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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.
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