After Effects Apprentice 07: Parenting

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
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After Effects Apprentice 07: Parenting
Video duration: 0s 1h 39m Intermediate Updated Nov 20, 2012


Parenting is a way to group multiple layers within the same composition inside After Effects. In this course, Chris Meyer shows how to set up a parenting chain, discusses what makes a good parent, and demonstrates several techniques using parenting, such as creating a title animation with a minimal number of keyframes, building a geometric construct, and bringing an anthropomorphic robot arm to life. Sidebar topics include avoiding a scaling gotcha with parenting and creating abstract backgrounds using the Fractal Noise effect.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the Online Training Library®.

Topics include:
  • Preparing files
  • Making parenting connections
  • Arranging the frame and arm
  • Using null objects
  • Crafting anthropomorphic-style animations
  • Avoiding problems with non-uniform scaling
  • Animating Fractal Noise
After Effects


- Hi, I'm Chris Meyer of Chris Design and welcome to the After Effects Apprentice lesson on parenting. Parenting is a way of grouping together multiple layers inside an After Effects composition. If you change the Position, Scale, or Rotation of the parent, all the children come along for the ride. If the children have their own animations, they get to keep them, but now they're performed relative to the parent. As a result, you can group together multiple layers, keyframe as few as just one of them and create complex animations with a minimum amount of work. In this lesson, we're going to show you how to create a parenting chain, explain what does and does not come along for the ride, and talk about what makes a good parent and what makes a good child.

We'll show you how to use Null Objects, special non-rendering layers in After Effects, and give you a few examples, for example, how to create a title animation, how to create special geometric constructs, and how to create an anthropomorphic animation such as a robot arm inside After Effects using parenting. We'll also have a couple of Idea Corners where we'll take some of the examples you'll see in this project and expand upon them to make them finished pieces. There's also a couple of side bars at the end. One will show you a particular "gotcha" with parenting and how to fix it, and the other, we'll just show you how to create your own abstract backgrounds using the Fractal Noise effect inside After Effects.

Some of this material is actually not in the After Effects Apprentice book, but parenting is such an important subject, we wanted to show you several different angles. So if this sounds like fun, then let's dive in and get at it.

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