Explode Shape Layers 3

  • Compatibility After Effects
    Please check exact version compatibility under the "COMPATIBILITY" tab below

Author: Zack Lovatt

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Quick Overview

Take control of your shape layers! Explode & merge for greater precision.
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Explode Shape Layers 3

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Do you deal with a lot of shape layers, or shape layers from Adobe Illustrator? Explode will take a shape layer and split each shape out into its own individual layer, for finer control & easier access. Alternatively, you can Merge multiple shape layers together into a new layer! 

Tired of having to right-click your .ai layer to make it into a shape layer? Use Convert!

If any of your Illustrator layers have non-100% opacity or go outside of the frame, you've probably noticed that converting brings in an empty artboard artifact that gets in the way. No more! Remove it with Remove Artboard.

Now, your new shape layers probably have a tonne of strokes and fills that need adjusting-- that's what Select Fills and Select Strokes are for. One-click buttons to select all fills or all strokes in your comp, or hold shift to find any fills or strokes with the same colour as the selected.


Use All
Use Selected

(Hover to view)


New in ESL 3

New buttons:

  • Convert, convert a vector layer to a shape layer
  • Remove Artboards, for use after converting a vector layer to a shape layer
  • Select Fills & Select Strokes, for selecting all fills or strokes in the selected layers.

Revised UI

  • New toolbar layout
  • Responsive design! Resize the panel to fit your layout
  • Show or hide any buttons you want
  • Switch between graphic & text buttons
  • Help text in options panel

Fixes & Updates

  • Exploding rotated layers now works properly
  • Exploding a layer with split dimensions now works properly
  • Cleaned up progress bars
  • Revised the way Merge & Explode work, with respect to 'Use All' -- see above!
  • Updated headless modifier controls to implement new explode & merge features
  • Added progress bars, so you can watch the magic happen!
  • Merge now works with animated properties
  • Major bug with Merge resulting in empty layers fixed!
  • Many bug fixes and under-the-hood code tweaks  

Headless Version

Standard users should only be concerned with installing the file main to their ScriptUI folder, which will give you a dockable panel. However, if you use something like ft-toolbar2 or The Commander, you may want to be able to run the script directly without the real estate that yet another panel provides.

Running the jsxbin file directly will execute either Explode or Merge only, without any UI panel popup. By holding down certain modifier keys while launching the script, you can alter functionality as such:

  • Alt/Option – Merge selected shape layers together (vs explode)
  • Shift – Delete source layer(s)
  • Ctrl/Cmd  – Use selected shape groups instead of (default) all

Combine any of the above to mix effects.



ESL 3 Tutorial






Made with Explode Shape Layers



Upgrade Offer

If you purchased the old "Explode Shape Layer" version you will get a discount equal to 50% of what you paid (since it was "Name Your Own Price"). The discount will be automatically added if you are logged in to the same account. If you have any questions or need any assistance please open a support ticket

After Effects CC 2019, CC 2018, CC 2017, CC 2015.3, CC 2015, CC 2014, CC, CS6, CS5.5, CS5
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