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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
In the case of our character moving around this path, she really doesn't need to rotate as she moves around. It would look weird if she did. Looking pretty good there, but in other cases, when we want to move an object along a path such as this maroon arrow at the bottom, we don't want it to keep facing to the right. We want it to orient along the direction of the path. If we click this bottom arrow, you can see the motion path I've created for this layer and we don't want it to point that way. We want it to follow, to point upwards when it's going here, and then to point downwards in the middle of the path and point back up again as it's going on its final descent into the last keyframe.
So, what we can do is we don't have to animate rotation, but we could automatically have After Effects orient this object along its path, which is just so helpful. And to do that, simply right-click on the layer and go to Transform and then go to at the bottom of this Transform menu, Auto-Orient. And what that will do is bring up this dialog box and it will allow you to change Auto-Orientation from off, its default state, to Orient Along Path. And once you click OK, it will point in the direction that it is traveling.
So, we'll go up if it's going up and down if it's going down and back up if it's going back up and sideways if it's going sideways or whatever. It's a really handy way to make directional objects look like they are pointed along the path that they are traveling.
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