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I have this atom that I want to animate in after effects (yes I know you have more than one electron in carbon, but that's not the point). I want this electron to orbit around the middle of the atom. But I want to do it without actually making the minus spin as well, when I set the anchor point in the middle and I do keyframe animation on the electron, the electron spins, but the minus rotates with it.

How can I anchor the minus to the electron? Or, for future knowledge, is there any way to make it so that the electron orbits around the middle, with the minus always lying horizontal, instead of rotating?

1 Answer 1


Try this:

  1. Parent the atom to the ring or a null in the center
  2. Rotate the ring/null which will rotate the electron around the middle
  3. Apply an expression to the rotation property of the electron layer

Rotation Expression:

parent.transform.rotation * -1

This simple expression will rotate the electron in the opposite direction from its parent (ring/null) layer, which keeps the minus from rotating.

Hope this helps!

  • 1
    I completely forgot about this question... anyway, yes, this is what I ended up doing in the end, although I didn't do anything fancy like you said, I just rotated the minus sign the other way... can get annoying when I need to start and stop the rotation, but it worked... Anyway, thanks for your help!
    – skillz21
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 9:38
  • It was a bit late, but glad you got it working! :) Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 5:46

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