How to Simplify Your After Effects Timeline

Using shy layers to simplify the timeline

As your timeline starts to fill up, you might want to get rid of some layers.Not permanently, but rather hide them from view. Let's say, for example, we know that these blood cells don't need to be animated, and this locked layer, as well. So, I can minimize these. What I'm doing is clicking on this small icon,which is based on the historical Kilroy icon. It's a little guy peeping over a wall. This means that you can hide objects that you don't need to change.

Maybe the solids for the background, and some of the graphic elements.Well, I'd like to see the text. Now, in the normal timeline, it's very difficult to see those text layers side by side. I'd have to keep scrolling up and down in the timeline. But, by marking some of the layers as shy, I can click the icon up here to hide shy layers. And you'll notice that the little guy peeping over the wall goes and hides. And all those layers that were marked shy are going to be hidden from view.

Now, all of the elements are still in play. You'll notice that the numbers go one, 11, 14, and 15. That means that layers two through 10, and 12 and 13, were marked as shy. They still appear up here in the composition, and they'll still render. But, the ability to control what's displayed in the timeline's quite useful. And then, if needed, you can click that button again, and all the shy layers are made visible.

The use of the shy switch can make it much easier to control a cluttered timeline.

Share Files to Mac or iOS Users with AirDrop

Do you need to share files with others?  Both the Mac OS and iOS make it easy with AirDrop to share files with nearby colleagues (or even from one of your machines to another).  This video offers a quick look at how to take advantage of this useful feature.

Apple just released a brand new version of iWork has been released with OS X Mavericks.  All three applications — Keynote, Numbers, and Pages have new versions with major updates and major changes to the user interface. Some features are completely new to the iWork application, while other elements no longer exist.  There are some major changes in how to use the iWork app across all of your devices including, tablets, iPad minis, and smart phones as well as Macs and PCs.  Enjoy this course as you will learn all about the new iWork application and will feel both confident and eager to jump right into this exciting new workflow.

To learn more I've created a new course called iWork: Workflows and New Features with

Topics in this course include:

  • Installing the Software
  • A New Way of Collaboration
  • Essential New Features in Pages
  • Essential New Features in Keynote
  • Essential New Features in Numbers


Why Video and Film Have Lost Their Value (and What That Means for Innovation)

I had a painful realization the other day. In many ways the skill I’ve spent more than 25 years practicing has lost almost all value. Video content, whether that be movies, television, online education, or even home movies have lost almost all value. If your goal is to create content for sale, particularly to an end consumer, things look pretty bleak.

Read the whole article here —

The Future of Creative Education

At this year's NAB, I was invited to kickoff the conference as a guest on their live broadcast.  I had a chance to talk about changes in the world of educating creative professionals.  I shared some of my own view points about where things are going and how the changes affects students and working pros alike.  My interview starts around the 22 minute mark.

An Update On Rich Harrington's Many Projects

At NAB in Las Vegas, we found Rich Harrington taking a rare break from his busy schedule of teaching and appearances, and persuaded him to give us an update on his many activities. Rich talks about the value proposition of NAB and Post Production World, his company, his newest web site, ThinkTAPLearn, and why he is so driven to share visual storytelling skills.