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Changing the default values for stroke (or any layer style) in After Effects

Community Beginner ,
Mar 13, 2017 Mar 13, 2017

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I've been searching for what I thought would be a seemingly simple solution and have not found it.

Does anyone know how to change the default values for stroke in After Effects? It's typically 3 point and red. I spend a lot of time changing it in many compositions to 5 point and black to match a corporate style. I know it's not a hard thing to change, but when you have to do it frequently, it really bogs down the creative process.

I imagine that if there is a solution to this, it's probably the same to change any of the default values for the layer styles available.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Mar 13, 2017 Mar 13, 2017
There is no such thing. This stuff is hard-coded and due to how AE inherited this stuff as sort of an afterthought from PS, the necessary infrastructure is incomplete, meaning you don't have style presets or any such thing.Mylenium

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 13, 2017 Mar 13, 2017

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There is no such thing. This stuff is hard-coded and due to how AE inherited this stuff as sort of an afterthought from PS, the necessary infrastructure is incomplete, meaning you don't have style presets or any such thing.

Mylenium

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 13, 2017 Mar 13, 2017

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The default can't be changed but AE remembers the values for the last use of the tool, so draw your initial shape and modify the values and those will be the defaults for that tool going forward.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 13, 2017 Mar 13, 2017

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That has not been my experience on any machine I've worked on. All my machines keep defaulting to 3 point, red.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 13, 2017 Mar 13, 2017

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I just re-verified the behavior of AE keeping the last values as the default for the next shape. To make sure we're talking about the same thing and procedure here's what I did:

  1. Create a new composition, using a grey background so that I can see a black stroke color
  2. Select the shape tool (Q)
  3. Set the stroke color to black and stroke width to 5 on the tools panel
  4. Draw a shape layer in the composition panel.
  5. Draw additional shapes with shape tool or pen and the stroke color is black and width is 5 by default.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 14, 2017 Mar 14, 2017

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Interesting, but doesn't work when the stroke you're creating is around a pre-existing image such as a photo. Thanks though.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 14, 2017 Mar 14, 2017

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If you're creating a stroke around a photo then this implies you're creating a mask. For masks there is no stroke width and the color of the mask is only for AE user organizational purposes rather than something that is actually rendered. By default AE cycles through colors for each new mask you create - you can change this via Edit > Preferences > Appearance, uncheck Cycle Mask Colors.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 14, 2017 Mar 14, 2017

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Sounds like you guys are talking about two different strokes.  The shape tool will remember the previous settings but if you apply a stroke via "layer styles" it is always 3 point red & like Myl said, I think this is 'hard-coded'. 

One thing you might try though is to use the stroke effect (under the "generate" effects).  From there you save an effect preset to whatever you want.  Like my Bobie used to say: "There is more than one way to stroke a cat".

~Gutterfish

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Mentor ,
Mar 14, 2017 Mar 14, 2017

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You can build your effect, stroke, preset, whatever as prototyp and copy - paste it whenever you need it.

Advanced:

Include expressions for stroke width, color and whatever you want. Point those expression to a "controller" layer (typical a null object) and control those parameters at once on one location.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 14, 2017 Mar 14, 2017

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Nice catch Gutter-Fish​. A limitation with using a stroke effect though is that it only applies to a mask. If the OP is ok with that then you've given him a good solution.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 14, 2017 Mar 14, 2017

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I fo

Horshack  wrote

A limitation with using a stroke effect though is that it only applies to a mask.

Thanks, I forgot to mention that so nice catch back at ya'.

Simply selecting the layer and hitting Ctrl+Shift+N will create a mask that fits the layer exactly (assuming it's rectangular).

The stroke effect can then be applied.

~Gutterfish

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 12, 2017 Apr 12, 2017

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Hi Buzzworthy Media,

Did you get a suitable response here? If so, please mark that one as the correct one. If you still need assistance, let us know.

Thanks,
Kevin

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 13, 2017 Apr 13, 2017

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Thanks for the reminder to mark the closest answer as correct. The banter about masks was way off the mark. It does seem that this would be an easy thing to correct for the programmers. I don't know why red was chosen as the default for this tool as it's probably the most offensive in the spectrum. I guess I'll have to put in a feature request on the Adobe website.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 13, 2017 Apr 13, 2017

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While you wait for that feature request to process, How about the suggestion you got earlier - a preset:

1. Create your desired layer style

2. Highlight it and go to animation->save animation preset. Call it a name

3. anytime you want to add it, type the name in the effects & presets panel

think of it as creating a ״style", same as you would do in photoshop. Actually, if I remember correctl,  it's only until recently that Ps remembers the last layer style used or enabled you to set another as default.

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Enthusiast ,
Apr 14, 2017 Apr 14, 2017

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Just to make up for getting off track with the discussion about masks, I wrote you a script that will enable the stroke effect for all selected layers, then change the stroke size to 5 and the color to black

Copy the following text and save it to a file named "LayerStroke.jsx". You can execute the script either by performing File -> Scripts -> Run Script File... or for faster access you can copy it to your AE scripts directory and run it via File -> Scripts -> LayerStroke

/*
LayerStroke.jsx
Author: Horshack, 04/13/17

Adds layer style "stroke" to all selected layers, then sets stroke size to 5
and stroke color to black
*/

/*
* script entry point
*/
{
    setSelectedLayersStrokeSizeAndColor([0,0,0,1] /* color: black */, 5 /* stroke size: 5 */);
}

/*
* adds stroke to selected layers, then applies specified color
* and stroke size
*/
function setSelectedLayersStrokeSizeAndColor(strokeColor, strokeSize) {

    /*
     * verify an active composition
     */
    var activeComp = app.project.activeItem;
    if (activeComp == null) {
        alert("Error: No active composition");
        return;
    }

    /*
     * verify at least one layer was selected
     */
    var countSelectedLayers = activeComp.selectedLayers.length;
    if (countSelectedLayers == 0) {
        alert("Error: No layers selected");
        return;
    }

    /*
     * apply stroke to all selected layers by invoking menu command
     * https://forums.creativecow.net/thread/227/19122
     */
    app.executeCommand(app.findMenuCommandId("Stroke"));

    /*
     * now change the stroke size and color
     */
    for (var selectedLayerIndex=0; selectedLayerIndex < countSelectedLayers; selectedLayerIndex++) {
        var layer = activeComp.selectedLayers[selectedLayerIndex];
        layer.property("Layer Styles").property("Stroke")("Color").setValue(strokeColor);
        layer.property("Layer Styles").property("Stroke")("Size").setValue(strokeSize);
    }
}

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 25, 2021 Jun 25, 2021

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There is a way to change the default Shape properties in After Effects (the 2021 version anyway). This is the Windows way.

  • Close After Effects
  • Go to your Prefs.txt
    • Windows: C:\Users\<profile>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\After Effects\<version number>\Adobe After Effects <version> Prefs.txt
  • Open Adobe After Effects <version> Prefs.txt in yout text editor
  • Do a search for "Stroke Width"
  • You'll find this chunk:
  • I changed the value of the Stroke Width here, restarted After Effects and the change was successful.

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