to do this that are slightly less tedious. For example, you could go up here to Animation &gt; Keyframe Assistant &gt; Sequence Layers, select overlap and then figure out exactly how long your comp is here. [SOUND] I don't know, but let's say our whole comp is 11 seconds, and 19 frames. So we can actually right click right here, choose Keyframe Assistant &gt; Sequence Layers. Let's say Overlap. We'll say 11 seconds and 18 frames. Okay, that didn't work right at all. It kind of did. But let's play the result here. Okay, so that's kind of interesting. [LAUGH] And I think the problem is the way that they were selected. So let me make sure that I select them from bottom to top or top to bottom, and I'll do the same thing again. So Sequence Layers, and I'm gonna click Overlap. I'm gonna set the duration to one frame less than my composition and that should stagger the layers by one frame. Okay, there we go. Now that's better. So now we have something pretty interesting looking. And this is kind of interesting on its own, but we can make something even more interesting by using this in another comp. But before I do, I wanna show you another third party tool, which you may find interesting and it's something that I use all of the time for staggering layers. And this is a third-party script called Rift. And I'm just going to load it up here by going to Window &gt; Rift. Now you're not gonna have this installed. This is something that you can find on aescripts.com and it costs about $30. Or you can actually name your own price but$30 is the suggested amount. And with this little script here, you can do a bunch of different things by staggering layers or staggering keyframes. So to do the same thing that I just did before by staggering all of these layers by one frame, all you have to do is figure out how many layers there are, and then subtract one. So I put that right here, 21. And so I want to sequence these in an ascending order. And I'm gonna pick linear as the shape. And then I'm just gonna click this go button and it just does it. And the cool thing about this is it's much quicker to experiment with different sort of layer sequencing setups. Let's say, I did this and maybe I decided it was a little too fast, no problem. I'll just sequence everything by one more frame by clicking this again. There we go. That would be really tedious to do by selecting all of the layers and trying to overlap them again and figuring out the time difference. It's much faster to use a tool like this, especially if you're doing a lot of layer sequencing or keyframe sequencing. Keyframe sequencing is also very cool to do as well. But you can actually use other shapes other than linear. So check this out. I can set this to in and then I have a variety of different shapes to choose from. And now when I hit the go button, you'll see that there is this really cool kind of curve that's happening here which has a different effect. So the beginning of this animation kind of whips in really fast and then the end goes kind of slow. Just undo that, oops. I'll undo that and I'll set that to out. And now I get kind of the opposite effect. And depending on how you have set your keyframes with the influence and the speed of your keyframes. You can come up with some kind of interesting looking shapes for your animation. You can set this to in and out, or both, so I'll just reset the position. And now it makes kind of this interesting shape here. I'll just set this back to sign in, [SOUND] cuz I think that looks pretty cool. And let me show you how to use this in another composition. So I have this city comp here set up, and I have a couple of footage layers. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use this rectangle wipe here as a track mat for this top layer here. So I want this to reveal on. So I'm gonna line this up with the beginning of my healthy, I don't know, some kind of egg dish here layer. And I'm going to set the track matte to alpha matte. And when I do, check out what happens. Whoa, cool, look at that. I have this very interesting kind of wipe effect. And the cool thing about having this as a separate layer is you can select this and you can scale this down. So probably what I do is hit Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H, and that'll set the scale to fit the width of my comp. And then if I take this and move it down, I'm gonna get a little bit different effect because of the way that the animation works. But I could also just try and scale this right to the layer. So I could right-click on this, go to Transform &gt; Fit to Comp. And this will change the shape of the rectangles, but it'll look pretty cool. I can also use this rectangle layer with the idea of duplication to create something even cooler. So I'm just gonna duplicate my rectangle wipe layer, and I'm going to turn it back on, and place it under this footage layer here. And then I'm going to hit Alt+Page Up to make it one frame ahead. And now what happens is I get this really cool kind of edge here happening. And I can combine that with maybe a fill effect. And change the color, maybe grab this green color, or I don't know. Maybe we'll just give it a really bright blue, maybe add a glow effect to this. And then adjust, These settings here. And then maybe set this to something like Add, and give this a really kind of cool electronic-y kind of wipe look. It's kind of cool. And this is all with layer duplication. So a lot of kind of interesting things you can do and you can be really creative with something that's pretty simple. I mean, for this, we just started with just a single rectangle layer. And then with a little bit of expression, we duplicated it and made a whole comp full of rectangles. And then adjusted their sequencing to create an interesting shape. We used that as a track matte. And then duplicated that, offset that layer by one frame. And now we have something pretty cool. I can duplicate this again, maybe put this over here by one frame. Duplicate this layer again, and then set the, And then set the track matte to alpha matte. And I will set this to normal, and then get rid of these effects. Or actually maybe alpha inverted. And now I have something even crazier. That about does it for this lesson. Make sure to check out the last lesson in the course to get some final tips and tricks. [MUSIC]

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