Adobe After Effects Tutorial: Wiggle Explained

Adobe After Effects has been dominating the video editing stage for quite some time now, and new plug-ins appear almost daily. Despite that, we believe that the program itself is pretty good, and that many of the built-in effects are of far better quality than most of the plug ins. We already covered 9 Types of Blur Effect in Adobe After Effects  , and today we decided to share some tips on how to use another very useful effect. We will try to keep this tutorial useful to both new users and professionals, as the effect we are going to describe has many uses, and the best of all, it is not difficult to use even for beginners!

adobe after effects wiggle explained tutorial
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While learning After Effects,  you must have come across many effects with numerous sliders that change the effect slightly, or change it completely. The effect that we are going to present to you today is one that completely depends on the numbers that you insert (or drag around – try it!). The base name of this effect is WIGGLE – but there are many types of wiggle, and today we will cover them all!

But first, let’s talk a little bit about wiggle itself. It is a built-in effect that controls the movement of an object of any kind through numbers only. It calculates the values you enter and creates a steady movement of position, scale, rotation, and more. You can see some examples in GIF format down below, right before the explanation of each Wiggle type. Let’s start!

wiggle position preview

Wiggle – Position

Probably the most commonly used type of wiggle is the Position one. We will use this one to further describe all the options available, that will repeat in all of the further types of wiggle. Of course, we will point out which ones are very important and which ones you can (or even should) just leave at their default values.

The most important values of every Wiggle option are the first ones – in this case, Wiggle Speed (wigs per second) and Wiggle Amount (pixels). Wiggle speed determines how many times the movement will repeat every second. Usually, you don’t want to make this value too high, except in cases when you want some extreme speed. Keep it up to the value of 5 to keep it natural!

Wiggle Amount, in the case of position wiggle, determines how many pixels the footage can be moved for. For example, if you type in 30.0, the frame won’t move for more than 30 pixels. Once again, to keep the movement natural, you should keep the value under 50 pixels.

rotation wiggle preview

In the transform section there are many options that you can try out, but the good news is that keeping the default values usually is a great choice. The transformations that it offers can be useful for some more specific effects for which wiggle is used, and many advanced tutorials can be found online, describing ways to alter these settings to maximize their use. However, we won’t be covering these details today, as we have many wiggle types to explore! 🙂

Wiggle – Rotation

Next type of wiggle is pretty simple – Rotation Wiggle. Here the most basic options we get are Wiggle Speed (the same one as in the Position Wiggle effect), and a Wiggle Amount that is now measured in degrees of rotation. Just like in the previous section, you should keep these values low in order to make them natural: Speed shouldn’t be over 5, and the Rotation Degrees shouldn’t go over 30, or you’ll be looking at a spinning screen! 🙂

scale wiggle preview

Wiggle – Scale

And the last of the three most important types of wiggle, is the Scale Wiggle. Used less than the previous two, it is still essential in the world of video editing. Main settings for this type are the already standard Wiggle Speed, Wiggle Amount that is now a percentage scale, and new settings: Wiggle Width Separately, that can be checked and unchecked, and Wiggle Width that is also put as a percentage scale. There is no real value norm in this case, we encourage you to experiment with these sliders and find the best combination for your scene!

Other Wiggle Types

Wiggle gelatin example type
Wiggle – Gelatin example

There are more wiggle types, such as Wiggle – Gelatin, that turns your footage into jelly, or Wiggle – Shearing which pulls the clip imitating shearing effects.

Wiggle shearing example settings
Wiggle – Shearing Settings Window

There is also Wigglerama, that combines all of the previously mentioned wiggle effects into a new one – it’s like a Wiggle party!

Wigglerama mix all together types
Wigglerama – a mix of them all!

We hope that this tutorial helped you in your journey through Adobe After Effects. Wiggle is a simple effect that creates a huge difference, and we believe it could be very useful to you. If you would rather leave the editing of your videos to others, you can Contact Us and we can help you!
Happy editing!

Djordje Komljenovic

Author Bio

Djordje Komljenovic is a professional 3d animation and motion graphics designer for over past 20 years. He is owner and creative director at Quince Creative agency. Previously, he was working-force of a few of major television stations in here Serbia - hired as motion graphics producer.

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