A conversation sparked today on Twitter about how After Effects could better handle organization in the timeline. The idea of folders comes up frequently, but seems to consistently be struck down as it would introduce a lot of complexity into the render order. But what if we don’t look at folders in the timeline as additional layers, but simply organizational tools in the UI that don’t affect the render order at all?

How folders in the AE timeline might look.

In this mockup, a folder is just a collapsable element to easily group sets of adjacent layers in the timeline only. They could be hidden, soloed, or locked, but have no transform capabilities, nor can they have effects or transparency modes applied to them. Think of it as a much more granular shy switch.

Now, this might not fit the use case for everyone’s timeline management, but better control over timeline organization seems to be something many are asking for.

What would you like to see change in After Effect’s timeline, or the application as a whole?