I'm working on a video intro and am trying to figure out a solution for moving hundreds of shapes backwards and forwards on the z-axis. As most posts like this, I'm new to AE expressions.

The animation will begin with a swarm of icons zooming in and out of focus, wiggling around randomly while moving from point a to b, and will end with them clustering together to form the outline of a logo. I have wiggle expressions controlling the x & y axes, however am stuck on finding a way to accomplish my goal for the z-axis.

MAIN QUESTION: How can I have each object move forward and backward on the z-axis at a slow/moderate speed, not in unison, with a displacement of ~ 1000 units (and end with a value of 0)?

Here's a screenshot of a test comp with something I tried but doesn't work (movement was way too fast, and I need the last frame to end at a zero value)

test comp screenshot

Screenshot of the icons I'll be applying this to in the final comp: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6kbq57xuwy55cye/StackExchange_AE_icons.png?dl=0

  • 1
    I havn't got time to write a full answer but sounds like you need to use some expressions.
    – Cai
    Aug 28, 2016 at 6:55
  • Indeed - I've been trying to figure out the best expression to solve this. I tried: value[2]+random(-x,x) Unfortunately no matter what numbers I used for x the motion was way too fast, and is probably not at all the best solution.
    – design75
    Aug 28, 2016 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


You can us the slider control effect under Effects>Expression Controls.

  • Apply the effect to the layer then select one of your wiggle values with your cursor.
  • You can then use the Expression Pick Whip to point to the slider control effect in your Effect Controls.

You will now be able to animate the slider value which will control how much wiggle is applied to the layer.

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