How To Set Up a Default Project Preset with Custom Settings in After Effects?

After Effects empowers you to craft stunning motion graphics and visual effects. But wouldn't it be great to streamline your workflow by starting each project with a pre-configured setup? This article delves into the world of default project presets, equipping you with the knowledge to create custom presets with your preferred settings in After Effects.

Understanding Project Presets

Project presets in After Effects act as templates containing pre-defined settings for a new project. They can encompass various aspects, including:

  • Composition Settings: Resolution, frame rate, duration, color space, etc.
  • Project Panel Settings: Default folder structure, thumbnail size, etc.
  • Guides and Rulers: Unit system, visibility settings, etc.
  • Media Cache: Location and size limitations (optional).

Benefits of Custom Presets:

  • Streamlined Workflow: Save time by starting new projects with your frequently used settings already in place.
  • Consistency: Maintain consistent project configurations across your work, ensuring a uniform look and feel.
  • Collaboration: Share custom presets with collaborators to ensure everyone works with the same project settings.

Creating a Custom Default Project Preset

Here's a step-by-step guide to creating a custom default preset in After Effects:

  1. Configure Your Project Settings: Open After Effects and create a new project. Configure all the settings you want to include in your preset, such as composition settings, project panel settings, guides and rulers, and media cache preferences (optional).
  2. Save the Project as a Template: Navigate to File > Save As Template (Windows) or File > Save Project As Template (Mac).
  3. Template Name: Choose a descriptive name for your new project template. This will help you easily identify it when creating new projects.
  4. Preset Location: After Effects suggests a default location for saving project templates. You can either accept the default or choose a custom location for better organization.
  5. Confirmation: Click "Save" to create your custom default project preset.

Setting the Default Preset:

After creating your custom preset, you can set it as the default for all future projects:

  1. Preferences Panel: Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or After Effects > Preferences (Mac).
  2. General Tab: In the Preferences window, navigate to the General tab.
  3. Default Project Template: Under the "Project" section, locate the "Default Project Template" dropdown menu.
  4. Select Your Preset: Choose your newly created custom preset from the dropdown menu.
  5. Confirmation: Click "OK" to confirm the new default project preset.

Additional Considerations and Tips

  • Multiple Presets: Consider creating multiple project presets for different project types (e.g., one for social media videos, another for high-resolution presentations).
  • Sharing Presets: Share your custom presets with collaborators by copying the template files from their saved location and distributing them within your team.
  • Third-Party Tools (Optional): Explore third-party plugins that offer additional functionalities for creating and managing project presets in After Effects.


By creating custom default project presets, you can significantly streamline your After Effects workflow. Having your preferred settings pre-configured saves time, ensures consistency across projects, and fosters collaboration by providing a standardized starting point for your team. So, take control of your project setup and unleash your creative potential with custom default project presets!

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