I've created, rigged, and animated a character in After Effects using strokes for legs and arms. I was wondering if there's a way to parent a shape (such as hands/feet) to the ends of the strokes. Just parenting the shape to the path doesn't seem to be accurate enough because the paths bend and flex and not just rotate.

So for example, if I'm using a circle shape as a hand, how could I attach to the arm that swings and bends?

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1 Answer 1


Sounds like you know more than me since admittedly I'm a beginner at AE. But I believe you would set up a null object. Attach that to the end of the arms. Then pickwhip your hand to the null object including position and rotation. Might need to use some sort of formulaic calculation on those points to fine tune it as well.

See this link for how to get started with the Pick Whip, should play from where he begins using it: https://youtu.be/ZHs0qFcU0Y4?t=3m41s

  • Thanks for the response. I'm certainly a novice, having animated this character using a tutorial based on using strokes/bezier curves for limbs. I guess what I can't understand is how to attach anything to the end of the arm or leg. Is there no way to simply attach a shape to a point at the end of a path? I suppose one solution could be to draw the leg or arm with the foot attached in illustrator, import the entire limb, and then use the puppet tool to animate the whole combined limb? Just wondering if theres an easier way while still using strokes Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 20:40
  • @ThomasMurray you can do attach to the end of the path using the Pickwhip I mentioned in the answer. Edited my answer to include a youtube video that might help you get started with it.
    – Ryan
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 22:04
  • I seem to be able to pickwhip the circle shape (hand) to the path (arm) which comes pretty close in appearance to be attached but it's really only rotating around the same anchor as the arm, not really attached to the end of the path. So at certain points of the gesture it looks like it falls off because the arms bend (not just rotate around the anchor, as the hand is doing). I guess what i want to do is pickwhip the hand's location to the endpoint of the path but there doesnt seem to be an option for that, only the paths position (which doesnt actually change, only rotates and bends) Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 23:54

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