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How to Use Layer Controls in After Effects

Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In previous lessons we've created some really cool things, like an inertial bounce and a cool wiggle expression. In this lesson you'll learn how to use Layer Control with an example animation project. 

example projectexample projectexample project

Each animation has its own layer and we want to link all of these layers to the Leaf Control layer at the top here. This will allow us to move all the animations together.

leaf control layerleaf control layerleaf control layer

To create our layer controls we need to link all these layers to the Leaf Control layer. Doing so means that you can use the Leaf Control layer to effect all the layers at the same time (such as moving them together).

link layerslink layerslink layers

Once they are all linked, select all six of these layers and duplicate them.

duplicate layerduplicate layerduplicate layer

Hit Control + ] to bring them to the top of the layer stack.

move to top of layer stackmove to top of layer stackmove to top of layer stack

You can then change the color of all of these so you can keep track of them.

change color of layerschange color of layerschange color of layers

Select the new Leaf Controller layer and then rotate it and place it near the bottom right corner of the composition.

move new layers to the bottom corner using the controllermove new layers to the bottom corner using the controllermove new layers to the bottom corner using the controller

Repeat the process again by duplicating the layers, sending them to the top of the layer stack and then this time moving the 3rd Leaf Control layer to the top right corner of the composition.

duplicate layers againduplicate layers againduplicate layers again

Now open up the Scale options for the Leaf Control. Remove the link and change the value of the first number to -100 to flip the layers.

flip the leafflip the leafflip the leaf

Repeat the steps again for the bottom left corner.

move to bottom left cornermove to bottom left cornermove to bottom left corner

So now that we have separate control layers for each of the corners, if we select them we can control the animations of each corner individually. 

leaf control layersleaf control layersleaf control layers

Now the one final thing that we need to check is that everything is being linked up correctly. Sometimes when you duplicate things, the expressions no longer link properly. And so there's just a small little thing that we need to do here to change that.


If you look at the Leaf Controller 2 here, we need to just go through in the expression and change the value here to '2' for the leaf controller. This is because it is currently is being linked to the first leaf controller. If you want individual control over all of your layers, you're going to have to go through and update just a few of these here.

change expression change expression change expression

Thankfully, this very tedious and annoying task can be made much easier with the use of a third party script. If you go to aescript.com you can find a script called Duplicate Layers-n-Update Expressions. And this will take out a lot of the work that I just showed you how to do manually when you duplicate the layers.

duplicate layers scriptduplicate layers scriptduplicate layers script


final projectfinal projectfinal project

Congratulations! And that's how you can use Layer Controls in After Effects. Now that you've learned the basics, check out some of the other tutorials we have on Adobe After Effects below.

I hope you've found this tutorial useful and I'll see you next time on Envato Tuts+!

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