What about replacing the "Effects Controls" panel with a "Layer Controls" panel?
This new panel would continue to 'reflect' Effect Controls from the Timeline as it does now, but it would also 'reflect' Layer Styles, Text Animators, and also Geometry Options and Material Options as well. You can toggle between controls with a new row of toggle buttons inside the panel. They'd be labeled something like fx, Ls, T and 3D. The buttons would highlight when you're in that section.
Why not? The idea already works for Effects. And I wince everytime I have to expand my Timeline in order to reach all the options for layer styles, text animators, material options, etc. etc.
What do you think?
Love the idea, but as Mylenium says, we've been begging for a non-timeline means of editing this stuff for several versions. Many of these features are prioritised by popular demand so be sure to place a feature request.
Personally, due to their position in the render pipeline, I find Layer Styles virtually useless in most of my work. I'm not prepared to precomp every line of text in a comp just to apply a drop shadow; and without precomping, the Layer Styles look awful with motion blur, and don't scale with layer transformations. And layer styles pretty much destroy 3D layer hierarchies.
So, while I think your idea is great, I would be far happier to see a more substantial overhaul that made AE more nodal - where I could drag all existing processes into any order I choose. So I could scale a layer, then add a Layer Style, then mask the layer, then add an effect etc etc, without needing a stack of precomps to achieve the result. So, using your idea, you would certainly have all options in the one "Layer Control" panel, but they'd be able to be re-ordered freely.
Wow, didn't know all that stuff about Layer Styles. I was getting ready to get to know them. I guess they were just a .psd editability gimmick.
Still think a Layer Controls panel for easier access to Text animators and 3D options would be nice.
Yes, of course. AE's whole property handling needs to be rewired to be more accessible, not just for layer styles. Complex effects with many controls are pretty nightmarish to deal with already even in teh effects control panel and anything that happens in the timelien only (layer styles, shape layers, text) is even worse. It's like you could have a 30" screen tilted on the side for portrait mode and still never will have enough space to reaveal all controls. And of course some keyboard shortcuts would help here. you know, like a simple generic one that allows hierarchy walking and untwirling controls beyond the hardwired quick-access keys for some properties...
Personally, due to their position in the render pipeline, I find Layer Styles virtually useless in most of my work.
Amen. I never use them when starting a project from scratch in AE, only when imoporting PSDs.
When layer styles help, and then seem to help some of the types of work I commonly do often I use them. Many effects work very well and have been great time savers.
Other times working without layer styles is best. It just goes to show you that there are a million ways to do basically the same thing in AE. If one way fouls up something in the render pipeline, another way can fix it. It pays to know how to use the tools.
All of that said, the original request for comments was on a better UI for these elements. For me it's a toss up. On effects that I know well and use often I seldom use the Effects Control Panel choosing to work entirely in the timeline. Less mousing around. With others the ECP is a much better option. I think Layer Effects would benefit greatly from it's own ECP....