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Aligning an Erase Layer with the Original Layer in AE

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sam stalosAligning an Erase Layer with the Original Layer in AE
by on Oct 25, 2012 at 9:17:55 pm

I’m having trouble with the logic and jargon of AE, CS3.

I have imported a series of sequenced .bmp files into a layer of AE CS3. No problem. The .bmp files are all on one layer and playback just fine representing the original video.

I had to adjust individual frames using the Transform: Position feature. No problem. We’re talking about adjusting some 300+ frames.

Now I want to go in and tweak individual frames using the Erase Tool. I understand that you can’t erase on the original frames but have to double click on the Layer in the TimeLine panel or the Screen View to automatically bring up a second layer that has the same name as the original layer... but with an asterisk attached. In the Screen View, the original layer is titled “Composition: xxxx,” and the erase-layer is titled “Layer.” One can use the Erase or the Paint tools on that second layer. What changes (erase/paint) are made to the image in the 2nd erase-layer are magically added to the original layer during rendering. The original frames are never altered... at least in terms of erase and paint. Fine. I understand this. No problem.

But that 2nd erase-layer doesn’t show the alignment corrections I made to the individual frames in the Original Layer via the Transform: Position feature. It shows each frame in the same position as the original used to be. So then I’m thinking there must be a button to correct this misalignment, but it eludes me. The AE Manual mentions, in only one sentence I can find, something about “linking” layers. But there’s no further explanation beyond this one simple statement.

Then I realize that this 2nd erase-layer doesn’t seem to really be a layer at all. It doesn’t appear in the Project panel as another file or another layer. It doesn’t appear in the TimeLine panel as a duplicate layer. Therefore, I can’t go into this 2nd erase-layer and manually duplicate all the Transform: Position corrections I had made in the original layer. I need the 2nd erase-layer to align with the original layer so I can determine exactly what is to be erased, which is based on the adjusted alignments of each frame in sequence made to the original layer. Sounds like a reasonable expectation to me. So does this 2nd erase-layer really exist as a layer (as Adobe has been defining the term thus far in AE)?

I checked earlier posts on this forum and found something about going into Preferences : Display : and checking (or maybe unchecking) the “sync” switch. But when I look in the Preferences : Display menu, I see nothing about syncing layers. I hope this wasn’t a CS3-only blunder.

So how does one get this 2nd erase-layer to align itself to the original layer from which it was duplicated? How can one erase elements in different frames when the frames have been repositioned via the Transform : Position function? Is the 2nd erase-layer really a Layer as previously defined in AE? Will the 2nd erase-layer only align itself during rendering?

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