The Ultimate Guide to Shape Layers in After Effects

Jake Bartlett, Motion Designer

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12 Videos (1h 48m)
    • Trailer

    • Types of Shapes

    • Styling Shapes

    • Shape Layer Structure

    • From Illustrator to After Effects

    • Building in After Effects Pt. 1

    • Building in After Effects Pt.2

    • Understanding Operators

    • Animating Pt. 1

    • Animating Pt. 2

    • Animating Pt. 3

    • Thanks!


About This Class


Many animators have been intimidated by the mysterious shape layers in After Effects, and few have truly understood how to unlock the enormous potential they offer to motion graphics...until now! Congratulations, you’ve just discovered The Ultimate Guide to Shape Layers in After Effects!

Complete this course and you’ll learn how to take advantage of creating graphics using shape layers in After Effects and unleash the power of operators (where the real magic happens). 

For the class project you'll create a minimalist animation inspired by your favorite movie using basic geometric shapes. It's time to shape up!


With each quick video tutorial we’ll cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Basic shape layer creation and behavior
  • Converting vector art to shape layers and prepping for animation
  • Shape layer operators
  • Animating with shape layers

And more topics essential to creating and animating shape layers efficiently in After Effects.

You’ll gain all the knowledge needed for an endless number of animation applications: logos, transitions, backgrounds, infographics, and motion graphics in general. This course will increase the efficiency of your workflow and allow you to create very complex and detailed animations in a very short amount of time. Attaining these skills will make you an asset to employers and give you the edge you need to become a successful motion graphics artist. Along the way your classmates and I will be available for project feedback, answering questions, and sharing inspiration.

While this is an introductory course, you should have a basic understanding of Adobe After Effects’ user interface and basic functionality. Every step will be clearly explained in each video, but we won’t be spending a lot of time learning how to do basic functions. See you in class!

286 of 287 students recommendSee All

This is the best class ever! I learned so much new things about the shape layers, blew me away. Thank you Jake!
Holy cow it's blowing my mind.
Robbie Collett

Instructional/Graphic/Multimedia Design






Jake Bartlett

Motion Designer


Hey! My name is Jake Bartlett, and I’m a motion designer from Denver, Colorado. I've been animating in Adobe After Effects for over ten years. After five years of working for an LA-based production company, I have gone freelance full-time and now work from home. Animating as a motion designer professionally is a dream for me. I get to use After Effects every single day for my job.

Since starting my professional career I've animated over 800 episodes of 8 different motion graphics shows for clients like Yahoo!, MSN, Twitter, YouTube, Pepsi, VH1, HGTV, NateGeo Wild, The History Channel, and Ulive to name a few. In my free time I love making animations for myself. I've found that constantly challenging myself on my own time has been the best way to increase the quality of my work. Being able to consistently use After Effects on a daily basis and always having a tight deadline has made me very fast and efficient with the program.

View my Demo Reel