Join Owen Lowery for an in-depth discussion in this video Using wiggle paths to create wiggly lines, part of Creating a Handmade Look in After Effects: 2 Design and Animation.
- With traditional, hand-drawn animation, often the lines aren't perfect. Sometimes they shake, or wiggle a bit. This is because it's really hard to draw matching lines over and over and over again. So if I'm trying to mimic hand-drawn animation, steady lines might be a dead giveaway. Luckily, when animating the shape layers in After Effects, there's a little thing called Wiggle Paths that imitates this characteristic really well. In Chapter 4, 04_01, I had my rough and ugly robot drawing just waiting to wiggle.
When I select my robot layer, I've got my layer controls blocking the view. So I'm going to go up to the View menu and deselect Show Layer Controls. This way, I can see what's going on. I'm going to go down to the Contents, and then move over to the Add menu and select that little button there. I'll move down to the Wiggle Paths option and select it. Now, below our Yellow Lines and Orange Lines groups, I have Wiggle Paths 1. I'm going to hit the Spacebar to preview this, to see what it looks like.
Right off the bat, it's a bit wonky. A little too much wiggle, almost looks like he's underwater. So we're going to have to dig into the Wiggle Paths and adjust some settings. I'll twirl open Wiggle Paths and start making some adjustments. The size of the wiggle is way too much right now. We want it to be subtle, barely noticeable. So I'm going to take this from 10, and put it at 2. Immediately, it takes it down to next to nothing. So, let's play with the detail now. Right now it's at 10.
I'm going to change that to 2 as well. Now it's smaller sections, and smaller details, being moved. There's this option for Corner. We can change this to "Smooth", which smooths out all the corner edges. But that's not what we want, because this is supposed to be rough and jagged, not smooth. Let's take that back to Corner. Now wiggles per second is where we can start to really make a difference. I'm going to take this up to 10. And if we look closely, we can see there's some real good wiggling going on.
I'm going to pause playback, and then hit Command + to zoom in a little bit. And just move over here. I'll go ahead and start playback again by hitting the Spacebar. So I can really see the detail of my wiggle. Alright, 10 might have been a bit too much, let's lower that down to 6. That's looking good, a little more subtle. There's a few more settings down here, like the Correlation. If I bring the Correlation up to 100%, that's going to make it be more strobe-y. That means that all of the wiggle correlates together and moves together.
I don't like this one bit, because this is supposed to be a little more random, a little more rough and ugly. So I'm going to take the Correlation down to something like 25. And now everything's a little bit more independent. I like that. I'm not going to worry about Temporal Phase or Spatial Phase right now, but what I will do is increase the Random Seed to something like 50. What this does is randomize the pattern of the wiggling paths, and because Random Seed is affected by layer order, it should affect our orange and yellow lines a little differently.
Hopefully, adding a little more variety and spastic-ness to the whole thing. I'm going to pause playback. And then hit Command - to zoom out a little bit, and center my robot right in the middle. I'll play it back again by hitting the Spacebar. And just enjoy that wiggle. Wiggle Paths works best when it's subtle. Sometimes people might not notice it, sometimes it comes across on a little more subconscious level. But it tends to add a youthful, Saturday-morning cartoon charm. And when it's combined with a drawn animation, it makes for some really nice overlapping action.
Want to create another lo-fi mograph effect? Check out Creating a Handmade Look in After Effects 01: Paper Cutout and Stop Motion Styles.
- Using the Pen tool to create hand-drawn shapes
- Animating shape layers to look drawn on
- Giving a wiggle to drawn elements
- Customizing and animating handwritten fonts
- Looping animation with expressions
- Using the Paintbrush tool to create animated painted lines
- Adding texture to lines
- Creating write-on type