Update the way AE handles alphabetizing in the Project Window
Currently there is an unexpected behavior with how AE alphabetizes items in the project window. The addition of a character after numbers changes the order in a way that makes organization and renaming a challenge and sometimes a complete pain.
Above the dash will bring the 04- to the top. I'm told this is because numbers at the end are counted as numerals, but as soon as you add a non-number character after a number that number because a regular character. This seems to mean context plays a part in a character's value.
I would like to see all characters assigned an alphanumeric value that doesn't change based on context.
Joe Clay commented
I agree. Custom sorting would be super handy. Then I can stop putting underscores in front of main comps.
Actually what I'd love is a way to have "custom" sorting, like if the items were layers, with a simple drag and drop. Maybe this could be optionnal, on a per project basis.
This way, one could easily sort the items, keep them of top if you want, no matter how you name it.
Maybe this could also enale new stuff in expressions: we could reference a specific item given its index in the stack instead of its name, like always referencing the first one or the last one, but being able to change them easily, or do stuff depending on the order if the items and automate things with scripting, like quickly setting up a render queue taking items in a specific order, all of this with an easier way of sorting, like drag and drop, than renaming items with numbers.
Roei Tzoref commented
Please make same as windows which I think is the same as finder or any other sorting I am familiar with (like googledrive/dropbox) Or at least add an option to have it like that...
Rather than "unexpected", I think the problem here is that After Effects is using sorting rules that aren't obvious. There ARE rules, they just don't conform to your expectations. ;)
I'd like to add to this suggestion (which is good, and I did vote for it) that perhaps instead of just changing the universal sorting rules to be different, that After Effects gives you some sort of control over the sorting rules.
For example, you could choose whether or not that hyphen on the end of "04-" causes a different sorting order. The option could be called something like "names that end in numerals sort separately" or something like that. And then we can argue over whether it should be enabled by default. :P
Regardless, hopefully that clarifies that the sorting rules that After Effects uses were intentional and put there for a reason a long time ago, so if we're going to reassess those rules we should do so in a way that doesn't look archaic in another 20 years, and maybe also gives you some flexibility.
(As you think about this, I encourage you to look at how other apps with sorted lists do this. macOS Finder, Windows Explorer, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, etc. etc. What do you like about those solutions? What would you like to bring to After Effects?)