Profile PictureThomas Alberti

Express Path

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Express Path is a collection of four After Effects presets that help animators quickly control masks and paths (like never before).

**Requires After Effects 2021+ and for JavaScript to be selected as the Expression Engine in the Project Settings.**

Auto Layer Mask: Adds a mask automatically fit to the selected layer. Complete parametric control of both layer and mask.

Path Parameters: Adds parametric controls to selected rectangle path.

Path Transform: Adds box transform controls to selected path.

Auto Text Box: Adds text box to selected text layer.


Express Path works with After Effects 2021+ and requires JavaScript as the selected expression engine in the Project Settings. If it’s not already selected, go to

File > Project Settings > Expressions > Expressions Engine

and select JavaScript from the dropdown menu.

All presets add an expression to their respective masks. This expression creates a parametric mask and links its parameters to an effect controller on the layer. Add keyframes and adjust these controllers to animate the masks. They are made to be as similar as possible to shape layer properties.

Target Selections

For Auto Layer Mask and Auto Text Box, select target layer(s) and apply the preset. For Path Parameters and Path Transform, select target mask(s).

Transform Percentage Mappings

The transforms of the masks are in percentage values that are mapped differently for each preset:

  • Auto Layer Mask: the layer
  • Path Parameter: the user-drawn mask
  • Path Transform: the bounding box around the user-drawn mask
  • Auto Text Box: the (text) layer

Editing Paths with Expressions

In general, applying an expression to a property is non-destructive. The pre-existing, user-defined value is not lost or necessarily overwritten by the expression. However, the expression can lock the property from any new edits, and that’s just what these path expressions do. For example, with Path Parameters and Path Transform, once they are applied to a user-drawn mask, the path cannot be edited while the expression is enabled. If you would like to edit the path, just disable the expression, make your edits, and re-enable the expression. The mask controls and any animation on them will apply to the new path.

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Express Path

After Effects 2021+ with JavaScript selected in Project Settings
Preset 01
EP Auto Layer Mask.ffx
Preset 02
EP Path Parameters.ffx
Preset 03
EP Path Transform.ffx
Preset 04
EP Auto Text Box.ffx
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Express Path

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