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After Effects Tip: Simultaneously View Multiple Compositions

Caleb Ward

Speed up your workflow in After Effects by simultaneously viewing two different compositions.

Nesting is a great way to stay organized in After Effects, but it can be frustrating jumping back and forth between comps and nested comps.

In the following quick tip tutorial we’ll show you how to view multiple compositions simultaneously in After Effects. This technique is great if you need to make quick adjustments between a comp and a nested comp, showing you changes in real time.

1. Logically name your compositions.

When working with multiple compositions it is really important to stay organized. Give your compositions a more logical name than simply “Comp 1” or “Pre-Comp”.

2. Create a new comp viewer.

Click “New Comp Viewer” in the drop down menu in the top of the composition viewer. A new composition panel will now pop up.

3. Select the composition you wish to view.

From the composition drop down menu you can now select the composition you wish to see.

4. Lock the comp screen.

Lock the compositions by clicking the lock icon near the menu bar.

5. Changes in the pre-comp will be reflected in the master comp.

Because After Effects doesn’t organize comps by folders, viewing multiple compositions at the same time is a great way to perfect your designs without having to jump back and forth between compositions. This same technique can be applied to other panels in After Effects, like the effects panel and the layer panel. 

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