Making Clone Layers

In a motion graphics project, sometimes it is necessary to reuse a complex object in other parts of the project multiple times. Although you can duplicate or cut and paste any object, if you update the original, none of the changes you make are applied to the copies. It can become a tedious and difficult management task. If you find yourself applying the same filters and masks to more than one copy of an object, you should take advantage of the Make Clone Layer command. Making clone layers has the additional benefit of improving project playback and rendering performance.

You can make clone layers out of layers, groups, particle systems, text, shapes, and replicators.

To create a clone layer
Do one of the following:
  • Select the object from which you wish to make a clone layer, then choose Object > Make Clone Layer (or press K).

  • Control-click an object in the Canvas, then choose Make Clone Layer from the shortcut menu.

  • Control-click an object in the Layers tab or Timeline layers list, then choose Make Clone Layer from the shortcut menu.

    A clone layer is created and appears in the Canvas slightly offset from the original object. In the Layers tab, the clone layer appears with the default name “Clone Layer.” A Clone Layer icon appears next to the name.

Figure. Layers tab showing a cloned layer.

The clone layer inherits the following properties from its source object at the time of its creation Rotation, Scale, Opacity, Blend Mode, and Drop Shadow. Adjustments made to any of these properties of the source object after clone layer creation do not propagate to any clone layers made from the same source object. The clone layers only inherit changes made to filters and masks in the source object.

Important: Changes to behaviors don’t propagate to clone layers, unless the behavior affects a filter or mask in the source object.

Clone layer objects can be manipulated in the Canvas and Timeline in exactly the same way as the source object.

Important: A clone layer created from retimed objects cannot have its Frame Blending parameter changed from that of the source object.

Clone Layers and Rasterization

Some operations, as well as the application of certain filters or a mask, cause a clone layer to be rasterized. When a clone layer is rasterized, it is converted into a bitmap image. The blend mode of a clone layer does not interact with objects outside of the group that contains the clone layer. In addition, a 3D clone layer is treated as a single object and uses layer order (in the Layers tab), rather than depth order when composited in the project.

For more information on rasterization and 3D Clone Layers, see About Rasterization.

Note: Cameras and lights in the project interact with clone layers.