Create and Duplicate Groups

Create Group

Creates a group (Win: Shift+F1; Mac: macControl+1).

Select the desired layers and then hit Create Group. If the layers are spread out across the comp, they will be moved beneath each other.

As of version 1.1, you can also create an empty group. With no layer selected, execute Create Group.

Additional Layers to Keep in Mind

In order for Workflower to know what's inside the group, two shy'd layers will be created to define the start and end of the group: a top and bottom layer. These layers also create visual lines above and below the layers in the timeline (which shy'd layers always create) and thereby make it easier for the user to see the group's boundaries.

Be aware that, if you want to move the group in the timeline, the shy'd top and bottom layer must be moved as well. Otherwise, if all layers would be moved without top and bottom, the group would simply be emptied and the layers would become 'group-less' after executing Refresh Layout. That's why you always must use Select Group in order to select the entire group if you want to move it. If you want to delete a group, use Delete Layer / Clone / Group.

Group Header at average Position

When you enable Parent Layers to Group on the Create Group dialog, the group header will be created at the average position of all group layers' anchor points. (This will only take the position at the current time into account.)

When you want to move the header to the average position after having created the group, select the group header and execute Center Group Header.

Groups in 3D Space

A group header, if not turned into 3D, will break AE's 3D space. If you have layers in different groups that are supposed to intersect, you need to turn the header into 3D. If you have a Group Linked Adjustment Layer or Group Matte below the group header, you need to turn them into 3D as well so that 3D space is retained. (The 3D state of the Linked Adjustment Layer doesn't affect how the effects are applied to the layers.)

As of version 1.1, Workflower will disable the shy'd layer above every group header if the group header is turned into 3D. This will ensure that 3D space is retained across groups since disabled 2D layers don't break 3D space (enabled 2D layers do on the other hand).

The shy'd layer above every group header is generally used to display potential error messages (when moving layers illegally, for example). Typically, the layer is enabled but set to 0% opacity and only set to 100% opacity once an error occurs. Error messages can still be displayed - the shy'd layer above the topmost 2D group header will be used instead. (When you don't have any 2D group header in your comp, no errors can be displayed.)

(Outdated since version 1.1 ->) In order to retain the 3D space across groups, you need to do the following:

  1. Turn the group header/s into a 3D layer.

  2. Go to Settings / Miscellaneous and turn off Show Warning: Group Header removed from Content. By default, the shy'd layer above the group header is turned on, so it can display the said error message. However, since the layer is enabled (but typically set to 0% opacity), it will break AE's 3D space. By deactivating this setting (and thereby the layer), we can retain the 3D space. Just be aware that you won't get an error message anymore when moving group layers illegally.

Duplicate Layer / Clone / Group

Duplicates groups, regular layers, Precomp Clones, or project panel items (Win: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+M, Mac: no default shortcut).

Just selecting all group layers and then using AE's Duplicate won't work, since the additional, shy'd layers that are needed for the group to function, won't be duplicated. That's why you need to use Duplicate Group to achieve this.

Simply select a group header to duplicate the entire group.

As of version 1.1, you can also select regular layers to only duplicate layers.

As of version 2.0.4, you can also select project panel items to duplicate those.

Duplicated Layer Attributes

As of version 1.1, Duplicate Group will update the following attributes:

  • Precomp Clones to their duplicated layers

    • However, when you just duplicate regular layers and the referenced layers of the clone aren't within the selection, Workflower will turn the Precomp Clone into a Dependent Clone.

  • Group Mattes to the duplicated group

  • Group Linked Adjustment Layers to the duplicated group, as well as regular Linked Adjustment Layers to their corresponding duplicates

  • Parents to their corresponding duplicates

  • All layer controls within effects to the corresponding duplicate layers

  • All references within expressions to duplicates

    • This is disabled by default. Go to Settings > Miscellaneous to enable it. However, please be aware that updating expressions can cause an internal error within the expressions. To get around this, undo your action and then try executing Duplicate Group again. You might have to do this a couple of times.

  • When using naming on dependency, Workflower will try its best to update the duplicated layer name so that the number incrementation will always happen within the same name level. (However, Workflower will only update the name upwards but not downwards the layer hierarchy.)

  • A new label color for every duplicated group

  • When you duplicate a layer with a track matte but the track matte layer is not within the selection, the track matte state will be removed.

  • When you duplicate multiple regular layers, the duplicates will all be moved beneath each other.

  • When you duplicate a layer with a Shy Matte above, the Shy Matte will be duplicated as well.

Duplicate Project Panel Items

As of version 2.0.4, you can duplicate project panel items by selecting them and executing Duplicate Layer / Clone / Group.

Important: This will only work when you execute the function from the menu (not via shortcut) AND you don't have any layers in your currently active comp selected (otherwise Workflower will duplicate the selected layers)!

When you duplicate a comp, it will open the timeline of the duplicated comp.

Additionally, it will make all duplicated Precomp Clones independent from the original clone comps and update all Dependent Clones in the duplicated comp to the new clone comps. This is therefore the recommended way to duplicate a comp containing Precomp Clones as these attributes aren't updated when done manually.

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