the interface of Adobe After Effects in the animation of a ferris wheel

Ferris Wheel Rotation in After Effects

To animate a Ferris Wheel, start with the cars on separate layers from the wheel shape itself. Then, import your graphic file into After Effects as a composition.

Then, go to your wheel layer and set your rotation keyframes. Now, if you pick whip all the cars to the Wheel layer as a parent, you’ll notice that the cars will rotate along with the wheel. However, the cars will not remain in the proper position, but rather rotate individually as well as with the wheel.

To fix that, we first need to ensure the anchor points of the cars are where the car attaches to the wheel, and not in the center of the composition. You can change the anchor point by selecting a layer and using the Anchor Point Tool.

Then, you need to tell After Effects to ignore the rotation of the parented layer. Choose a car and option/alt-click on the stopwatch for the Rotation property to set an expression. There will be default text here of transform.rotation. Overwrite the word transform with -parent. This will subtract or cancel out this parented property.

Now, play your timeline to see that the cars rotate with the wheel, and also now stay in the proper position.

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