Could anyone provide some insight on how to go about animating a vector flag (such as the one pictured below) to wave in the wind. Simultaneously, how could also animate what's "printed" on the flag to match? (Another example below). Thanks for any help.

Vector flag

Waving flag


1 Answer 1


The simplest way would be:

  • Create your flag in Illustrator
  • Think about or simply test how many frames/steps are key for animation
  • Draw your frames/steps on seperate Illustrator layers in to get the same position for all of it
  • Paste your frame/path with CTRL+V on 1 solid layer every 4-20 frames by switching between After Effects and Illustrator back and forth - time depends on your animation

Explanation: Through pasting the masks at a different time, After Effects automatically creates keyframes of the mask shape property. All copied shapes become interpolated keyframes like a roto shape animation to get soft transitions.

Note: The only limitation is that the number of anchor points per vector image should remains the same to get soft interpolation between the shape keys.

  • Thanks for the help. Ideally I'd wanted to do this in just After Effects and not frame by frame, but I realize it might not be possible.
    – sstaccato
    Feb 23, 2015 at 16:17
  • @sstaccato You don't have to do it frame by frame... but you need a minimum of 4 I think. It's not possible to do this in ae - you need something like a wave modifier, but ae doesn't have a real 3d space to "simulate" something like this.
    – p2or
    Feb 23, 2015 at 18:05
  • @sstaccato BTW: A upvote would be nice if this answer helped you to realize that this is not possible :)
    – p2or
    Feb 23, 2015 at 18:11
  • I've drawn each "frame" of the waving flag in Illustrator but am having some difficulty applying each drawing as a keyframe in a solid layer. Where exactly do I paste the pen-tool drawn lines from Illustrator into After Effects? A photo/video would be helpful if it's not too much bother, otherwise I will upload a video of what I'm doing so you can see what's going wrong. Thanks again.
    – sstaccato
    Feb 23, 2015 at 18:54
  • @sstaccato Please see the comment below your question.
    – p2or
    Feb 23, 2015 at 19:04

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