How to create a finger tap gesture in After Effects

By March 15, 2018Tutorial

Ok, let’s talk about the art of the finger tap gesture in After Effects.

First of all, as you know, there are multiple gestures including tap, swipe, tap and hold, pinch to zoom, etc. All of these can be created from the simple one I am sharing with you today, the humble tap.

How I like to do this is with a simple round bezier shape layer and a round mask.

I then proceed to drop some scale, opacity, and mask keyframes in a series of 3 columns. From there it is easy to arrange and tweak until I am happy.

The best part about all this is once I’ve created it, I can re-use it over and over again. The more pro you get, the more you start to rely on small simple tools that make your life easier. This is one of those tools.

By making a clean and tight gesture animation I can call attention to the area of importance without dominating the visuals.

In general, you need to do this when it’s important that your viewer can follow what was interacted with. If you’re simply showcasing the mechanics of an interaction in a quick study, you an probably hold off. If you need to have someone watch the interaction ‘cold,’ it will probably help to provide a visual cue.

Ok so the art of this: you want people to notice it but not get distracted from the awesome UI animation work you created.
The two ways to distract people are –

  1. Your craftsmanship (design, timing, easing) is terrible and it’s just painful and distracting
  2. What you’ve done is so unnecessarily over the top it questions your sanity and judgement

Hence, my simple/elegant, minimal finger tap gesture that lies before you.

Also, just because this is an interesting subject (at least to me), there are a couple other resources that I wanted to share. I did not create these but I do think they are solid. I don’t get paid anything to share these –

  • Aaron Wade created precomposed touch gestures that you can find here for a tweet or $2: (he gives 100% away to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Sebastian Moreno created a script for AE that lets you animate a ton of ‘desktop-ish cursor things super easily. You can find here ( I haven’t played with this as I don’t do a ton of prototyping for desktop, but if I did, I would grab this



Start with UI Animation Fundamentals:

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