UX motion design tool AEUX offers a system for grouping and ungrouping in Ae.
Layer management in After Effects is something that’s often lamented. It may not have the same level of controls as other programs, but there are ways to manage your layers with some creative thinking and ingenuity!
One way you can do this is through grouping–which groups together all elements on one layer so they’re easier for organization purposes (elements within each group cannot be orphaned). Another option would simply make copies/duplicates until everything has been organized how we want it; then delete originals if necessary again afterward.
A new addition in version 1.05 of AEUX is called “PreComp” and “un-Precomp.” This effectively groups layers together before comping for easy editing on individual shots, instead of trying to edit them all at once with one big group. Adobe has not yet integrated the often requested layer grouping feature Sander surely has a great vision about this but until then you can get pretty close by using these steps from his tutorial video found here: