AE Quicktip: Collapse Transformations

I know you’ve seen it, you’ve probably even used it a bunch of times. That little sunburst looking continuously rasterize button that makes your vector files nice and crisp. Well that’s not all that button does, it can also collapse a compositions transformations which can save you a lot of headache when working with precomps. In this tutorial we are going to show you three different examples of how collapsing transformations can make your life a little bit easier.



How it Works

When you precompose some layers, After Effects is essentially taking everything that you selected and smashing it into it’s own piece of footage. It will treat the precomp that you created just like a video clip or an image that you import into your project. Which a lot of times is just fine and isn’t a problem, but what if your working with 3d layers in After Effects? You don’t want your 3d layers to be precomposed into a flat plane. If you make 3d layers and precompose them together after effects will not know that those layers are 3d, if you make your precomp 3d it will treat it like a flat card because After Effects doesn’t care whats inside that precomp, it only sees it as a piece of footage. By pressing the collapse transformations button you are basically telling After Effects to take a look inside of that precomp to see what’s going on before rendering it in your current composition. It will look inside the precomp and see that these layers are 3d and will treat them as such.


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  • Pingback: Using and Understanding Collapse Transformations in After Effects()

  • Arush

    Thank you very much for the explanation.

  • Ellen Yarbrough

    Since updating, when I collapse transformation so that an overlay will be used in the new comp, it doesn’t work as soon as I add a wipe. Never happened before.

  • Forrest Gu

    Wow, thanks for sharing, this helps me a lot!