Is Your Animation Aspect Ratio Agnostic? (Free After Effects Template)

I’ve been animating since before vertical video, and I still think mostly horizontally. I probably dream in 16:9. I am good about cropping 16:9 exports to 1:1 square (for IG), but I still tend to forget to frame my work in a way that will also translate well to a vertical format. Conversely, when I’ve made vertical shorts for IG or Tiktok, I only planned them to work in a 9:16 frame — I didn’t leave anything extra that would make it easy to reframe for horizontal formats, or even square.

That’s changing on my current project. This After Effects template is inspired by a canvas I saw animator Jake Huffcutt using as he developed a short from concept to final, on A Studio Digital’s Art School stream.*

First off, if you’re using this template to reformat footage from another app (Dragonframe? Animate? TVPaint?), you’ll want to make sure that footage is at least 1920×1920 pixels.

Let’s take a look under the hood…

  1. Drop your footage (or final animation comps, if animating in AE) into “shot_SOURCE”.
  2. Check framing across multiple formats, in “shot_PREVIEW”.
  3. Open individual format comps, turn on the “shot_SOURCE”, and turn off framing guides, to export.

Formats include:
Square 1:1 1920×1920
Horizontal 16:9 1920×1080
Horizontal 4:3 1920×1440
Vertical 9:16 1080×1920

The shot_SOURCE is 1920×1920, and the PREVIEW canvas is 2000×2000 (so you can see the edges of all the format frames).

All comps are set to 24fps.

I’m using this template every day, on my current short, and I hope you find it useful too!


* Art School is a great stream. I recommend you check it out, especially if you’re interested in narrative comedy, and the nuts and bolds of planning and executing animated projects as an solo creator.