After Effects Project Organisation

While working at the white-hot coal face of After Effects, I find that I am often asked by wide-eyed youngsters, just how I do I organise my projects? (NB; a complete lie).

Being organised is important! As an After-Effects-er, you’ll find yourself dealing with so many files and comps flying around, that it pays to be a bit anally-retentive with your project management. Everyone has their own preferred method in organising their projects, so use what works best for you. The important thing is to be consistent, and to label everything as clearly as you can. This can save your brain from imploding later on.

When I start a new project, the first thing I usually do, is set up a folder structure, like this;

How I like to organise my After Effects project window

I’ll set up 3 main folders, and I number them, so they appear in the order I want to see them.

01_OUT
This is where comps for rendering go. I usually put my main comp inside a container comp, with the appropriate shot name and number. This is so I can seperate my working comps from my render comps. It’s my After Effects equivalent of a Nuke “Write” node.

02_WORK
This is where all my working comps go. The main comp will usually go into the root of this folder, and then all the nested comps below that will go into a sub-folder, imaginatively named “subComps”.

03_IN
This is where all my imported assets and footage gets stashed, to keep them seperated from my working comps, and my renderable comps. Within this folder I’ll usually organise assets into contextually relevant sub-folders, eg; ‘Audio”, “PSDs”, “3d_renders”, etc.

That’s all! I’ll try and think of something a bit more exciting to write about for my next post… 😐

One thought on “After Effects Project Organisation

  1. Thanks, it’s very interesting.

    I use the reverse order. The IN is “0”, and the Output is the higher number.
    Each comp have a number. If they use only imported assets and footage it’s “1”. If they use one composition with a “1” it’s “2”, etc.

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