Starting NAB on a High Note and a Humbling Experience

Well, one of the great things about my job is that I learn something new every day. I’ve been an After Effects user for nearly 10 years now, and it was a delight to be able to share some of that experience with a room of about 250 students last Saturday at the NAB Post Production World conference in Las Vegas.

The exhibits part of NAB started on Monday, but over the weekend legions of digital media artists attended the Post Production World conference to get deep training on the latest production technologies. I taught a class on the After Effects Timeline – a pretty focused session – and one of the main parts of the session was an overview of all the time-saving keyboard shortcuts related to the AE timeline. I promised the class I’d post the list here, but I was also surprised to get a piece of paper handed to me by one of the attendees with a list of shortcuts that he wrote down that I didn’t cover in the session. Most of these I didn’t even know existed. So, thank you, to the guy who handed me the paper, I’m sorry I didn’t get your name, and I’ve taken the liberty of adding yours to the end of my list which starts right now:

Note – These are written in Windowsese, so if you’re on a Mac, substitute “Cmd” for “Ctrl”, and “Opt” for “Alt”.

Home = Go to first frame of timeline
End = Go to last frame of timeline
Page Down = Move forward 1 frame in time
Page Up = Move backward 1 frame in time
(hold the Shift key with Page Down or Up to move Forward or Backward in 10 frame increments)
Ctrl+G = Opens “Go To Time” dialog to navigate to a specific frame
Ctrl+Alt+B = Set work area to currently selected layer
Ctrl+Down Arrow or Up Arrow = Select next layer up or down
Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow or Up Arrow = Move currently selected layer up or down
J = Go to next keyframe
K = Go to previous keyframe
Alt+Left Arrow or Right Arrow = Nudge selected keyframe(s) left or right

To Reveal Specific Properties for Selected Layer(s) – Hold Shift to reveal multiple properties, Hold Alt+Shift to add a keyframe for that property
M = Mask
F = Mask Feather
P = Position
S = Scale
R = Rotation
A = Anchor Point
T = Opacity
E = Effects (reveals all effects on that layer)
U = Show all keyframed properties for that layer (“Uber” Key)
UU = Show all properties for that layer that have been changed from their default setting

From our friend in the audience:
Ctrl+Click on Expression Editor = Close Expression Editor
Shift+0 (numeric keypad) = Ram Preview every other frame
Alt+Shift+Click = Get rid of Properties in Timeline
Alt+Drag Keyframes = Roving keyframes
MM = Reveal all Mask Properties
Alt+* = Add comment to layer & open comment dialog
Shift+F3 = Open Graph Editor
Shift+F4 = Expand Parent Column

I went straight from the class to check on how the setup of our exhibit was going.


On the far-left is Elizabeth, who manages our NAB exhibit, juggling an unfathomable number of details while always managing to keep a cool head (don’t know how she does it). From this point forward it was a blur, like it always is. My favorite moment of the week, by far, was handing the copy of Production Studio to the guy who won it at my 10am session on Thursday. The look on the his face said it all. I’m still in NAB Recovery Mode today, so I’ll post more musings on the experience later this week.

One Response to Starting NAB on a High Note and a Humbling Experience

  1. Tammy says:

    As one who sets up booths at major shows in Vegas for my employer, I understand everything she goes thru. My hats off to her! I just wanted to thank you for your blog. It is refreshing to read all the info, the technical and the show oriented.