Competitor software can put multiple footage in the same layer. I think this is Pinnacle, but I've seen this also in Magix (I am not a professional, this is the kind of consumer software I've used in the past):


Instead, it appears this is not possible in After Effects. Am I wrong? Is there a way to do this? As a result, nearly half of what I have on my screen is just gray lines. Either that or endless mouse wheel scrolling. I have over 5 million pixels on my screen, but they are just used for gray. I think this is horrible UI, and I'm looking a way to improve my user experience. What are my options?

after effects' horrible UI

This is totally making me go cross-eyed and giving me headaches. I just can't believe this is what you folks have to deal with. There's got to be a better way. Thank you.

P.S. I cannot pre-compose otherwise I lose the ability to snap. Tried that – didn't work for me. Any suggestion?

2 Answers 2


Video editing (cutting) is best done with Premiere Pro and animation with After Effects. Both are complex software tools that require lots of training. You should invest more time in training or maybe choose different products, if they simply don't fit to your style of working.

Create a sequence in Premiere where you can easily have as many clips in a track as you want. Create a new sequence where you insert this sequence (this is called nested sequence). Then right click on the inserted sequence and select Replace With After Effects Composition. When After Effects opens you will see that you get a composition with only one layer.


After effects isn't an editor, so it's a bit of a pain if you try to treat it like one.

But there are ways to reduce the pain if you have a lot of clips:


I know you said you don't want to use them, but this is often the most useful solution, as it reduces many layers to a single nested layer. If you need to snap to specific items in your outer comp - copy them inside, and set them as Guide Layers (Menu --> Layers --> Guide Layer). This will make any Guide layers with this logo guide invisible when you render that comp, or any outer comps, but you can still see them in the viewer, and still use them for timings.

Shy layers

You can checkbox any layers you don't need to use often as "Shy" layers by using this icon next to your layer shy This means that you can hide them in your layout by pressing the bigger version of that icon: shybig, but they will still render on screen and in your render.

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