After Effects Tutorial

Animating a Shape Path w a DUIK Slider

Sam Bendix
|10 min read
Written by Sam Bendix


I'm going to show you guys how I animated my umbrella using path keyframes. And I'm also going to show you how you can set up the DUIK slider, which I use to do the repeated opening and closing motion of my umbrella. So, let's go ahead and put in the file names. We want to make sure they have the retain layer sizes on them. So, we'll go to Comp 1. We'll drop our open umbrella layers in. We'll open that comp. And we're going to start off with the center panel of the umbrella, so we can get rid of these for now.

Okay. So, right now, this layer is an Illustrator file, or a vector Illustrator file. And so, what we want to do, we want a shape layer, so we're going to right click and we're going to go Create Shapes From Vector Layer. And so, now that that's its own shape, we can actually get rid of that. And so, this is the front center panel, and it's the open position, so we're going to want to go to the closed layers, and we want the closed front center panel. And we can just drag and drop that in here, and it just pastes it right in. This doesn't need to be its own shape layer. This is purely for reference at this point.

If we zoom in, you can see that the top of the closed panel and the open panel don't line up. So, what we're going to want to do is we're going to go to View and Show Rulers, and we're going to want to put a ruler in to make a point right at the center of the top of the open umbrella, because that's the one we're going to be animating, so we don't want it at the top of the closed one. And so, if we click our closed one, we can move it around. And if you hit shift, it will automatically snap to that center point.

And so, now these are all lined up. Okay. And so, now we're going to want to animate the path of the open umbrella down to the closed position. So, we are going to open up the layer. You want to go to Contents, Group, Path, and we're going to want to set path keyframes. And before we set that, we want to make sure that the amount of anchor points on each closed and open path matches. So, on the closed path, there's four anchor points: the top, the two sides, and then the center.

On the open panel, you can see that I do not have four anchor points. I only have three: one, two, three. So, if you run into that problem, you can either go back and adjust it in the Illustrator file, and then you make it, yada, yada, yada. Or you can come up here to your Pen tool and you can add an anchor point that way. And so, now, now we can come down and click on the little stopwatch to set our positions.

So, let's go forward about there. Then we can come in here. Our anchor points down to the position we want them to be in, and you can adjust the handles for each of these. That makes an anchor point for some reason, and you don't want that. So, now that the bottom is done, you can go up to the top and adjust these. The thing with the handles, you want them to be about as even as you can get them, because if they're different, they can have a different animation of... It has a different way of animating. If it happens, I'll show you, but you're going to want them to be about similar.

So, now that you've done that, you can see that the path animates from open to closed in this section. And this is where we are going to add in our DUIK slider. When we set that, it will allow the repeated opening and closing of the umbrella layer. So, we're going to go up to Window, and you're going to open the DUIK box here. And, you're going to want to come over to Links and Constraints. You're going to want to open the Advanced Connected tab, and you're going to want to add in a slider. So, you're going to create a slider console, and that will automatically... If we zoom in, it has this circle S thing, and then it has the button. And, you'll see that the button is actually parented to the slider. So, if we want to move the slider... If you want to move it, you'll need to move the shape layer that it's parented to.

So, to make the slider, we're going to want to open the position on the shape layer. Actually, we're going to rename this slider. So, you're going to want to open the position, and if we zoom in, you can see... I don't know how to make that different here. You can see that it has a constraint around it. So, with the position, you're going to want to make sure that it goes beyond the constraint, or at least to the end. So, let me see if I can add it there. And then, we're going to set the position right there, because we don't want it in the center. We want it to bounce back and forth between the two. And so, we're going to come to the keyframe where your umbrellas need to close. So, this is at negative 54. We're going to move that all the way up to positive 54 so it's even. And then, we're going to go the same distance, again, and we're going to take it all the way back. So, that will be one full cycle, as you can see.

So, now that that's done, to add the connector and the panel together, you're going to highlight your path keyframes on your shape layer, and you'll see that the DUIK panel changed, and there's going to be this option to Connect to Properties. And if you click that, it will connect your shape layer to the slider. So, now that they're connected, the shape will move with the slider. So, you don't have to keep adding continual keyframes for, like, if I wanted the umbrella closed again or open again back here, I don't need to add another keyframe. It'll do it for me, the slider will.

And, as you can see, the slider only does one cycle, and then it stops. If you want it to repeat, you can come down... There's another way to do this, but I haven't figured it out yet. You can drop down the position menu, and this little triangle play button looking thing, you can come over to property, and you can go loop out time equals cycle, and then the number of keyframes is zero. So, if you click that, it'll bring up this little dialogue box that you'll just revisit this. You can click off of it, and then what this does is it repeats this motion. It cycles through it, and it will just continuously do that.

So, now that we've got the center panel done, we can close it up. And, we don't need the closed anymore, so we can close that up. So, now that we've done that, we're going to do the right side. And I'll show you how to connect this panel to the slider again, so we don't need to make a second one. That will just be redundant. So, again, you'll create Shapes From Vector Layer, and you can go it like that. Let's build here. And, this is the right side. So, we want that. We can drag that in. And, you can see how it's not lined up like we need. And so, that's where the Guide Rulers come in again. So, you move it, and you hold shift, then it will snap. And, we don't want that to be in the way, so we'll turn that off so we can't see it.

So, again, we'll drop down, Contents, Group, Half. Again, this doesn't have the four anchor points. And, unless you want to keep doing this, continuously with each panel, this is why you need to plan this stuff ahead in Illustrator files, so then when you bring this over, your anchor points will match up. But, again, you can always come over to the Pencil and you can add an anchor point. So, we're going to Path, and then we will move our anchor point so it's just... You don't want to do that. Until you move your slider. You always need to make sure your sliders move before you start trying to move your anchor points.

And so, once your slider's moved, you can come back and you can move the anchor points down to... and you want to get them as close as possible because you want everything to line up. And, if they don't line up, you can always come back and adjust it after. That's the connector. You actually don't need that too now. You can turn that off. So, my geometry was off on my closed one. I actually have an extra point that you don't need, but it's supposed to follow this. So, follow the number of anchor points you actually need. Okay, so now that we have... Make sure those are roughly the same. Now that we have our closed key path set with the right anchor, then... I deleted the anchor. [inaudible 00:14:28]. Okay. So, if we put that back up there. There. And honestly, it covers it up, so you can leave it if it didn't bother you. Okay.

So, if we play it forward in motion, we can see that our second one just stops. And so, then, we can connect it to our slider, like our first one did. So, we will highlight the keyframes, come up to Connect Properties, and that will connect it to a slider. And then, if we hit play, it will animate both of them. And, depending on your preferences, you can either set your Easy Ease keyframes on the slider position so that every single anchor point keyframe connected to the slider will have the same Ease In/Ease Out, or you could put the Easy Ease on these keyframes, but there's no guarantee that they'll match up perfectly. So, now that we've set those Easy Ease on, it should look a little more fluid. Yeah. And, you just repeat the process for all the rest of... You just repeat the same process for everything else that you want to be connected to the slider.

I have gone through and I have added and done all of the other panels, and I've recolored them to the color scheme that I had used for my final. I added the handle and the little stick thing. And so, with all of them together, you get the final animation. So, this is how you animate a shape using the path keyframes and the DUIK slider tool. I hope that this was helpful for you guys.


Animated Paths
Shape Sliders
Animated Umbrella

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