After Effects: Shape Layer Expressions

This week we look at how to make your own preset to build a very complex shape in After Effects. We use expressions, sliders and a little bit of math to make it all come together. Also we get you a ton of new loops, some free music and a free psd everyday of the year!


5 Music Bed Resources – A free psd everyday of the year!
Particle Shadows Tutorial from
10 Free looping Backgrounds


Need a job? Newspring Church is Hiring, find out more here.

How to:

inspiration: Create an abstract design with patterns in Photoshop

Download the Preset

Some Expressions used:

Position the grid in the grid top left corner

posX=content(“Grid”).content(“Rectangle Path 1”).size[0]+effect(“Grid Spacing”)(“Slider”);
posY=content(“Grid”).content(“Rectangle Path 1”).size[1]+effect(“Grid Spacing”)(“Slider”);

How many copies are needed:

content(“Elipse Mask”).size[0]/(content(“Grid”).content(“Rectangle Path 1”).size[0]*2+(effect(“Grid Spacing”)(“Slider”)*2))



10 Responses


Preset link not working… Page cannot be found


Link should be fixed now. You can download at


Having a total brain fart..
What is the "add or set keyframe" command using the keyboard?


Check this out:

Basicly it is ALT+Shift+(shortcut for property) or you can just click the stopwatch or change a value if something is already keyframed.


I'm an AE newcomer…How do I add a gradient to the preset? Is there another episode where you talk about this?


I would like to exchange links with your site

Is this possible?


Ok, so I watched this yesterday and thought it was great, learned a lot! I tried to go further and add the circles to the stroke, but the layer stack is confusing and I did not get desired results, I am going to DL preset and hope it has the stroke effects, also did a gradient but hope to see yours. thanks for this tutorial.


My gradient is similar, no go on the stroke circles. :( i used a slider instead or a checkbox for inside grid roundness to get circles or squares….. Gonna hit the stroke again.


awesome that you are working and trying to get the different effects! Keep at it, mess with order to get stroke to work.


trying to work on the breaking of copies expression if grid size = zero. I got a stroke to show the grid but it has not background, just alpha….. tried all sorts or merge paths and fills. has been fun and a learning experience.

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