How to Move Objects in After Effects

Updated on: September 16, 2022

If you are taking your first steps in motion graphics, you need to familiarize yourself with certain handy features in After Effects. Especially those that allow you to control the most basic motions of your animations. 

The Anchor Point, for example, is one of those tools it’s better to get used to from the beginning. Since it acts like a pin that pulls selected elements to move them around on its own, this feature helps you to bring your 2D layers to life. Wondering how to do it? Now, this is how you can move objects in After Effects by using the Anchor Point feature.

Get started by making shapes in Adobe After Effects

Before we get to the Anchor Point, try to create a shape by clicking the ‘Rectangle Tool’ (Q) located on the Toolbar. Make sure that you have not selected any layer in your Timeline previously in order to be able to draw on the canvas correctly.

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You can also hit shortcuts on your keyboard to activate some functions. If you pressed Q to create an object you are probably now seeing a rectangle on your canvas. Is your shape done? Great! You are ready to understand how the Anchor Point attracts and generates action on your elements. 

Moving objects in After Effects

Try the simpler tools in After Effects to start animating your objects. Hit W to activate the Rotate feature so you can move your rectangle in circles, or go to the Toolbar and click Anchor Point (Y). 

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When activating this button, take note of the five dots appearing on your shape, hold the one located in its center and drag it to any point on your canvas you want.

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After this, go back to Rotate tool (W) to see that once you alter the Anchor Point, your shape will always follow an animated path based on the axis of this tool. 

Andrea Mercado is a tech-focused journalist and copywriter with over 5 years of experience covering innovation, edtech, AI, and internet trends across media outlets. She is passionate about how technology can democratize access to education and is an avid learner when it comes to emerging tech like AI. Her articles and webinars help readers stay informed on the latest tech developments.
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