Expressions are a really powerful feature in After Effects. It can help you improve the quality and fluidity of your animation but it can also help you organize your project. Expressions if used well, gives you the opportunity to create yourself a custom dashboard on which you can control various global variables.

Create a controller

It is a good practice to keep a controller layer in a separate stand-alone composition. You will often see such a thing when you purchase items from marketplaces such as VideoHive.

But even when not selling your source files, you should act as if. Be it for a co-worker taking over your project or just the future you, who won’t enjoy searching through a messy compositions structure.

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How to use checkbox expressions in After Effects

Written on 15 September 2013, 01:42pm under Quick Tips

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You will often find yourself toggling the visibility of layers in After Effects. This can get really cumbersome and hazardous to click all those little eye icons in deeply nested compositions. Having a controller layer on top of everything with some checkbox expressions can really help organizing everything out.

Select the layer you’d want to toggle and add this expression in its opacity property.

(comp("the-comp-name").layer("the-layer-name").effect("the-checkbox-effect")("Checkbox") == 1 ? value : 0)

This layer will then show when the checkbox is checked. To invert the effect, just invert the value and the 0.

Heads up!

Most layers, when hidden, will not add time to renders and RAM Previews although sometimes, mostly when the hidden layer has expressions, it will still be processed when rendering.