Week 07

Week 07 – Topics

Shape layers
Creating and animating vector-based shapes.
Setting up your files

Announcement: No class on Tuesday, March 29
I’ll be in Seattle at the An Event Apart Conference. See class notes below for more assignments due April 5.

What am I up to in Seattle? Here’s how to find out…
Friend me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @jamiecavanaugh or @smc_grdes

  • creating a Shape Layer
  • shape Stroke and Fill settings
  • editing shapes
  • multiple shapes
  • Even-Odd Fill
  • Shape Effects
  • creating buttons
  • Shape Repeater
  • Compound Paths
  • Gradients
  • shape Pen paths
  • Wiggle Transforms
  • advanced strokes
  • animating a stroke
  • Brainstormed shapes
Week 07 – Assignments

1) Complete all the exercises outlined in Lesson 11 – Shape Layers. Use the Lesson 11 files included on the DVD of your AEA textbook. You may also use the class notes below to supplement the information in the AEA textbook. Bring these files with you to our next class Tuesday. April 5 and upload the files to my dropbox.

Additional resources for the Lesson 11 – Shape Layers can be found in our other AE textbook:
“After Effects CS4: Visual QuickPro Guide.”
Chapter 14: More Layer Techniques

2) Pick one of the Motion Graphics “People to know” from the list below and do an online search to study their work. Answer the following questions and post to your Tumblr blog:

  • Who did you choose this person and why?
  • How would you categorize their work? Does it fit into any of the Genres we outlined in the Week 06 notes?
  • Please post a video of their work to your Tumblr blog and write a critique using the 7 criteria also outlined in the Week 06 notes.

Jeremy Cox
Genevieve Gauckler
Jeremy Blake
Pablo Ferro
Michel Gondry
David Shrigley
Smith & Foulkes
Maurice Binder
Doug Aitken
Jenny Holzer
Milton Glaser
Oskar Fischinger
Tibor Kalman
Hillman Curtis
Kuntzel Deygas
Thomas Wilfred
The Films of Charles & Ray Eames: The Powers of Ten

3) Reading for next week from AEA book – Chapter 4  “Lesson 4 – Creating Transparency”

4) Continue working on your project. Make any necessary modifications to your storyboard before creating your design files. You should start designing your project this week, if you haven’t already done so.  You may create your design files in either Photoshop or Illustrator. (If you haven’t done so already, post an image of your storyboard to your Tumblr blog and write a paragraph about the concept for your animation.) This week, if you are finished creating your design assets in Photoshop or Illustrator, start working on your animation in After Effects.

Typography in Motion (Due beginning of class Week 09)

Your “Typography in Motion” project must exhibit type demonstrating two pairs from the following emotions/states:

Slow – Fast
Happy – Sad
Harmony – Chaos
Birth – Death

Project specification:
Dimensions: 640 pixels x 480 pixels or you can use 720 pixels x 480 pixels
Length: 30 seconds or less.
Render the file as a QuickTime (.mov) file. This .mov file is the file you will copy to my dropbox.

Think about the following:

  • How should the concept of this emotion/state animate?
  • How can your composition — with the addition of time — reinforce the concept?

Be sure to check out the Inspiration page for examples of projects using Typography in Motion.

Lesson 11 – Shape Layers
Page 262    creating a Shape Layer

Open > Lesson11-Shape Layers

Comp >  01-Shape Play*starter

Click on the Shape Tool

Page 263    shape Stroke and Fill settings

Fill, Stroke, and Stroke Width options will appear.

  • Click on the word Fill (not the swatch) and you can select between fill mode buttons
  • Choose Solid color and normal mode, set opacity to 50% and click okay.
  • Click on the Fill swatch and change the color to Red
  • Click on word Stroke to open Stroke options
  • Click on Stroke color swatch to open Stroke Color
  • Click on Stroke Width to change or scrub value
Page 263    editing shapes

Twirl down Rectangle 1
Default is Stroke over Fill, but you can change the layer order to change this.
Twirl down Rectangle Path 1 and explore the parameters

  • Size
  • Position
  • Roundness

Twirl down Transform
Experiment with the parameters
Position to 0, 0 to center shape

Page 264    multiple shapes

Select Ellipse in the Shape tool and with the Shape Layer 1 selected, draw a new shape
It will have it’s own parameters to experiment with.

On the Rectangle 1 path, select “Add” (located up on top near the Fill and Stroke options) and choose Polystar.
It will belong to the same shape group as the Rectangle 1.

Experiment with the parameters for the Polystar.

Page 265    Even-Odd Fill

Try the inner and outer roundness to create interesting looping shapes.
Twirl down Fill 1 and set it’s Fill Rule popup to Even-Odd.

Alternating sections of the overlap shapes, rather than the entire shape will be filled.

Page 266    Shape Effects

Select Add > Trim Paths
Twirl down Trim Paths and scrub Start and End parameters
Scrub Offset

Select Add > Twist
Twirl it open and scrub its Angle parameter

Select Add > Pucker & Bloat. Your rectangle will take on a bloated appearance

Select Add > Zip Zag, a spiky version of Pucker & BLoat
Twirl it down and scrub its Size and Ridges parameters
Twirl it up and turn off its eyeball.

Select Add > Wiggle Paths
Twirl it open and play with the Size and Detail parameters along with the Points popup

Select Add > Wiggle Transform. Nothing will happen
Twirl down Wiggle Tranform 1, scrub the two Position parameters
Scrub Wiggle Transform 1 > Wiggles/Second to alter how fast it moves.

Page 268    Shape Repeater

Comp > 02-Repeater*starter

Twirl down Shape Layer 1 > Contents > Group 1
Select Shape Layer 1 and choose Add > Repeater
Twirl down Repeater 1 and increase the value for Copies to 5 to create more petals.

Twirl down Repeater 1 > Transform:Repeater 1.
Reduce the X value to fit all five petals on-screen.
Slowly scrub the value for Offset.
When you’re done experimenting, set Offset to -2. You should now have 5 petals centered around the original.
Slightly increase the value for Transform: Repeater 1  > Scale
Scrub Transform: Repeater 1 > Rotation

Set Transform: Repeater1 > Scale to 100% and > Position to 0,0
Set Transform: Repeater 1 > rotation to a small value such as 30 degrees.
Scrub Transform: Repeater 1 > Anchor Point’s value
Twirl down Group1 > Transform: Group 1. If you scrub the scale or rotation, the entire result will rotate or scale.
Reset Transform: Repeater 1 > Anchor Point to 0, 0
Now set the Group’s  Anchor Point to x=0, y=100.

With Shape Layer 1 selected choose Add > Wiggle Transform
Twirl down Wiggle Transform 1 > Transform and scrub its Position or Scale values
Now drag Repeater 1 above Wiggle Transform 1, all the petals will be transformed individually.

Page 270    Compound Paths

Comps > 03-Gear*starter

Pick star shape in the Tools panel.
Click on the word Fill in the Tools panel, make sure Solid Color is selected
Set Opacity to 100%, and click OK.

  • Click on the word Stroke. Set it to Solid Color and 100% Opacity.
  • Set Fill Color, Stroke Color, and Stroke Width to taste.
  • Click in the middle of the Comp panel and drag outward to create roughly the size of gear you want

Center the shape in the comp. Twirl down Contents layer in the Timeline, then twirl > Polystar Paths
Tweak Polystar Path’s parameters to set up the number, size, and slope of your gear teeth.
Add Merge Paths, set to Intersect.
Add an Ellipse shape path.
Twirl down Transform: Gear Group. Set Position to 0, 0 and twirl up Transform: Gear Group.
Twirl down Polystar Path 1. Set Points to the number of teeth you want in your gear.
Tweak Inner and Outer Radius to set up what will be the angle of your gear teeth.
Zero out the Roundness values
Twirl up Polystar Path 1 when done.
Next, trim off the spikes on your teeth:
Make sure Gear Group is selected (not just the entire Shape Layer), click the Add button, and select Ellipse.
Twirl down Ellipse Path 1. Scrub Size until the ellipse is just inside the star’s outer points.

Combine them into a compound path:
Make sure Gear Group is selected. Select Add > Merge Paths.
Twirl down Merge Paths 1 and set its Mode popup to Intersect.

Further tweak Ellipse Path 1’s Size and twirl up Ellipse Path 1 plus
Merge Paths 1 when done.
Making sure Gear Group is selected (so that you don’t accidentally start a new group):

  • Select Add > Ellipse again. Drag Ellipse Path 2 underneath Merge Paths 1.
  • Twirl Ellipse Path 2 down, increase its Size to fill in the bottom of the teeth, and twirl it up. This new ellipse will also be stroked;
  • Merge Paths can fix that as well.
  • Select Add > Merge Paths again. Drag Merge Paths 2 below Ellipse Path 2.
  • Twirl down Merge Paths 2 and verify that its Mode is set to Add. The ellipse will be added to the result of the first Merge Paths attribute to make one shape.

The last step is the hole in the middle:

  • Make sure Gear Group is still selected. Then select Add > Ellipse and drag Ellipse Path 3 underneath Merge Paths 2. Tweak its Size to taste and twirl it up.
  • Select Add > Merge Paths. Drag Merge Paths 3 below Ellipse Path 3.
  • Twirl down Merge Paths 3 and set its Mode to Subtract to have the final ellipse cut out from the composite shape.
Page 272        Gradients

Open Comps > 04-Display*starter.

Twirl down Shape Layer 1, then Contents, then Rectangle 1.

  • Select Shape Layer 1 (the highest level of the layer).
  • Hold down the option key and click on the Fill Color swatch in the Tools panel. It should change from a solid to a gradient.

Release option and click on the Fill Color swatch again. .

  • Select Radial Gradient mode by clicking on the second of the two icons in the upper left corner.
  • Click on the pointer at the upper left corner of the gradient bar:  Set its Opacity to 15% or less.
  • Click on the Opacity Stop along the right; this is for the outer edge of the gradient. Set it roughly around 50%.
  • Click on the pointer in the lower right corner of the gradient bar: Set it to black.
  • Click on the Color Stop to the left: This is the center color. Pick a color to taste, and note how it tints the center of the gradient in the Comp viewer. Click OK when finished.

Press V make sure the Selection tool is active and verify that Gradient Fill 1 is selected for your Shape layer in the Timeline panel.

Page 273    shape Pen paths

Make sure the Window > Info panel is open and visible. Also make sure Shape Layer 1 is selected.
Press “G” to select the Pen tool.
Move the cursor over the Comp panel until Info says X = 200 and Y = 20, then click.
Move the cursor downward to X = 200 and Y = 380, and click again: Your line will appear.

Twirl down new group called Shape 1
Select Shape 1, then Add > Path. Path 2 will appear.
In the Comp panel, with the Pen tool still selected, place the cursor at X = 20 and Y = 200, and click to start your new path. Then place the cursor at X = 380 and Y = 200, and click again to finish your horizontal crosshair.
Press “V” to return to the Selection tool.

Twirl down Shape 1 > Stroke 1 (under Path 2)
Change the Color, Opacity, Stroke Width, and Line Cap

Page 274    Wiggle Transforms

Comps > 05-Abstract*starter.

It contains a simple rounded rectangle.
Twirl down Shape Layer 1 > Contents.
Select Rectangle 1, and choose Add > Wiggle Transform.

Twirl down Wiggle Transform 1, then the Transform section inside this effect (not the shape group’s nor layer’s Transform).
Increase Wiggle Transform’s Scale to 100%.
Lower the Wiggles/Second speed to around 0.5.

Press “0” on the numeric keypad to Preview

Select Wiggle Transform 1 and press Command + D to duplicate it.
In Wiggle Transform 1, set its Position value to 0, 0 and 100% Scale.
Twirl down Wiggle Transform 2 > Transform.
Set its Scale to 0%
Position value of X = 360, Y = 0.

Twirl up Wiggle Transform 1 and 2, select Rectangle 1, and choose Add > Repeater.
Twirl down Repeater 1 > Transform: Repeater 1, and set its Position value to X = 0, Y = 0;
Wiggle Transform 2 will be providing the position offsets.
Drag Repeater 1 above Wiggle Transform 1 so that the repeats happen before the wiggles.
Now you will see three copies.

Increase the number of Repeater 1 > Copies to value of 20.


  • Set the Blending Mode popups for Stroke 1 and Fill 1 to something more interesting, such as Color Dodge, Pin Light, or Vivid Light.
  • Add a blur effect, such as Effect > Blur & Sharpen > Box Blur, and increase the Blur Radius.
  • At higher Iterations values, the result is a floating haze. Or, reduce Iterations to 1 or 2, and add Layer > Layer Styles > Outer Glow. Twirl down Outer Glow, and experiment with its parameters, such as Size and Color.
Page 276    advanced strokes

Comps > 06-Map Path*starter.

Press “G” to select the Pen tool, then enter the following settings using the Tools panel:

  • Enable the RotoBezier option to make it easy to create a fluid path.
  • Since you’re drawing a line, your shape will not need to be filled. Press Option and click on the Fill Color swatch until it is a gray box with a red line through it which means no fill
  • Click on Stroke, make sure it is in Solid Color mode, and set its Opacity to 100%. Click OK.
  • Set the Stroke Color
  • Increase the Stroke Width to 16 pixels.

Visualize a path you want to create across this map

Click on the dark line along the right edge of the map to start your path.
Then click several additional points across the map until you reach the left hand border.

Press “V’ to switch back to the Selection tool

Design your own pattern along the stroke.
In the Timeline panel, twirl down Shape Layer 1 > Contents, then Shape 1, then Stroke 1 to reveal the Stroke’s parameters.
The last Stroke parameter is Dashes. Twirl it down; it does not contain any segments yet. Click on the + button; the stroke will now be a dashed line.

Click on the popup for Stroke 1 > Line Cap and set it to Round Cap.
Then scrub the Dash value for Stroke 1 > Dashes to spread out the segments.

alternating dots and dashes.
Click on + twice more to add another Dash and Gap.
Set the value of the second Dash to 0 to create dots between segments.
Set the two Gap values the same to have even spaces on either side of the dots.

Type Shift + / to see the entire map in the Comp panel again.
Scrub Dashes > Offset and watch your stroke travel along its path.

Page 278    animating a stroke

Select Shape 1, then Add > Trim Paths.
Twirl down Trim Paths 1 and scrub the End parameter: The path will shorten and lengthen as you do so.

  • Make sure you are at 00:00, set End to 0%, and click on its stopwatch to enable keyframing for it.
  • Go to end of timeline and set Trim Paths 1 > End to 100%.
  • Click on the Resolution popup along the bottom of the Comp panel (it should say Full) and select Half. Then press “0” on the numeric keypad to Preview your animation or press Shift + 0 to preview every other frame.

Make sure Shape Layer 1 is still selected, then apply Layer > Layer Styles > Drop Shadow.
Twirl it down in the Timeline, and increase the Distance and Size parameters until the line starts to “lift off” of the map.

Page 279    Brainstormed shapes

Comps > 07-Brainstorm*starter.

Select Shape Layer 1 and choose Add > Repeater.

  • Increase Repeater 1 > Copies to create more shapes.
  • Twirl down Repeater 1 > Transform: Repeater 1 and set its Position to 0, 0. Then increase Transform: Repeater 1 > Rotation to create an overlapping pattern.
  • Twirl down Transform: Rectangle 1 and offset its Anchor Point to create a flower petal-like pattern.
  • Return to Transform: Repeater 1 and experiment with other parameters such as Scale and End Opacity.

Move the current time indicator to 02:00 and set the animation stopwatches for all of the parameters inside Transform:
Rectangle 1 and Repeater 1.
Move to the beginning of the timeline and add keyframes for all of these parameters at 00:00 as well.
Select all of the keyframes at 00:00; these are the parameters you wish to randomize.
Then click on the Brainstorm icon along the top of the Timeline panel.
Once Brainstorm opens, press the spacebar to preview your animations.
If you don’t see one you like, increase the Randomness value, click the big Brainstorm button, and keep trying until you see one you do.
Then hover the cursor over the variation you like and click the Apply to Composition button that appears.


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Instructor for Graphic Design 71