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Align two layers across comp

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Josh DekayAlign two layers across comp
by on Nov 10, 2014 at 10:50:23 pm

Hello,

For the sake of this question, I've created a simple example.

Say I have two layers, text layers in this example, they are aligned horizontally. How do I center them within the comp while keeping their relative spacing to each other? They could be circles, squares, etc - I'm just using text to illustrate.

In Photoshop for instance, I'd create the two layers, group them and then align the group to a marquee selection (which would be equal to the entire canvas). Both layers would remain spaced the same relative to each other, but their parenting group would be centered and therefore center all of the text as well.

There's got to be a simple way to do this without pre-comping them and centering the new comp that I'm overlooking...



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Daniel WaldronRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Nov 11, 2014 at 2:30:11 pm

You can center layers using the Align panel. Go to Window --> Align and then select the vertical and horizontal centering buttons. To keep the layers spaced relative to each other, simply parent one to the other. So if you parent "First" to "Second", you can drag "Second" around and "First" will follow.


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Josh DekayRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Nov 11, 2014 at 3:50:25 pm

Hey Daniel,

The issue with that is that once it's parented, if the align tools are used (Window > Align), the alignment is set to the parent only and not both words as a "group". In other words "First" is centered, but "Second" is not. See what I mean?

Any other thoughts?

Thanks for the reply.


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Daniel WaldronRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:07:29 pm

Ah, I see what you're saying. You could parent both layers to a Null Object that is in between both layers, then use the align function on the Null Object, but then you are stuck trying to center the null object between the two layers.

I know you don't want to hear this, but I think precomping is your best bet.


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Josh DekayRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:18:40 pm

Copy that - if anything else comes to mind I'm all ears.

Cheers!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Nov 12, 2014 at 1:30:11 am

I eyeball it. Works 99.9% of the time. Fast, too.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Josh DekayRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:08:56 pm

I used to do that more, but have gotten fast with proper alignment tools in other programs like Photoshop. Sometimes I eyeball it, and then use the tools to perfect and it doesn't move and I think the tool malfunctioning haha :)

At any rate, thanks for chiming in.

PS - I posted a new topic in the AE forum about "FCP > After Effects Workflow/Files" just a bit ago. Why haven't you replied yet!? It's been at least a few minutes... It's like you have a life outside of helping folks or something. Haha! ;)


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Michael DunnRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Sep 6, 2015 at 5:48:54 am

This question pains me. I can never find a solution! I do a lot of lyric videos. And eyeballing it is not an option, especially as we enter 3D layering. How do you take layer one and layer two, and ultimately center them based on their proximity to one another. People always say precomp, but precomp doesn't center them respectively, it just creates an additional composition to the issue I already have. Does ANYONE have any thoughts? I even converted the text to shapes and grouped the shapes and that didn't even work. It's a straight up nightmare. Thoughts? Le sigh...


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Bart RemmersRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Jun 2, 2016 at 8:33:20 am

I too, am still looking for a solution for this. Some text layers might eventually change over time (the text source) so I want them to automatically center two or three layers, even after I changed the text's source, automatically.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Align two layers across comp
by on Jun 2, 2016 at 3:44:21 pm

Well, if you use the Paragraph settings to center-justify the text....

....and all the text layers in question have the same horizontal position...

...then it doesn't matter if you change the text. They'll always be centered relative to one another. Of course, you could always run out of horizontal space if there's too much text, but that's a separate issue.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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