Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Now, in order to best understand how snapping works inside of After Effects, we're going to be working primarily in a blank composition with new elements that we're creating. But before we do that, we need to go to the Composition panel and do a little bit of housekeeping. Make sure the AAA Compositions folder is open and click and drag on the top precomp and drag it down to the New Folder icon. And we can go ahead and call the new folder Pre-Comps. Okay, great. Now just go ahead and double-click on the p\Positioning composition to open that comp. And make sure that your magnification is set up at 100%.
Now let's add a new shape and some text to the scene. Go to your Shape tools. I'm going to click and hold and make sure that I have the Ellipse tool selected. Yours may be the Rectangle tool, but I'm going to go ahead and choose Ellipse. Click and drag on the left side of the Composition panel and hold down Shift, after you start to drag to create a perfect circle. Now grab the Text tool, and with text active, it'll choose whatever type face or font you had most recently selected. So mine's sent to Helvetica at 130 pixels. You could choose whatever size or type face you want.
So, I'm going to go ahead and type the word SNAPPING in all capital letters, and then go ahead and grab my Selection tool. Now, Snapping doesn't work by default, you need to either toggle it on or off, or enable Snapping. Now to toggle, you can use the Cmd key on the Mac, or Ctrl on windows. And then just click and drag. I'm clicking and dragging on the left side of my word, and dragging over. And now notice it's snapping right to the circle. Now instead of just toggling, let's go ahead and enable Snapping. You can enable Snapping as long as you have the Selection tool or the Pan Behind Tool selected.
So let's grab our Selection tool here, and enable SNAPPING. Now another level of control depends on where you click on the object that you're going to move. So for example, if I click up here towards the center point of my layer, notice I'm getting this extra square around that anchor point. That's now going to be the new snap point. If I click here in the upper left, you get the idea. It's very straightforward. Now notice when I snap to the circle, it's snapping to a bounding box around the circle, but not the circle itself. Okay.
If I I need to actually snap to the edge of a circle, I need to create a different kind of circle. Let's go up under Layer, and create a New Layer Solid. So I'm going to go up under Layer > New Solid, and I'll choose kind of a dark green color here and click OK. Make sure it's the comp size and click OK. Now let's go back to our Shape tools, grab our Ellipse tool and since we have Layer one selected, when we click and drag, it's just going to go ahead and mask off that shape. Now, in order to Snap our text to this layer, all we have to do is go back and grab our Selection tool, grab our snapping text layer and just drag it over towards the shape.
And now notice it will Snap to the edge of the mask. Now what if I want to orient this type to the top edge of this shape, but maybe over here? Well, I can't really do that. It's sort of hard to do, but there is an option for snapping here that'll snap edges extending beyond the layer boundary. So let's go ahead and label that, and then click and drag. And notice now when I go over here to the left, or even when I go to the right, I get this cool little dotted line letting me know that I'm snapping along that edge.
Now snapping also works in 3D, provided that all the layers that you're trying to snap together are in 3D space. So let's enable 3D for our Shape Layer one and our SNAPPING text layer. Now when I go to snap, notice it will snap right here to my other 3D layer, but when I got back over to my 2D layer, it won't snap. So when you have 3D enabled and you're using snapping, just make sure that the elements you want to snap together are all living in 3D space. What if an element has been precomposed? Well, let's see what happens. I'm going to select my Shape layer here.
Go up under Layer and choose Precompose. Now you can name it whatever you like, and just click OK. Now if I grab my SNAPPING text layer and try to snap it, it's not going to snap to either of them. Well what happens if I go ahead and enable 3D for my precomposition? Will it snap? No. Well, what we need to do, is go up here in my Snapping options and click this second option. This will allow snapping for pre-compositions, as long as the pre-comp has Collapse Transformation selected.
So I'm going to go ahead down to layer three here and click on this Collapse Transform option, the second button here. Now, when I click and drag, it's going to go ahead and snap to the edges of the bounding box, just like it did previously before I had pre-composed this individual layer. So when it comes to snapping, you want to make sure that you're actually working in the same planes, whether it's 2D or 3D, and then you want to pay special close attention to how an object is built, whether it's a shape layer or whether it's a layer with a mask.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
110 Video lessons · 55652 Viewers
93 Video lessons · 20047 Viewers
79 Video lessons · 17786 Viewers
81 Video lessons · 64509 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.