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I was wondering if its possible to prerender a composition 100% in-file (NOT prerendering out then bringing back in).

Prerender might not be the best word - I'm essentially looking to do what rasterize does to a smart object in Photoshop. I want to take the output as is and make it so if I change any of the compositions inside the to-be-prerendered comp, the output DOES NOT reflect those changes.

It would take the comp and turn it into non-editable footage.

If anything like this is possible, please tell me how! I can't just pre-render normally and bring it back in due to storage limitations - if what I'm describing doesn't exist I'll have to find another way

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If you want instant access to a baked version of a comp, it has to be stored somewhere - either in memory or on disk. The former will limit your computing performance (eventually), and the latter needs storage space.

The third way is to duplicate the comp, including all precomps and bring in the duplicated comp as a base layer to the original comp. Since the duplicate won't refer to the original layers, it'll serve as a reference. A script to do this is True Comp Duplicator.

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I know this is an old post, but for whoever ends up here and doesn't know the answer; use proxies. They are lowres prerenders that you can toggle on and off, thus taking less space in your hard drive and increasing performance. Just right click on a comp in the projects panel and select "Create proxy/movie". Hope that helps!

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