If you’re new to After Effects, you’ve probably heard of the anchor point. The anchor point is the point in which your layer will scale and rotate around.

It’s also the point that will be used as a reference for where your layer is on the canvas.

By default, the anchor point for any layer you add to a composition sits at the center of that layer.

So why would you ever want to change your layers anchor point?

Well, there are a few reasons.

If we were to animate something simple like a shape layer, we can change its position from it’s default 0,0 position by clicking and dragging it on screen.

As we do this you can see that After Effects has automatically added an Anchor Point Transform property to our shape.

This means we can now move this shape around our screen and it will stay in place wherever we put it.

Let’s say for example that we want to animate something like a background element or maybe even just our shape rotating around the screen.

Now if we were to use the Rotation property inside of After Effects, the rotation would spin around whatever is set as its anchor point.


How To Move The Anchor Point In After Effects

What Is An anchor point in after effects?

The anchor point is exactly what it sounds like — the point around which layers pivot in 3D space.

As such, it is directly tied to the layer itself, not the composition or frame.

Even if you move a layer around while its anchor point is located at one spot in your composition, its position within that frame won’t change.

Changing the anchor point is a very simple fix, but it can be tricky if you don’t know how to do it right.

The anchor point is a key part of After Effects, without knowing how it works you won’t be able to use the software in its fullest potential. That’s why it’s important to learn the basics and how to move around the different panels.



In this guide, I’ll show you two tips that will make your life easier.

How To Change Anchor Point In After Effects

In this After Effects tutorial we’re going to take a look at how to change the anchor point of any shape in After Effects.


So let’s say for example that you have a shape like this, and want to move the anchor point over a little bit.

In After Effects, the anchor point is always located somewhere in the center. To change that, we need to do two things.

First, you need to select the entire shape with the Selection tool by left-clicking on it. Then go up under Modify and choose Anchor Point Tool.

With the Anchor Point Tool selected, click on the shape and drag the anchor point wherever you want it.

So now the anchor point is not in its center anymore, but instead it’s much closer to this side of the image.

Let’s say that instead of dragging it around manually, you just want to move it over by 50 pixels for example.

There’s an easy way to do that. Just select your shape again with the Selection tool and choose the Anchor Point Tool again.


Anchor Point In After Effects

Given the visual nature of After Effects, it’s easy to get hung up on video. However, still images can also be imported into After Effects and manipulated to produce stunning results.

In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at the Anchor Point in After Effects

The Anchor point is used for scaling and rotating layers. It can be useful for adjusting the angle of your layer to better fit within your composition. The Anchor point can be found in the upper-left corner of each layer, as shown below:

Using the Anchor point is pretty straightforward. Selecting it will allow you to scale or rotate your layer according to the location of that point. 

To use this tool, simply click on the anchor point and drag your mouse around in any direction; you’ll see an arrow appear around your cursor which indicates how your layer will move once you let go of the mouse button.

You can also hold down Shift while dragging to scale your layer faster or slower according to its center point rather than its edges. 

By holding down Option/Alt while dragging with the Anchor Point selected, you can rotate your image either clockwise or counterclockwise around that same center point rather than around its edges. 



How To Move The Anchor Point In After Effects

You can place layers in various positions and orientations with the anchor point, which is the point at which a layer sticks to the composition. 

How To Move The Anchor Point In After Effects

  1. First, you want to select the layer or layers that you would like to move. In this case, I have chosen my video footage layer and my background image layer. Make sure both are selected, then hit command + g on a Mac, or control + g on a PC to group them together. This makes it easy to move all of them at once.
  2. Now, head up to your Layer menu and choose “Anchor Point”. This will open up the anchor point window for your selected layers. You will notice there are two columns in this window. The first column is for position and scale, while the second column is for rotation.

You will also notice there are arrows on either side of each scale option on the right-hand side of each layer (except for the background image). Click on the little squares in order to reposition your layers in After Effects.


After Effects Set Anchor Point Movement

Okay, so you’re new to After Effects

Maybe you’re a designer who’s been asked to put together an animated explainer video for your company. Or maybe you work for an agency and want to learn more about the toolset you use every day.

Either way, it can be overwhelming to jump from Illustrator or Photoshop into After Effects. I’ve been working with AE for over ten years and I still find it difficult to keep track of anchor points and layers. 

If you’re just learning, or if you’ve been using AE for a while but want a refresher on the basics, this is the article that’ll get you up and running with After Effects anchor points.

The first thing to understand is that every layer in After Effects has an anchor point. Anchor points control how a layer is positioned in relation to other layers in the composition. 


You can set multiple anchor points on a single layer, which means that layer can move in several directions at once: up, down, left, right, or diagonally.


After Effects Set Anchor Point

Anchor Point: The default location of keyframes on the timeline.  In After Effects, all keyframes are set at the anchor point, whether you see it or not. 

You can change the location of the anchor point by dragging it to a new location. Holding down OPT/ALT while dragging changes the shape of the anchor point as well.

How to Change Anchor Points:

– Select a layer or group in your composition and open up your property panel (Window > Properties), or press F4 on your keyboard.

– On your Composition panel, find ‘Anchor Point’ and click on it to reveal a drop-down menu with two options – ‘None’ and ‘Center’. 

Choose ‘Center’ if you want your layer’s position keyframe to be centered on its duration; choose ‘None’ if you want to have no visible anchor point.


Steps To Moving The Anchor Point In After Effects

Anchor points are used to define the position of a layer or selection within a composition. We use them to control the position and scale of our layers, as well as where they lie in 3D space. An anchor point is kind of like a magnet that draws an object towards it.


  1. There are two ways to move an anchor point, the first is by going to Layer>Anchor Point>Set. The other way is by going to Layer>Anchor Point>Move. I’m going to use the Set method in this lesson since I prefer to work with keyboard shortcuts.
  2. Select the layer you want to apply the effect to then look at the Layer panel and click on Position and Size in order to expand it and see all of its properties such as Width, Height and Anchor Point.
  3. You should see your cursor change into a target symbol, right click on your layer and hit Set Anchor Point (first icon) on the context menu that appears.
  4. You should notice that your anchor point changes from a circle into a crosshair symbol as you click on it.


After Effects Anchor Point Tips

Tightening and Loosening Anchor Points

If you click on an anchor point and drag it toward its center, you’ll tighten its position. If you drag an anchor point away from its center, you’ll loosen its position. This can be useful for making small adjustments to your layers and keyframes.

For example, if your layer has been aligned with another layer but needs to move just a little more, simply grab the anchor point, drag it back and forth until you get just the right position, then release it. The layer will snap into place perfectly.


After Effects Deselect The Pan-Behind Tool

Typically when you make a selection in Adobe After Effects, your Pan Behind tool will follow that selection around the screen. This can be very annoying and makes it difficult to pan behind other items.

I’m going to share a quick little tip on how to get rid of this feature. You can follow along with the video or read the steps below:

Open After Effects > Go to File > Import > Import Video (Ctrl+R). Choose your video file. Follow any additional prompts until the file is loaded into After Effects.

Now go to your layer panel, right click on one of the layers and choose Precompose. Name the new comp something like “Pan Behind Disabled” or whatever you like.

Now, with your new composition selected, go up under Composition > Layer and choose New > Layer. Make sure that your newly created layer is above all of your other layers in the layers panel. 

Now drag your deselected item into your newly created layer’s timeline. 

Note: In order for this trick to work, you need to have at least 2 layered items in your project. 

Once you’ve done this, go up under Composition > Layer and choose Precompose again. This should create a new composition.



Best Free After Effects Templates

I now present to you a collection of some of the best free after effects templates. All the links in this article are direct download links.

This is a really nice After Effects template that features a portfolio of your work in a very creative way. The pack features ten different projects with different animations and styles. 

This template is perfect for showing off your photos, graphics, videos, etc. The project is fully customizable so you can change the text, colors, and other aspects as needed.

This is a simple and elegant After Effects template that comes with retro credits and an awesome background. 

This is a great project for showing off photos from your vacations or kids growing up. You can customize the type of background you want or use one of the many cool backgrounds that come with it.

The Flying Box has three unique slideshows to choose from and tons of options that you can use to customize the project to fit your needs. 

There are three different color schemes to choose from as well as five different backgrounds that you can use in combinations with each slideshow style.

This After Effects template features minimalistic animations and a super clean design that allows you to focus on your images without any destractions.