I have an illustration that I would like to animate in AE. Not sure how to do this however. I have three paths (simple lines) I made in illustrator with the pen tool, then used to width tool to thicken at one point and taper at the end (they're tentacles!). Anyway, I just want to animate the tentacles so they squirm and writhe around. So far all I've been able to do is use the usual transform properties, but those aren't very dynamic or useful for this project. How do I go upon doing this in AE?

Screenshot of illustration. enter image description here

  • You might also look at using the Puppet Tool on each of your tentical layers. Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 1:00

2 Answers 2


Probably the most dynamic and full control option would be to use taper stroke in after effects - just redraw the path and apply taper like here - https://i.ytimg.com/vi/jFBKMRncG80/maxresdefault.jpg

then you have a multitude of options to displace them (like wave warp, mesh warp, wiggle-shear, or even map the end points to nulls and use wiggle position).

Tapered stroke is only available in CC 2020 and 2021 if I remember correct.

Another option would be to expand shapes in AI and copy path into AE which you can then animate later, but it would be more time consuming.


screen grab

Add a solid layer

Add Red Giant 3D stroke to it

Make a path with Bézier curves in it on the same layer.

Adjust the taper settings in 3D stroke to look like the original tentacle

Select your Mask Path in the 3D stroke

Create Nulls from Paths

Click the Points Follow Nulls button

Now a null will be created for every point on your path.

Go to a null you want to animate

Right click on its Position and select Separate dimensions

Add an expression to the Y position by alt/option clicking on its keyframe icon

Put in an expression like “wiggle(1, 100)” where 1 is the frequency of the wiggle (one wiggle per second) and 100 is the amplitude in pixels (how far it should move from its original position).

Do this for each tentacle

Mask out your original tentacles once you’ve done this.

Adjust the wiggles until they look nice

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