Adjustment Layers

Create Linked Adjustment Layer

Creates a layer that applies its effects with linked expressions to a defined set of layers (Win: Ctrl+Alt+., Mac: no default shortcut).

Creating and working with a Linked Adjustment Layer

Just select the layers you want to apply the Adjustment Layer to, then execute the function. Add your desired effect/s and hit Refresh Connections. All of the effects will then be applied to the selected layers with linked expressions.

As of version 1.1.1, upon executing Create Linked Adjustment Layer, if one of your selected layers has selected effects, those effects will then automatically be cut from the layer, added to the freshly created Linked Adjustment Layer and directly applied to all layers. (This is because sometimes you add some effects to a layer and then notice that you want to apply those effects to other layers too, and so this behavior of Create Linked Adjustment Layer simplifies this process.)

You can turn off the Linked Adjustment Layer or its effects and they will be live-disabled by expression. When you disable a certain Linked Layer effect, all effects related to the current Linked Adjustment Layer will be live-disabled on the specific layer.

If you change the order of effects or add/remove effects, however, you need to execute Refresh Connections again. This needs to be done as well when you changed non-linkable attributes on the effects.

You can modify the overall opacity of all effects too by using the opacity slider on the effect that Workflower applied to the Linked Adjustment Layer. (AE's opacity slider on the Linked Adjustment Layer won't be usable anymore.) Execute Reveal Layer Opacity to quickly reveal Workflower's opacity slider in the timeline.

Be aware that refreshing connections on a Linked Adjustment Layer will invalidate your clipboard.

(Fixed in version 1.1 ->) Also, you might encounter a specific problem when trying to undo and then redo the action. Go to Known Bugs for more information.

Adding / Removing Layers

You can add referenced layers to a Linked Adjustment Layer by duplicating one of its layer dropdown effects, selecting another layer, and then executing Refresh Connections. To remove a referenced layer, just remove its corresponding dropdown effect. Alternatively, you can also use the Add / Remove Layer References function to add/remove layers to/from a Linked Adjustment Layer.

Just like with Precomp Clones, you can unlink properties of Linked Adjustment Layers as well. After you're done working on your effects, you might want to unlink properties since it is computationally faster to not have properties linked by expressions. You can unlink (and link again) by (un)checking the checkbox on the effect on the Linked Adjustment Layer, or by executing Link / Unlink Properties.

Order of Linked Adjustment Layers

If you have several Linked Adjustment Layers, their order within the comp is important. Linked Adjustment Layers that are above will be applied after the ones below. The effects order of Linked Adjustment Layers will be updated every time when executing Refresh Layout. (This does not include, however, the order of effects within a Linked Adjustment Layer. Use Refresh Connections to update that order.)

Other Effects on a Referenced Layer

On a layer that has Linked Adjustment Layer effects applied to it, you can have other effects as well. However, they can only be directly before or directly after the Linked Adjustment Layer effects. (If not, they will be reordered the next time you hit Refresh Layout.)

Considering Layer Transforms

Linked Adjustment Layers work by applying the effects on the Linked Adjustment Layer to all referenced layers with linked expressions. Effects that do not contain spatial properties (like color corrections effects) work without problems. Other effects - like a blur or a gradient - have some spatial element to them. If the referenced layers have different transforms, the blur will appear smaller or larger depending on the layers' scales and the gradient will appear at different positions depending on the layers' position and rotation.

To counteract this appearance, you can execute Convert Property to Comp Size on the specific properties which will apply an expression to them to so that they appear at comp size - as if you would use a regular adjustment layer.

Another option to counteract the appearance would be to use a Matted Adjustment Layer instead, which will create a regular adjustment layer that's matted to the referenced layers. (However, be aware that this will work for a gradient but not for a blur since the blur would change the alpha which is not replicated on the matte itself.)

Group Linked Adjustment Layers

Just like Group Clones and Group Mattes, you can create Group Linked Adjustment Layers too. Simply select the group header and execute Create Linked Adjustment Layer.

As of version 1.1, when new layers have been added to the group or layers have been released from the group, you have to execute Refresh Layout to add/remove the effects to/from all new/old group layers.

(In prior Workflower versions, or if you have When executing 'Refresh Layout', check whether Group Linked Adjustments need to be refreshed disabled (to be found under the Adjustment Layer Settings), you need to select the Linked Adjustment Layer and execute Refresh Connections in order to add/remove the effects to/from the layers.)

Excluding Layers from a Group Linked Adjustment Layer

In contrast to Group Clones, layers above the Group Linked Adjustment Layer will still be included in the Linked Adjustment Layer. If you want to exclude certain group layers, you can simply disable the specific Linked Layer effect on the Linked Adjustment Layer.

Matte Merge Layers within a Group Linked Adjustment Layer

By default, Matte Merge Layers will not be included in a Group Linked Adjustment Layer since it is assumed that the referenced mattes already will have the Linked Adjustment Layer effects applied to them. If you want to include Matte Merge Layers, you can go to the Adjustment Layer Settings and deactivate this setting.

Applying Effects to the Group Header

(Added in version 1.1)

The Group Linked Adjustment Layer will consider effects on the group header in addition to its own effects. So instead of the Group Linked Adjustment Layer, you can also apply effects only to the group header if you want to. The advantage of this is that you can collapse your group and continue to work on your group effects.

If you don't have a Group Linked Adjustment Layer yet and you execute Refresh Connections while the group header, containing effects, is selected, a Group Linked Adjustment Layer will be automatically created.

When executing Select Group on a group with effects on its header, this might cause "ghost" expression errors to occur (= not actual errors, however ones that are being displayed). This is because upon executing Select Group, the icon [ ] will be displayed briefly next to the group header name in order to indicate it's being selected (and therefore confuse the expressions of the Linked Effects). To avoid the errors, you can go to the Icon Settings and disable the icon when selecting a group.

Please note that you cannot convert properties to comp size when the effect lives on the group header. Apply the effect to the Group Linked Adjustment Layer if you want to convert properties to comp size.

Order of Group Linked Adjustment Layers, Group Mattes, and Group Clones

Group Linked Adjustment Layers, Group Mattes, and Group Clones have a specific layer order when used in conjunction. Read up here for more information.

Create Matted Adjustment Layer

Creates an adjustment layer that's matted to the selected layers below (no default shortcut).

Creating and working with a Matted Adjustment Layer

Select all layers you want to apply the adjustment layer to, then execute Create Matted Adjustment Layer.

When multiple layers were selected, a regular adjustment layer will be created with a Precomp Clone that contains all selected layers as its track matte.

If you're using AE with Selectable Track Mattes (introduced in AE 23) and you have only one layer selected, the adjustment layer will be matted to the selected layer and no clone will be created.

If you're using AE below version 23 and you have only one layer selected, a Clone in Comp will be created as the track matte.

If you then apply effects to the adjustment layer, they will only be applied to the area defined by the track matte. This works well when, for example, applying color correction effects. It won't work well when, on the other hand, you're applying effects that change the alpha, like a blur.

You can add/remove layers to/from the Matted Adjustment Layer by adding/removing layers to/from the clone as you would be doing with any other Precomp Clone as well. (For more on this, see here.)

Group Matted Adjustment Layer

You can create a Group Matted Adjustment Layer, too, by selecting the group header and executing Create Matted Adjustment Layer. This will create a Group Clone that will be used as a matte for the adjustment layer. This Group Clone, however, is not a Prime Clone, like most other Group Clones, but just a regular Precomp Clone. You can refresh the Group Clone as you would with any other Group Clone.

Advantages of a Matted Adjustment Layer

A Matted Adjustment Layer, compared to a Linked Adjustment Layer, has some advantages:

  • It can be faster when otherwise properties would need to be converted to comp size

  • Since it will not apply effects directly to the referenced layers but as an adjustment layer, the effects will apply themselves after all layers have been processed. If the effects would be on the referenced layer itself, they would be processed before certain attributes - like motion blur, blending mode, etc. - which is not always what you want. For example when:

    • want to apply a color correction to a layer that has a specific blending mode and you want to retain the appearance of the blending mode. When, on the other hand, you would apply a color correction effect to the layer itself, the appearance of the blending mode often changes which might not be what you want.

    • want to add grain onto layers that have motion blur. When, on the other hand, you would apply the grain to the layer itself, the grain would be blurred as well.

Convert Property to Comp Size

Converts the property of an effect on a Linked Adjustment Layer to comp size (not available via shortcut; Win: Ctrl+Click on the Adjustment Layers Button; Mac: Cmd+Click on the Adjustment Layers Button).

Unfortunately, we noticed a bug that prevents Convert Property to Comp Size from working on certain properties when AE's language is not in English. We already have fixed this issue and will provide the fix in the next release of Workflower.

When and how to use Convert Property to Comp Size

When an effect is applied to a layer, the visible amount of a property will vary depending on the layer's scale. If, for example, a blur is applied to two different layers and one layer has 50% less scale but the blurriness of the blur has the same amount, the blurriness will appear larger on the layer which has been scaled up more.

To combat this, use Convert Property to Comp Size to equalize the blurriness values by expression, so that the blurriness of the scaled down layer will be larger. To make use of this, simply select the desired property in the timeline (not the effects panel) and hit Convert Property to Comp Size. Now, the conversion expression has been applied to all layers. This works on one-dimensional properties (like the blurriness of a blur), on two-dimensional spatial properties (like the start and end position of a gradient ramp), or on angles (like the angle of a bevel).

To convert a property back to its normal value, just select the property and hit Convert Property to Comp Size again.

Converting a property to comp size on a 3D layer only is an approximation and cannot account for 3-dimensional rotation.

Writing Expressions

To write an expression on the property of the Linked Adjustment Layer, simply open up the existing expression and delete thisProperty in the second line. Then start writing your expression. DO NOT delete the first line which is necessary because it lets Workflower know that this property needs to be converted to comp size.

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