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Every piece of video software comes with a boatload of keyboard shortcuts to help speed up your workflow.  Many shortcuts are different, but there are some that are pretty consistent between different software.

Compositing Work
If your software involves some sort of Canvas (where you arrange different parts of an image), some shortcuts are pretty standard across applications like Photoshop, Final Cut, Motion, and After Effects.

  • Space Bar - Forget those Hand tools - simply hold down on the Space bar, then click and drag to move your Canvas around.  This is true in Motion, Photoshop, and After Effects - but remember, if you press the Space Bar without doing the click-and-drag, you'll start your timeline playing.

  • Shift - Think of the Shift key as the "constraint" key: it's kind of like Snapping, since it locks you into precise, pre-defined actions.
    • When you're moving something on the Canvas, holding down Shift constrains it where it only moves horizontally or vertically (and sometimes on a diagonal).
    • When you're rotating something on the Canvas, holding down Shift locks you into 45-degree increments.  This is especially useful if you want to turn something on its side or upside down: you don't have to eyeball it if you're locked in with the Shift key. 
    • When you're resizing something on the Canvas, holding down Shift normally locks the layer in to keeping the same proportions as you resize it.  In Final Cut, the opposite is true: since Final Cut keeps the proportions by default, the Shift key would release you from the proportion constraints.
  • Option (Alt) -
    • When you're moving something, holding down the Option key (before you click) usually "peels off" an exact copy of the layer you're moving, so that you're moving the duplicated layer and leaving the original layer in place.
    • When you're resizing something, holding down the Option key locks the middle of the layer in place.  It's like pulling from both corners at once.  You can use Option and Shift at the same time to resize from the middle and preserve proportions at the same time.


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