I have a composition "A" with subcomposition "B". When one duplicates composition "A" to "A2", then both reference to the same subcomposition "B". I need that they reference independent subcompositions. How can I achive this?

This is what I tried

  • I followed the instructions from

    • clicked Ctrl+D to duplicate Layer A and B
    • selected copy B2 and reference B from A2, clicked Ctrl+Alt+/ to replace, but didnt work ( I have a german keyboard, maybe this shortcut doesn't work, because nothing happend.)

Also I simply tried to follow Copying All Settings Of One Composition in AE by just duplicating "B" to "B2" and inserting "B2" in "A2". However I also need that "B2" has the same transform and masksettings as "B" in composition "A2". If I select the transform settings, press Ctrl+C, click on reference "B2" and press Ctrl+V nothing happens. It seems that I can't copy the settings.

I am using Adobe After Effect 2015 CC

2 Answers 2


Make all your duplications in the Project Panel, not in the Layer/Timeline panels.

Duplicate Comp A

Duplicate Comp B

Double click Comp A2 to open it in the timeline. It will still contain Comp B. We need to fix this.

Make sure Comp A2 is still open and visible in the timeline

Select Comp B 2 in the Project Panel

Select the Comp B layer in your Comp A 2 timeline

Hold down the option key on a mac (alt on a PC)

Drag Comp B 2 from your Project Panel over the top of Comp B in your timeline panel.

Let go of the dragging.

Comp B in your timeline panel should now be replaced with Comp B 2.

This is a bit of a faff, but gets easier after you've done it a few times.

  • Thank you. I think you mean "Select the Comp B layer in your Comp A2 timeline", right?
    – Adam
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 7:54
  • You’re absolutely right. Fixed it.
    – tomh
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 7:58
  • It's actually alt on a PC, it's option on a mac.
    – stib
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 6:11
  • Fixed - thanks. Always get that confused
    – tomh
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 6:43

I wrote a script to do this automagically, with the option of recursing into all the sources of the precomps, to enable totally independent versions.

Available free on my blog here. Full disclosure: the software is completely free and open source, I wrote it for my own use and don't get anything whether or not you choose to install it.

  • Unfortunately it's broken... Doesn't work in newer version. Unable to execute script at line 9. scriptName is undefined
    – jona
    Commented Jan 8 at 8:27

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