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The power of parenting

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: The power of parenting

When you need to create an animation where elements in the scene interact with each other, you'll need to know about Parenting. With Parenting, you can have one layer take control over any other layer in your composition or even groups of other layers in your composition. In After Effects, Parenting is kind of fun because layers actually get to choose their own parents, imagine that. So let's look at the animation we're going to create today. In the Parenting Animation composition, go ahead and scrub in the timeline by clicking on the current plan indicator. Here, we can see we've got an H and a plus rotating to meet the word sport.

The power of parenting

When you need to create an animation where elements in the scene interact with each other, you'll need to know about Parenting. With Parenting, you can have one layer take control over any other layer in your composition or even groups of other layers in your composition. In After Effects, Parenting is kind of fun because layers actually get to choose their own parents, imagine that. So let's look at the animation we're going to create today. In the Parenting Animation composition, go ahead and scrub in the timeline by clicking on the current plan indicator. Here, we can see we've got an H and a plus rotating to meet the word sport.

And it looks like from about frame 12 to frame 20. That, it's the plus layer that's controlling the H layer. That was made possible through good parenting. So, let's go ahead and practice by jumping into our Parenting_Start composition. Now, if you remember, it was frame 12 where the rotation started to happen. So of course, let's start at frame 12. Now, we need to specify the parent-child relationship between our h layer and our Plus layer. If the Parent column isn't already opened, go ahead and right-click or control+click in this gray area next to the Layer Name, and in the Column section, make sure parent is selected. Now, for layer 3, let's go ahead and specify layer 1 as the parent layer by using the pick whip, that's this little curlicue icon on the left side. If you go ahead and click on that and hold your mouse button down as you drag up to layer 1, you can let go, and now, in the pull-down menu you notice that that layer was chosen.

So, the pull-down menu or the pick whip will allow you to choose different parent layers for the currently selected layer. So select layer 1. Then press R to open up the Rotation parameter. And let's change this second 00 parameter to 90. This is the proper angle based on our source animation, so let's go ahead and add a keyframe by clicking the stopwatch next to the Rotation parameter. Now, let's move six frames down the timeline, so click in your time and type plus, 6, and press Enter. Now, we can change the rotation back to 0 for layer 1. Now, if we scrub through the animation, you can see we've the proper parent-child relationship, and that's it.

You've now mastered Parenting. It's never quite that easy. What we really need to pay attention to now is what happens before the parenting relationship. So for example, let's go back to our Parenting Animation composition and scrub through. Whenever you have animation that happens before the parenting is required, like this rotation here. This tends to complicate things, because at this point in time we actually don't need a parent-child relationship, because if the plus were controlling this h, it would be spinning all over the place.

So we need to use a workaround in this situation. So let's go back to our Parenting_Start composition. If you move your playhead to frame 12, I'm just using my key frame navigation to do that. Now, on frame 12, let's work on repositioning our h layer. Select layer 3 and press Opt+P or Alt+P on the PC, and that'll set a Position keyframe. Now, if we press the Home button, we can now reposition our h layer by clicking on it in the Comp window and dragging over to the left.

Hold down Shift as you drag to make sure that it snaps on the x-axis. Drag it all the way off the left side of your Comp Viewer. Now, this still looks like everything is working extraordinarly well. If you scrub through, it looks fine. The issue's going to happen when we start positioning the plus layer. So select layer 1 and let's move back to frame 12 and I'm going to press Opt+P or Alt+P to go ahead and set our first keyframe for the position of that layer. Now, just like before, we'll press the Home key, and then with the plus there selected, we'll click and drag in the Comp window. And then hold down Shift as we're dragging to snap it on its x-axis. Drag it off the bottom of the screen.

And then scrub with your current time indicator. Now, notice the h was also moving vertically in addition to horizontally. This is a problem we need to fix. So the easy work around for this is to split a layer. So for example, this h layer we can make it not be parented by splitting it into two separate layers. So make sure you're on frame 12 with layer 3 selected, go up under Edit and choose Split Layer. Now, if you select layer 4 and scrub through, you can see that's the layer where we don't need the parent-child relationship set up. So I'm just going to make sure I'm back on frame 12, and I'll change the Parent layer setting for layer 4 to None.

Now, as we scrub through, you can see it's sliding around and working exactly as we'd hoped. Now, for our Source Animation, we had the plus spinning, and we had the word sport sliding into the scene, but I'm sure everyone knows how to create basic keyframes so I'm going to leave those steps up to you. But for now, I hope you can see how Parenting and the Split Layer command can give you one added level of control for your animations. Just remember the Child layer can do pretty much whatever it wants. It's really the Parent layer that brings the control into the situation.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

110 video lessons · 50492 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 UPDATED
      59s
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects NEW
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache NEW
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology UPDATED
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects NEW
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions NEW
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers NEW
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation NEW
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects NEW
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D NEW
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render NEW
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements NEW
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects NEW
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers NEW
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes NEW
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics NEW
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques NEW
      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 NEW
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects NEW
      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 UPDATED
      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 NEW
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight NEW
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks NEW
      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? NEW
      2m 24s

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