Set anchor point when creating a reusable sequence and Essential Graphics

Explorer ,
Jun 26, 2022 Jun 26, 2022

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I'm creating an animation composition that is essentially a circle with a line coming out (think of the symbol for "male" except the line can be really long).  I've isolated the variables for the animations using Essential Graphics.  The animation needs to be placed and then rotated every time it's used and that rotation point must be the center of the circle.  However, when I drop the composition onto a new composition, the anchor point is always the center of the sequence (which is a long way from the circle). 

 

I've moved the anchor point of all of the pieces in the composition to the center of the circle, but that had no effect on how the sequence is used later.

 

I have tried slaving every object in the sequence to a null object and then adding the anchor point of the null object to Essential Graphics, but that doesn't seem useful in the parent comp.

 

This seems like such an obvious thing, create a complicated composition, specify its anchor point, save.  But I can't find anything like that in After Effects.  What am I missing?  Is there a way to run a script as soon as a comp is imported that fixes up the anchor point?

 

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Adobe Community Professional , Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

Something like this would work just fine:

RickGerard_0-1656342755805.png

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 26, 2022 Jun 26, 2022

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Bad workflow. It simply could be rigged on a single layer with a Circle and a Beam effect with simple pickwhip expressions so the various point controls are linked, possibly some fancy masking with additional instances of the circle effect and a linear wipe following the angle of the beam. Similarly, it could be set up using shape layers and a bunch of simple "targeting" expressions or whatever you fancy. In any case, trying to rotate a layer and then attempting to figure out the length of the callout marker is unnecessary. Give it another whirl and redesign the whole thing based on what I said.

 

Mylenium

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Explorer ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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Mylenium,

 

Thanks for the response, unfortunately I only understood about half of that.  First, what is a callout marker and what does its length have to do with rotating the animation?

 

To make sure we're on the same page, conceptually, when I paste in the animation I move the circle over a specific location (x,y) in the comp and the arrow is then rotated to point in a specific compass direction.  My only goal here is to be able to paste, place the x,y of the circle on a spot, rotate it to the proper angle, adjust how long the animation runs, then move onto the next one.  The animation then runs for a certain number of seconds and dissapears.  I'm pasting these on top of existing videos (which were generated external to my process).  In the last video I pasted 150 of these at maybe 60 different time points.  I have more than 30 videos to go.  I'm trying to make that process faster.

 

Note that I left out the complexity of the actual animation and while it's doing a bunch of complex stuff, it's basically just a pretty circle with a pretty line attached.  The animation already has variables defined to adjust the complexity of the animation, when needed, that's not the issue.  

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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Clearly you're making your own life difficult here. All that's needed is a single pre-comp sufficiently wide with the circle somewhere near the left edge and the long line extending to the right. That could then be re-used over and over again after adjusting the anchor point once just by duplicating it with the length of the transition being controlled by a simple linear wipe. You don't even need to rig anything up specifically for that because even if you rotate it the effects-internal coordinates stay the same. I think you lost yourself in trying to be too smart, no offense. Just forget about all that Essential Graphics nonsense and do it the old-fashioned way as described.

 

Mylenium

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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Something like this would work just fine:

RickGerard_0-1656342755805.png

 

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Explorer ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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Rick,

 

That worked a charm!  It took me a second to realize what you were suggesting.  What I did was enlarge the overall comp for my animation so that the ring animation was in the exact middle of the comp and that forced the anchor point to be in the center of the circle when I use the template.  I actually assumed that it only imported the "working area" (space where there were objects) so it didn't occur to me that empty space would cause it.

 

One side effect is that the comps now overlap a lot (circles that aren't really near each other now overlap because of all the negative space) so it's harder to select them in the preview window, but that's actually less heinous than not being able to properly rotate them.

 

Thank you!

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Explorer ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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Mylenium,

 

I see what you are saying, I'll have to create a pre-comp for each of the "templates", import the template, and move the anchor point in the pre-comp.  It just seems so stupid that there is no way to specify the anchor point for an imported template.  I assumed that I was just missing something.

 

Thanks!

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Explorer ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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Mylenium,

 

It was a good thought, but that won't work.  As soon as I take the time to carefully set the anchor point exactly in the center of the "circle" animation, and then make a pre-comp, I lose all access to the special properties that I created to tweak the animation.  So, I'm left choosing between being able to use the template, or being able to rotate the template.  I guess I'll just go back to the slow method.

 

Somehow your response got marked as the "correct answer" even before I was able to try it.  Not sure how this forum works if a correct answer can be chosen by someone other than the person asking the question...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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Without seeing your Comp or Timeline Panels I'm having to make a guess and I sorta guess you can improve your productivity by adding the use of Essential Properties into your workflow - 
https://helpx.adobe.com/si/after-effects/using/essential-properties.html#:~:text=To%20create%20Essen....

What an Essential Property allows you to nest a preComp while having access to the original keyframes BUT in the Main/Primary Comp. You can also duplicate the nested Comp while giving each duplicate independent control over the KFs of the essential properties. If an Essential Property does not have KFs, you can still adjust its values independent of the original and from any duplicates you create in the Main/Primary Comp. HTH


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Explorer ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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Roland,

 

Thank you for the response.  I am already using Essential Properties to expose variables in the template to the parent project.  The problem with pre-comp is that it moves all of the essential properties into the pre-comp.  So, if I use Mylenium's suggestion of moving the anchor point then pre-composing, I lose access to those properties. At least, I could not find a way to pre-compose the animation while keeping access to the essential properties.  I tried both choices on the pre-comp dialog and neither of them kept the essential properties visible in the parent.

 

However, Rick's suggestion above allowed me to fix the anchor point problem without having to create another layer of objects, so I'm good.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022

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I'm glad you sorted out your issues. My thoughts were for you to solve the issue with one instance of the nested Comp and then repeat with the same solution with the other instances of the nested Comp. Usually, an Expression to set the Anchor Point should suffice and if your setup aligns with the stars, moon and suns, you will be able to use the same Expression on the preComp instances. 

And yes! Rick Rocks!!!


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