I’m Sorry Shape Layers! I love you!

I must confess… I was never a big fan of shape layers…  we just didn’t get along.  I was used to using masks but suddenly (around AE CS3) the same mask tool began creating Red vector shapes.

At first, they seemed cool enough but after accidentally adding shape layers to my comps, instead of masks, I lashed out! I even made a few jokes at the expense of them. It was wrong and I apologize

Since working on a few space movies, I really took the time to learn the tools better and began to realize how cool and powerful they are.

There are some extremely cool things that can be done with layering and ways to randomize path position with a wiggle settings and other cool things that would be impossible to do with masks.

I’m nearly finished with an unrelated tutorial (See below) but I’m looking forward to incorporating some interesting tips about shape layer creation!

Refining this Technique! I plan on making plenty of crappy tutorials but this next one is gonna be alright!

A post shared by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on

POSTED:
1 month ago
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PLUG-INS
99 Comments

Dave
22 hours ago
I hear crickets here at VC?




Do you?
Kalitchou2
22 hours ago
Andrew, g8 work, can you create for us a pack about secret laboratory containing 3d models ? ( like 3d high tech devices, 3d monitors ect) we would appreciate it. thank you for your awesome work <3
R-CANE
2 days ago
Deep down inside we are all shape layers and we love VC
dHoward
4 days ago
Wow..speaking of shape layers, I just watched a VFX artist from the Ukraine on Youtube do this awesome tutorial about creating the shield effect from the movie Doctor Strange.

Great practice for whenever Andrew finally (hint, hint!) gets his tutorial on shape layers up.

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zddXLBOBx0

He provides all the project files including fonts and raw footage, plus shows how he made stuff using shape layers if you want to create it yourself.

Also, check out some of his other tuts. Warning: accent alert; also he speaks very fast, and covers a lot in a short time. Plan on replaying it several times to get it all.
    Raffaele
    3 hours ago
    Very Good !!
Abdo.Achtioui
4 days ago
Hey Andrew! i'm a big fan of you since 2007, i love your quality design and i want to ask you if you can make tutorial or tips about Ae output / how to export images like this quality! Because even changing color management and export image for web and doesn't look as it was in Ae!

My portfolio: https://www.behance.net/abdo-achtioui
Thanks!
George Laird
6 days ago
Andrew has done some incredible tutorials, but people miss him, maybe Andrew should consider going some smaller timescale ones (as well as the usual high quality stuff) to act as a filler while he gets busy on various projects.
Dave
6 days ago
Star Wars?
Dave
6 days ago
And he's gone! (again....)
Joey
6 days ago
I just came to see if there was a discussion, or chat, so here's this.

Videocopilot, you have helped me so much. As a simple teenager interested in filmmaking, things become very difficult, but your plug-ins, along with your tutorials have made me the happiest person you could meet. So I'm just here to say thank you. :)
bad doctor
7 days ago
commmmmon man!
we waited soooo long, make a blog show for godsake.
you are making me angry
1 week ago
I would love a tutorial on lens effects. All Andrews instaposts, and bits'n'pieces have some grime, chromatic abberation, and a bunch of other small details, that makes the image look real and not CGI-ish. I know Optical Flares has lens grime and scratches and what now, but there's something more... Something he is not telling us :)
1 week ago
For those concerned of the radio silence. I can say the help desk is on the ball regarding technical issues and is not skipping as beat.

Christian Michael
https://vimeo.com/143438911
    Joseph
    7 days ago
    I agree their support is awesome. However as a company you have to do much more than support when communicating with your customers. It has to be an active communication, with regular updates and shares a long term vision that promotes and re-enforces trust in the brand. Make no mistake both Andrew Kramer and video Co-Pilot are brands. Brands that must be nurtured to ensure continued growth.
    6 days ago
    Joseph,

    Trust me, I hear you. I was saying THE same thing and singing the song you are now, but I was doing it almost 2 years ago when I believe there was radio silence on the site for over 6 months. May have been closer to 8 now, I dont recall. There are a "few" select people on here that see a bigger picture and the business model and brand you mention. Then there are those that don't, then get all defensive and sh*t and start talking "Being ungrateful for FREE Stuff". I guess these people are still going through puberty and living on an allowance lol Where the ones that get it have probably purchase every product the company has come out with showing thier support. Myself and probably you included.

    I've watched the concern being brought up in here a few times and for the most part there is "some" constructive comments like yours. Mostly childish whimpers echoing how we are all ungrateful. Ive just stopped paying it attention and watch from the side lines. No point in cyber squabbles with people you'll never meet.

    Me? I think the last few posts on here have been inconsistent stocking fillers if I'm to be honest, with no real meat and potatoes. Just screen shots keeping an interest on the site for traffics sake, then it all falls by the way side. If there is a new post, the previous one has zero connection.

    I get AK is moving onward and upward and nobody deserves more than him. NOBODY. But... Business must go on. Apple still go on without Steve Jobs and Apple started the same way VC did. A dream and a garage. VC COULD go down that road if the reigns were released. They choose not to. Shame, it deserves to go on.

    The VC team know our concerns, its been stated for long enough. Its in their court now what they will do about it... and not do. I would LOVE to see the site continue. I'm not so sure it can without another spokes person who as we all know have big shoes to fill... But at this point, It truly should be considered.

    In my humble opinion.





Bill Casteel
1 week ago
Will you be doing NAB this year? I wish VC would have a user group get to gether. seems like a natural..
Joseph
1 week ago
Andrew's success is great and well deserved as he has worked very hard. However, He's isn't my best bud, we don't hang on the weekends, I am a paying customer and I would like some legitimate updates to existing products and to know there is a development plan going forward. This much radio silence from a company like Adobe would be unacceptable. Andrew desperately needs to hire help to assist him in communicating with his customers/fans so we don't feel "in the dark". Public relations is essential for a small growing company.
Jason
2 weeks ago
For all who are upset about the lack of new tutorials etc. Please just realize that our favorite VFX instructor is reaching his goals and becoming a real success in the movie business. Be happy for him, he has given us all so much already..and for free!!!
Jason
2 weeks ago
I have always felt the same way about those shape layers! Can't wait to see what you have come up with.
momo
2 weeks ago
please Andrew....we need super hero tutorials.
Beau
2 weeks ago
Anybody have any clue how he did this yet? I'm stumped. I swear if I figure it out, I'll post a tutorial before AK does.
MASTERKOALA
2 weeks ago
4th week without Andrew!!!!!!
I m worried!!!😦😦😦😦😦
2 weeks ago
Great object you have created with shape layers. Very creative!!!

Thanks for your endless creativity :)

Digiphic Studio
http://www.digiphic.com
MASTERKOALA
2 weeks ago
Andrew say it's a lie......
Videocopilot must go on!!!😢😢😢😢😢😢
    jason
    2 weeks ago
    Did I miss something???
Simon Thorley
2 weeks ago
I believe he's doing a podcast today - can't wait for that, the news is on his Twitter, the fact that he leaves such a big hole is worrying, but evidence that there is a massive hole that needs filling - the nearest competition I've seen to VCP is (Icom design - https://www.youtube.com/user/icomdesign) it's really good, but, not in the same league as VCP - nothing can replace VCP, we all know that! I'm surprised that there's no rival to VCP? or that Andrew doesn't leave it chugging away with some staff/employees? while he's working on films for Bad Robot and JJ Abrams (certainly JJ 's gain is VCP's inevitable decline it seems) anyway, like you say Mr Kramer ones us nothing, and we owe him everything. The guy deserves his own TV slot for god's sake!
sean
2 weeks ago
Andrew is one of my super heroes and I believe that he owes us nothing, but I also think that he is making a big mistake by not stating that VC is no longer his priority. Now this is quite evident but that fact he is not saying it is destabilizing for many followers. In addition to that, the random announcements that he's back with some new great stuff coming out soon inevitably triggers false expectations which - no matter if he owes us nothing - is bad.
Although it is obvious, just saying: "hey guys sorry but life has changed a bit, still love VC but cannot be regular anylonger so I'll load up content when I can, but this might take long" would be a great relief. Although we already know it is like that, hearing it would make a big big difference. The only reasons I can think of why he would not do so, is that he probably thinks that it would be bad for businees (which I think is not true) or he is just simply underestimating the situation; nevertheless - like I said - although he owes us nothing, what's going on here is a bit tricky and I'm pretty sure that ignoring it is the worse choice.
Just my humble opinion.
Cheers
2 weeks ago
I think this is Andrews way of saying good by and good luck. He has done a good job at training us all to a level.
Enjoyed the time with video copilot. Cheers
    Simon Thorley
    6 days ago
    I agree with this, but its a spineless and really lame way to go out! poor Sam Loya warming his hands around an oil drum as Andrew goes for Sushi with JJ Abrams, he's played a cool game recruiting Andrew, VCP could have one day got to film company, i truly believe that, keep your competition close, in fact kill it off.
Fatmir
2 weeks ago
Woman Day
Element 3D v2.2
https://youtu.be/CBBI6EqrClo
R-cane
2 weeks ago
I really hope the new Element 3D will support shape layer extraction with real time path morphing and scale changing. Imagine a star morphing into a cube in 3D.
    Emmanuel Bennett
    3 days ago
    A most clever submission. I have wished for this for ages. I hope full support for shape layers (with shape parameter keyframing) gets added soon. It would bring E3D much closer to Cinema4D. Adding dynamics and a few more deformation algorithms would finish the job.
Juan
2 weeks ago
now we all can forget about a certain video that was going to be out in 2 years...weeks
THOMAS
2 weeks ago
Hi Andrew ! Look the Avengers...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODpc6b_JF0E&t=42s
KARL VACHON
2 weeks ago
I'm in love with the shape of you 🎶🎵 😁
ali
3 weeks ago
Please Help Me For : Mocha Pro Removal Module .
Thank You Sir .
chales
3 weeks ago
What about intercept? It's a big silence about that production and some tutorials of making special scenes from it. :)
Mark Lawrence
3 weeks ago
Not to sound like a dick... but WTF? I thought you were back full swing.
MASTERKOALA
3 weeks ago
3 week....Andrew please...
3 weeks ago
Just so you know, I love what you all do. I've been a fan since the Creative Cow days when you released a training video under them. You've worked and fought hard. You've given so much back to the community, I'd be off for wanting or even asking for more. Thanks for your continued years of support, obviously everyone loves new material but I'm sure the true fans can agree, thank you because you're fvkn awesome!
Bill
3 weeks ago
Like Andrew, I am a believer of mask layers and I sorta blame Andrew. He took us down the rabbit hole right? Check these masks out. Based of course on his tutorial. This is a local broadcast TV spot I created for the casino I work at.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-vug_pAqV8&feature=youtu.be
    Trev
    3 weeks ago
    Solid job, was this paid work or free for publicity?
    Zoffl
    3 weeks ago
    Very nice work!
K S B
3 weeks ago
WAITING FOR TUTORIAL......
Dylan St-Pierre
3 weeks ago
Very Cool!
3 weeks ago
nice work. greetings from germany :)
4 weeks ago
very very nice.
I do that to.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUjsNrw3KGw
Michiel
4 weeks ago
Shape layers are cool I guess, but the interface for working with them is just bad. In fact this goes for all the twirly down stuff in the timeline like text animators too. Adobe should find a way to move the editing of shape layers (and text animators) into it's own seperate window, with an interface constructive to creative experimentation. The current way of handling it just kills my creativity by even thinking about it. Still interested to see what workflow insights you've come up with Andrew!
4 weeks ago
yees ^_^

Shape Glitch ^_^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsccBE_JokA

??
Usama
4 weeks ago
TUTORIAL!!!!!
Mansoor Rahimi
4 weeks ago
Amazing that is so fantastic this would be Better if Have any Tutorial Plz.
Shaun
4 weeks ago
Hahaha...Shape Layers. You always fear what you don't understand. Alright Kramer, make me not scared.
Zoffl
4 weeks ago
Just started a few days ago to use shape layers for the second part of a little series I'm working on. Never 've been interested much in them before but while creating displays for a spaceship I realized that you can do really funny things with them. ;o)

https://youtu.be/nGD-itAwJTY
    Beau
    2 weeks ago
    Dude, that's stupid good. I'm mad at you it's so good. Keep it up.
MASTERKOALA
4 weeks ago
😪😪😪😪😪😪😪😫😪
Zoul
4 weeks ago
Man!!! Andrew I really looking forward to this tutorial, because i too been neglecting the shape layer. been wondering the purpose of it's existence. Please enlighten us
Abraham
4 weeks ago
hey it's an interesting job men, i'm really excited about the tutorial that i hope that coming soon.. great job.
4 weeks ago
tank you.
gooooood.
Richard
4 weeks ago
There is no way that is 100% after effects...plus footage gotta be some kind of footage in there right
djounad
1 month ago
the Tutorial pls
Fatmir
1 month ago
Richard
1 month ago
Those are 2d shape layers? they look like element 3d?
TokyoJames
1 month ago
Ooookay. I have no idea how you are doing that. I can usually figure it out a bit before hand, but this is leaving me clueless. Can't wait for the tut.
1 month ago
it's great! i cant'' wait for new tutorial from MASTER...pleaseeee..
Mod
1 month ago
wow Nice and amazing shape
Elefant
1 month ago
Better later than never. I've been always wandering about your trolling about shapes.. ;)
1 month ago
Hi, I just found your site and the tutorials I've seen so far are really helpful, I cant wait to see how to do this with shape layers.
Adam
1 month ago
Shaping up to be a good tutorial...too corny? I think so! You rock as always!
Kevin
1 month ago
I too have discovered that shape layers are good for more that just 2d motion graphs. Looking forward to your crappy tutorials re: them.
    Simon Thorley
    1 month ago
    Crappy tutorials?
    yeah right
1 month ago
Looks Great!
Audric
1 month ago
Pretty impressive.
Matt
1 month ago
This looks so tight!
Simon Thorley
1 month ago
Taking shape
1 month ago
Indeed, Shapes layers can be very powerful for motion design !
It is especially useful for maps: http://aescripts.com/aemap/ after effects script draw world map using something like 300 components (one vector shape per country) inside ONE shape layer only :)
Demo: http://aescripts.com/aemap/
    1 month ago
    Oops, I thought the form handled html links. I can't edit my post to fix this. (you can delete this post if you make the edit :P )
    1 month ago
    ALso, just found this After Effects Map plugin based on shape layers:
    GeoLayers. http://aescripts.com/geolayers/
    Very impressive !
Kevin
1 month ago
For me shape layers has always been that mistake when you wanted to create a mask but the footage was not selected first. That is my only experience with them, I am looking forward to learning what they can really do.
1 month ago
Great! Never really understood why you preferred to use a more or less roughly created and fixed mask path over the flexibility of having precise, animatable parametric controls for the shapes as well as the option to add repeater, wiggle paths and other cool modifiers. Would be really great to see some shape layer support in Element 3D soon!
1 month ago
Same here... not a big fan of vectors and that "Red Vector" 😂😂😂
1 month ago
Hi Andrew, i think you have been wrong the whole time indeed. I consider shape layers to be the most powerful tool in AE. And I can demonstrate it! if you give me an email, i can send you a sample of what shape layers can do.
    Isaac
    1 month ago
    pretty sure he knows what they can do, hence why he is making a tutorial on it.
    Just Post The Example
    4 weeks ago
    Just post the example already. Get off the high horse.
1 month ago
I've always hated shape layers, so it's gonna be funny if you change my mind about those... At least you can try!
Sanoop
1 month ago
make a tutorial
andy
1 month ago
hah I do remember the jokes you made about the shape layers
Picklejones
1 month ago
They render very fast, must be very optimized behind the scenes. My main complaint is the expression handling/naming convention with "index()" nonsense. A complex animation can be done within a single layer. It's almost like a mini composition but less user friendly.
Dr_Stef
1 month ago
The only time I ever used them is to create backgrounds for futuristic UI looking thingies, and then even only the backgrounds for those. would be great to find a new use for them again
Chris
1 month ago
I had always wondered why you seemed to go out of your way to avoid them. I've loved them ever since I saw Aharon Rabinowitz did a tutorial on his old website, and described them as "Illustrator on steroids." Which they are.
R-CANE
1 month ago
I use shapelayers and turn them into masks with a free plugin I found online http://www.redefinery.com/ae/rd_scripts/
shapes to masks: That way I can use them with Element 3D.
1 month ago
I'm right there with you regarding shape layers vs masks. The Adobe Live streams have been showing me what I've been missing and I can't wait to see what you've uncovered!
Ian Sanderson
1 month ago
Fbx update for element 3d would be cool? Any word on an update for it or even E3d V3?
1 month ago
Osm going Andrew.. Please make sure to check my works on YouTube search for Ztronex Film..!
Thnk u!
1 month ago
I've been having to use shape layers so much lately, probably the best thing is using "Trim Paths" and messing with the outline settings, this something I can't wait to see more about.
Damien Felix
1 month ago
Great
1 month ago
Gotta say, I've always felt the same way about shape layers. I'm definitely open to it though!