I currently have around 100 text layers placed in the middle of my composition in After Effects. What I would like to do is randomly place this layers around the middle and then create an animation where they are all moved to the center again.

Is it possible to do this without manually placing the layers?

  • I forget the exact setting (I'll check it later), but there should be something in Keyframe Assistant for doing what you are talking about. I believe it is called Jitter.
    – AJ Henderson
    Apr 25, 2013 at 20:31
  • Nope, I take it back, I couldn't find what I was looking for. Wiggler might be another term to look for though, but I couldn't find it in CS6. It might also not do what you are looking for as I'm starting to remember what I did with it before.
    – AJ Henderson
    Apr 26, 2013 at 0:00

1 Answer 1


I would use a particle system to do this, like Particular or Particle World.

Particular is part of the Trapcode Suite of AE plugins, and is the easiest to use.


Generate a load of particles in random positions Make a pre-comp with all the different text layers on different frames, so one text object per frame. Tell the particle generator to use the pre-comp to texture the particles Have the particles emit from a central point to their random positions. Then time reverse the whole comp.

This video tutorial explains how to get different textures (in this case different leaf images) on to each particle:

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