after effects Tutorial

After Effects: Simple Tips for Compositions and Master Files

Eden Gose
|4 min read
Written by Eden Gose



Hello and welcome to a super-accessible After Effects tutorial where Eden Gose shows you how to ace the art of composition setup within a master file. She also shares an incredibly easy method for adding a slight camera pan to your composition—sans the camera tool! This guide is perfect for beginners and pros alike, offering a straightforward approach to creating a cohesive project. Eden's tutorial makes it easy to incorporate these techniques into your workflow, regardless of your experience level.

Setting Up Your Workspace

Organizing Compositions

  1. Initial Preparation: Before diving into the technicalities, Eden emphasizes the importance of organization. She recommends creating individual compositions for each scene you plan to include in your final project.
  2. Master Composition: Create a 'Master Comp' where all your individual compositions will eventually live. This prevents your workspace from getting cluttered.

Why Is This Important?

By organizing your compositions, you can focus on each scene individually without getting overwhelmed. This approach not only makes the process more manageable but also allows for greater creative freedom.

Setting Duration

  1. Customize Time: Eden advises setting the duration for each scene according to your project's needs. For her example, most compositions last for about five seconds.
  2. Fade-In Feature: If you're planning to use background music, like Eden's soft piano score, consider adding a fade-in effect to make the transitions more fluid.

The Kitchen Composition: A Case Study

Creating a Null Object

  1. What is a Null Object?: In After Effects, a null object is essentially an invisible layer that you can create and manipulate like any other layer, but it doesn't render when you export the project.
  2. Adding a Null Object: Navigate to Layer > New > Null Object in your 'Kitchen Comp.'
  3. Renaming: Eden suggests renaming the null object to something easily identifiable, like "Scene Mover."

Parenting Layers

  1. Link Layers: To make the manipulation easier, Eden advises parenting all the layers you want to move to the null object.
  2. How to Parent: Simply use the pick whip tool or the drop-down menu to parent your layers to the 'Scene Mover' null object.

Expert Tip

Parenting layers to a null object streamlines the process, allowing you to move multiple layers simultaneously by just altering the null object.

Subtle Camera Panning Without the Camera Tool

Scaling and Positioning

  1. Increase Scale: Eden increases the scale of her 'Scene Mover' null object to 110% to allow room for panning.
  2. Initial Position: Position the scene to one side of the frame as a starting point.

Keyframing the Pan

  1. Start Keyframe: Create a starting keyframe by clicking the stopwatch next to 'Position' in the null object.
  2. End Position: Drag the timeline cursor to the end and adjust the position so that the scene pans across the frame.


Eden wants her pan to be slow to match the tempo of her soft piano background music, so she keeps the movement minimal.

Bringing It All Together

Adding to Master Comp

Once you've created individual compositions, simply drag them into your 'Master Comp.' This is where you line up all the scenes, add transitions, and any other effects you'd like.

Final Showcase

To wrap things up, Eden plays her project once more to show the subtle yet effective techniques she's employed. The result is a beautifully composed and cohesive project that anyone can replicate.


And that’s a wrap! Eden’s tutorial is a testament to the power of simplicity. Her straightforward approach demystifies the complexities of After Effects, making it accessible for users of all experience levels. So go ahead, give these techniques a try and bring your compositions to life with that professional touch!


after effects
motion design
Eden Gose

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