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Edit a Shape Layer

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Jason Jenkins
Edit a Shape Layer
on May 2, 2011 at 11:17:16 pm

I have a basic shape layer that I want to edit with the pen tool, but I can't seem to get the shape into path-editing mode. And, yes, it is driving me crazy.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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David Johnson
Re: Edit a Shape Layer
on May 2, 2011 at 11:34:16 pm

You should be able to just click on any vertex to edit ... is that not working? Perhaps give more detail of what you're trying to do ... scale the shape as-is, change the shape of the shape?


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Edit a Shape Layer
on May 2, 2011 at 11:45:08 pm

I can't even get to the point where I can see the vertices. All I get is the bounding box.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Brian Charles
Re: Edit a Shape Layer
on May 2, 2011 at 11:47:39 pm

Is this a shape you drew or a parametric one?



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Jason Jenkins
Re: Edit a Shape Layer
on May 2, 2011 at 11:52:15 pm

[Brian Charles] "Is this a shape you drew or a parametric one?"

It's a parametric shape I drew with the rounded rectangle tool. I should be able to edit it with the pen tool... right?

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Edit a Shape Layer
on May 3, 2011 at 12:32:22 am

So, after some more reading; apparently the parametric shapes cannot be edited with the pen tool to add/adjust vertices, etc. If I want an editable bezier path, I have to create it with the pen tool. Probably best to just create what I need in Illustrator and bring it into AE.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Josh Crews
Re: Edit a Shape Layer
on Oct 14, 2011 at 6:40:17 pm

I've come to same conclusion Jason. Seems that any rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, polygon, or star tools that are drawn into shape layers do not have the option to edit the points. You can only do a free transformation with the bounding box. You need a custom path to edit points.
You can however paste paths from either mask layers or from Illustrator. You can either draw a random shape shape with pen tool to create shape layer, or do a Layer-New-New shape layer, then open the layer options and click add-path. Once that path is created, you can open the path options, where the actual path attribute lives. Click that path attribute (one with stopwatch beside) and pate your coped path here.
Lots of unnecessary steps for this, but hopefully Adobe fixes that in the next version.


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Edit a Shape Layer
on Dec 14, 2013 at 6:57:14 pm

The After Effects CC (12.2) update makes creating a Bezier path for a shape easier and more findable, as well as adding the ability to convert from parametric paths to Bezier paths.

option for creating shape layers based on Bezier paths:

When a shape tool (Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Polygon, Star, or Ellipse tool) is active, you can use the new Bezier Path option in the Tools panel to create a new shape based on a Bezier path, as opposed to the default of creating a new shape based on a parametric path. Holding the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key while drawing a shape causes the opposite behavior—i.e., if the Bezier Path option is enabled, holding the Alt or Option key causes the shape tool to create a parametric path; if the Bezier Path option is disabled, holding the Alt or Option key causes the shape tool to create a Bezier path.

command for converting a parametric shape layer path to a Bezier path:

You can convert a parametric path to a Bezier path after the parametric path has already been created by context-clicking (right-clicking or Control-clicking on Mac OS) the property group for the parametric path (e.g., Rectangle Path 1) and choosing the Convert To Bezier Path command from the context menu. If the parametric path is animated (keyframed), the converted Bezier path is a static path based on the parametric path at the current time; keyframes are lost.

IMPORTANT: When you use the Convert To Bezier Path command to convert a parametric shape path to a Bezier shape path, the Bezier path that is created does not animate well (i.e., interpolation between paths behaves strangely and unpredictably). This is related to path direction and how transformations are stored. For now, you should not use these converted paths for animated paths (interpolation between paths); but, if you do want to try, you may be able to work around the issues by reversing the path before conversion.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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