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Missing Essentials for After Effects

Unclutter your After Effects layers with Workflower.  It offers many essential missing tools for After Effects.

Annoyed by messy After Effects comps? With Workflower, you can create layer groups within your comp, as well as use other workflow-enhancing tools, like adjustment layers to selected layers only, layer cloning, or matte merging.

NEW: AE 23 Ready, ScriptUI Panel, Layer Tagging & More!

If you have questions about Workflower, please read the F.A.Q. Also, you can check out the tutorials and/or the user guide.

Notice for Mac Users & Japanese Windows Users:
There are some limitations for Mac users as well as for Japanese users on Windows. The main limitation is that you can only use a maximum of 20 shortcuts. Also, if you have shortcuts applied to other scripts, the number of shortcuts you can use for Workflower functions gets reduced as well. Read up here about the limitations. Please test out the trial first to see whether it works for you.


We’re all in a very unhealthy love-hate relationship with After Effects. We love it for how intuitive it is. We get a rush when building a beautiful shot. But then … there are precomps. And then … there are comps cluttered with too many f*cking layers. And … these GODDAMN different transforms of layers!

It could be so much simpler. Well, Workflower is here to help and it could be the perfect therapist for our relationship crisis with After Effects. But what can Workflower do for us?

Create Layer Groups

Yes, you heard right! Workflower lets you create groups of layers within your composition. Get ready to organize the hell out of your next project! But you can even do so much more than just creating groups:

  • Create Groups & Sub-Groups
  • Collapse & Expand Groups
  • Select & Move Groups
  • Parent Group Layers
  • Disable, Solo & Lock Groups
  • Relabel Groups
  • Duplicate Groups
  • Create Group Mattes
  • Adjust Group Opacity (added in v1.1)
  • Convert Groups to/from Precomps (added in v1.1)
  • Group Header trimmed to Layers (added in v1.1)
  • … and more!  Like ungrouping, dissolving, and deleting groups. Or creating a group adjustment layer.

Create Adjustment Layers Only to Selected Layers

Ever wondered why you can’t apply an adjustment layer only to certain layers? Well, me too. But wondering doesn’t apply an adjustment layer only to certain layers. Workflower does, on the other hand:

Apply Effects!

Workflower will create a layer, onto which you can apply your effects. It will then copy these effects with linked expressions to all previously selected layers.


If you add new effects, change the effects order, or link new layers to the adjustment layer, just hit Refresh to update all linked layers.

All linked up!

Visibility of effects is linked by expressions as well. Also, the adjustment layer’s opacity. Or its visibility, too. Magic! (Or just a simple expression. Probably rather the latter. I’m sad now. Say something nice to me.)

… and even more!

Use multiple adjustment layers. Convert properties of effects to comp size to account for different transforms of linked layers. Unlink all properties when you’re done working.

Clone & Precomp Layers

Well, what would cloning and precomping layers be good for, you ask. A shit-ton. You just don’t know it yet. What’s the most dreaded nightmare when working on a comp? Correct, getting stuff to comp dimensions, so that we can reference it by another layer – to build a lightwrap – or to displace our layers – or to create a matte from them. Or, or, or, … Our only option then: precomp ’em!

But what about the comp’s camera? Or the layers’ parents? Or other layers referenced by effects? Or expressions that reference the main comp but not the new precomp? And aside from that: Who likes constantly loosing layers from one’s composition and then having to dig through levels and levels of precomps just to find one layer?

Well, there might be some masochists out there. But for everyone else, there’s now: Clone & Precomp!

Clone ’em!

Clone & Precomp will copy all selected layers (or an entire group) to a precomp and link the layers with expressions to their source layers. Parents, camera, lights, and layers referenced by effects will be copied too!

Refresh Connections

If you change non-linkable stuff like adding effects, changing a parent or blending mode, or turning on motion blur, just hit Refresh to update the clone layers.

Prime Clones

In a Prime Clone, a special kind of clone, all contained source layers will be set to 0% opacity while their corresponding clone layers inherit the original opacity.
That way, you can apply effects to the precomp layer and then continue to work on the contained layers.
However, unlike working within a precomp, you will see the changes update including the effects on the precomp layer. Revolutionary! (Maybe not quite like French Revolution revolutionary. But almost.)
You can show the actual layers again, too, by executing Show Clone Layers.

Unlink it!

When you’re done working on your Precomp Clone, you can unlink all layers. That will remove the expressions and make your After Effects lightning fast! (Well, okay, so just as fast as your regular layers would be. So maybe like medium lightning speed then.)

… and mooooooore!

Like expression-linked visibility of layers and effects. Or Clones IN Comp (not Precomp ones) that require less refreshing. Or Custom States for Precomp Clone layers. Or Custom Sizes for Precomp Clones. Or other refreshing modes (even quicker ones).

Create & Merge Mattes

Matting can be quite confusing. The track matte works great. But what if you want to use multiple mattes at once? Or you want to use a matte layer that cannot sit directly above your layer? Well, there’s the Set Matte effect. But what about layers with other transforms? Or ones without Collapse Transformation? Ugh … It’s annoying. That’s why Workflower provides different tools for matting:


Now you can quickly create an empty track matte to the selected layer. Or create a matte to multiple layers at once. Neat.


Merge Mattes will merge several mattes on one track matte. For layers that neither have comp dimensions nor Collapse Transformation enabled, a Precomp Clone will be created – that way they will be fit to comp size and transforms are set correctly!! (Mind = Blown.)


Calculations effects will be added for every merged matte. That way, you easily change the blending mode (Normal, Stencil Alpha, Stencil Luma, Silhouette Alpha, Silhouette Luma), the opacity, or the order in which the mattes are applied.

New in Version 2

Almost a year in the making, Workflower 2 is finally here! It is yet again a massive update and Workflower is now featuring 2x (= 100%) the amount of (handwritten, no A.I.!!!11!11!!1!) code since version 1.0 launched. We all know everyone mostly cares about the size of the code base but for those who are also interested in the features included, here you go:

After Effects 2023 Ready

Workflower is finally After Effects 2023 compatible!
Literally hundreds of sections within the code – across matting-, cloning-, and adjustment layer-functions – had to be completely rebuilt, mostly relating to AE’s new track matte system.
But now you can take full advantage of AE’s new track matte system as well as other upcoming features (like the new 3D render engine) while at the same time enjoying Workflower’s various functions!

ScriptUI Panel

Staying true to how After Effects features are supposed to be developed, the most requested while at the same time most basic feature, took the longest to develop … But here it finally is: The option to use Workflower as a ScriptUI Panel!

The ScriptUI Panel is resizable and available in 4 different configurations:

  1. Row layout, 1 line
  2. Row layout, 2 lines
  3. Column layout, 1 column
  4. Column layout, 2 columns

You can even customize which buttons are supposed to appear on the panel!

Tag Layers & Groups

Workflower now features the ability to tag layers. That way, you can create groups of layers not bound by the layer hierarchy and perform various actions on them. You can even tag Workflower’s regular groups.
Afterwards, perform an action on a Tag Group:

  • Activate / Deactivate
  • Enable / Disable
  • Solo / Unsolo
  • Lock / Unlock
  • Select / Deselect
  • Toggle effects
  • Toggle motion blur
  • Jump to top-most Tag Group layer

Improved & Faster Matting Tools

All matting tools within Workflower have been overhauled in a major way to conform to AE 23’s Selectable Track Mattes and in turn, are easier to use and execute way faster.
Group Mattes, for example, perform many times faster now since the Group Matte only has to be calculated once, whereas, in AE 22 and below, Group Matte layers have to be applied to every group layer individually, slowing down your comp the more group layers you have.
However, now, you can add as many group layers as you want and AE will stay super fast and responsive! (Well, okay, as super fast and responsive as things were back in 2005. But that’s not my fault!)

Easier Ways to Learn Workflower

Workflower now provides various ways that help with learning Workflower.
This is especially useful for newer users. However, even older users can find it insightful since they might still learn a thing or two about the functions that way.
The new ways to learn Workflower include:

  • Extended tooltips
  • Pop-up tips when first executing a function
  • Direct links to user guide & tutorial chapters when right-clicking on a function

Double-Click to Expand/Collapse Groups

Expanding and collapsing groups never has been easier: Now you can simply double-click on a group header to expand/collapse the group!

  • Alt/Option+double-click to select
  • Shift+double-click to enable/disable
  • Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+double-click to solo

(Needs the WQ plug-in installed that can be found in the installation files.)

But wait, there’s more!

  • Relabel Keyframes using the Relabel Panel
  • Reveal ALL Opacity Properties (e.g. from Effects or other Properties) in the Timeline using Reveal Layer Opacity
  • New Functions: Trim Layer to Keyframes & to Layer
  • Precompose Super-Duper-Mega-Charged:
    • Precompose each Selected Layer, Add Handles, Adjust Duration to Layers when Leaving all Attributes, etc.
  • …and so much more!

Free Trial

There is a free trial version available which is usable for 10 days. It is almost fully functional and only has a few limitations. The following functions are deactivated:

  • Quick Refresh Connections (A faster mode to refresh Precomp Clones. However, you can still use the regular Refresh Connections function.)
  • Matted Adjustment Layers (An alternative to the Workflower’s regular Adjustment Layer to Selected Layers.)
  • Layer Storing (Often used layers can be stored and then pasted again using a shortcut. So it’s some kind of an extended clipboard. With multiple store spaces!)
  • Rename Layers by Number

Workflower is compatible with After Effects 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, CC 2019, CC 2018

It works on Windows and Mac. However, for Mac users as well as for Japanese users on Windows, there are a few limitations. Read up here for more information.

KBar Support!
As of version 1.0.4, Workflower supports the use of KBar buttons for almost all functions. Click here for instructions on how to set it up.



workflower tutorial

Constantin Maier Workflower Tutorials #gettingstarted

Here are 6 tutorials covering all the core functions of Workflower.  You don't need to watch all tutorials to get started! Simply choose what you're interested in. 


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