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How to animate a sticky nav in After Effects

after effects Oct 26, 2018

Download the 'sticky nav' After Effects source file

In this video I show you how to create a sticky nav in After Effects. 

Sticky navs are weird, especially to mock up with motion in After Effects.

I actually didn’t fully appreciate how tricky they are until I was helping my girlfriend who is a senior UX designer at Amazon. I told her I would help her out with some motion studies that I swear I thought would take like 20 minutes.

90 minutes later I was thinking to myself – dude you teach people this stuff, what is your problem? Now to be fair, I always try to find the most elegant solution for UX prototyping which means using the fewest possible keyframes, to keep the project iterable. I hate hacky workflows in AE.

So here is me saving you 90 minutes of annoyance –

Basically, if you want to set it up with as few keyframes as possible, you have to use parenting. The downside is that you can’t turn parenting on and off (which has been a requested feature in After Effects for like a million years).

So you definitely could use the position property and stick a fork in it and be done. But I prefer to do it with parenting and then splitting your layers (command + shift + d) and spacing it out that way.

Whichever way you choose to do it, I highly recommend getting the timing of your scroll handled first. That means easing your curves first and then applying the trick I’m going to show you. If you don’t, you’ll be fighting to get the timing right.

Sticky headers seem ridiculously easy but they took me a minute to wrap my head around.

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