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By George Maestri | Thursday, June 23, 2011

Organize your layers with After Effects Apprentice 07: Parenting

After Effects compositions can quickly become difficult to manage. The more layers you have, the more layers you need to keep track of, position, and keyframe. This becomes an issue particularly when the client has changes to your carefully crafted animation.

One solution is to take advantage of parenting, which is the ability to link together multiple layers inside the same composition. In this short-yet-deep project-oriented course, Chris Meyer demonstrates how to set up a parenting chain, explains what does and does not get passed from parent to child, and discusses what makes a good parent (hint: sometimes you need a neutral third party). Along the way, Chris spends considerable time showing how you would use Parenting in real-world situations, including creating finished animations employing techniques you’ve learned in previous After Effects Apprentice courses such as using the Graph Editor; being aware of safe areas; creating a custom text animation from scratch; and timing animations to music.

This video course is the first one that breaks pattern from the corresponding chapter in Chris and Trish Meyer’s After Effects Apprenticebook. Parenting—the subject of this course—and nesting (treating entire compositions as single sources inside other comps) will each get their own shorter stand-alone courses here on This gives Chris and Trish a chance to stretch out more on individual subjects. This course on parenting also contains material not found in the After Effects Apprentice book.

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