New to After Effects!

I'm following a tutorial and I don't quite understand the function of the stopwatch icon.My understanding at this stage is in order for an action/animation to happen a keyframe is needed and to activate the action you need to click the stopwatch icon to the left of that action.

In the tutorial a repeater gets added to the shape so that multiple copies of it get created making this startburst effect coming out from a centre position. For these repeater actions however the stopwatch doesn't get clicked and there appears to be no keyframe but it still seems to work? I am wondering maybe since keyframes have been created for the size and position of the original shape the copies don't need to?

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  • please add a link to the tutorial if you can
    – tomh
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 10:20

1 Answer 1


From your screen shots, I would guess that 13 copies of the original object are being made, but they are all hidden exactly on top of each other originally before the movement starts.

The size and position keyframes are (I think) moving the position of the shape away from its origin point, which causes the 13 copies all to move relatively away from each other when those numbers are no longer zero.

Below is an example- I've added a shape. I've offset its position within the shape settings itself, not the transform position. Then added a repeater to make 13 copies. I've set a rotation in the repeater settings. When you adjust the position control inside the shape to zero, all the shapes pull into the central position to make a star burst effect.

This is because each repeat shape is made relative to the shape before it.

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