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Creating design elements with shape layers

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Creating design elements with shape layers

Shape layers are a little bit different than layer solids with masks. They give you a little bit more flexibility so to show you what I mean, let's go ahead and create a shape layer. Make sure you have the hand comp active I'm just going to double click on the hand comp here in my project panel and I don't have any layers selected down here in the layer panel. That's important because when I grab my shape tool I want to make sure I have the ellipse tool here. When I grab this, as long as I don't have any layer selected, this will automatically create a shape.

Creating design elements with shape layers

Shape layers are a little bit different than layer solids with masks. They give you a little bit more flexibility so to show you what I mean, let's go ahead and create a shape layer. Make sure you have the hand comp active I'm just going to double click on the hand comp here in my project panel and I don't have any layers selected down here in the layer panel. That's important because when I grab my shape tool I want to make sure I have the ellipse tool here. When I grab this, as long as I don't have any layer selected, this will automatically create a shape.

Now if you click and drag, I want to create a circle just like this one but with a shape layer so you can see some of the added benefits. So let's go ahead and click and drag and then I'll hold down Shift as I start to drag. Now, let's make it roughly the same size, and I'm going to grab my selection tool here so I can go ahead and move this to be roughly in the same spot. If you look to the right side of your toolbar, notice we have some options for our shape layer. By default, I have a fill, and I have a stroke. Now, the fill is black, so what I want to do is click on the black fill, and I'm going to grab this eye dropper here under the shape fill color.

going to click on that and I'll click on my blue for my other logo and then click OK. So now they match that way. There is a Stoke option as well and I want to increase the size of the stroke. I'm just going to click on the number here and drag it towards the right. Okay, so that looks pretty close, a 9 point stroke. Now there's 1 other thing making adjustments in these 2 panels. Yes, I can adjust the colors but if I hold down the alt or the option key and click, I can cycle through different fill types. Like here, I could fill with a gradient or I could fill with a radial gradient. And I get control handles here.

So let me go ahead and make this radial gradient come on out to the edges. And if I want to make a change to the color to the gradient, I'm going to go down to my timeline panel and, here from my colors, I'm going to click on edit gradient. Now I'm going to move this out of the way just so we can see our original blue layer. I'm going to select this color down here in the lower right corner. The top will allow me adjust the opacity and the lower part will allow me to adjust the color. So I'm going to click on the black color option here. Now I'll grab my eye dropper again and click here on the blue section of our circle.

Now when I click ok you can see I have a gradiant applied. I think thats slightly more interesting then the blue option that we have. So as you can see, when I created the shape layer I had a couple of different options. Notice I automatically added the circle. And so if I press w to grab my rotation tool, it'll automatically rotate around the the circle of the layer solid. So you don't have to worry about it's position amongst a layer. It just automatically has its own parameters that you can easily control in the layer panel.

So let's look a little more closely at the timeline. I'm going to go ahead and click and drag up. Just to give us a little more space. Notice We have a shape layer. It's shape layer one. We have an ellipse. We have an ellipse path. And we have stroke options. And then we have our gradient fill options. So if I go and close the gradient fill options, notice we have transform options. If I click on this, this is where I can adjust the position or the scale or the rotation. Those are still completely separate from the layer, overall. If I go and select the transform options for the shape layer, now you can see I have my anchor point and the size of the overall layer. So, if I try and adjust the rotation here, notice it's rotating around that anchor point.

So lets undo. Most of the time when I'm working with shape layers I animate this specific parameter that I'm dealing with. So if I'm dealing with this one ellipse I can go ahead and make the adjustments to its transform options. You can have more than one shape on a shape layer and as a matter of fact you can add more parameters to the shape layer as well. So let me go ahead and make this a little bit smaller So you can see exactly what I'm talking about. Let's scroll with out scroll wheel down a little bit to the ellipse section.

See where it says Contents and Ellipse? If you see the contents area, there's a flyout that says add. This is the same fly out that we have up here in our Shape Layer options. So let's go ahead and click on either one and instead of adding another shape, what I want to do is add Pucker and bloat. What this'll give me is a set of options. If I open my timeline down here, I can open up those options. And if I drag to the right, it makes it bloat; if I drag to the left, it makes it pucker.

So I could animate these. Notice I have the keyframe parameter. If you ever add anything that you don't want to a shape layer go ahead and select the parameter and then press delete. Now, there is one last thing that I think is really cool about shape layers and that's adding repetition. So, go back up to the add parameter and will add a repeater. Now, I'm not going to animate any of this right now but if we scroll down in the timeline. Notice the repeater options just above the transform options. If we open that, I have parameters for copies. So let's click and drag and increase the number of copies. Notice now I have many many copies.

If I click and drag on the offset option, it allows me to control how those copies move through the scene and offsets it. So, if you want to have a circle look like its popping up into the scene like this, all you have to do is animate the offset property. Now, there are transform options for my repeater as well, and we can open those options in here. So, as you can see, it can get rather complicated, rather quickly in terms of dealing with shape layers, because you can create.

So many different things within an individual shape. But once you understand the base function of creating a shape layer, with a fill and a stroke, you can go ahead and build on that, and pretty much the world is your oyster.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 51205 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects
      59s
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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