In this short After Effects tutorial I’ll show you how to easily create tapered speed lines using shape layers without any plugins. This is a pretty popular effect that you can use to convey feeling of superluminal speed, imitating portals and space things or just to add more dynamics to your scene transitions.
How to make Speed Lines with Shape Layers in After Effects
To create speed lines with shape layers in After Effects, you can follow the steps below:
Step 1: Create a New Composition Open After Effects and create a new composition by going to “Composition” > “New Composition.” Set the desired settings for the composition, such as resolution, frame rate, and duration.
Step 2: Create a Shape Layer In the “Project” panel, click on the “New Composition” button to create a new shape layer. This will create a new solid layer in your composition.
Step 3: Add a Rectangle Shape With the shape layer selected, go to the toolbar and select the Rectangle Shape tool (Shortcut: Q). Click and drag on the composition to create a rectangle shape.
Step 4: Adjust the Rectangle Shape With the rectangle shape selected, you can adjust its size and position in the “Layer” panel or by using the transform controls in the composition window.
Step 5: Add Stroke and Adjust Properties In the “Contents” section of the shape layer, click on the triangle next to “Rectangle 1” to reveal its properties. Then, click on the triangle next to “Rectangle Path 1” to reveal the path properties. Here, you can adjust the stroke color, width, and other stroke properties.
Step 6: Add Trim Paths With the shape layer still selected, go to the “Add” menu and select “Trim Paths.” This will add a Trim Paths property to the shape layer.
Step 7: Animate the Trim Paths In the “Timeline” panel, click on the stopwatch icon next to the “End” property under “Trim Paths.” Move the playhead to the desired starting point of the speed lines and set the “End” value to 0%. Move the playhead to the desired endpoint of the speed lines and set the “End” value to 100%. This will animate the speed lines growing from the starting point to the endpoint.
Step 8: Adjust the Speed Lines You can further customize the speed lines by adjusting the position, size, and rotation of the shape layer. Experiment with the properties in the “Transform” section of the shape layer to achieve the desired look.
Step 9: Duplicate and Distribute To create multiple speed lines, duplicate the shape layer by selecting it and pressing Ctrl/Command + D. Then, adjust the position, size, and rotation of the duplicated shape layer to create variation. Repeat this process to create as many speed lines as you want.
Step 10: Customize and Fine-tune You can customize the appearance of the speed lines by modifying the stroke color, opacity, or adding effects like Gaussian Blur or Glow. Experiment with different settings to achieve the desired visual effect.
Step 11: Preview and Render Finally, preview your composition by pressing the spacebar or using the RAM Preview function. If you’re satisfied with the result, you can render the composition by going to “Composition” > “Add to Render Queue.” Configure the render settings, such as output format, resolution, and destination folder, and click “Render” to export your speed lines animation.
That’s it! By following these steps, you can create speed lines with shape layers in After Effects. Remember to experiment and explore additional techniques to achieve different visual effects.
By the way, we’ve decided to feature this animation in 3 series to introduce you to various tips life hacks.
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