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So I've just started using AE and was wondering what the best way to organise multiple animations was?

So in this case I have a source file (PSD with multiple layers) and I'm playing around doing different animations on the same assets. What I've been doing is dragging the PSD composition down to the timeline and just turning the visibility off on the ones I've already completed.

For this kind of thing is that okay? What about for bigger projects, would it be better to have a separate file for each animation?

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I'm happy to share my project folder structure with you. This is what I've used in my professional work for years:

After Effects folder structure

The '_main_comp' is made of the parts. As a soft rule, parts are to generally be kept to below 30s in length or a max of 100 layers. I had noticed that performance tends to drop swiftly if you have too many layers in a single comp.

For the assets, 'AI' is for Adobe Illustrator, 'PSD' is for Photoshop Document and 'AE' is for when you need to import other After Effects files into the current one.

If you are still doing a lot of experimenting, you could also add a 'TESTS' folder where you could keep them all organised. Be warned that AE's performance could also drop dramatically if your project file starts to get too bloated with assets and comps. What I would do if that happens, is to save a new version of my project and strip out anything that I think I no longer need. Though you definitely don't want to create a new file for each experiment, as there are going to be times where you want to copy/paste from one to another. Just keeping good organisation, with good naming conventions should be enough.

Using an underscore is a great way of keeping important or more commonly used things at the top of the stack.

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