Taming Time: A Guide to Resetting Keyframes in After Effects

After Effects, a cornerstone of motion graphics, relies heavily on keyframes to define animation. These markers dictate the property values of a layer over time. However, working with keyframes can sometimes lead to unwanted results or a cluttered timeline. This comprehensive guide will explore various methods for resetting keyframes in After Effects, empowering you to maintain control over your animation timeline.

Understanding Keyframe Resets

Before diving into specific techniques, let's establish the different scenarios where resetting keyframes might be necessary:

  • Accidental Keyframe Creation: You might have accidentally created a keyframe by simply modifying a property value. Resetting that keyframe removes the unnecessary marker, returning the property to its pre-animated state.
  • Incorrect Keyframe Values: Perhaps you've set a keyframe with an unintended value. Resetting allows you to adjust the property and create a new keyframe with the desired value.
  • Cluttered Timeline: A large number of keyframes can make the timeline difficult to navigate. Resetting keyframes can help simplify the animation by removing unnecessary markers.
  • Returning to Default Animation: In some cases, you might want to completely remove the animation and start fresh. Resetting keyframes achieves this by returning all properties to their un-animated states.

Resetting Individual Keyframes: Surgical Precision

After Effects offers several ways to reset specific keyframes, depending on your needs:

  • Delete Keyframe Button (Diamond Icon): This is the simplest method. Click directly on the keyframe you want to remove on the timeline. A small diamond icon represents each keyframe. Clicking it deletes that specific keyframe.
  • Clear Keyframe Menu (Property Menu): Navigate to the dropdown menu associated with the specific property (e.g., Position, Opacity). Within the menu, you'll find a "Clear" option followed by a submenu listing animation types (e.g., Clear All Keyframes, Clear Value Keyframes). Choose the appropriate option to target specific keyframes.
  • Keyboard Shortcut (Delete Key): This keyboard shortcut offers a quick way to delete a keyframe. Select the keyframe on the timeline and press the "Delete" key.

Pro Tip: Hold down the "Shift" key while clicking on keyframes to select multiple keyframes for simultaneous deletion. This is useful for quickly removing unwanted clusters of keyframes.

Resetting All Keyframes: A Clean Slate

If you want to remove all keyframes associated with a layer or property, here's how:

  • Clear Keyframes Menu (Property Menu): Navigate to the dropdown menu associated with the specific property. Within the menu, choose "Clear" followed by "Clear All Keyframes." This removes all keyframes for that property.
  • Timeline Panel Menu (Right-Click): Right-click directly on the layer or property name in the timeline panel. A context menu will appear. Choose "Clear Keyframes" to remove all keyframes associated with that layer or property.

Important Note: Resetting all keyframes completely removes the animation. Make sure this is your intended outcome before proceeding. Consider using the "Copy Keyframes" and "Paste Keyframes" functions if you want to back up your animation before resetting.

Restoring Default Animation: Back to Basics

In some cases, you might want to completely remove all animation from a layer and return it to its default state. After Effects offers a dedicated option for this:

  • Layer Menu > Transform > Reset Transform: Navigate to the "Layer" menu, select "Transform," and then choose "Reset Transform." This removes all keyframes associated with that layer, effectively resetting all properties to their default values.

Advanced Technique: After Effects allows you to reset animation only for specific properties. By holding down the "Alt" (PC) or "Option" (Mac) key while selecting "Reset Transform," you can choose which properties to reset from a pop-up window.


By mastering the art of resetting keyframes in After Effects, you gain control over your animation timeline. From removing individual keyframes to resetting entire layers or properties, the techniques explored in this guide empower you to refine your animation workflow and achieve the desired results. Remember, choosing the appropriate reset method depends on your specific needs. So, experiment, reset with confidence, and keep your animations looking polished!

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