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Adobe After Effects Basics – Null Objects

What is a Null object?

A lot of people tend to be mystified by Null objects, not only because of their name but also because they are invisible and by themselves they have no effect whatsoever. Null objects are just marker with a position, rotation and scale that you can place in your scene either as a 2D or 3D layers. They are represented in After Effects by little red squares with 9 handles that you can use to transform them.

After Effects Basics Null Objects 01 - Null Object

What are Null objects for?

Null objects are used as helper objects to mark or control other visual elements in your composition. You can parent other elements to a Null object to control the movement of the child layers by transforming the parent. This allows you to control groups of visual elements with a single Null object layer.

After Effects Basics Null Objects 02 - Parenting

Null objects are usually used to store position data from motion tracking. Check out my motion tracking tutorial if you want to learn how to track your scene and apply the data to a Null object. Once you have a Null object that follows some visual element in your scene, you can parent other elements, like explosions and fire, to it and they will also follow the movement of the camera.

After Effects Basics Null Objects 03 - Motion Tracking

Let’s have a look at Null objects and how you create and use them in detail.

5 comments for Adobe After Effects Basics – Null Objects

  1. You have a real talent for teaching, especially with, what can be, complex operations. I like to have my AE open and follow along with what you are doing and try it my self. I use AE just for fun, not commercially, but enjoy learning new things. Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you very much for the awesome feedback!

  2. Thanks for your awesome tutorials. I’m learning easily from you.

    Cheers from Argentina!

  3. Hi,
    Nice tutes.
    Are you able to provide the AEP files and assets as well for us as well?

    • Thanks, I have a lot of downloads for sample files on my tutorials. I usually don’t provide the AE file since people can just follow along to create the effects anyways :)

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