Create wavy, pointy, or rounded strokes on shape layers and animate the appearance of strokes to create interesting graphic elements. Unlike Illustrator, you can define arbitrary thicknesses at any point on the shape. Instead, After Effects has parameters that allow the ends to be tapered or waved.
Along with tapering the strokes, this feature gradually reduces their thickness for a more polished look. You can accentuate how smoothly tapering of your animations start and end over time. If you are new to creating strokes on shapes layers, you can begin with Strokes and fills for shapes.
Adjust where taper begins along the path
You can taper the start of the stroke, and the size of the taper length, and control the ease.
For example, you want the stroke to start tapering only in the middle, use the Start Length property to set the value to 50% if using the Length Unit as Percentage.
Combine tapering with other stroke customization
In addition, you can also use other stroke modifications such as dashes, add trim paths to create different looks. For example, you can create a write-on text animation and add motion to it with the Trim Paths property.
Length Units: Select from the two options - Percentage and Pixels. When you animate the size of the path, say by trimming the path, it is better to use pixels in order to keep the taper length invariant to the path length. If you want the length to be relative to the path length, say when tapering from the middle to the end (using 50%), use percentage.
Start Length: Controls the length of the taper from the start of the stroke.
End Length: Controls the length of the taper from the end of the stroke.
Start Width: Controls the thickness of the tapering along the starting length of the path. To see the effect, the start length should be set a non-zero value.
End Width: Controls the thickness of the tapering along the ending length of the path. o see the effect, the end length should be set a non-zero value.
Start Ease: Controls the roundness of the taper along the start length. It works on the sharp edges of the taper along the stroke and softens them for a more natural look. Using the slider, a negative value gives you pointy tapering, 0 gives a linear tapering, and values above that gives you a rounder tapering.
End Ease: Controls the roundness of the taper along the end length. It works on the sharp edges of the taper along the stroke and softens them for a more natural look. Using the slider, a negative value gives you pointy tapering, 0 gives a linear tapering, and values above that give you a rounder tapering.
- Amount: Controls the intensity and number of waves added in a stroke. A smaller value gives shallow waves and a higher value gives deeper waves.
- Units: Controls whether the wavelength is measured in Pixels or Cycles. You can use cycles for a closed shape paths as it maintains continuity in edges.
- Wavelength: Controls the spacing between the waves. Use a small number for sparsely distributed waves or a higher number for tighter waves.
- Phase: Use it to offset the wave along the path, allowing the wave to animate across the path length.
For tapering at the beginning of the length, use the Start Length property and slide to adjust the value. Similarly, for other modifications, modify the other controls in the Taper parameter.
If you want to add motion to this, use keyframes. Click the stopwatch next to the properties and adjust the values. You can start with smaller values and gradually increase them. Every time you change the value, a keyframe gets added – based on the current time indicator. To learn more, see Set or add keyframes.
You cannot import tapered strokes from Illustrator. Currently, you can only use tapered strokes from native After Effects strokes.
If you want to create and experiment with this animation, download the sample .aep project to get started. You can play around with the taper and wave parameters, and build on top of this animation.
Now that you have understood how this feature works, come to the community for some real-life examples, and to share your work. We would love to hear from you and see what you create with tapered strokes!