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Using ‘Convert to Layered Comp’ in After Effects


Easily convert footage PSD files into useable composition layers using this quick After Effects tip.

One of the coolest features in After Effects is the cross-compatibility with other Adobe programs. Specifically, the cross-functionality between After Effects and Photoshop is incredibly handy. In this quick tutorial, I’ll show you how to convert PSD footage layers into layered compositions in After Effects. This same technique can also be used to convert PSD text into editable text in After Effects. Let’s begin.

Step 1: Select PSD Layer

Using 'Convert to Layered Comp' in After Effects: Step 1

Select the PSD layer which you wish to convert to a composition. This process only applies to PSD layers that have been imported as footage. If you have already imported your PSD as a composition, you can simply skip to step 4 if necessary.

Step 2: Convert

Using 'Convert to Layered Comp' in After Effects: Step 2

With your PSD selected, navigate to Layer>Convert to Layered Comp. Or you can simply right click on the selected layer and select Convert to Layered Comp.

You will immediately see the new composition pop up in your project panel. In your current composition you will now see that your layer has been replaced with a composition. Note: This method does not change all of the PSDs in your composition unless you have all of the Photoshop documents selected.

Step 3: Open Composition

Using 'Convert to Layered Comp' in After Effects: Step 3

You can now open up the new composition and adjust the individual layers as needed. You can still add effects, transfer modes and keyframes like you would to any other layer.

(Bonus) Step 4: Convert Text

Using 'Convert to Layered Comp' in After Effects: Step 4

If you want to convert text from a PSD into editable text in After Effects, simply select your text (it should have a PSD logo next to it in your composition), right click, and select Convert to Editable Text. Your PSD text should now be a text layer in After Effects.