Fold this!

Ah, the eternal topic of "timeline folders" just got some new lumps of wood to burn on. Personally, I’ve long been an outspoken opponent of such stuff. It doesn’t resolve anything – a messy project stays a messy project no matter how you hide the ugly parts and there is this eternal discussion on the technical side. Yes, people always claim that they only want this to organize their layers, but in the long run, everybody starts to get greedy and soon enough you end up discussing group based blending modes, matting, masks and what have you. In short: It’s the story of Photoshop‘s layer groups repeating history where what started out as a means of organization, these days is a loaded feature by itself and can get you in all sorts of pinches once you actually start using it. One example being e.g. results of duplicate layer styles or blending modes looking nothing like you expected it. Not that this can’t be interesting in a way, but I’d consider it a distraction from getting work done more than anything else. That is even more so since After Effects has long had it’s own kind of groups by ways of pre-compositions and they already do all of what one possibly could want, people are just too lazy or too afraid to use them. At most, I would un-twirl the layer to peek inside as some sort of ghosted representation, but that’s not gonna be particularly useful with anything that has more than 20 layers in it which of course in itself makes my point – you’d have the same problem with group folders. Still, apparently I’m in the minority here and in the long run Adobe will probably implement it despite the repercussions because it makes a very marketable feature (if nothing else), so kinda building on that hunger, a little Swedish company has created a plug-in that mimics this in a hacky way by using the shy layer switch and setting some layer properties en masse based on a specially named "folder" layer and its position in the stack…


2 comments on “Fold this!

  1. I completely disagree. Layer Groups for organisation only work just fine in Flash. I think Photoshop’s layer groups are awesome, haven’t had a problem with them before. After Effects needs an implementation like Flashs’ at the very least. Yet to try out the new Folders Script on Windows but it looks promising.

    • Fair enough. Different tools for different people. Though as a part-time geek and someone involved with software development on many levels I cringe at such redundant stuff every time.

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