Save On Layers With a Z-Position Switch for Ae Characters

Joe Clay Shows How You Can Save Layers for After Effects Characters by Creating a Z-Position Switch

Workbench’s Joe Clay shows a way to change front and back order with a character rig in After Effects by creating a Z-Position Switch.

If you have worked with character rigs and animation in After Effects you likely know that organization is critical. Characters are notoriously reliant on hierarchy, but they can also pose issues for front and back orders. Does a hand show up in front of the character, and then behind? There are a few ways to deal with this when animating. Likely the most common method is to split a layer and change its order in the layer stack. But is it the most practical?

Workbench Joe Clay doesn’t think so. If you are a stickler for better organizations and saving on layers in After Effects, there is another way. You can create a Z-Position Switch using an expression. Link this to an expression control, and you have an easy way to alter front/back ordering and animate it over time.

“Hopefully this is one of those tutorials that’s so simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it,” Joe says. ” But if it’s something you’ve already thought of, well, congrats on your character organization prowess!”