I'm trying to create an animation of a rope tying itself in AE.
Basically im using two shape layers. One a solid stroke (parent), the other a dashed stroke (child). I'm animating splines to loop the rope around itself and create a knot.
1.Make both your original strokes slightly thinner
2.Duplicate your solid stroke, make it hard edged with a dark brown or black and place it under your other strokes.
3. Change the original strokes to feathered edges and it should look like it has a shadow along the edges, giving it the illusion of depth, and will help separate it visually from all the other brown rope when it becomes a knot.
Alternate idea... do a soft bevel on the alpha and maybe a little outer glow (dark color). You may have to precomp for this to look right.