1. Layer organization
AE could take a hefty amount of influence from audio software like Pro Tools or Cubase, both with very different approaches to managing tons of layers (or tracks, as it were).
Having a designated color stretch across the entire layer, including the layer name area, would make things much easier to spot at a glance. This is something akin to Pro Tools. In Pro Tools, you can also control how much a color saturates the layer.
Conversely, more towards something like Cubase, AE could implement folder organization of layers inside of a composition. This could be a separate viewing mode from the standard top-down list of layers. Of course, we still need our regular top-down list to manage the composite.
2. Proper clip cutting
For Pete’s sake, whoever Pete is, I should be able to easily cut a clip as many times as I want, all on the same layer. Pretty self-explanatory.
3. Layer freezing
Another thing inspired by my time with audio software, where some programs have “track freezing.” To “freeze” a layer is to render it and put it into a state as if it’s a piece of footage. Here’s the great part: you can “unfreeze” the track to make changes to it, then “freeze” it again to bake/render those changes. This streamlines and simplifies the process of rendering individual layers like you can’t imagine until you actually experience it.
4. Adjust multiple keyframe values without having to have the playhead on one of them
5. Apply an animation preset with values relative to the existing values of the layer
I’ll add to this list later. Oh trust me, I will.