this is a beginners question - i was just wondering if its possible to work in two layers at a time in AE
my impression is i either work in Composition or in Layer,
I would like to move a set of dots (circles) according to a certain pattern and i need to be able to see that pattern when i move the dot,
but when i am in layer i only see that layer and can not relate to the whole picture!?
Yes, you can work with multiple layers in AE. Although, I'm not sure I completely understand your question.
A composition can have numerous layers. I would put the pattern in a comp, then another layer on top with the dots. Lower the opacity on the dots so you can see the pattern. Animate, then change the opacity back to 100%. If the dots move independantly, put them on separate layers.