Snapshots in After Effects

After Effects Snapshot

Let me show you some useful things you can do with Snapshots in Adobe After Effects. Let’s dive right in!

Step 1: Taking Snapshots in After Effects.

I am going to take a snapshot of my current After Effect composition by clicking on the snapshot icon below our canvas. 

Taking a picture of a snapshot in After Effects

Next, I am going to move our logos around on the canvas like so.

Moving snapshot around in After Effects Canvas

Step 2: Snapshot History

I can see my snapshot history by LEFT-CLICK and HOLD on the snapshot icon. 

Viewing Snapshot History in After Effects

You will be able to toggle back and forth by LEFT-CLICK and HOLD on the snapshot icon. 

However, let me show you something new that you may not know. 

Step 3: Blending Snapshots in After Effects

If you HOLD ALT + LEFT-CLICK on the snapshot icon on the PC or HOLD OPTION + LEFT-CLICK on a Mac, you will be able to blend both snapshots. 

Blending Snapshots in After Effects

It is especially handy when aligning things up in Adobe After Effects. 

Blending mode in After Effects with snapshots

How it works is simple, After Effects blends both snapshots with a Classic Difference Blending Mode

Let me show you how to get to it manually. 

Classic Difference Blending Mode

Select the [UM Logo 2017.ai] file in our timeline, then duplicate it with a keyboard shortcut CTRL+D on PC or COMMAND+D on Mac

Duplicate After Effects Layer

CLICK on blending mode dropdown menu and select Classic Difference.

That is what the snapshot does in the background when we HOLD ALT + LEFT-CLICK on the snapshot icon on the PC or HOLD OPTION + LEFT-CLICK on a Mac.

Classic Difference Blending Mode with Snapshot in After Effects

Multiple Snapshots in Adobe After Effects

You can also take more than one snapshot in After Effects. A lot of people don’t know about this one. 

First Snapshot

To take the first snapshot of the canvas, you have to HOLD SHIFT+F5 on a Mac or PC. 

Taking multiple snapshots in After Effects with Shift F5

Second Snapshot

HOLD SHIFT+F6 on a Mac or PC to take the second snapshot.

Taking multiple snapshots in After Effects with Shift F8

Third Snapshot

HOLD SHIFT+F7 on a Mac or PC to take the third snapshot.

Taking multiple snapshots in After Effects with Shift F7

Fourth and Last Snapshot

HOLD SHIFT+F8 on a Mac or PC to take the last snapshot.

Taking multiple snapshots in After Effects with Shift F6

We took four different snapshots of our canvas with the four keyboard shortcuts: SHIFT+F8, SHIFT+F7, SHIFT+F6, and SHIFT+F5

Accessing Snapshots in After Effects

By doing so, we attached a snapshot to each F-number.  

For example, we took the first snapshot with the SHIFT+F5 keyboard shortcut. That means our first snapshot is stored or attached to F5.

To access the first snapshot, we just have to press F5 on the keyboard. That simple!

Accessing stored snapshots in After Effects with keyboard shortcuts

The same thing applies to F6, F7, and F8.

Accessing all snapshots in After Effects

Clearing Snapshots in After Effects

Clearing snapshots can also be done individually, much like storing them. 

We can always override a snapshot by taking another snapshot over it, but to clear a snapshot individually, we have to HOLD CTRL+SHIFT+F6 on a PC or HOLD COMMAND+SHIFT+F6 on a Mac.

If you press F6, you will notice that nothing happens.  

I hope you found this After Effects Snapshot Tip useful. You can check out all of our Tips on our website and 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!