from After Effects Help:
"Note: By default, new layers begin at the beginning of the composition duration. You can instead choose to have new layers begin at the current time by deselecting the Create Layers At Composition Start Time preference (Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) or After Effects > Preferences > General (Mac OS))."
Thanks! It's amazing what one can find by RTFM.
Also, you can drag footage onto the timeline part and - before you let go - move your mouse over the area with the CTI. You will notice that it's allowing you to place the footage anywhere along the timeline. Holding shift will let it snap to the timeline.
I use these keyboard shortcuts A LOT and highly recommend them to you.
[ (left bracket) to move the footage's inpoint to the CTI.
] (right bracket) - moves the outpoint to the CTI
alt [ (alt + left bracket) - Trims the layer's inpoint to the CTI
alt ] (alt + right bracket) - Trims the layer's outpoint to the CTI
If you edit a lot of footage these shortcuts will really speed up your workflow! No messing with prefs or dragging w/ shift.... Instead.... Drag layer onto comp. Hit [
Yes, I use a lot of shortcuts in AE and other apps in general.
And since you mention in and out points, is there a way to reset a negative in-point so it becomes the new 0:00 time? For example, if I have a layer that begins at -2 seconds and runs for 4 seconds (displaying 2 seconds with hash marks and 2 seconds without), can I change the -2 to 0, so the clip runs from 0 to 4, but without removing keyframes at the beginning?
It's not that the hash marks annoy me; it's that clips with negative time do odd things. The Help has a good explanation of changing in and out points at http://help.adobe.com/en_US/AfterEffects/9.0/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103906c6dea-7e70a.htm l, but it doesn't talk about changing negative values.