How to parent a point of a shape to a layer

Community Beginner ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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Hello,

Is there a way to parent/link a point of a shape to a layer's position ?

I would like to be able to move/animate a layer and have the vertex of a shape following it live.

I did some search but haven't found a solution for this.

Any help much appreciated

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LEGEND , Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017
Too bad we have to buy an expensive plugin for this feature.
I agree. please submit a feature request so in the future we could maybe have a way to manipulate vertices with transform properties Feature Request/Bug Report Form
I wanted to create controller to easily animate. I know I could use the puppet pin tool but it's not as clean as animating the shape path itself.
shape path manipulation is usually done in a traditional way of animating i.e refining the animation manually. just recently moti...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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There is no such thing. Shape/ mask path data is inaccessible even to expressions, so there can be no live link. You have to use tools like BAO Mask Avenger.

Mylenium

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LEGEND ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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paths do not have coordinates so this would not work without a script. I found BAO Mask Avenger 2 - aescripts + aeplugins - aescripts.com  useful for this.

but maybe instead of writing the ability you are seeking, write what exactly do you want to accomplish in a visual sense - we might figure out something.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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Thanks a lot for your help.

Too bad we have to buy an expensive plugin for this feature.

Well, I wanted to create controllers for a shape layer with a line with a stroke, which is a very simple arm for a character. I wanted to create controller to easily animate. I know I could use the puppet pin tool but it's not as clean as animating the shape path itself.

But if you have any idea on how to do that, that would be great.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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There is a $35 plugin called Motion by Mt MoGraph that has a function called "rope" that will create a highly controllable line between any two objects.  I believe it uses the beam effect.  So you could create lines between a series of nulls then parent the nulls to each other in a skeletal hierarchy and you've got yourself a rig for a stick figure. The script is well worth the money as it does many other incredibly useful things. It's like a swiss army knife for After Effects .  Just do a Youtube search for Motion 2 for After Effects.  There's a demo of all it does.  It's the best $35 I've ever spent.

You could also just parent shapes to nulls & then nulls to each other to create a simple rig but it will only control rotation and nothing else.  If you want

squash and stretch you'll have to start digging into beam effect or just invest the $35 in Motion.

~Gutterfish

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LEGEND ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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Too bad we have to buy an expensive plugin for this feature.

I agree. please submit a feature request so in the future we could maybe have a way to manipulate vertices with transform properties Feature Request/Bug Report Form

I wanted to create controller to easily animate. I know I could use the puppet pin tool but it's not as clean as animating the shape path itself.

shape path manipulation is usually done in a traditional way of animating i.e refining the animation manually. just recently motion designer Evan Abrams showed a few techniques to achieve a fine control of limbs with shapes strokes: Animate Shape Layer Arms & Legs [EASY] - Adobe After Effects tutorial - YouTube. animator James Curran uses similar setups and techniques to his animations: How to create animated GIFs | Adobe Creative Cloud - YouTube both do not use any special rigs but traditional techniques (Evan does a little expression here and there) - this is the straight forward of making it work.

the other way, like you said, is through puppet. you can use puppet rigging with tools like PuppetTools 3 - aescripts + aeplugins - aescripts.com . you could puppet rig though Duik: https://rainboxprod.coop/en/tools/duik/ which is free but may require more getting used to.  both look clean enough for me

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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Thanks a lot for your replies and links! It certainly helped me.

Yes, I did submit a feature request.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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Glad I could help. good luck.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017

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The last time I used a shape, I noticed you could see the path vertices and the anchor point when highlighted.  It seems like a simple chore to move the anchor point until it's over one of these vertices.  It should then be a simple matter to make a null, and using the shape layer's anchor position property, copy-paste the value to the null's position.  Parent the shape to the null and you're good to go.

I estimate the time it would take to do this at about two minutes, including mistakes.

Would that work well enough?

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017

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Thanks for your reply.

If I'm understanding well, what you're explaining is a way to parent the shape to a null while keeping the pivot on a vertex position.

This might be useful but it's not really what I'm looking for here as it would move all the shape and not only one vertex.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017

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One of the problems is that a vertex is a vector and a position is an array on an x, y and z grid. The math does not easily match up without jumping through a bunch of calculus hoops, and calculus is very hard. From the little bit of experience that I have with expressions, scripting and writing code I can tell you that there is a lot of work involved in pulling something like this off and making it dependable.

If you really need this functionality and you are getting paid for your work then you can easily pay for the plug-in by billing an hour and a half for the time it would take to do this another way. Sure, it would be great if Adobe bought the plug-in developed by BAO Plugins so we could all have access to it. If there are enough folks that need these features in their every day work to entice Adobe to pay BAO a fair price that would cover the lifetime profit potential for their specialty product, then there would be a chance that Adobe and BAO Plugins could come to an agreement. That's why it's important to fill out a feature request form. In the end, product functionality is really established by customer needs. That's how you stay in business. Personally, I would gladly pay, and I do pay all the time, for work and time saving tools. It's how I keep up with my customer demands.

If you are in this for a hobby then you should still figure out how much your time is worth. Is spending 10 or 20 hours monkeying around with a pet project worth the $150 it would cost you to get the job done and spend those hours with your wife and kids? Only you can answer that question.

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New Here ,
Jan 13, 2021 Jan 13, 2021

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Check out this tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV1y-ABHrzE

might do the trick!

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 22, 2022 Mar 22, 2022

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Yes. This for the win!

 

1. Window -> Create Null From Paths

2. Tunnel down in your shape layer and select the most deeply nested "Path" property, which has the stopwatch icon.

3.) In the "Create Null From Paths" window, click "Points Follow Nulls".

 

You should now have nulls for each point of the path, and you can individually animate those nulls. You can parent those nulls to anything you'd like.

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