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Change layer stacking order

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Bailey KalestiChange layer stacking order
by on Feb 23, 2010 at 7:08:03 pm

I would like to know how to change the layer stacking order in After Effects (I have CS4). I have a few hundred layers (a lot, I know), and I would like to order them alphabetically. I am looking to select layers with a certain name, and doing so alphabetically seems like a good choice.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Change layer stacking order
by on Feb 23, 2010 at 7:29:25 pm

I don't know of any automatic way to do it, because all too often making wholesale, arbitrary changes to the layer order is the AE equivalent to shooting yourself in the foot. But You can do this:
  • Duplicate the project for safety's sake, and open the duplicate project
  • Duplicate the comp in question TWICE: once for safety's sake, and once to make a "target" comp
  • Open the "target" comp and delete all the layers
  • Open the comp in question and select layers IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER. Be very careful: it's easy to have Homer Simpson "Doh!" episodes doing this. Select ten or so and cut.
  • Open the "target" comp and paste the layers.
  • Repeat the process until done.

There may be a script that does this, but unless your footage has file names that will alphabetize the way you want, I wouldn't use it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Todd KoprivaRe: Change layer stacking order
by on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:11:54 pm

Dave alluded to this, but I'll say it outright: You probably shouldn't alphabetize your layers. Changing the layer stacking order is not something that you do arbitrarily. The layer stacking order determines the render order. You change the layer stacking order to make functional changes to how your composition looks.

That said, see "Change the stacking order for selected layers".

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
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