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How to Get an Object to Follow a Path in Adobe After Effects

by Nicole HamiltonUpdated September 28, 2017

To make an object follow a path in After Effects, you will need to make the path a Motion Path. Motion Paths give you flexibility in creating your animations. A path may be a line or shape that you can reshape by moving the points, or you can adjust the path’s curves using the handles. You can copy and paste a Shape path property or Mask path property in After Effects or even copy paths from Photoshop and Illustrator to create Motion Paths.

Open the After Effects file that contains the object you want to animate.

Draw a path using the Pen tool or one of the Shape tools in either Adobe After Effects, Illustrator or Photoshop.

Click to select the path in the Timeline panel in After Effects. If you wish to use a path from Photoshop or Illustrator, go to the program and click to select the path.

Choose “Edit” and “Copy” or press “Ctrl” and “C.”

Go to the After Effects Timeline panel and choose the property where you will paste the path.

Adjust the “Current-Time” indicator so it’s set to the time where you want the Motion Path’s initial keyframe.

Choose “Edit” and “Paste” or press “Ctrl” and “V.”

Use the Pen tool and Select tool to adjust the keyframes of the Motion Path. Modify Motion Paths in the same way you edit standard Bezier Paths.

Tips

Preview your work by pressing the spacebar or by clicking the “Play” button located in the Preview panel.

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