There are several ways to create multiple copies or duplicates of a shape or layer in After Effects, each with its own unique set of features and capabilities.
1. One method is to utilize the Repeater operator in the shape layer, which allows you to generate virtual copies of all paths, strokes, and fills above it in the same group and apply a specified transformation to each copy. While the virtual copies created by the Repeater operator are not represented as separate entries in the Timeline panel, they are still rendered in the Composition panel and can be used to create repeating patterns or duplicated elements in your compositions.
2. Another way to duplicate a layer in After Effects is to use the Puppet tool, which enables you to deform part of an image according to the positions of pins that you place and move.
By adding just one pin and duplicating the Mesh (select Mesh 1 and hit CTRL + D on Win or CMD + D on Mac), you can use the Puppet tool to create copies of a layer and modify their position, scale, and rotation under the Deform > Puppet Pin 1 option.
The Advanced Pin Type can also be used to give you more control over the duplicates, allowing you to fine-tune their appearance and movements.
3. The Clone Stamp tool is another option for duplicating layers in After Effects. This tool allows you to copy pixel values from one place and time and apply them at another place and time, either on the same layer or on a different layer in the same composition.
- To use the Clone Stamp tool, you’ll need to work inside the Layer viewer (double-click on the layer) and set the Clone Source to the desired layer. To sample pixels hold ALT on Win or Option on Mac and click on the area you want to sample. Then use the Stamp as a paintbrush in the desired location.