How to Crop in After Effects: Easy Tutorial

By Tata Rossi 16 days ago, Software reviews

Whether you're working on a custom aspect ratio project or social media content, it's helpful to know how to crop in After Effects. If you're going to resize a video, crop its edges, or remove unwanted black bars, you can directly crop a video in After Effects without using a third-party tool. Follow the steps described below.

Method 1. Crop The Entire Composition

After Effects not only allows creating animations and using numerous effects in high-quality clips but also cropping media files. Although it doesn’t have a familiar Crop Tool, you can use at least 2 ways to crop a video: an entire area or a separate layer.

STEP 1. Open Video File

Launch Adobe After Effects and find File on the top menu bar, then Import, and select the “File” import type.

crop in after effects opening

STEP 2. Select ROI Tool

Drag the imported video to a New Composition field in the center of the screen. To crop in After Effects, find the Region of Interest (ROI) button, which looks like a small box in a big box, at the bottom of the Composition panel.

crop in after effects roi tool

Tip: The ROI tool allows you to focus on a smaller part of the frame, so the rendering speed of your PC will increase.

STEP 3. Select Area of ROI

Click and drag the borders of the frame to select the area you want to retain, and you will see a white box with markers around the chosen part. You can toggle the visibility of the ROI by simply releasing the ROI button.

crop in after effects selecting

Tip: If you are not sure about the correct location of the field, you can adjust the edges by dragging the markers even after defining the needed area, or you can manually set the boundaries.

STEP 4. Crop to ROI

Choose Composition from the menu bar, then “Crop Comp to Region of Interest”, which will automatically crop your composition to the chosen region.

crop in after effects cropping to roi

Tip: If you don’t want to set the exact parameters of your cropped composition, navigate from Composition to Composition Settings (by using the Command + K key combination) and enter the values in the window manually.

STEP 5. Export Cropped Video

From the File menu go to Export and choose the most convenient option for exporting video. Depending on your choice, press the Render or OK button to complete the video cropping process in After Effects.

crop in after effects exporting

Tip: If you have Adobe Media Encoder installed on your PC, you can export the video as an MP4 file, by choosing “Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue” and H.264 in the drop-down Format list.

After Effects is a professional video compositing program, so you can face sime difficluties while mastering it. If you want to make basic edits,overlay or clean up audio, apply multi-level effects or color grading, use the After Effects alternative or contact a professional video editing service.

Method 2. Crop a Specific Layer

The other way of how to crop in After Effects, which is quite convenient when the video consists of several layers, is to mask directly on the layer. This option is very handy when you need to crop a video element with an irregular shape. Using different blend modes (Add by default), you can take advantage of a variety of cropping options.

STEP 1. Select the Layer to Crop

Open a video and choose the necessary layer from the available ones on the left of the timeline, then switch to Shape Tool (for rectangular or shape masking) or Pen Tool (for irregular shape).

crop in after effects shape tool

Tip: When creating mask or shape layers in AE, it is important to remember that if a layer is selected, you create a mask, if not selected, you create a shape layer.

STEP 2. Create a Mask

Create a mask of the required shape around the part of a video you are going to crop. If it has a standard rectangular shape, choose Shape Tool, then click and drag to the required dimensions. Click on some part of the screen to quit the cropping mode or press Enter or Return.

crop in after effects mask creating

Tip: If you are not sure about the correct shape of the mask, you can customize it at any stage.

STEP 3. Delete the Mask

After selecting the mask on the timeline, you can delete it to restore the full image by activating the appropriate command or even clicking the Delete button. Then take the necessary fragment of a video.

crop in after effects mask deleting

Tip: The easiest way to find a mask to remove it is to choose the layer on the timeline and press the U button to make all the changed properties visible, or press the M button for displaying path masks.


vfx overlays for after effects

Video overlay is applied to a video to achieve a special effect of smoke, old film, or digital noise. Overlays are popular not only among video videographers, mainly because they are fairly easy to use.

They are available in MP4 format and you can apply them using both mobile devices and professional programs. As video editing is quite a creative process, we recommend you extend your collection with special effects from FixThePhoto.

F. A. Q.

  • • How do I crop any side of a frame to change its aspect ratio?

Find Crop Edges on Effects and Presets panel to apply the preset from 4 Linear Wipe effects to the layer and optional master controller for these effects.

  • • How do I crop all 4 frame borders independently?

When using Crop Edges, go through and remove all the preloaded expressions to achieve individual control over all four borders and trim them independently.

  • • Do you know the easier way for cropping a video?

Even the best free video converters can handle simple video cropping. The functionality of these programs allows cropping clips, dividing them into segments, merging several files into one in just a few steps.

  • • Why does a video have black edges after cropping?

It is likely that after cropping, the horizontal and vertical size of your video turned out to be non-standard or incompatible with your media player. We recommend choosing a standard square pixel HD when processing your video files.

  • • Why does my version of After Effects lack the Crop Comp to Region of Interest tool?

As part of the composition panel, Region Of Interest control was introduced in After Effects CC 2014, so you should update After Effects free.