Hierarchy of Transform Properties on layer
Often when working with a layer one will want to control the layer's Transform properties themselves, but then also have additional transform control for that layer independent of the layer controls. Typically one would create a new Null and parent the layer to the Null, thus giving one another set of Transform property controls higher up in the hierarchy.
This can be useful in many situations, such as having a particular anchor point of the layer itself, but then another anchor point for more fine tuned controls (e.g., a squash and stretch for a bounce).
The current method of parenting to a Null is fine, but it tends to create unnecessary layers in many instances, which clutters up the timeline.
I'd propose the ability to have mutliple Transfrom controls in a hierarchy on a single layer. Each level of hierarchy could be added for the precise amount required.
Conceptually this would function like the relation of Shapes within a Shape Layer. Each shape has its own transform properties, but then the Shape Layer has its own independent Transform controls, allowing for universal transform controls for every shape within the Shape Layer.
To be sure, this can currently be accomplished with the Transform Effect, but there are some disadvantages:
For vector artwork it will rasterize the artwork, which results in pixelization on the scale
The Transform effect controls aren't as easy to control as the Layer Transform controls.
The Transform Effect is based on the Comp dimensions, rather than layer.
In my proposal adding a new level of Transform properties would automatically switch to those properties. Any changes made to the layer in the Composition window would be changed on that level of hierarchy. There could be a keyboard command to switch between hierarchies, and once selected that hierarchy would become the default for any changes made until another hierarch of controls is selected. Perhaps a colored outline corresponding to the current hierarchy would help distinguish.
The possibility to add more anchor points to one layer/object. So you can animate a car or bicycle driving above a hill without using expressions.
Brad Moylan commented
@Michael - The Transform effect is one of the work arounds, like parenting a layer to a null. But it doesn't do proper concatenation.
If you change the anchor point of a layer using the normal transform controls, then apply a Transform effect and change any of the parameters, the relative anchor point becomes disconnected. The effect's anchor will still default to the center of your comp size, but meanwhile you've moved the layer itself around so the actual layer's anchor point is somewhere else. So if you start rotating using the Transform control, it will rotate from a different anchor point.
Yes, you can always link the two values with an expression but now things are getting a little complex.
What I'm asking for is simply the ability to add more instances of each transform parameter, by clicking a "+" button next to each one, maybe. Then no matter how you transform a layer you only have one anchor point and all the math is done as if you are only changing one parameter. But this would allow the ability to express to the values of any of those instances, for example, in case there is some reason you need to link to the values of one animation before the second instance takes over.
Michael Szalapski commented
There is a transform effect you can apply. Does that do what you would like?
Brad Moylan commented
It would be useful to be able to invoke multiple instances of all the normal transform controls: Position, Scale, Rotation and Anchor Point.
Say a layer has had a motion tracker applied to Pos, Scale, Rot. So that there are keyframes on every frame. But you decide you need to nudge the layer slightly here and there. You don't want to change it on a frame by frame basis, so one current workaround is to parent that layer to a null and add new keyframes to the null. Or you can add a Transform effect and adjust things there. But this adds complexity to the comp.
Instead, how about the ability to add a new INSTANCE of the position parameter. It would appear below the currently keyframed Position parameter and could be keyframed as an additional transform.
For another example, let's say a layer is scaled down to 50%. You could add a new Scale instance and enter "200%" as a value. This would now scale the image back to its original 100% scale. (50%*200%=100%). BUT - here's the key - the image would then show no signs of bicubic interpolation or any kind of image degradation. It would be a 1:1 concatenation. Concatenation of values for all the instance parameters would be an absolute must.