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Video updated: 30 November 2018

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Guide layers for Bézier vectors in After Effects

Quick Tips After Effects

You can get individual keyframe control over Bézier curves of shape layers and masks in After Effects by utilizing scripts which create control layers over individual points. In fact, After Effects comes with a script which allows you to place nulls (guide layers) on each vector point of a shape layer or vector mask. This allows you to keyframe the movement of those points individually. However, this is inadequate when you want to animate the shape in such a way that it requires the use of Bézier handles. There are solutions to this problem.

I compare four ways to animate shape layers: [1] Animation without guide layers, [2] using the Create Nulls From Paths script that comes with After Effects, [3] using Crunchy Creative‘s Create Nulls From Paths Extended script, and [4] using Duik Bassel‘s Add Bones script. The scripts attach a guide layer to each  point in a shape.  The latter two scripts, also add control layers to the Bézier handles, allowing you full control over animating shapes. I also suggest ways to organize and work with the massive amounts of layers that can be created with these scripts.

Video content:
  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:36 Animating with no guide layers
  • 3:13 Script “Create Nulls From Paths”
  • 5:30 Script “Create Nulls From Paths Extended”
  • 6:37 Motion paths
  • 7:25 Color coding layers & controlling opacity
  • 10:19 Duik bones
  • 11:27 Masks
  • 12:29 Credits

Links & other information

The Crunchy Creative script can be downloaded here: https://vimeo.com/240134113. There is a video about the script at that link as well.

If you are unfamiliar with Duik Bassel, check out donQmedia’s: What is a Duik Bassel & why do I need one?

This donQmedia page tells you where and how to get Duik: Find, download, & install Duik Bassel.

The Duik Add & Edit Bones Panels video is here: Duik Bassel’s add & edit bones panels

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