Composition Panel

After Effects Composition Panel

The composition panel is where you preview a comp. Changes made in the timeline are shown here, as well as extra information such as masks, motion paths, etc.

You can also perform certain tasks directly in the window; for example, moving items around or setting coordinate points for effects.

The top of the panel includes the standard CS3 panel features such as a drop-menu for different files, handles for moving the panel, and the flyout menu.

The buttons along the bottom of the panel are described below.

Always preview this view
Use this viewer as the preview, even when changing settings in other panels.
Magnification ratio
Adjusts the zoom level of the image. This only affects your view, not the actual size of the composition.
Note: You can also use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
Choose grid and guide options
Add and remove guides such as grid, safe areas, etc.
Toggle mask and shape path visibility
Show or hide masks and shape paths.
Current time
Shows the current time position, and allows you to jump to a specified time.
Take snapshot
Takes a snapshot of the current view so you can compare different views.
Show last snapshot
Click and hold to see the last snapshot
Show channel
Show individual color channels (as grayscale) or the alpha channel.
Resolution/Downsample factor
Adjusts the resolution of the preview. This does not affect the composition itself, only the preview image. If your computer is struggling to keep up with previews, reducing the resolution can help.
Region of interest
Allows you to create a region of the image to work on. When activated, only this region is visible — the rest of the image is black. This is useful when you are only working on a small part of the image because the rest of the frame doesn't have to be rendered.
Toggle transparency grid
Turns the checkered transparency grid off and on for transparent areas.
3D view
For working with 3D compositions.
Select view layout
Select the type of view for 3D work.
Toggle pixel aspect ratio correction
Adjusts the preview to compensate for non-square pixels used in some video formats.
Fast previews
Select different preview modes to reduce rendering requirements and work faster.
Brings the timeline for the current comp into focus.
Comp flowchart view
Shows the flowchart view.
Reset exposure
Cancels any adjustments made to the preview exposure.
Adjust exposure
Adjust the preview exposure. This changes the exposure of the preview but does not affect the final output (to do that, use the Exposure effect).