Layers question

I hope this is an easy question!

I have an animation where some things move from on top of to behind other objects, and sometimes are both on top of and behind them at the same time. I’m having the hardest time figuring out how to arrange it best in terms of the layers.

To illustrate, imagine you have a room with 3 big balls of different colors bouncing around. Sometimes the green one is in front of the red one, sometimes the blue one is in front of the red one, sometimes the red is in front of both the green and the blue, etc, etc, depending on how you’ve animated it.

If you’ve animated each ball on its own layer, then that layer will always be be behind the layers its behind (red will always be behind green, say) so the green ball can never be in front of the red ball!

How do you handle it so they can all be in front of or behind each other depending on what the animation requires and still have each element have its own layer? Is there a way to move different layers above/below each other in real time while the animation renders?

Sorry if this is a stupid question. This must come up ALL the time, and I’m sure there’s a simple answer I’m just too dumb to come up with.

Thanks for your help!

the best way would be to animate nudges in the z axis. That way the order of your layers is overwritten by the z position.

Thanks, great idea! I’ll try it.

Did a short tutorial for it since it has been asked a few times!

To nudge things in the z-axis, with your transform tool and the Animate button on, make sure that the focus (red outline) is around the Camera View, then you can use the Alt+Up arrow to move the object behind, Alt+Down arrow to move the object in front.