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Positioning layers with snapping

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Positioning layers with snapping

Now, in order to best understand how No.

Positioning layers with snapping

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.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 55652 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects
      59s
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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