The trim path is a feature in After Effects that I used the most to create animated stroke, hand drawn animated text, animated loading bar and a lot more… The After Effects trim path allow you to customize and animate a vector path. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to create a trim path, animate it and customize the trim path to your need. Finally I also give you some goodies like the After Effects project source files so you can use it or see how I have created the trim path animation.

Now let’s get straight to it

Where is the trim paths located in After Effects?

In After Effects the trim path can be found in any shape layer properties under the Add: drop down menu.

Follow these steps to reach the trim path menu options

  1. Create a composition
  2. Create a shape layer
  3. On the timeline expand your shape layer, then in front of content you will see Add: click on the arrow
  4. You should now see the menu, just click on trim paths
    trim path menu
  5. Now you should see the trim path properties

Things you should know

The trim path effect is only available for shapes layer, converted text to shape layer and converted Illustrator file. The trim path effect menu wont show up if you use solid or images.

How to use the trim paths in After Effects?

Now that you know how to reach the trim paths menu, let’s create a simple animation with it.

  1. Create a composition – 1920×1080
  2. Type a text like below
  3. Click on the shape rectangle tool and make sure you fill is empty and stroke is at 19px
  4. Now draw a rectangle around the text like the example below
  5. Go the to timeline area and click on the arrow next to “add:” and select Trim Paths
  6. Expand Trim Paths 1 and create 2 keyframes such as below
  7. You should have have a animation like below
  8. Now you want to change the direction of the trim path click on the reverse path direction icon.
  9.  Once you have click on the reverse path icon you should now have the animated path going the opposite way like the video below
  10. Now you don’t like where the trim path start? No worries you can offset the starting point check below
  11. Now you should have you trim path offset moved like the video below

What can you create with the After Effects trim paths?

With the trim path you can get very creative and create a bunch of animated infographics and stroke animation, going over each trim path technic would take me forever to explain instead I provided some goodies for you 🙂 yes! you can download each trim path projects source file and see how I made it 🙂

Bar Chart

With trim paths you can create a bar chart with multi-colored bars increasing and simultaneously revealing the legend for each bar, check the demo video on yhe right. This source project is ideal if you quickly want to show some data to your client.

Download the After Effects Bar Chart Project here

Horizontal Bar Chart

Horizontal bar graph is another thing you can do with the trim path to represent a set of data horizontally. Starting from a customizable date, each multi-colored bar increases to the right. At the same time, the legend appears next to each bar and can be customized to your specific text.

Download the After Effects Horizontal Bar Chart Template here

Pie Donut Chart

Trim paths can also create a form of a pie chart which incrementally reveals each piece of data. The pieces can reveal percentages of the pie, but they can also be customized to show total amounts. Each piece also has its own title or legend revealed as the piece appears.

Download the after effects Pie Donut chart here

Circle Diagram Pie Chart

Another trim path pie chart simplified version of the previous one, and should help you gain some time when integrating a diagram in your video. It’s clear and concise. and I created it in a dynamic way so that you only need to change the control slider in order to change the percentage.

Download the free After Effects diagram pie chart here 

Circle Progress Bar

Trim path is also very useful to create progress bar,  it is straightforward when you need to show a data increase in your infographic.

Download the After Effects Circle Progress bar here