Welcome to Keyframe Color Labels in AE!

Adobe Employee ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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We are very happy to bring a new feature to the Beta. As of today’s build (22.5.0 Build 18) you can now color your keyframes with one of AE's label colors. This has been a huge customer request, and we know users that saw the sneak-peek at MAX have been anxious to get their hands on it.

 

Right-click on any keyframe(s), select ‘Label’, and choose the color you want assigned. You will also notice an option to ‘Select Label Group’, where you can use that color label as the basis for a selection. We have a few more features coming very soon, including scripting hooks and additional selection options. So stay tuned…

 

The new color labels led us to realize we needed a better keyframe selection UI. We wanted to allow you to see the label colors even while selected, and to make sure the selection didn’t disappear if that label was blue. This release includes the new selection UI that we would like you to experiment with. To show the difference, in the example images below I want to select the yellow keyframes, which sit next to the blue ones:

 

ChristineGoldby_0-1651860382715.jpeg

 

Give it a spin for a few days and let us know what you think. As mentioned above, we will have a few updates coming quickly so you can dig in even further.

 

Enjoy!

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Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Great feature, works like a charm! It's nice that you can pick color fast e.g. "right click" and keys "l, r" will turn selected keyframes red.

Will there be an option in the future to select keyframes by color?

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Adobe Employee ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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quote

Will there be an option in the future to select keyframes by color?

It's already there! Right-click on a keyframe > Label > Select Label Group.

This is also available under the Edit menu > Label > Select Label Group. (This Edit menu version of the Label menu is contextual, it also works if layers or project items are the active selection. So keep context in mind when you go to the Edit menu.)

 

Note that Select Label Group even works with the None label, which is the default for new keyframes. That's right, "None" is considered a label color!

 

All that said: as @Christine Goldby mentions above, we're working on some additional commands for selecting keyframes in a label group, so keep your eye out for future updates to After Effects Beta.

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Contributor ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Love it and downloading now

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Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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THANK YOU! 

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Engaged ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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I get this lovely message when trying to boot the freshly updated Beta, then it quits out. Great start!

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Adobe Employee ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Hi @jackthegiantslayer,

That looks like a possible issue with the installation. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the latest After Effects (Beta) and let us know if you still encounter that error.

 

Thanks,

- John, After Effects Engineering Team 

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Engaged ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Ugh. Just did the reinstall, and the same message as it forces the app to quit. I'm going to try to reinstall without the preferences etc retained.

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Engaged ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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And nope, just reinstalled for the third time and told it not to retain any preference etc, and I still get the two error messages shown below before it quits on me. So glad I can use the stable release predominently now.

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Engaged ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Just FYI, I am running MacOSMonterey 12.2.1 on a 16-inch Macbook Pro M1 Max with 64 GB ram.

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Engaged ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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And wow, just like that the update this morning seems to have fixed it. I wish I knew better what was going on under the hood, but I certainly do appreciate the work involved with so many possible outcomes on so many platforms.

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Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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That's why it's a Beta 🙂

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Engaged ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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Yes, and many of us have been begging for these features for upwards of 8 years, so please do continue to enlighten me.

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Contributor ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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This is awesome! 

 

Hoping we will still get the FPS up on box selecting many keyframes as well.  

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Adobe Employee ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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I presume you mean the problem where, when you select a lot of keyframes by dragging a marquee selection box around them, the After Effects UI slows down.

Unfortunately the keyframe color labels don't have any impact on this. Please rest assured that we're very aware of this problem and it's on the list for our developers working on UI infrastructure.

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Contributor ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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I was secretly hoping that "better keyframe selection UI" would kill two birds with one stone! Hopefully that UI infrastructure brings back some responsiveness! 

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Adobe Employee ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Under the hood, the keyframe icons are SVG's. To change the selection highlight we swapped out the icon files and then made a few tweaks to make sure they draw at the right position, scale, etc. Thus, none of this work touched the underlying code that needs some love to prevent the UI sluggishness when lots of keyframes are selected. Those bits are a lot more complicated and tangled up in how AE draws the entire Timeline panel, things like the CTI scrolling during playback and updating the Comp panel when you drag a keyframe.

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Contributor ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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Good to know you're aware of this. Much of my disjoy with AE stems from this. Especially when maximizing the timeline panel. It's so... urgh. Could you give any hint if this is to be expected in the foreseeable future?
BTW - MFR is fantastic! After all those years, it's finally here to stay, and the implementation seems really well done!

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Adobe Employee ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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quote

Could you give any hint if this is to be expected in the foreseeable future?

I can't give you a timeline on that right now. There are a lot of moving parts to doing this work and it's always a learning process when devs rip into fundamental code like this.

 

So for the time being I'm afraid I need to ask for your patience. Keep your eye on future public beta builds. Just know that this is a drum I've personally been banging for years and I'm very keen to see improvements happen.

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Participant ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Ramiz and everyone involved: Thank you. I love this.

To me the new selection type is actually easier to see. There is something about an outline that feels fun.

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Participant ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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I have found that sometimes when deselecting using Shift, the selection outline can be a little buggy, showing half selected keyframes. Video below.

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Adobe Employee ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Thanks for sending the video! We are aware of this bug. It's actually not a new problem with the new selection highlights. If you look very, very closely at previous versions of After Effects where the keyframe selection highlight is the blue overlay you can see it happen there as well. It's just more difficult to see due to the blue-over-gray result. The new outline highlights make it much more apparent.

FWIW, this bug only occurs on the 2nd + later selected keyframes on the same property row during a horizontal marquee drag. Dragging a marquee vertically, i.e. keyframes on multiple properties, does not induce the problem.

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Participant ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Thanks for the insight!

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Participant ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Hey Tim, by the way...

With all those changes to keyframes, are there any plans for a Keyframe object in the Scripting API? Or should we expect some labelAtTime() style method for properties?

Thank you!

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Adobe Employee ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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As @Christine Goldby mentions above, scripting hooks are being added for keyframe color labels, but that's the extent of scripting changes that we're doing right now.

We understand the desire for a cleaner scripting API for keyframes, and it came up in our discussions, but the work we're doing for keyframe color labels is very limited. To make them work we didn't need to make significant changes to how keyframes work, so while this can feel like a big shift, it's really not. It's mostly the UI + the code underneath to make that run, all on top of the existing keyframe code.

Please do file a request for a better keyframe scripting API at UserVoice, or support an idea if it's already been posted (I haven't searched to see if there is one).

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