This was our tutorial into shape layers, which were surprisingly versatile when it came to just about EVERYTHING.
We learnt first what a shape layer was, and the main point here is that shape layers are better than solids, as they are vector images and don't pixelate when enlarged or changed.
We started by playing around with the shape path, and just morphing the shape around, and gave the shape an interesting gradient both in the fill and along the stroke. We then created created dashed around the object, which we changed within the stroke settings of the contents of the shape, and key framed the these changes to make the shape move around and do a whole bunch of wacky things. I tried to make mine look a little aesthetically pleasing with a kind of colourful 80s vibe
We took the dash principle further, first creating a path for the stroke, and using the trim paths tool (I'm not sure of the correct terminology for these modifiers) to trim off a percentage from either end of the path, and key framed it so that the path looked like it was growing from one end, and shrinking down to the other end. I put an easy ease in and out on this effect, simply because it looks nice.
We then trimmed down a section of the path, and used the offset part of this tool, key framing it, which moved the percentage we trimmed down move across the path, so the section snaked (brilliant and creative adverb) along this path.
We then added multiple paths to a shape layer, I used round edge squares, and used the same trim paths tool, to either make a line move across each shape in sync, or to make an individual line move across each line one after the other. I added a blur effect to mine to give it a neon glow, and duplicated each path and shrank them down slightly at the centre to create a second smaller line following the first. I then added an ease in and out effect with a strong influence at the last key frame of the offset to make the lines zap across the screen, before slowing down to a stop.
I used that same trim paths technique as a way of revealing text, just experimenting with trying to make the line and revelation of the text feel coherent, like the text was created by the neon line, in a kind of sci-fi lasery (another great adjective) way
I think this was a good introduction to shape layers, and how much potential they have. It was a little confusing at first, with the session moving a little quickly at times when I found after effects wouldn't comply (the technicians weren't sure what was going on with my program either so I like to think this was no fault of mine), but I grasped pretty well towards the end of the section how to manipulate the shape layers to do what I wanted.