14 Replies Latest reply on Dec 29, 2017 7:26 AM by kalamazandy

    Aligning To Object

    fhxfhx Level 1

      Hi, I've been researching this since a while now but always coming back to this article which says lock the target object to align another object to it ... but if I lock it I can't select it any more and can't tell the 2nd object to whom to align to ... ? What do I miss ? Hint very appreciated.




        • 1. Re: Aligning To Object
          bogiesan Level 4

          Please show us the article or at least give us a more thorough explanation of what you think you're trying to accomplish. Aligning is a term applied to two completely separate functions in AE.

          • 2. Re: Aligning To Object
            Dave LaRonde Level 6

            Take a look at this page from AE's Online Help, found in the time it took to type in the search term "align" and hit the return key.  Play around with the commands.  I think you'll find the tip makes far more sense.

            • 4. Re: Aligning To Object
              fhxfhx Level 1

              yes, one of the first I've checked, but it doesn't reveal to me how I would align object2's center to object1's center without moving object1 ... it always mediates both objects to align to each other, forcing my target object1 to change its position as well ... I'm sure it's there but I couldn't fiddle it out, what ever method I followed and or just tried out with alt / shift / ctl / selection order, etc. ... always both objects moved.

              • 5. Re: Aligning To Object
                bogiesan Level 4

                This article is about In Design and was published back in 2006. The same concept and control can be used in Illustrator but not in After Effects. The systems are simply not the same.



                • 6. Re: Aligning To Object
                  fhxfhx Level 1

                  oh, no wonder it didn't work ... sry. But is there an align to object in AE at all ?

                  • 7. Re: Aligning To Object
                    bogiesan Level 4

                    Align to path.


                    As LaRonde indicated, searching the help system turns up all of your options. But we are obviously having an English translation issue, too. I do not know what the proper terms are in your native lnaguage.

                    • 8. Re: Aligning To Object
                      fhxfhx Level 1

                      hmp ... went over it several times since yesterday if I didn't miss the spot where it says it, but it basically doesn't have it. only to comp, which is the whole window, or to selection, but "as of all selections". It doesn't offer to align 1 object to another one. It's middeling all together. Let's see, maybe next version has it. Would be a relief.


                      • 9. Re: Aligning To Object
                        Dave LaRonde Level 6

                        Had I paid close enough attention to your link to the tip, I too may have noticed it wasn't for AE.


                        There's always parenting if you need it.  It won't align automatically, but it will keep the children stuck to the parent layer once they're aligned.

                        • 10. Re: Aligning To Object
                          fhxfhx Level 1

                          thx for reply Dave, ya understand, had this aligning function from DTP programs in mind, because it makes it easier for example to align a text in the middle of another object, without changing the position of the other object. Just for temp or on the fly positioning and then heading over to other positioning tasks with the temporarily aligned text or whatever 2nd object. Is a common thing in DTP and as a reflex I was looking for it ... for me it feels as a standard positioning feature. I agree there is all other ways to align stuff, but this certain way has the shortest way to get there. Usually selecting target object first, selcting to-be-aligned-object second, then hitting wanted align ... done. I was digging it because I thought "it must be there" and it became a little side task to dig it out.

                          • 11. Re: Aligning To Object
                            Dave LaRonde Level 6

                            Here's a personal suspicion why aligning things quickly in AE isn't that big a deal:


                            AE is an ANIMATION application.  Layers move.  They don't always maintain the same position as they would in Photoshop or Illustrator.  Thus, having such a feature isn't high on Adobe's list of Things To Do.

                            • 12. Re: Aligning To Object
                              fhxfhx Level 1


                              i think AE workflow can really benefit from a full set of established aligning options. motion graphics often is so much about dealing with layout.

                              • 13. Re: Aligning To Object
                                bogiesan Level 4

                                You're welcome to add it to the wishlist discussion but, in all of my many many years of working in After Effects, I have never needed an alignment function that is any more thorough than what is already built into the application. Nor ahve I ever seen the request come up in the many years I've participating here.


                                There are distribution plugins that can be obtained from several third party providers. Among them is a set of 3D tools where one selects a long list of objects/layers and selects Dsitribute:Sphere and they wonderfuly get assembled into sphere within a 3D comp.

                                • 14. Re: Aligning To Object
                                  fhxfhx Level 1

                                  ya, once you had such an alignment, you'd probably also start aligning items horizontally or vertically or centering them without re-locating / back-locating the source item ... it's good to have, I can tell from my use. Wondering why it's not there since Illustrator and Photoshop has it too.

                                  • 15. Re: Aligning To Object
                                    JAX Creative Cloud Team Level 1

                                    I'm like really late to this party, but I had the same question and same problem, and I'm really surprised that there isn't a one-click way.  Just because AE is about motion doesn't mean it doesn't need tools make great layouts and alignments.  The whole point is it is motion DESIGN.  Why have ugly off-centered graphics?


                                    For the record, I figured out a little trick that might help someone who likes to line up their objects WITHOUT having to move one-of-the-objects-that-you-already-so-carefully-placed...


                                    Simply copy the position of the importantly-placed object (let's call it object A) that you don't want to move, and then select that and the other object you want to align and hit the center align (or whatever alignment you want).  BTW, if you are already lost and don't see the Align tab, you can find it the "Windows" menu.


                                    Obviously object A & B are now aligned but are out of place. Now parent object B (that you didn't copy the keyframe from) to the important object A. Next, paste the original position back into the important object A, and both will return to the original spot.


                                    Works beautifully for more than 2 objects and also text...


                                    It's not as nice an abobe built-in solution, but hey at least it works.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 16. Re: Aligning To Object
                                      kalamazandy Level 1

                                      This. This right here is why I stopped suggesting features to adobe. Because I have submitted this. My coworker has submitted it as well. And I've been checking Every version to see if this has finally been updated.


                                      Just because YOU don'tt need a feature, doesn't mean it isn't useful.


                                      Why would you want this? Motion bla bla. Yes, you move things. Just THINK about it for a second. If you have an object that needs to move from one thing to the next, but those other objects shouldn't move, then you'll align the object you're animating to the first object, set a keyframe, then move forward in time, align it to the second object, and you're done.


                                      Yes, you can eyeball it. That takes additional time. Not much, but repeated 200 times (I Literally just did that for a project so don't tell me it doesn't happen) and you'll find yourself saving an hour of work pretty quickly....because Adobe finally decided to add a button that in every other software they make.


                                      I don't even care if they add this feature in a different way. Just do order of operation. Click object 1, then object 2, 3 etc. All objects align to object 1. Or the reverse. All go to last object selected. It's easier to code than how it's done in Illustrator at least.




                                      The current workaround SUCKS. This is the most precise way I can think of:


                                      You want object 1 aligned to object 2 without Obj2 moving.

                                      duplicate obj2. Align obj1 to obj2dup. parent obj1to obj2dup. match position of obj2dup to original position by typing in the numbers. Now delete obj2dup.

                                      Object 1 is now aligned to obj2, but it never moved.


                                      Yeah, that works, and is Super annoying.


                                      Don't forget that someone may use a software differently than you. Did you know people are now doing svg animation in after effects now? That could be creating pixel perfect animation for a low resolution screen on the display for the next toaster you buy. And you'll be plagued by that one pixel that doesn't seem Quite right just because you thought it was dumb that only a few people wanted better align tools in AE.


                                      Is it even important to have Both objects move when aligning two objects? Would people really be upset if they just changed the align objects to be order of operation like some other software? I Can think of some uses of the current method. If you want to know the center of to objects, that's one way to do it. Although, you could just as easly create a 3rd object and just distribute. The middle object will give you the center. So that's a moot point.


                                      I think they should just Change how the feature works rather than making a new one. Instead of aligning to the average, just align to the first (or last) object/layer selected.


                                      Just remember people. You aren't the only user, and if you only design for the majority then you'll be not designing for those few people who you look at and think, 'holy crap, how is that person so damn good?" They are good because they don't use the tools the same way as you. They are Way more creative in different areas than you. So give them the tools to keep being creative and don't try and make them use the tools the same way.