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Parenting Layers

Lesson 11 from: Adobe After Effects CC Quick Start

Chad Perkins

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Lesson Info

11. Parenting Layers

Lesson Info

Parenting Layers

I was talking to Nick, who's in our audience today, and he was asking about this other project that we were just looking at before, and I'm going to open this one up right here, this parenting thing. We were talking about the sword earlier, and he was like, "Is there some way to connect the sword to the hand and the arm and that kind of stuff, to create a structure?" You can, with something called "parenting," so we're gonna talk a little bit about parenting, which is really fun and has a lot of potential. I love parenting. I use it all the time. Parenting creates a hierarchy relationship between objects. If I move my arm, for example, my shoulder could be considered the great grandpappy. All the power and authority is in this part of the shoulder 'cause when it moves, everything comes along for the ride. My fingers are like, "Okay, this is what we're doing." I move my shoulder, and everything else moves, so you could say that these are the children of my hand, which are the children o...

f my forearm, which are the children of this part of my upper arm, and then my shoulder is the ultimate parent. Now, if I keep my shoulder where it's at but I move my elbow, then everything above the elbow can be stationary, but everything that's a child, down the row from my elbow, will also move. Same thing with my wrist. I can move my wrist, nothing else has to move, but everything that's a child of my wrist, so to speak, has to move when I move my wrist. That's what we're doing with After Effects. We're creating this parenting relationship between objects, which is really cool. Again, as always, before we do anything, we want to get the anchor point in the right place. The parenting relationship manages four different attributes: Position, anchor point, rotation, and scale, so basically, the five basic transforms except for opacity. Parenting does not affect opacity, so if you fade out a parent, the child can still be completely opaque. I'm going to quickly go through the hand anchor... Hand's just a tiny little layer, bless its heart. The anchor point's already right in a good spot. Sword, what I want to do is I want to hold the letter Y, and I'm going to move the anchor point we talked about before. It's in the right spot, right there at the bottom of the hilt there. The middle of the hilt. We also need to change the hero arm, so I'm gonna hold the letter Y and put this anchor point kind of armpit-ish. That's, from this angle, probably where that joint would be, and so that's the first step. Anchor point's gotta be in the right spot. Next, we gotta create the parenting relationship. In my relationship with my hand, if I had a sword, it would continue the parenting relationship, right? It's almost like the sword would then be a child of my hand, 'cause if I move my hand, the sword would follow suit, so the sword is like the ultimate child, so we're gonna start with the sword. There's a parenting column here, and this is where we create the parenting relationship is in this parent column. If it's not visible, which is very possible that it's not, you need to right-click somewhere in the bar here at the top, somewhere in this top bar, right-click, and you'll see this Columns menu. Choose Columns, and right here, choose Parent, and so, we're seeing Parent here. With the sword layer, we can do this the un-fun way, by going to this dropdown and picking the parent layer out of this list. I never do it that way, because there's this cute little thing right here. It's like a little curlicue. It's really adorable. See, look at this thing. This is amazing, and I could use this to pick which layer I want to be the parent, 'cause I'm picking the parent, so you start with the child, you pick the parent. I want to parent the sword to the hand, so I click this little cute @ sign, and I go to the hand, and you can see that when I put my mouse over it, it kind of selects it. It can tell what's gonna happen, and then I let go, and then the parenting relationship is selected. Same thing as picking from the dropdown, it's just way more fun that way. Also, it's super adorable that if you click on this and then you go out to nothing, or something that's invalid and you can't have it be a parent, it goes... (slurping sound) Right? It's so cute. Now, what I want to do is pick the hand, and I want to click the Pick Whip. Pick Whip is the official name, not the curlicue, Pick Whip, and I click the Pick Whip to the hand, and I parent it to the arm, so now, we've got real power. We don't have three independent layers anymore. We've established a hierarchy, so I can open up the hand, and rotate the hand, and the sword... Actually, what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna zoom in even closer so we can really see what's going on here. I can rotate the hand, and now the sword rotates. You can see that little cute thumb doing stuff, and then, same thing with the arm. I rotate the arm, and the hand and the sword go along for the ride. Parenting relationship. He's holding his sword, and there we go, so we have this connection. Sword's parented to the hand, which is parented to the arm, and also, the children have total autonomy, so when the parent does something, then the child has to follow, but the child could also do whatever they want. I could tap my finger. My shoulder doesn't have to do anything. But my shoulder moves, my hands better be there. This can be really helpful for all sorts of things. If you wanted to make a lower third, which we'll talk about how to do, and you want text to be there and be parented to the lower third, so when you bring in the lower third, the text follows, parenting. If you have a little car, and you have little wheels, you parent all the wheels to the car, parenting. Parenting all over the place for creating that relationship where you want things to be connected, and you create a hierarchy where one thing moves and the other things follow suit. Parenting is a great solution for that.

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Ratings and Reviews

Grace Duong

I really enjoyed this course! As a self-taught After Effects user, this was great if you want to cover the basics and understand the program even more. I also enjoyed Chad's obvious enthusiasm for After Effects and his energy. Definitely felt like I took away some useful tips for my workflow!

a Creativelive Student

If you want to get into learning AE. Watch this video first. I've watched many AE tutorials and I still had many 'why' questions. Chad is great and explaining things and even uses great analogies​ so you understand what is going on. I highly recommend it. Thank you.

Pauly Wright

I bought this over a year ago when it was over $50 and it was still worth every penny then. I'm a videographer that knows Adobe Premier Pro and I wanted to understand After Effects more to make information, figures, stats in videos more engaging. Chad is really enthusiastic, passionate about what he does and he doesn't waffle. After watching this i'm now confident to put this in practise. Highly recommended.

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