For those of us working daily in After Effects, we're always keeping an eye out for handy tips, scripts and plugins that make our lives easier and frankly, faster - because time is money, especially when you're freelance. I had been using FT Toolbar from aescripts for several years now and have loved the ability to have expressions, effects and the like right where I'm working, just a click away without having to dig through menus or bother with search terms for those oft-used items.
Couple that with the fact that I am a very visually oriented person (guess I picked the right career path) and this tool spoke to me visually, being able to customize the palette with your own icons making it very intuitive and personal.
Well now there's a new kid on the block in the name of KBar. Essentially it performs the same function but it's more of a 2.0 version of FT Toolbar (it appears FT Toolbar isn't being supported anymore given that the last update was 2016).
Just as in FT Toolbar, KBar is highly customizable, allowing you to create just about any command and have it easily accessible with one click. The setup is very easy and the ability to create your own buttons makes it very personalized.
In the image above you can see the menu bar I created for my uses. (Available in the download below). I color coded Effects (green), expressions (blue) and Scripts and Extensions (red). I didn't want a lot of text cluttering up the interface so I tried to make the images make some sense to me but you quickly get used to what button serves what function and if you're really stuck, hover over and you will see a description. Below is a description of each button.
Of course you need to have the plugin or effect installed that a particular button is calling for and in the case of scripts, you may have to go into settings and direct it to your script folder.
KBar also allows you to have multiple Menu bars so in addition to the main one above which features my personal go-to effects and commands, I created an Expression Menu...
...and a Scripts Menu...
Feel free to download my Icon pack with my KBar Menu that you can import by selecting Import toolbars from the setting menu of KBar.
You may find you don't have all of the scripts plugins or extensions that are featured but you can edit this toolbar to suit your needs. As time becomes available I will make more icons based on users requests and create additional free packs.
I'm sure it goes without mentioning that this pack does not include KBar itself, just my toolbar you can import and the icons you can use for it. Go to AEScripts and pick yourself up a copy of this awesome script!