After Effects Tip: Shift + Parenting Behavior Keyboard Shortcut

In this post, you will learn a simple yet useful SHIFT + parenting behavior keyboard shortcut in Adobe After Effects. Let’s dive right in!

Alright, we are in Adobe After Effects. I have a simple setup for this example.

Simple After Effects Set up

I have a circular shape layer that has a basic animation position and scale animation.


Circular Shape Layer After Effects

Our animation kind of goes side to side, it scales up and down, and then it loops. That’s pretty much it. Nothing fancy.

I also have a UKRAMEDIA.COM text layer.

Text Layer In After Effects

I want to place the UKRAMEDIA.COM text layer inside of my orange circular shape layer.

Placing Text inside of Shape Layer in After Effects

I also want the text layer to move with the shape layer. What’s the quickest way to get there?

I guess one thing we can do is to parent our UKRAMEDIA.COM text layer to the circular shape layer.

Parenting with After Effects

When we do that, both of our layers will move together correctly. So now we are halfway there.

Next, let’s activate the snapping tool and place our UKRAMEDIA.COM text layer on top of our circular shape layer.

With the snapping tool enabled, the text layer should automatically snap to the center of the circular shape layer.

Activate the snapping tool in After Effects

As you can see, the text layer is still kind of too big. Let’s fix this issue. Select the UKRAMEDIA.COM text layer, press S on the keyboard to reveal our scale property, and then adjust the scale to 100.

Scale Property in After Effects

Now we’re there! It took us about three steps to get here, but what if our scene is a bit more complicated than what we currently have here? For example, let’s undo everything. Let’s make all of our layers 3D.

3D layers in After Effects

I’m going to hit R to reveal the rotation.

Press R to reveal the rotation property in After Effects

I’m also going to complicate our project just a bit more.

I’m going to select the Shape Layer, and then I’m going to rotate slightly to make it a bit more awkward.

Rotation Property in After Effects

So now, I have this weird-looking shape layer rotating in our composition. Now let’s try the same method we did earlier.

So I’m going to select the text layer and then make sure snapping is on.

Snapping Tool After Effects


Next, snap the text layer to the center of the circular shape layer. Then parent the text layer to the shape layer.

Parenting with pick-whip in After Effects

As you can see, the animation is not working right just yet. We would then have to go to the rotation property of the UKRAMEDIA.COM text layer and try to line it up manually.

Manual rotation property in After Effects

Then maybe even adjust the scale of our text layer by pressing S on the keyboard and changing the scale to 100%.

Adjusting Scale in After Effects

So you get the point. It’s just not perfect, and it would take you way too many steps to fix it.

However, I have good news! There is a much better and faster way of getting this done. Let me show you.

Shift + Parenting Behavior Keyboard Shortcut

Instead of applying all the steps from the above example, all we have to do is select the UKRAMEDIA.COM text layer, hold down SHIFT on your keyboard, and pick-whip to the shape layer.

Pick-whip to Shape Layer in After Effects

As you do that, the text layer will snap right into the center of the shape layer, and everything else will line up as well

Snapping to the center of shape layer in After Effects

I hope you found this After Effects Tip useful. You can check out all of our Tips on our website. Also, make sure to subscribe to our email list!

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About the author:

Sergei Prokhnevskiy

Sergei Prokhnevskiy is a Charlotte, NC based motion graphics designer, an online tutor, an entrepreneur, and Adobe MAX Master Speaker. Sergei is known for his quick and practical After Effects tips and tricks on YouTube, where he generated well over 6 million views on his tutorials. He has authored an online video course on After Effects Expressions and developed scripts for After Effects. He is also a former senior motion graphics designer at Fox Sports where he worked on graphics for NFL, Super Bowl, MLB, World Series, College Football, NASCAR, Women’s World Cup, and NASCAR Race Hub. He is very passionate about learning and teaching others.


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