Effects and animation presets in After Effects CC

Presets play an important role in shortening your work cycles and standardizing effects across projects and compositions. One of the advantages of using Adobe After Effects CC in your editing workflow is the availability of a large number of effects and animation presets on the web, which you can instantly download and integrate into the Effects & Presets panel in After Effects. If you happen to create and apply the same set of effects repeatedly for your projects, you must consider creating a preset to save time and effort. In this post, we look at how you can download, use, create, edit, and share After Effects presets.

Presets in After Effects CC

Effect presets in After Effects CC make it easy to share a set of parameter adjustments that you have made in an effect across projects and compositions. After Effects provides you a number of presets out of the box in the Effects & Presets panel, and there are numerous presets that After Effects users sell or share for free on the web.

Animation presets help you save and reuse specific configurations of layer properties and animations, including keyframes, effects, and expressions. For example, if you created an explosion using several effects with complex property settings, keyframes, and expressions, you can save all of those settings as a single animation preset. You can then apply that animation preset to any other layer.

Effects and animation presets in the Effects panel

Effects and animation presets in the Effects panel

You can find effect presets as .ffx files in the Presets directory (Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CC x.x\Support Files\ on Windows and Documents/Adobe/After Effects CC x.x/ on Mac OS).

Download and install presets

A wide variety of After Effects presets are available for download. You can download these presets from websites such as AE Enhancers, Video Copilot, and Share AE (and of course a number of other providers who provide cool presets, plugins, and templates for After Effects) and save them in a separate folder in the Presets directory at the After Effects install location on your computer. The folder that you create under Presets appears in the Effects & Presets panel after you refresh the panel (click Refresh List in the Effects panel menu) or restart After Effects. In the image, you can see a directory named My Custom Presets, which has a number of presets in it. It was a directory that I created for saving the free presets that I downloaded from the web.

Refresh preset list to view your new custom presets

Refresh preset list to view your new custom presets

Apply an effect or animation preset to your clip

To apply an effect or animation preset to a single layer, drag the effect or animation preset from the Effects & Presets panel to a layer in the Timeline, Composition, or Effect Controls panel.

When you drag an effect or animation preset onto a layer in the Composition panel, the name of the layer under the pointer is shown in the Info panel. If you have not selected a layer, double-clicking an animation preset will create a new layer and apply the preset to the layer.

You can apply an effect or animation preset in a number of ways:

  • To apply an effect or animation preset to one or more layers, select the layers, and then double-click the effect or animation preset in the Effects & Presets panel.
  • To apply an effect to one or more layers, select the layers and then choose Effect > [category] >[effect].
  • To apply a recently used or saved animation preset to one or more layers, select the layers, choose Animation > Recent Animation Presets and then choose the animation preset from the list.
  • To apply the most recently applied animation preset to one or more layers, select the layers and then press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift+F (Mac OS).
  • To apply the most recently applied effect to one or more layers, select the layers and then press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift+E (Mac OS).
  • To apply an animation preset to one or more layers using Adobe Bridge, select the layers, choose Animation > Browse Presets, navigate to the animation preset, and then double-click it.
  • To apply the effect settings from an animation preset to the current instance of an effect, choose the animation preset name from the Animation Presets menu for the effect in the Effect Controls panel.
  • To copy effects from one layer to one or more layers, select the effects in the Timeline panel or the Effect Controls panel, choose Edit > Copy, select the target layers, and choose Edit > Paste.

Modify and save a preset

To create a new animation preset, double-click an animation preset that you want to base your preset on and modify its properties. After you make the changes, click the Create New Animation Preset button on the lower-right corner of the Effects & Presets panel and save it with a preset name. You can alternatively select the effects that you want to include in your preset and choose the Save Animation Preset option in the Animation menu. The new preset that you create is listed under User Presets directory under Animation Presets in the Effects & Presets panel.

Creating/saving animation preset

Creating/saving animation preset

List your presets on the Adobe Add-ons site

Check out the After Effects section of the Adobe Add-ons website at https://creative.adobe.com/addons?pp=AEFT for a list of free and paid downloadable resources for Adobe After Effects from third-party developers. If you intend to sell or share your work, listing them in the Adobe Add-ons website allows you to gain visibility among fellow developers and the After Effects user community, get valuable feedback, and earn money.

For instructions on listing your work in Adobe Add-ons, visit https://www.adobeexchange.com/producer.

Adobe Add-on developer workflow

Adobe Add-on developer workflow

Promote your work through Behance

Behance is the leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work. Using Behance, you can build a portfolio and constantly update your work in one place to broadcast it widely and efficiently.

Portfolio listing in Behance

Portfolio listing in Behance

Here is an example of an After Effects presets package showcased in Behance: https://www.behance.net/gallery/28212113/Cinematic-Color-Presets-Package-After-Effects

Want to learn more about animation presets? Read Effects and animation presets overview.