Parenting Layers


Adobe® After Effects®


Lesson Info

Parenting Layers

Okay, so we're going to move on tio some of our parenting techniques and that doesn't have anything to do with having children so let me open up that project and start with a scratch piece here okay? So parenting is a column that's down here in our timeline and when you open up aftereffects e believe sometimes it's not in there so I'm going to hide it pretend it's not there so what we've got here on the timeline we've got these little switches and we're going to be exploring the switch is a little more each day um the one that we did already talk about was this motion blur turning on motion blur and of course we've got to turn on that little switch to activate it for that layer but we also have to turn it on up here in the master switch we can turn it on and off as we need to calm so right now leave that off this one over here is the three d button that makes the layer of three d uh layer and allows you to move in three d space we'll get into that more tomorrow as well. So what we've g...

ot is this this area here that has different columns we can open it if I right click somewhere appear in this gray area and it gives me the columns aiken look here and I can see oh, I've got different things in here so different kind of blending modes if I want teo I can write comments if I'm special if I'm working in a work group or whatever or just notes to myself I want to put on anything the problem with that issue really need a lot of real estate you need a big screen ah big monitor high definition monitors you can have all these columns because every time you had a column that shortens your timeline up but very important one here is parent turn that on and that allows me to move one object and make other layers or other objects have similar behavior or just follow them along and what I mean by that say I've got this one solid layer here or a solid object here um and it's got a mask on it to give me this little vector shape so I can move my position in that and it's just going to move that particular layer but if I take the parent there's two ways I can do this if I have a really long list of items in my comp I can select this little pull down menu here and say I want it to follow this layer so I wanted to follow the one on the bottom I could just choose that and now when I move that see it's going to mimic what that layers doing it's going to do the exact same thing another way I can do that is to take this little twirly thing here. They call it a pic whip it's just the name it's had forever. I call it a cinnamon roll. I guess I am food oriented, right? So I grab that little guy and I just drag it over the layer and I could do the same thing with this way I can have that one copy the first layer or the second layer so if I have a copy the first layer, everything I do in that first layer that one's going to mimic, so if I go to rotate and I rotate it's all going to rotate around that first layer okay, so this is the parent these air, the children and their well behaved children because they're doing everything the parent wants them to do, right? So what I can also do though I can't take this layer here, this top layer, which is the one on the right I can have it mimic the second one. So with that being the case, I do my rotation here it's still it's like, well, jeff, he said it would do something different it's like well, but it will, so I'm rotating the first one, but now I can also rotate the second one and that one will follow so see that one's following that one this one's following that one and it just kind of has this chain reaction here and that's what we're going to get into her if I just haven't following this one, then I rotate that one it just kind of rotates by itself see if the if the third is the one on the right is on ly parented to the master, but it has to be parented in line here for it to have that effect, so now it will have that effect. So what I can do is come back here and set these both back up where they have none none and, uh, bring him back into position. So me down, okay, so here's, where I was talking about anchor points earlier, um, we have a tool that we can use that let me set these back to zero and zero there we go, so the anchor points allow us to rotate on an axes and also allow us, especially when it comes to parenting tohave almost like joints in our animation. So I'm going to zoom in a little bit here and I go into like, two hundred percent, so I can't really see it see this little point right here in the middle that's my anchor point when I'm rotating, I'll be rotating right on that point right on that anchor point what I can do is move that anchor point I could do it two ways one is I can use a and then shoot you know change my anchor point well of course that's gonna push my layer around what if I don't want to do that? I just want to move the anchor point to the edge but I don't want to move the layer so I'm going tio use this tool appear it's called the pan behind tool and thiss tools a multifunction tool I used to go why they call it the pan behind talks it's just an anchor point tool right? Well they've added the anchor point in parentheses but when you are doing slip you know slip editing and more advanced video features the pan behind tools which he used to slide with the contents of that layer in and out and we'll get to that maura's we get into more video editing capabilities in the next couple days so but what I can do is select that tool and now I can click on that anchor points so I can move it around wherever I want so I can move it right over here to the edge of that little mask so now when I are for rotate I'm rotating right on the anchor point c aiken animate that very differently now the beauty of that isthe I can change my anchor points on all of my layers to match that type of action and reaction and that way I can duplicate my layers let me get my rotation setback zero here zero okay so I've got my anchor prominent moved on all of these layers and say I want to but them up inched edge okay I'm going to duplicate a couple more layers and going to move him out move by position and move this guy out okay all right, so now I've got uh five different layers and select all and do our for rotation so let me zoom back out and what I want to do is have these uh kind of have a chain reaction so I'm going to take the first duplicate just the second layer is parented to the first third layers parented to the second the fourth layer parented to the third scroll up here and finally the fifth layer is parented to the fourth okay, we have a quick question. Yes. Okay, go for it. Yeah. Eso moons that flies asked can you set the child of a parent to do the opposite of its parent for example have the balls move away from each other instead of torture that would that would require an expression so that's a little more advanced okay, thank you. Um okay, so I've got I've got these all parented here and I've got them all set for rotation so I can select all of my layers and click my first stopwatch, which is setting the rotation of all of them okay? So by doing so now, if I rotate the first one, it'll act just like we thought it would earlier so I can do that said that I'll just leave that set there and then out here about a second let's grab all of the layers above it that's the second through fifth layer and since I've got them all selected now when I hit rotate see what it's doing its rotating all the layers on their anchor points so it's kind of creating this crazy um, tail wagging motion here so I can animate that over time come out here so my anchor points off a little a little crazy there so that's why it looks like it's spreading out or or compressing, but now when I animate my other my master parent see, I've got that so it almost looks like it's whipping me control that let's do a quick little ram preview and flip over on flip over. So that's it's happened because I I selected all of those layers at the same time and did my my rotation to create kind of that flipping mode and if I only did one at a time say like I did this one this layer and only flipped it I would be changing it independently everything before it or under it wouldn't get moved so I would lose that effect so it's really important to know that that everything that is a parent you know it's it's generational you know we've got five generations represented here so you know any time the oldest or that this the master parent is selected anything you do to that parent all the children will follow in sequence so in this case if I turn on all my motion motion blur on all the channels and then do a quick render it will have a little more it's not moving very fast so let's let's whip it whip it good thomas and austin has a question for you when you're ready for what's no can you move the origin point of a transformation outside of an object such as for rotating around the center of the stage? Most definitely in fact we'll do that right now let's do that with this with the main parent here and I'll take the uh that's why I like being able to take life questions it's great because you know you get to get into the real meat here so let me zoom in a bit here so I can see this where my anchor point is I think it's there it isthe nope okay first my oh, there it is uh ok, now I got it out of there sometimes it's hard to find it um and say I want to move it out here so now it's rotating around that anchor point my layers a little bit crazy in there because I did such an exaggeration, but you can see where I'm going with it. If I had this, this was you're going to be nested or something to in another cop, I could take the whole cop and rotate it around something else, and you can kind of create almost like fractal graphics by going down deeper and deeper and deeper. You get pretty crazy with it. Yes, to answer the question you can you can move this around, uh, anywhere you want on the stage or even off the stage, I'm clear out there it will just animate we way out there. So yes, anywhere you placed an anchor point that's where the rotational axis is going to be. So I do have one that I played with just kind of little chain reaction thing here. Um, may select a mall and turn on the motion blur to a quick ram preview and just played with that little bit so you can see get him whipping around. And of course, if you're using other graphic elements, uh, such as a little car plane or people or robots or whatever you conceive e where this khun g o we're using very primitive yeah textures and shapes and everything here so if you start pulling with that with graphics you can see where that khun dio and of course we start dealing three d space you can have stuff fly in you know follow each other and make a train going crazy so uh no ozzy references there so uh so yeah that's that's basically parenting and I've got we've got time still for one other um one other project while I'm bringing that up if we have another question that's it's related let's go ahead and take it so mango tango from seattle asks can you have a child mimic certain elements of the parent but not others for example of a child wanted to move or rotate like a parent but keep a unique color um yes and against some of that's handled in um some of that's handled with expressions were going to get into some of that summer on the last day I'm not going to get into expressions very deep in this course that actually could be a whole one day or three day workshop just dealing with expressions and I I don't use them that much I got to be honest it's kind of like a code you know I don't do you action scripting and flash but I'll get in there and I'll mess around or things or I don't do a whole lot of web code just enough to copy paste changed the variables no way that's kind of how I deal with expressions too I'll find an expression again google google is your friend you go out and you find expressions that work or it's us there's some youtube videos out there people have done again chris meyer, whose ah colleague of mine they've done chris and trish might have done some wonderful books and videos. Chris has some great videos out there, even free ones that air upon apple tv and in on youtube that talk about expressions and what they do, but we're going to get into mimicking lip sinking, you know, to an audio track on our last day so as faras expressions are concerned, that's probably about his deep is we're going to get because you can really get lost in expressions but copying pasty and changing a little element that's safe to do and definitely something we can do. So let me dig into this project and this brings up another point this was created on another machine, it was copied tio portable drive the portable drive has brought here, we plugged it in and this is what happens a lot the project was saved, you know, with a different resource area I know the resource is where they're the assets are there and this may happen too when you buy the course and you go to download the content this may happen to you as well to it will kind of lose track of where everything is so what we have to do is find where the missing files are. We know the files actually there it just lost track of its it's root it's structure so what? It shows this here is this supposed to be a little skeleton and it's showing these little color bars as the missing files it's the default anything that's missing shows up these little color bars on here so what I do is I look for the very first one I look at what the name of it is it's called skeleton small and I just right click on it and sometimes if you go to reload footage it may go oh it's right there you know, maybe you moved it then you moved it back but in this case it just says I'm blind I can't see it I can't see outside the box so what I do is I go to replace footage and then go to file and then I just start typing in skeleton and see where it might be here skeleton well, I know it's in this folder ok, let me see the whole thing please so I'm going to type it out okay maybe it iss all one word I did this on purpose just to show you this feature trust me I did um let me see if it's going to just show up inside this I know it's inherits and footage there it iss you got it great, yeah, yeah I got it there so I just had to go find the original file and I just have to redirect it and tell it so even though I'm just replacing the one layer uh it is looking at it is the photoshopped file with a lot of layers in it so I'm just going to say ok, there it isthe open it and see where it shows up here automatically oh, there it is everything else is they're all seventeen previously missing items have been found magic so there it iss and we've got this little skeleton guy here and what I've done is taking taking off where we left off there uh with the little objects I've got me get in here where we can see what we're doing because this is really hard to see when it's really tiny uh it's good to hundred percent so we can really see it on the screen there we go so you can see here that I have the way that I've reconstructed all these layers I don't have a bone for bone, you know, so like I've got the skull is one part the neck bone is another part the whole upper torso, which is the you know shoulders and so you can see how I've broken this down I haven't broken him down and again I don't call them anything anatomically correct so if there are any people in the medical world out there that could say that's a femur that's what you know please I don't know so uh this uh this is just broken down by visually like you left side left forearm your hand that type of thing so what I've done is hears this and you'll get this when you download it this one has nothing done to it there's no parenting done to it already nothing's been connected but I have gone ahead and created where the joints should be I've already gone in and placed these anchor points where they belong so what I've done is place them where they should bandit a joint so then when I reconstruct it and start animating it it will move where I need it to moves let me move it back out here to one hundred percent and right now it doesn't do anything has been parented so here's one I've got another one too that's that's done to this point where they've been parented so what I've done is you can go back here and look and see ok this one here that would read one I made that laywer my kind of the layer that everything is attached to in one way or another so if I move the torso, everything else is going to move with it. Um are the upper torso uh that way if I want to move, say an arm you know I could move the upper part of the arm the other parts of the arm move with it. Okay, so that's already been connected, so what you want to do is you kind of want to work backwards. So from this one here I know that this part of the arm, that arm needs to connect to that so it's kind of like you on the leg bone connected to the shinbone so I'm showing my age on that one, okay? So if I was to take that now and rotate it just by itself of only connected one c oh that's the only one but if I parent down the line here I go okay, that one should connect to that one left forearm and then left hand connects to the left forearm now when I move it see the arm goes with it the forearm khun do this and then the hand are the hand khun hello wave and again, since these air all key frame a ble we have the option of you're making some fun animations with this guy so it takes some time because it is fairly fairly big and fairly complex project so I've got some that are already made I've got it in several stages for you've got one there you can do all your own connecting I've got one where you can start animating right away because they're all connected then I've got a couple with some preset animations in this one here I've got he's a speedskater so he's just skating along and then I got another one where he's a little bit impatient and he's just crossing his legs and his arms and tapping along there so we've got some time for some questions before we have to break, so bring him on yeah so just to clarify are ex I should ask and we had another person asked as well for an example like this where you have a skeleton with multiple bones were those all separate photoshopped layers that you imported as one group most definitely and that's why when I lost it when we first opened it up, I just had to update the photoshopped file so if I go in here and look, I can select one any of the layers and I can come up here to edit at it original and it will open up this photo shop file and show us all the different layers so you can see I've separated them all yes separate layers and I've given them their names and their great okay look here um earlier in the day it's not so much touching on this but we were talking about wei have a question from pavel about cash locations and he was asking what is the best configuration for cash locations and should a disk cash and a conformed media cash beyond the same disc? Um like the fastest disc in the system or is it better to have it on two different discs? Well, if you had the capability of having a tower that had a whole bunch of secondary tertiary different discs in there and they're all ssd drives and you could you could have a different cash for for each each function then obviously that's going to speed things up for you so the faster hard dry are faster machine you have your hardware, the more ram you have, the faster you're cashing drives khun b typically ss d's are definitely the best because there they're no moving parts is also solid states it's almost like writing to ram not quite as fast is writing to ram so it's almost like having that much more ram in your machine. Of course, if you have a ton of ram and you allocate it so that it can be accessed, then that's definitely going to help to and that could bring this up where I can go to my preferences and let me check cause I didn't check how the ram was on this machine I go to my media in this cash here actually, I'm going to down here to memory and multi processing so right now there's twelve gigs of ram on this machine um they've reserved five gigs for other applications, which is wise so you could go a little heavier on your on your after effects than you have your others if you're not using like premier att the same time or anything else that's that's a bigger memory hog like and we get into cinema for d we're gonna probably want a little more ram for that as well, but I could choke it down where is only like you know, two gig reserved for other applications on dh that see it increased it to nine gigs of ram available for for this I'm gonna change it back to five because I think that's a pretty good balance between aftereffects and then um when this check box here is actually pretty good if you're using the same hard drive to do all your cashing, this is reduced cash size when system is low on memory andi course that shortens your ran preview a bit by doing that, but since we have a secondary drive to right, our cash is too I can leave that unchecked and it's great another thing render multiple frames simultaneously this is great for speeding up your grand preview too I should have checked this earlier because I almost always turned that on when I have cashing available as well so that's going to make my ram previews a lot faster as well and then gpu that's another hole rabbit hole we can get down into but that depends on your graphics card how much memories on your graphics card on dh that is something you can adjust if you have like you know some kind of a good graphics card this available to you but cashing wise preferably to use an ss deed answer the question where you can whether it's through thunderball to your portable or if it's an internal if you can have an ssd drive yeah, have your cash and go there and that's true for all of the adobe creative cloud aps photo shop after effects and premier I know for sure I can allocate that great to know great no across the board mickelson studios also asked, um can I animate the movement with the puppet tool to not have to manually key frame can you animate? Which which part of the movement? Well, the movement oh definitely we're going to get in into the puppet tool tomorrow I think on dh yeah and it's it's crazy fun to there there is a caveat with with the puppet tool because it it will it will move stuff within like you can mask anything with a with a puppet tool in the only stays within the confines of the layer. So, I guess it's probably easier to show that when we get into puppet tool stuff, but the puppet tool does real fluid movement. But the problem with the puppet tool, too, is with something that's rigid, like a skeleton. I mean that nothing bands on the skeleton except joints, so you don't want bones all going woo, you know, unless that's look you want. If you want to look like rubber skeleton, then, yeah, use the public tool to do some of your animations on a single layer, and again, we'll be getting into to that tomorrow, show you the difference between the two. So that's a good question.

Class Description

Adobe® After Effects® Creative Cloud® is a hallmark broadcast video and film production program — but it has so many functions, it’s hard to know where to start. In this essential video-editing class, renowned video producer and Adobe® Certified Expert Jeff Foster will walk you through how to use the many functions of Adobe® After Effects® to enhance your projects with visual effects and motion graphics.

You’ll learn the basics for controlling movement, animating simple objects and 3D space, create interesting text and title animations, composite videos with and without green screen. Using real-world production examples, Jeff will guide you through this complex program and unpack the tools and terminology so that you can apply your skills right away and with confidence.

Software Used: Adobe After Effects CC (12.0)



Jeff Foster seems like a great, knowledgeable guy. But this course is so disappointing. The classes are disorganized, convoluted yet shallow, and waste an awful lot of time. And they’re just lectures — you’re just watching him do stuff — no lessons where you can work along with him to really absorb what’s going on. My biggest complaints are 1) It seems like he didn’t prepare very much, so we end up watching him go through features one by one, sometimes just to try to find the thing that’s going to illustrate the point he’s trying to make; and 2) he’s unnecessarily confusing. Here’s an easy example. In the “parenting” class, which hinges on one layer’s relationship to another, he created identical layers and named them identically. So he’s explaining that “blue solid” is the parent to “blue solid.” And then he proceeds to discuss the layers, which are numbered #1, #2, #3, by calling them “the first layer” (#3), “the second layer” (#2), and “the third layer” (#1.) After Effects is complicated enough! Maybe I’m spoiled by having learned Illustrator with a wonderful Creative Live course. This is not that.