Shape layers by themselves look a bit boring how ever when you start using the After Effects repeater it is like opening a Pandora door it allows you to create a much more dynamic and engaging shape animation,  it is an After Effects feature that every motion designer should know about. I have created a series of repeater example below and also provided the After effects template so you can use it or see how the animation was achieved.

But first let’s start by the basic for the newbies.

What is the After Effects repeater and where is it?

The AE repeater allow you to duplicate a layer shape and multiply it to multiple copies of the same shape vertically and/or horizontally. The repeater can only be used with shapes layers, unfortunately you can’t use repeater for image or regular layer unless you use plug-in which I am going go over at the end of this article.

On the After Effects timeline when you create a shape layer there is a little arrow that you can click on to reach the repeater menu (see screenshot below)

The repeater effect has multiple options such as copies, offset, composite and transform (see below)

What can you do with the After Effects repeater?

Let’s go over the fun part, with the repeater effect you can do a bunch of things such as create a pattern, circle burst, animated background and transitions.

I have going to go over each one below, please download the provided AE project and check how I did it.

Create a Pattern

With the repeater you can easily create a pattern background from a single shape, I have created below a honeycomb background from a single hexagon shape, feel free to download the file to see how I did it.

Download the free After Effects Honeycomb Pattern project here

Create circle burst

Circle burst animation are usually use as accent to emphasize something on video, with the repeater you can easily create a 2D explosion burst here is a example below with the AE project.

Download the free after effects circle burst project here.

Also if you are looking for a collection of 20 circles burst download the AE project I created here

Create an animated background pattern

This stars animated background made with the repeater effect might be useful for the 4 of July 🙂

Download the white stars background animation here

Create a transition

Repeater can also be used for transition here is one example with the After Effects project below

Download the repeater transition After Effects project here

Experimental Particle repeater animation

Finally if you play a lot with the repeater settings you might come up with really cool particle psychedelic animation such as the one I created below.

Downlad here the experimental repeater animation

After Effects Repeater Video Tutorial

Seeing a video might help you the understand faster how the repeater effect work in After Effects for that reason I have gathered a couple of good video that will teach you a couple of ways to achieved very good repeating shape pattern animation.

Create a radial repeater in After Effects

Create psychedelic pattern in After Effects with the repeater.

Create vector accents / circle burst with the repeater

Create Sequential animation or transition with the repeater

Create a looping tunnel with the after effects repeater

Create a repeater grid

Other After Effects repeater alternative

If you are looking for other repeater alternative here is a couple of solutions you can use to repeat a layer into multiple copies.

Use slider control check the video below

Repeater Plug-in

These repeater plug-ins below allow you to have more control also might improve your workflow, video demo of each one below.

iExpression 3
iExpression 3 is a bundle that contain more than 100 expressions, all integrated on a easy user interface so you don’t need programming skills, one of them is iExpression repeater.

As you can see the interface look pretty slick, you can integrate multiple copies of a shape intro a single new shape, you also have other options like bend and scale the copies.

This plug in allow you to animate path by keyframing a tiny source path and repeating it with the expression.

So what is the difference between the default built in repeater and iexpression3 repeater ?
The after effects repeater create multiple copies, Iexpresssion3 repeater always creates a single shape by sequencing all copies into one line. This is very useful to create repetitive, complex shapes. You can continue a simple arc into a spiral, for example, or a single wave into a longer wave shape.

If you need more info on iExpression3 repeater I recommend to visit this link

$99 via Toolfarm

Cloner + Effectors

Cloners + Effectors is a procedural animation system for After Effects. Especially useful when animating multiple layers at the same time. It allows you to animate using effectors instead of key framing every layer.

Creating complex animations with a lot of layers and keyframes, has always been a difficult and time consuming task.

$89 via Toolfarm

Looking for other tips or have question on the After effects Repeater? please drop your comments below.