5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 14, 2013 10:08 AM by Todd_Kopriva

    Snapping in CC AE

    dissidently Level 2



      Someone didn't think this through, at all.


      New Project, New comp.


      Turn on Snapping... Seems logical enough.  RIght?  You'd think it would be like part of the interface, yes? 


      Place down a couple of guidelines to indicate where you're going to want to snap to.


      Start with the pen tool anywhere NOT on a guideline.  Why... because when you go near a guideline the pen tool turns into a double direction arrow to move the guideline, there's noway to drop a vertex of your line drawing on a Guideline.


      That's probably the most egregious error of judgement when it comes to snapping... but it continues:


      Snapping exists, but only in a VERY limited form.


      I think of snapping as being able to snap:


      1. Any vertex to Any other vertex,


      2. A vertext to any object node, spline, bounding box or other element of any other object, even of its self.


      3. A node of any object to any other node, spline, bounding box, vertex or any other defined element of any other object.


      4. Alll of the above to guidelines and guideline intersections.

      4.(a) Guidelines to absolutely any component of any kind of object. 


      But I can't get ANY of these things to work in AE CC.


      It seems, to me, that snapping in AE CC is limited to the Anchor Point.  Is this right?


      UPDATE: It appears snapping vertices to Guidelines IS supported, but NONE of the rest of what I've described above.


      UDDATE 2: Snapping vertices is to Guidelines is NOT consistent.  Draw a Rectangle on a Shape Layer whilst holding down ALT/OPTION so that it's editable at the vertex level (still the most amazingly obscure thing in AE) and its vertices DO NOT snap to guidelines.... or anything else.




      WHY would you include snapping only for anchor points to elements and require guidlines for any kind of vertex snapping... but NOT have it be consistent, and even worse, not have the ability to snap a guideline to ANYTHING?


      Is this bizarro world?  Does nothing ever happen at exact locations in AE?  IS it all supposed to be organic, and inconsistent, all the time?

        • 1. Re: Snapping in CC AE
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Snapping is resolution and zoom level dependent has always been this way due to how AE's sub-pixel sampling works. Otherwise snapping is another "marketing feature" to write off. The way it is now it's practically useless.



          • 2. Re: Snapping in CC AE
            Todd_Kopriva Level 8

            Details of what can be snapped are here:

            http://blogs.adobe.com/aftereffects/2013/06/snapping-of-layer-features-in-the-composition- panel-new-in-after-effects-cc-12-0.html


            If you want other things to be snapping targets, you can submit a feature request here:



            Regarding snapping of shape layer paths (and snapping to shape layer paths): It's next on our list of things to add. It was going to take a lot longer to get that part done. So, rather than wait until this piece was completed, we decided to release the version that you have now, which is still usefull for a lot of people to do a lot of things.

            • 3. Re: Snapping in CC AE
              dissidently Level 2

              Why do you (and Adobe) not see vertice snapping as the primary use of snapping?


              Why do guidelines not snap to anything?


              You mention next on your list being "snapping of shape layer paths".  If that's implemented in the same way that the Layer Snapping is, it's largely useless, because it's the individual movement of vertices and then subsequent snapping that's useful, not just moving (and not editing) a shape, layer or path other than to move it to another place with some arbitrary snapping behaviour. 


              And why should I have to submit a feature request?  Surely Adobe has guru users that ARE designers that understand what's desirable in a motion/animation/compositing/creative space.  Surely vertex movement with snapping to everything and guideline snapping are things that are just assumed to be useful.  Right?


              I still stunned that snapping is only now coming to AE, and only coming in a bizarrely minimalist and seemingly unplanned manner.  Is there something fundamentally wrong with the engine structure that prevents easy FULL integration and implementation of snapping?

              • 4. Re: Snapping in CC AE
                Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                > Why do you (and Adobe) not see vertice snapping as the primary use of snapping?


                Because that's not the thing that people have asked for most. Being able to snap layers edge to edge was requested a lot. So we did that first.


                > Why do guidelines not snap to anything?

                Because we haven't gotten to it yet.


                > And why should I have to submit a feature request? 


                You don't have to submit a feature request. But the people that do submit feature requests will be the ones whose votes are tallied when we decide what to work on next.

                • 5. Re: Snapping in CC AE
                  Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                  There have been snapping improvements made in the After Effects CC (12.1) and After Effects CC (12.2) updates:



                  After Effects CC (12.1): snapping beyond layer edges, to align layers in 2D and 3D space along lines defined by layer features

                  There are two new options next to the Snapping checkbox in the Tools panel:

                  • Snap Along Edges Extending Beyond Layer Boundaries: Enables snapping to lines outside of a layer’s boundaries (e.g., to the line defined by the extension of a layer’s edge in 3D space). This makes aligning layers in 3D space much easier.
                  • Snap To Features Inside Collapsed Compositions And Text Layers: Turns on internal wireframes for layers inside of compositions with collapsed transformations and for individual characters in per-character 3D text layers. This can be useful, for example, for snapping a layer’s anchor point to the baseline of a specific text character.



                  After Effects CC (12.2): snapping improvements: shape layers, cameras, and lights

                  Beginning with After Effects CC (12.0), you have been able to snap various layer features to one another by dragging in the Composition panel.

                  After Effects CC (12.2) adds shape layer paths, bounding boxes for shapes within shape layers, cameras, and lights to the list of items that you can snap together by dragging in the Composition panel.

                  When you click near a shape layer path, After Effects will use a point on that path that is nearest to where you clicked as the snapping point, very much as with masks.

                  You can snap a shape in one shape layer to a shape in another shape layer, but you can’t snap shapes within one shape layer to one another. If you need to snap two shapes together, they must be in separate shape layers.

                  One quick and useful trick is to snap a light layer to a camera layer, so that you can effectively “look through” a light or simply illuminate wherever your camera is pointing.