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This article is on how to quickly change the transparency (also known as “opacity”) and do a fade in or fade out of a layer in After Effects. It’s super easy to do and takes only a few seconds. Here’s how:

Quickly Change Transparency of Layer in After Effects

To change the transparency of a layer in After Effects first select the layer in the Comp that you want to change. Next hit the “T” key. The Opacity property for the layer will now appear. In your mind you can remember this shortcut as “T for Transparency!” Just picture Big Bird holding up the letter T and saying that and you’ll never forget it.

(I have a toddler in case you don’t know)

Layer in after effects with Opacity property in order to change transparency in After Effects
Select the layer and hit the “T” key to bring up Opacity property

Next, where it says “100%” change that value. 0% will make the layer completely transparent. 50% will make it half transparent. To change the value you can click the 100% and while holding down the mouse, drag to the left or right. This will lower or raise the value. Or click the 100% and then you can type in a value and hit the Return/Enter key to set the value.

Enjoying this tutorial? Check out my tutorial on the simple and useful Replace Layer shortcut in After Effects

Fade In or Fade Out a Layer in After Effects

Let’s say you want to create a fade in or fade out transition in After Effects. You can use the Opacity property to do it very easily.

Fade In

To create a fade in, go to the time where you want the transition to be complete (10 frames, 1 second, etc.). In the Opacity property click the stopwatch icon next to Opacity. This sets a keyframe. The value should be at 100%. If it is not, change it to 100%.

Now move the time position indicator to the beginning of the Composition or wherever you’d like the transition to start. Change the value to 0%. A new keyframe should automatically be created when you do this.

Creating a fade in on a layer in After Effects
Click the stopwatch icon next to Opacity to set a keyframe

You’ve now made a fade in transition.

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Fade Out

To create a fade out transition find the time where you want the transition to begin and move the time position indicator to that time. Click the stopwatch icon next to Opacity if no keyframes have already been created on the layer for the Opacity property. If there are already keyframes, most likely because you created a fade in transition, then click the “add keyframe” button for the Opacity property. This is that little diamond icon all the way on the left side of the line that the Opacity property is on.

Make sure the value is set to 100% for this first keyframe. Now move the time position indicator to where you want the fade out to complete and change the Opacity property value to 0%. You’ve now made a fade out transition.


Did you enjoy this tutorial on how to quickly change the transparency of a layer in After Effects? If so, Iā€™d love to keep in touch. All you have to do is go here to stay in the loop on new blog posts, tutorials, and announcements.

ā€“ Josh