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What file size are you concerned with, Mike? The AE project file size is unlikely to double because of duplicate source files (and even if it doubled, the size of the project file is unlikely to be an issue, right?), and the size of the resulting video file you render is not affected in any way by the files you imported.
In any case, you can select the Comps you are using in the current project and go to File > Reduce project. AE will remove items (duplicate or not) which are not being used in the selected Comps. Would that help?
.aep file size is an issue for e-mailing, and project organization is an issue for sharing the .aep among collaborators. I would like my project folder to not have redundant entries and be easily interpretted by other collaborators.
An example of what I am talking about is this:
Comp_2.aep wants to add animation already created in Comp_1.aep that is using Image1.png
Image1.png is already in Comp_2.aep for a different piece of animation.
I import Comp_1.aep into Comp_2.aep and with that I get a double entry of Image1.png.
Now on this small scale it's not a problem, but when you have projects with multiple comps referencing hundreds of images you can see how this can get a bit messy and unnecessarily big. Is there a good way to deal with this?Maybe I should import what I need differently?