After Effects Tip: Fit to Comp

Fit to Comp in Adobe After Effects consists of three simple keyboard shortcuts. In this post, I will show you all three Fit to Comp keyboard shortcuts along with two practical examples of how you can use these keyboard shortcuts in your next project.

Example 1: Scale to the Width of the Composition

So, for this example, I have a text layer, and I want to scale it up to the width of my composition.

Text Layer in Adobe After Effects

How do I do that?Full Width Text Layer After Effects

I do not want my text layer to stretch like this:

Stretching a logo in Adobe After Effects

Instead, I want my text layer to scale up proportionally and still maintain its size like this:

Scale to fit to comp in Adobe After Effects

We can scale our text layer with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+H on a PC/CMD+SHIFT+OPT+H on a Mac.

Keyboard shortcut for fit to comp After Effects

Example 2: Scale to the Composition Width

For the second example, I want to do the same thing we did in the first example but to the height of my composition. I want to do this:

Fit to Comp for Height in Adobe After Effects Composition

Not that:

Again, I want my text layer to scale up proportionally and still maintain its original size. The keyboard shortcut for this is CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+G on a PC/CMD+SHIFT+OPT+G on a Mac.

Maintain Height fit to comp After Effects

Example 3: Scale to the Composition Width

For the third example, I want to stretch my text layer to the exact size of my composition. Like so:

Stretch the layer to the size of my composition in After Effects

The keyboard shortcut for this is CTRL+ALT+F on a PC/CMD+OPT+F on a Mac.

Stretch my text layer to the exact size of my composition keyboard shortcut in Adobe After Effects

Practical Examples

Next, let me show you a few practical, real-world examples.

First Example

For my first example, I have six random text layers in my composition. I want all of my six text layers to have the same width.

First Example After Effects

One way to do it would be to scale and adjust each text layer one by one manually.

Scaling each text layer one by one in After Effects

There’s nothing wrong with this approach. It works just fine, but it will take too long to do it. I am OCD so I can never get it perfect. This approach drives me nuts. So let me show you a better way.

Step: 1

Let’s undo everything with the undo keyboard shortcut CTRL+Z on a PC or CMD+Z on a Mac.

Undo keyboard shortcut in Adobe After Effects

Step 2

Select everything in the timeline and press CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+H on a PC/CMD+SHIFT+OPT+H on a Mac. As you can see, all of our text layers scaled proportionally to the width of my composition.

Text layers scaled proportionally to After Effects composition

Step 3

Select everything except for the first layer.

Select layers in After Effects

Step 4

Parent the selected text layers to the first text layer by left-clicking and holding down the mouse button on the pick-whip icon and dragging the pick-whip icon to the first text layer. Once the target is highlighted, release and the code will be inserted in the expression field.

Parenting layers in After Effects

Step 5

Select the parented text layer, which is the first SERGEI PROKHNEVSKIY text layer in the timeline.

Select the parented layer in After Effects

Step 6

Scale down the parented text layer.

Scale down the parented text layer in After Effects

Step 7

Select all the layers again and set the parent option to None on all of our text layers.

Parent none After Effects

Step 8

Select the first text layer again, snap it to the top of our composition.

Snap to the top of the After Effects Composition

Step 9

Select the last text layer and snap it to the bottom of our composition.

Select the last text layer and snap it to the After Effects composition

Step 10

Select all the layers once again and align them.

Align all layers in Adobe After Effects

Step 11

Select each layer and align them one by one like so:

Select the layer and bring it up in After Effects

The result should look like this:

Align text layers in After Effects

As you can see, the line on the left side is pretty straight.

Second Example

I also have text layers for my second example, and each text layer describes something.

Second example in Adobe After Effects

For example, the left text layer means that it is touching the left side of my composition; the rights text layer is touching the right side of my composition, and so on.

So you get the idea, but what if I want to scale this composition up in size? For example, press CTRL+K on a PC/CMD+K on a Mac to bring up the settings of our composition.

Right now, the width of my composition is set to 1920 px.

Composition Settings in Adobe After Effects

Let’s change the settings of my composition and bring it up to 4k.

4k composition settings in After Effects

You can see that my composition has increased, but my text stayed in the same place. In other words, my text layers did not scale up with the composition.

4k Composition settings in Adobe After Effects

So how do I scale up my text with my composition?

Step 1

One way to do it just do CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+Y on the PC/CMD+SHIFT+OPT+Y on a Mac.

Bring null object in the composition in After Effects

Step 2

Select all the text layers and parent them to our Null.

Parent to null in After Effects

Step 3

Scale up the parented null object and all of our text layers will scale up and line up with it.

Scale up with null object in After Effects

So that is one way of doing it, but let me show you a different way.

Third Example

I’m going to press CTRL+Z on a PC or CMD+Z on a Mac to undo everything so that I can get back to my original 1920 px by 1080 px composition settings.

Undo keyboard shortcut After Effects

Step 1

Double click on the shape layer to create a new shape layer. The shape layer is the same size as my composition.

Create a shape layer in After Effects

Step 2

I am going select to select all of my text layers once again and parent them to the shape layer we just created

Parent to the shape layer in After Effects

Step 3

Turn off our shape layer by clicking on the eye icon

Turn off the layer in After Effects

Step 4

I am going to bring up the composition settings with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+K on a PC or CMD+K on a Mac.

Composition settings in After Effects
Step 5

Change the width settings to 4k.

4k settings in composition After Effects

Step 6

Select the Shape layer and press CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+H on a PC or CMD+SHIFT+OPT+H on a Mac. This keyboard shortcut will scale our text layers to the width of our composition.

Keyboard shortcut for scale to composition in After Effects

As you can see, everything lined up perfectly.

Step 7

Lastly, select the Shape Layer and delete it.

Delete Shape Layer in 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!

Free Private Facebook Mentoring Group

Lastly, join our FREE Private Facebook Mentoring Group. It is our best FREE online resource. We have thousands of talented motion designers in this group. It is an excellent place to network and grow as a motion designer. See you in the group!

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.

5 FREE TIME-SAVING TOOLS

Over 100,000 downloads & counting!

These 5 After Effects tools will seriously speed up your workflow and save you hours of wasted time. More than that, they could be the difference between being able to complete a project on time or not!