Shape Up

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

Author: Lars Jandel

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Quick Overview

Define your Shapes layers before adding them to your comp.



When using the After Effects June 2019 release (version 16.1.2), please read below*


ShapeUp is a tool to define your shapes BEFORE creating the shape layers and adding them to your composition. It creates "clean" shapes, either AE's native parametric shapes or ones using custom paths (without utilizing merge paths). Rounding and zigzag vector filters may get added for corresponding shapes. Neither expressions nor animations will be applied. As said - clean - to get you started. Just try the demo version and have a look at the user guide linked below.  


  • Preview your shape & composition
  • Five shape families to choose from: ellipse, rectangle, horizontal lines, vertical lines, polygons + stars
  • 5-6 sub shapes each
  • Quickly set the anchor position and alignment to your comp within the preview
  • Create shapes at the top / bottom of your layer stack or above / below a selected layer
  • Set size, position, stroke width, rounding, amount of copies and points, inner width, inner rounding for polygons/stars
  • Input fields: Use tokens to utilize the comp size, alignment, position of selected layers, grid spacing  
  • Toggle stroke & fill on/off
  • Set colors

ShapeUp is meant as a construction kit to help you when working with standard shapes, e.g. you can quickly create half and quarter-sized versions of a "master" rectangle or ellipse or add lines in the same size. Use the input fields with simple math operations to create offsets in size or position.

ShapeUp's preview displays the defined shape in relation to your active composition to give you an idea about size, position, colors.
Use the "s"-token (selected) in the position fields to easily create the shape at the position of a selected layer, or at the average position with multiple selected layers.

Some Features

Available Shapes in UI and Comp


Using the position of a selected object ("s"-token in the position input field) does not work with layers utilizing expressions on their position. It works with layers that have one parent, but not if they are rotated or scaled. As ShapeUp is written in "legacy" code, there are some limitations to its preview. The preview can't display all of the details of the shape you are going to create. There are also differences between CS6 and CC. Please have a look at the manual linked below containing a section about that. And try the demo - thanks.

*Note regarding the After Effects June 2019 release (version 16.1.2):

Unfortunately, AE 16.1.2 has a bug regarding drawing vector graphics and mouse events within the ScriptUI interface, which results in the disappearing/flickering of these elements. ShapeUp's build-in preview is affected by this issue. So sorry for the inconvenience. The functionality itself is not affected. This specific behavior doesn't exist in prior versions of After Effects and has been fixed via the release of After Effects 2020 (version 17.0) in November 2019. Thanks for your understanding.

Video Guide Tutorial

After Effects 2020, CC 2019, CC 2018, CC 2017, CC 2015.3, CC 2015, CC 2014, CC, CS6