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Ordering Effects in After Effects

The order of your effects in the Effects Control panel will determine how things look in After Effects.
Here I've applied a Drop Shadow effect to my spaceman and brought the distance away in the effects control panel.

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Creating a drop shadow effect

My intention for this animation is for the spaceman to spin and for the shadow to stay in place and spin also.
I'll go in to timeline and twirl open to rotation and rotate my spaceman.

Rotation panel

I rotated my spaceman 133 degrees and ended up with the following results.

Rotate the object 133 degrees

Instead of the shadow staying in place and rotating it stayed on my spaceship's right wing.
I'll reset rotation back to zero and find the Transform effect in Effects and Presets and apply it to my spaceman.
Right now the Transform effect is beneath my drop shadow effect in the Effect Controls panel.

Using the transform effect

If I adjusted rotation under the Transform Effect we would have the same result of the shadow following the spaceship. However if I click and drag the Transform effect so that it is over the Drop Shadow effect in Effect Controls,

Re-order the effects in After Effects

Then adjusted rotation underneath the Transform Effect in the Effect Controls panel, we would have the shadow spinning in place.

Finished Effects in correct order

In summation, if effects aren't behaving the way that you'd expect, try re-ordering them in the Effect Controls panel.

Related Adobe After Effects Lessons

How to create backgrounds and text with animated colors
How to make a Spinning Object

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