After Effects Tutorial

Animating a Shape Path w a DUIK Slider

Sam Bendix
|3 min read
Written by Sam Bendix


Learn how to animate your designs, like an umbrella, using path keyframes and the DUIK slider tool for a unique tween effect.

1. Setting Up the Project

a. Importing Layers:

  • Start by importing your files, ensuring they retain layer sizes.
  • Navigate to Comp 1.
  • Drag and drop your open umbrella layers into the comp.

b. Working with Illustrator Files:

  • Once inside the comp, you will begin with the center panel of the umbrella.
  • If your layer is an Illustrator file (or a vector Illustrator file), you'll want to convert this to a shape layer.
    • Right-click on the layer.
    • Select Create Shapes From Vector Layer.
    • Delete the original Illustrator layer for cleanliness.

c. Aligning Reference Layers:

  • For the next step, bring in the closed front center panel of the umbrella.
  • This will be your reference.
  • Align the tops of the closed and open panels. To do this:
    • Go to View and select Show Rulers.
    • Place a ruler at the center of the top of the open umbrella.
    • Use Shift to snap the closed panel to this center point.

2. Animating with Path Keyframes

a. Setting up Path Keyframes:

  • Expand the layer settings: Contents > Group > Path.
  • Before setting path keyframes, ensure both your closed and open paths have a matching number of anchor points.
  • If they don’t match, you have two options:
    1. Adjust in the Illustrator file.
    2. Use the Pen tool in After Effects to add an anchor point.
  • Once consistent, click on the stopwatch icon to set the initial path keyframe.

b. Adjusting the Path:

  • Move a few seconds forward in the timeline.
  • Adjust the anchor points of the open panel to match the closed position.
  • Modify the handles for smooth transitions.

3. Implementing the DUIK Slider

a. Accessing the DUIK Tool:

  • Navigate to Window and open the DUIK panel.
  • Go to Links and Constraints and open the Advanced Connected tab.
  • Create a slider console.

b. Connecting the Slider:

  • Rename the newly created shape layer to "slider".
  • Adjust the slider's position for optimal animation.
  • Highlight the path keyframes on your umbrella layer.
  • Use the Connect to Properties option in the DUIK panel to bind your shape layer to the slider.

c. Looping the Animation:

  • For continuous, repeated animation, utilize the loop out time function:
    • Drop down the position menu.
    • Navigate to property.
    • Select loop out time equals cycle. Set the number of keyframes to zero.

4. Extending the Animation to Other Panels

Repeat the process detailed above for all panels or sections of your design that you want to animate. Remember to:

  • Convert each panel to a shape from the vector.
  • Align using guide rulers.
  • Set and adjust path keyframes.
  • Connect each to the DUIK slider.

5. Final Touches

  • Once all panels are animated, you can add additional details like color schemes, handles, and other design elements to finalize your animation.


And there you have it! Your animated design is now ready, moving seamlessly between the open and closed states using path keyframes and the DUIK slider tool. This method offers an efficient way to create stop motion or tween effects in After Effects. We hope you found this tutorial useful and can't wait to see what you create!


Animated Paths
Shape Sliders
Animated Umbrella

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