After Effects Tip: Splitting Layers

In this post, I will show you how to split layers in After Effects with a simple keyboard shortcut. So let’s go ahead and open After Effects and dive right in!

Splitting One Layer

Step 1

Select UKRAMEDIA.COM layer

Select a layer in After Effects

Step 2

Place your time indicator where you want the split to occur in the timeline.
Time Indicator After Effects Splitting

Step 3

Press CTRL+SHIFT+D on a PC or CMD+SHIFT+D on a Mac.
Split Layer in After Effects keyboard shortcut
Layer Splitting After Effects Keyboard Shortcut

Splitting Multiple Layers

Step 1

Hold down CTRL and select as many layers as you like like so:
Splitting multiple layers in After Effects

Step 2

Move the time indicator to the desired stop in the timeline and press CTRL+SHIFT+D on a PC or CMD+SHIFT+D on a Mac.
Splitting multiple layers in After Effects keyboard shortcut time indicator
Splitting multiple layers in After Effects keyboard shortcut

Splitting All Layers In After Effects

Do not select any layer and press CTRL+SHIFT+D on a PC or CMD+SHIFT+D on a Mac
Splitting all layers in After EffectsSplit all layers in After Effects keyboard shortcut
One thing I want to point out is that when we split a layer in After Effects, you will notice that it automatically duplicates the layer and it places it on top of the original layer like so:
Duplicating split after effects
If you want to reverse this process, simply go to Preferences. You can use a keyboard shortcut CTRL+ALT+; on a PC or CMD+OPT+; on a Mac. Make sure the Create Split Layers Above Original Layer is unchecked.
Preferences After Effects
Now if we try split a layer, you should see something like this instead:

Reversed Duplication Split After Effects

I hope you found this quick tip useful. Make sure to subscribe to our email list for latest After Effects tips.

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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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