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Customizing the workspace

In the course of this project, you may have resized or repositioned some panels, or opened new ones. As you modify the workspace, After Effects saves those modifications, so the next time you open the project, the most recent version of the workspace is used. However, you can choose to restore the original workspace at any time by choosing Window > Workspace > Reset “Standard”.

Alternatively, if you find yourself frequently using panels that aren’t part of the Standard workspace, or if you like to resize or group panels for different types of projects, you can save time by customizing the workspace to suit your needs. You can save any workspace configuration, or use any of the preset workspaces that come with After Effects. These predefined workspaces are suitable for different types of workflows, such as animation or effects work.

Using predefined workspaces

Take a minute to explore the predefined workspaces in After Effects.

  1. If you closed the Lesson01_Finished.aep project, open it—or any other project—to explore the workspaces.
  2. Choose Window > Workspace > Animation. After Effects opens the following panels at the right side of the application window: Info and Audio (grouped), Preview, Smoother, Wiggler, Motion Sketch, and Effects & Presets.

    You can also change workspaces using the Workspace menu at the top of the window.

  3. Choose Paint from the Workspace menu at the top of the application window, next to the Search Help box. The Paint and Brushes panels open. The Composition panel is replaced by the Layer panel, for easy access to the tools and controls you need to paint in your compositions.

Saving a custom workspace

You can save any workspace, at any time, as a custom workspace. Once saved, new and edited workspaces appear in the Window > Workspace submenu and in the Workspace menu at the top of the application window. If a project with a custom workspace is opened on a system other than the one on which it was created, After Effects looks for a workspace with a matching name. If After Effects finds a match (and the monitor configuration matches), it uses that workspace; if it can’t find a match (or the monitor configuration doesn’t match), it opens the project using the current local workspace.

  1. Close the Paint and Brushes panels by clicking the small x next to the panel names.
  2. Choose Window > Effects & Presets to open that panel, and then drag it into a group with the Preview panel.
  3. Choose Window > Workspace > New Workspace. Enter a name for the workspace and click OK to save it, or click Cancel if you don’t want to save it.
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