Miscellaneous Layer Functions

Precompose

(Added in version 1.1)
Precomposes layers as well as converts groups to precomps and vice versa (Win: Ctrl+F1, Mac: macControl+C).
'Precompose' Dialog
Just like AE's Pre-compose, you can select your desired layers and execute Workflower's Precompose. There are a few additional features available:
  • You can convert groups to/from precomps. For more on this, see below.
  • You can un-precompose a precomp, meaning it will just move the contained layers to the main comp without putting them into a group or applying any of the precomp's transforms, effects, etc.
  • You can choose between three options for your precomp size:
    1. 1.
      Comp size (+ potential margin)
    2. 2.
      Layer size/s (+ potential margin)
      • You can either crop the precomp to the layers' alpha or their source dimensions. The "source" of text and shape layers is their original shape without any effects.
      • There are some limitations when cropping the precomp to layer size/s. See below for more info.
    3. 3.
      Custom size
  • You can choose to set the start timecode of the precomp to zero.
    • This can be useful when you use the option to color label your layers to grey in your main comp but, when precomposing, you just want to precomp a small number of layers and therefore don't want to color label your layers to grey in the precomp.
Additionally, you might prefer Workflower's Precompose over AE's Pre-compose since you would have to refresh the layout within your main comp and the precomp after precomposing and Workflower hence reduces these two clicks.

Converting a Group to a Precomp

Group converted to a Precomp, with Transforms, Opacity and Effects transferred
To convert a group to a precomp, simply select the group header, execute Precompose and select Convert Group to Precomp.
The group will be converted to a group and the precomp layer will inherit these properties:
  • Transform properties of the group header will be transferred to the precomp layer. (Parenting needs to be enabled for this.)
  • If the group header is 3D, the precomp will be turned into 3D as well.
    • By default, Collapse Transformation will be enabled for the precomp so that layers will retain their original position in 3D space.
    • If your group layers are distributed along a flat plane, you can enable Don't Collapse Transformation & Stick Layers to Group Header Z-Position, too. That way, you avoid collapsing the transformations and all layers within the precomp will be turned into 2D.
  • If Group Opacity is enabled, it will be applied to the precomp layer too.
  • If Layers respect Group In/Out is enabled, the precomp layer will be trimmed accordingly.
  • All effects on a Group Linked Adjustment Layer or on the group header will be added to the precomp layer.
  • If you have a Group Matte, it will be applied to the precomp layer:
    • If the Group Matte refers to the Group Matte layer itself, it will be added as a track matte to the precomp layer.
    • If the Group Matte refers to the masks on the group header, the masks themselves will be applied to the precomp layer.
    • If the Group Matte refers to an external layer, it will added via a Matte Merge to layer to the precomp layer.
  • If you have a Group Clone, effects on it will be transferred to the precomp layer. Additionally, all layers above the Group Clone (like a track matte) will be copied above the precomp layer as well. If the Group Clone has transformations enabled, they will be copied to the precomp layer too.
  • If contained layers have motion blur enabled, motion blur of the precomp layer will be turned on as well.
  • All connections on Precomp Clones, Linked Adjustment Layers, Group Mattes, and Clones in Comp will be refreshed within the precomp.

Converting a Precomp to a Group

Precomp converted to Group, with Transforms, Opacity and Effects transferred
To convert a group to a precomp, simply select the precomp, execute Precompose and select Convert Precomp to Group.
The precomp will be converted to a group and the group will inherit these properties:
  • If the precomp layer has modified transform properties, the group header will enable Parent Layers to Group and all transform properties will be transferred to it.
  • If the precomp layer has a modified opacity, Group Opacity will be enabled and the opacity values will be copied.
  • If the precomp layer is 3D, the group header will be turned into 3D as well as all contained layers.
  • If the precomp layer is trimmed, Layers respect Group In/Out will be enabled and the group trimmed accordingly.
  • If the precomp has effects, a Group Linked Adjustment Layer will be created and the effects transferred to the group header. (If the effects contain properties that were converted to comp size from a prior Linked Adjustment Layer, the effects will be transferred to the Group Linked Adjustment Layer instead of the group header.)
  • If your precomp layer has a track matte, a Group Matte will be created and linked to the track matte layer. If the precomp layer has masks, they will be transferred to the group header and the Group Matte linked to the group header.
    • Please be aware that Workflower can only either convert your precomp's masks or the track matte to the Group Matte. If your precomp layer has both, please either copy the masks to the track matte or use the Set Matte effect instead of the track matte.
  • If the precomp layer has motion blur enabled, the motion blur of all contained layers will be enabled as well.
  • All connections on Precomp Clones, Linked Adjustment Layers, Group Mattes, and Clones in Comp will be refreshed within the group.

Limitations when Cropping to Layer Size/s

Precomp cropped to Layer Sizes (+ Margin)
Please be aware that there are some limitations when using Layer Size/s:
  • Depending on the layer size/s, it can take a while to calculate the new precomp size.
  • Only the size at the current time can be considered.
  • Cropping to the layers' alpha will not be completely accurate. That's why Workflower will add a margin of ~100 pixels so that nothing gets cropped off. The effectively visible margin on each side of the comp may vary.
  • When effects (like a blur or transform) extend the layer's source bounds by more than 50-80%, Workflower will not be able to crop beyond that.
    • This should be a fringe case since your alpha very often is smaller than the source bounds (at least if it's not a text or shape layer) but if you see that something has been cropped off, you can always undo your action and add a manual margin when precomposing again.
  • When precomposing 3D layers and using Layer Size/s, cropping and repositioning will not work correctly in a lot of circumstances.
  • If you want to use Layer Size/s when converting a 3D parent group to a precomp, you need to enable Don't Collapse Transformation & Stick Layers to Group Header Z-Position.
  • Since the precomp's position will have to be shifted after cropping it to its contained layers, Workflower will do its best to keep everything at its position. However, the adjusted position might not be correct in every instance. For example, when you have expressions on your layers relating to the transforms, the layers might not be moved into the correct position. Convert the expressions to keyframes beforehand if you want to retain the correct position.

Delete Layer / Clone / Group

Deletes regular layers, Precomp Clones, and groups (Win: Shift+FwdDel, Mac: Shift+Delete).
Select either a regular layer, a Precomp Clone layer, or a group header and then execute Delete Layer / Clone / Group.

Deleting Regular Layers

If you delete a regular layer that is contained in a Precomp Clone, it will remove the layer from the Precomp Clone as well. If you delete a track matte layer, it will remove the track matte state from the layer below. Otherwise, it is identical to AE's Delete when deleting regular layers.

Deleting Precomp Clones

If you delete a Precomp Clone, the function will also delete the clone comp item from the project window. If you would delete the Precomp Clone using AE's Delete, only the layer within the comp, not the clone comp itself would be deleted. Because of that, expression errors will appear since the expressions on the clone layers cannot reference the Precomp Clone anymore. That's why it is always advised to use Delete Layer / Clone / Group when deleting a Precomp Clone.
In case, unused clone comps already exist and expression errors accumulate, open up the settings, go to the Cloning tab and click Delete Unused Precomp Clones.

Deleting Groups

Just deleting all group layers individually still would leave the additional, shy'd layers from the group, so always use Delete Layer / Clone / Group to delete a group, or alternatively use Select Group and then use AE's Delete.

Duplicate Layer / Clone

(Added in version 1.1)
To duplicate regular layers (with additional functionality compared to AE's Duplicate) or Precomp Clones (to either make them dependent or to create unique clones), select a regular layer or Precomp Clone and execute Duplicate Group.

Reveal Layer Opacity

Reveals the opacity of the selected layers (Win: Alt+F1, Mac: macControl+3).
Prime Clone Layers with revealed Opacity Slider
On Prime Clone layers, Clones in Comp, Matte Merge source layers, Group Matte layers, Linked Adjustment Layers, layers within a group with Group Opacity enabled, as well as group headers with Group Opacity enabled, AE's opacity slider is not usable anymore and is replaced by an opacity slider on a dedicated effect on the layer.
Because of this, though, it's not possible anymore to hit T to reveal the layer's opacity in the timeline. (It will only reveal the unusable slider.) Reveal Layer Opacity will, on the other hand, reveal the correct opacity slider of these layers.
On other layers, it will reveal the regular opacity slider. (Be aware, though, that Reveal Layer Opacity will take a bit longer to reveal the slider.)
If you execute Reveal Layer Opacity, all other open properties of the layer in the timeline will disappear and only the opacity will be revealed. If you select properties before executing the function, these selected properties will stay open.
If no layer is selected, opacity sliders of all layers in comp will be revealed.
This function is not available in the main menu and can only be executed via the shortcut.