How to Easily Replace Layers in After Effects


Here’s an easy way to improve your After Effects workflow.

If you’ve followed for a while now, you know I like my keyboard shortcuts! If you’ve ever wanted to quickly replace an After Effects layer with an updated version of a graphic, a new photo, or any other different asset, this is a quick way to replace that layer. Watch the video above to find out how, or read the simple instructions below.

  1. Click on the layer that you want to replace.
  2. Option-Click (or Alt-Click) the new asset in your project files.
  3. Drag that new asset on top of the original layer in your After Effects sequence.

Like magic, the old layer has been replaced with your new asset. The best part about this whole trick is that any properties, effects, or keyframes that you’ve added to the original layer stay with that layer. Say you’ve added a position and size animation to an icon layer. But now the client has provided you with a new icon to swap out. Instead of having to copy and paste all of your keyframe animations, just use the replace trick to easily swap layers!

Did you enjoy that tutorial?

Do you have any questions or comments? If so, please write them in the comments below.


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