ToonGoose and its founder Nik Skavinski recenly released a new tool for After Effects that allows you to create dynamic parenting. Good Parents will allow you to key or animate parenting in After Effects, on and off.

Control parenting with keyframes. Finally.

Good Parents for After Effects finally gives you the freedom to link and unlink layers or a group of layers to one or more objects. If you have ever worked with any other animation application other than After Effects before, you know how important having the ability for dynamic parenting is.

It is rather shameful that After Effects is largely considered an animation tool, while lacking some of the most basic functions for animation. In the same way that Ae is meant to be a layer based tool, with no tools that allow you to seriously manage layers.

Seriously, every time I see a new release for great new After Effects tool that fills a large unattended gap, I get excited. On the other hand, it also makes me slightly recalcitrant.

It is absolutely shameful that important features are being run by brilliant third party developers and fellow After Effects users, rather than the Ae team —Shameful, and sad. After Effects users deserve a development team that can deliver. Until we do, at least we have developers like Nik Skavinski.

1 comment

  1. Another Frustrated AE User

    I just want to add that this is a very frustrating situation for us too, might as well vent here (already took the survey). Layer Manager is a plugin, now Dynamic Parenting is a plugin, all the small but most useful features are plugins. Why can’t the AE team add some of these features? What’s the hold-up when everyone’s wish list is generally the same? The only disconnect seems to be the internal list of features that the AE team plans to add.

    At least they recently reached out to all users of After Effects with that survey, but the survey had things like “how do you use touch in your workflow, how can we improve upon this” uhhh… we don’t… That showed me just how out of “touch” they are, considering working on touch for After Effects… Stop working on that and start adding some useful features that have been requested for years… Add the ability to manage layers with folders (a request that every single user of after effects has had since the beginning of time), the excuse for not adding this (users may not understand or we’re not sure what you mean, etc.) is mind boggling, Layer Manager has solved the problem, no mass confusion ensued, just buy and integrate it if it’s that complicated. Add the ability to get at shape/text layer properties easier (a plugin does this), add the ability to do dynamic parenting, we shouldn’t need 100 plugins to do what we expect After Effects to do natively, it’s very annoying to manage and keeps you in a state of always looking for the next best plugin/compositing application because clearly After Effects doesn’t want to be number one in any category, there seems to be no pressure on them to get better at all anymore. #subscriptionhate

    Why do I still need a third party plugin to access *.exr passes? Is this a compositing application or what? Why do I have to scroll through hundreds of layers with no management system what-so-ever, not even simple folders to collapse down 100 identical layers in a row… They just need to watch a professional use the program for a day to understand all the issues we run into on a regular basis, it should be obvious what they need to improve upon workflow wise, that’s why it’s so frustrating. It’s also frustrating because it’s not like people aren’t shouting it from the rooftops, they are, when someone goes through the trouble to make a post this elaborate you should start paying attention.

    Consider this, the AE team goes on to Reddit, says “we’re working on speed and quality for 2016, what do you want us to improve in those areas?”, most upvoted response “Can we get collapsable folders (pre-comps) within a comp, like we can in photoshop? This would save so much time jumping between comps and precomps.” Hmmm what to focus on… JUST DO IT! IT’S THE MOST REQUESTED FEATURE AND SHOULD NOT TAKE YEARS TO IMPLEMENT, YOU’VE ANGERED ME TO THE POINT OF ALL CAPS AND RANDOM BUTTON PRESSING!!!@$!$!@#$@@!#FDG@#1!

    Then this post, read what Todd is saying, again, about folders:
    I’m almost stunned that they actually thought people wanted some complicated system, we just need folders as a starting point… Also this post was in 2011, so where is that simple folder management that everyone clarified they needed? Apparently they’re working on something more complex called Uber Twirl, that I’m sure will make it’s way to After Effects in a few years after 10 similar plugins have been developed, too bad there’s no solution for Un Precomposing a comp, oh wait, the Un Precompose Comp plugin (yes this exists and has saved lives), I’m not sure what they’re working on with Uber Twirl, maybe it will be great, maybe not, but I do know that there are features that people are requesting and can use today (basic folders), that should be simple to add to After Effects, that’s more important. Also note that only two things on that entire list (from 2011) have been completed “Import of 3D Objects” via Cineware and Feather Masks, you’d think a keyboard shortcut editor could be completed within 5 years, but I guess not.

    They may want to consider open voting on features like Red Giant Universe does, Trello can be good for this, I think we all know they’d be the same features people have been requesting for forever, I also hope they put out a post to show what they gathered from that survey about what people actually want to see in After Effects going forward, maybe I missed it, but it’s only been a month-ish, either way the next few major releases will be telling.

    To be fair to the AE team I’ve heard they’re pretty small compared to, the Photoshop team for example, they may just need more resources or maybe they can only focus on one thing at a time, but someone had to make Character Animator, someone had to make a decision to focus on that and personally I think regardless of how cool and interesting it is, it was a waste of time for most of us because we already have workflows for that and it’s a niche because it only fits the puppet style, the face tracking stuff is great, taking it to the realm of cartoon puppet control might not have been the best use of time.

    Lastly it’s not all bad, the core rewrite is a good thing even though the road is rocky and it’s hard to “see” the improvements, the new mask compositing options are a lifesaver, the update to the Expressions workflow, while it took a while and could still be improved, was a huge one, Cineware is a great collaboration, but there’s just so much more, that has not been done, that overshadows all that hard work, because all that cool stuff is still inside a frustrating program.

    Here’s a list of things I absolutely expected After Effects to have natively by now, almost all from the workflow section of AE Scripts: Full *.EXR Accessibility, Layer Manager and/or Zorro, Layer Selector, Shape Layer Navigator, Un-Precompose, The Commander, FX Toolbox, Tiny Tools (Expression Baking, Save Frame w/o Render, etc.), Take This, Good Parents, Explode Shape Layers, Copy Paste Markers, Copy Paste Keyframes Across Layers, Light Wrap, Editable Nulls, how about a Keyboard Shortcut Editor like every modern program since 1998… And that’s just to keep up with the status quo.

    Then there’s CC Vignette (just added) which has to be mentioned… It’s like they never watched one of the 100000000’s of tutorials out there where people go through the process of creating a solid, ctrl+clicking the circle shape and then adjusting the mask, why do things like this take years to make their way to the program? While a Character Animator that no one wants or requested gets worked on as if it’s a critical must have feature? I don’t get the disconnect. I really hope the latest survey helps them go in the right direction, but that post from 2011 basically saying “ok, we get it, you want simple folders” and the fact that it’s 2016 and we still have nothing native, is discouraging at best.


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