Layer Stalker

  • Compatibility After Effects
    Please check exact version compatibility under the "COMPATIBILITY" tab below

Author: Scott Higgs

License terms
  • Buy 2 for $22.49 each and save 10%
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Quick Overview

Track any spatial attribute to the position of any layer in the same comp, or in any comp nested within it!.

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Layer Stalker is definitely one of my go-to tools. The time I save letting Layer Stalker take care of the tedious stuff lets me focus on the really important aspects of my work. Such as napping and whiskey. No FUI designer should be without Layer Stalker. Corey Bramall, Decca Digital
I have been waiting for a tool like this for many years and is now a part of my everyday workflow. Layer Stalker let’s me drop a pin in Star City to track the Arrow and can even keep up with the fastest man alive chasing the Flash through the streets of Central City. Layer Stalker delivers in the demanding schedule of production. Just try it! Robyn Haddow, FUI Designer on The Flash and Arrow

Layer position tracking, regardless of nesting

Layer Stalker lets you track any spatial attribute to the position of any layer in the same comp, or in any comp nested within it! You don't have to worry about parenting, time remapping or transformation (position, scale, rotation). Need a 2D callout to follow a target nested inside a 3D layer? No problem - let Layer Stalker do the thinking for you. What about a 3D face layer stuck to the head that's moving around in a nested 2D puppet comp (I know - sounds weird, but trust me, it can happen)? Don't sweat it, Layer Stalker's got you covered.

So easy, even a FUI artist can use it:

In your timeline, simply select the attribute you want to change

Layer Stalker - Docked Panel

Click "Choose Target Layer" in the Layer Stalker panel

Layer Stalker - Docked Panel

Navigate to the target layer in Layer Stalker's easy-to-use interface, and you're done.

Layer Stalker - Docked Panel

A few notes:

  • Layer Stalker can be applied to any spatial attribute. This might be a layer's position, the start/end point of a beam effect, a particle emitter's position, a corner point of a corner pin effect, a layer's anchor point, a puppet pin position, etc, etc. Any attribute whose value is a 2 or 3 dimensional point is fair game, so go nuts.
  • Your target layer can be in the same comp as the attribute you want to change, or in any comp nested in that comp as a layer. Or in any comp nested in any comp nested in that comp. Or in any comp nested in any comp nested in any comp nested in that comp. get the idea. I've only tested up to 24 layers of nesting, but it's theoretically unlimited (Adobe developers please feel free to correct me).
  • Although Layer Stalker will happily follow layers which are parented, nested, etc. the layer to whose position (or other spatial attribute) you apply Layer Stalker should not be parented to anything. The value Layer Stalker returns is always in the coordinate space of the outermost comp (the comp which contains the layer to which Layer Stalker is applied).
  • Layer stalker uses layer names to build its expressions, so please name your layers carefully. If you have two layers with the same name, Layer Stalker will always use the first one it encounters. Best to make sure every layer name involved in the nesting chain is unique within its own comp.

Quick Tutorial:


After Effects CC 2015, CC 2014, CC, CS6