After Effects Tip: Copy with Property Links

One of my favorite features in Adobe After Effects is called Copy with Property Links. Using copy/paste with property links when copying an effect will allow you to use one effect for more than one layer. Let me show you a few examples. Let’s dive right in!

Alright, so here we are in Adobe After Effects. As usual, my setup is simple. For this example, I just have one large UKRAMEDIA logo on the left side of the screen and four small ones on the right side.

I’m going to select all five of my logo’s and hit R on my keyboard to reveal the rotation property.

Rotation Property Keyboard Shortcut in After Effects

I want for the rotation property of my big UKRAMEDIA logo on the left side to be the driver for the other four logos on the right side.

In other words, when I move the rotation property of my big UKRAMEDIA logo, I want for the other four logos to do the same thing.

Rotation Property in After Effects

To do that, I’m going to ALT+LEFT CLICK on a PC or OPT+LEFT CLICK on a Mac, on the rotation property, and just pick whip to the rotation property.

Pick whip to the rotation property of After Effects

That’s one way to do it. Next, right-click on the selected layer and click on the Copy Expression Only option.

Copy Expression only After Effects

Then paste copied properties on all of the other properties with the paste keyboard shortcut CTRL+V on a PC /CMD+V on a Mac.

Paste keyboard shortcut after effects

So now, you can see that the expression was applied to all other layers. If I move the rotation property of the last UKRAMEDIA logo, you will notice that all the other UKRAMEDIA logos also move with the main logo.

Logos moving together in After Effects

Fortunately, there is a much simpler and faster way of doing this. Let me show you!

Copy with Property Links

Let’s CTRL+Z on a PC or CMD+Z on a Mac and undo everything we just created.

Undo keyboard shortcut in After Effects

Instead of doing what we did above, this time, all you have to do is select the rotation property of the big UKRAMEDIA logo or the driver.

Rotation Property After Effects

Next, go to Edit and select Copy with Property Links, or you can use the Copy with Property Link keyboard shortcuts CTRL+ALT+C on a PC or CMD+ALT+C on a Mac.

Edit with Propety Links in After Effects

I’m going to use the Copy with Property Links keyboard shortcut. So press CTRL+ALT+C on a PC or CMD+ALT+C on a Mac.

Edit with Propety Links keyboard shortcut in After Effects

Then select all other properties and paste copied property links to them with the use of the paste keyboard shortcut  CTRL+V on a PC or CMD+V on a Mac.

Paste Copied Properties in After Effects

Now you can see that we were able to do the same thing with fewer steps. However, there is one problem with this example. Let me show you the expression that it applies.

Edit with Propety Links expression in After Effects
The comp(“Copy With Property Link”).layer(“MAIN – UKRAMEDIA LOGO”).transform.rotation expression refers to a specific comp.

So it says: go to…, and it has a specific name here comp(“Copy With Property Link”)

Then it tells us to grab the rotation property from this layer .layer(“MAIN – UKRAMEDIA LOGO”).transform.rotation.

Now the problem with that is that if I were to select the Copy with Property Links composition and duplicate it with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+D on a PC or CMD+D on a Mac and

Duplicating Composition in After Effects with keyboard shortcut

If I try to rotate the rotation property inside of the MAIN – UKRAMEDIA LOGO layer, you will find that nothing that nothing is happening.

Rotation Property in Adobe After Effects

The reason why nothing is happening is that the rotation property of my other layers is still pointing to the Copy With Property Links comp.

Copy with Property Link After Effects

If I go back to the Copy With Property Link comp and adjust the rotation property of the MAIN – UKRAMEDIA LOGO, then go back to my Copy With Property Links 2 comp, you can see that everything was changed also because it is pointing to Copy With Property Link comp.

Copy with property links 2

That’s a problem, but let me show you how to fix it. I’m going to undo everything with the undo keyboard shortcut CTRL+Z  on a PC or CMD+Z on a Mac.

Undo keyboard shortcut in After Effects

Now instead of doing what we did in the earlier example, just select the rotation property of your driver or the MAIN -UKRAMEDIA LOGO layer and go to Edit and choose Copy with Relative Property Links.Copy with Relative Property Links in Adobe After Effects

Next, select the other rotation properties and CTRL+V on a PC or CMD+V on a Mac to paste our relative property links.

Paste relative property links in Adobe After Effects

So now it does the same thing, but if you look closer at the expression, you will notice that instead of it pointing to a specific comp, it just says go to thisComp, and it can be any comp it is currently located.

thisComp After Effects

I hope you found this After Effects Tip useful. You can check out all of our Tips on our website. Also, make sure to subscribe to our email list!

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About the author:

Sergei Prokhnevskiy

Sergei Prokhnevskiy is a Charlotte, NC based motion graphics designer, an online tutor, an entrepreneur, and Adobe MAX Master Speaker. Sergei is known for his quick and practical After Effects tips and tricks on YouTube, where he generated well over 6 million views on his tutorials. He has authored an online video course on After Effects Expressions and developed scripts for After Effects. He is also a former senior motion graphics designer at Fox Sports where he worked on graphics for NFL, Super Bowl, MLB, World Series, College Football, NASCAR, Women’s World Cup, and NASCAR Race Hub. He is very passionate about learning and teaching others.


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