How to duplicate compositions in After Effects correctly

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Today we’ll take a look at duplicating compositions in After Effects correctly.

Note: Remember to watch the video tutorial as Remus guides you step-by-step through this process.

So let’s take a look at this example, I’ll be using the Bluefx Mini Explainer animation template.
You can download this template for free if you want to follow along, just click here.

Now let’s go back to our project ⬇

So here we are in the main composition and let’s go ahead and add a new video placeholder to this scene.
Let’s import some footage real quick, to do so, you should

right click in the project area and select import-file.

We’ll add the footage to the existing placeholders and let’s go ahead and create a new placeholder.

Here’s the video tutorial:


So here comes the tricky part ⬇

Normally you would want to duplicate the composition here, in the comp panel, to get a new placeholder.
So let’s take a look and see what happens.

Edit – Duplicate

Now, we have a new composition layer but if we right click and select

“Reveal Layer source in project”


it will take us to the source but as you can see, these both layers have the same source.

So that means that anything we change in one composition will reflect in the other composition one as well.

To duplicate the composition correctly, we need to do in in the Project panel area.
So, with the layer selected, choose

“Edit” – Duplicate.


And there we have it. I’ll call this “your scene 07b”.

duplicate comps in ae


So right now, we could drag it into the comp panel area but because these layers all have position keyframes added, and we want to retain those and save some time, we’re going to replace it with the copy we did earlier of the Your Scene 07 comp.

To replace a layer,

press “Ctrl+Alt+/” or “Command+Option+/” on macs.

And if we press down “p” we’ll see that the layer retained the position keyframes.

Now let’s re-arrange the layers a bit: first we need to make the main comp longer, so we’ll choose

“Composition – composition settings”


and then increase the length. It looks good.

Now let’s open up the new composition ⬇

Because it has subcompositions of it’s own, we need to duplicate those as well.
Don’t worry, it all goes very fast once you get the hang of it.

Here’s how to do it:

right click, choose “reveal layer in project”, duplicate by pressing “ctrl+d” or “command+d” and then hit “Ctrl+Alt+/”.


Simple enought? I hope so.

Now we can finally edit the text in the text holder.
Let’s take a look inside the media holder ⬇
This one has sub-comps of its own so we need to duplicate those as well, just like we did before.

And the last sub-composition… and we can finnaly add our media, so let’s drag in the footage.

Okay, so that’s it for this quick tip tutorial, thanks for watching.

If you are serious about learning Adobe After Effects, then check out the After Effects Academy at, where we teach After Effects from the ground up, we do weekly live classes and support our students via our Facebook Mastermind group.

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Remember, you can download the free after effects template that we have used in this tutorial. Just click here.

Remus Hosu

Remus Hosu

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