How to use the After Effects Wiggle Expression

CG Director Author Alex Glawionby Alex Glawion   /  Updated   /   10 comments
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How to use the After Effects Wiggle Expression

The Wiggle Expression in After Effects (or ae wiggle for short) is a great way to make objects move randomly, have some sort of idle Movement in character joints, animate a random camera shake, create wobbly text or animate a blinking/flickering light.

Although it is somewhat common knowledge what Wiggle does, I oftentimes find myself sitting in front of my high-end After Effects Workstation realizing, that I have once again forgotten how the correct wiggle Expression syntax is and what parts of the Wiggle Expression does what.

So here are is a list of some basic and advanced wiggle() Expression snippets for you to copy and paste into your After Effects projects and adjust to your liking:

Basic After Effects Wiggle Expression explained

wiggle(freq, amp, octaves=1, amp_mult=.5, t=time) 

//freq being the frequency, so how often per second the value should wiggle //amp being the amplitude, so how far the value should wiggle
//octaves is the number of octaves of noise to add together.
//This value controls how much detail is in the wiggle.
//Make this value higher than the default of 1 to include higher frequencies or lower to include amplitude harmonics in the wiggle.
//amp_mult is the amount that amp is multiplied by for each octave.
//This value controls how fast the harmonics drop off.
//t is the base start time.


Wiggle Expression examples

//wiggle far but slowly
wiggle(1.2, 700);

//wiggle a bit faster but not so far
wiggle(3, 20);

//wiggle fast but not far
wiggle(11, 7);


Making wiggle start and stop at specific times

//If your wiggle expression should start at 3 seconds
timeToStart = 3; 
if (time > timeToStart){ 

//If your wiggle expression should stop at 10 seconds
timeToStop = 10; 
if (time > timeToStop){ 

//If your wiggle expression should start at 5 seconds and stop at 15 seconds
timeToStart = 5; 
timeToStop = 15; 
if ((time > timeToStart) && (time < timeToStop)){ 


Tell the wiggle Expression to only wiggle in one direction

//wiggle only in x (horizontal):
temp=wiggle (5,50);


//wiggle only in y (vertical):
temp=wiggle (5,50);


For more organic and natural looking wiggles also try these tips by Tyler on his Motion Array Site. You can also spice things up by adding a random generator to your wiggle.

Looping the Wiggle Expression

Wiggle is great, but if you’re creating loops, the end and start values often don’t match up. Here’s how to make the After effects Wiggle Expression loop perfectly:

freq = 1; //creates variable "freq" representing the frequency
amp = 110; //creates variable "amp" representing the amplitude
loopTime = 3; //creates variable "loopTime" representing the length of our wiggle loop
t = time % loopTime; //t represents of far we are into our loop
wiggle1 = wiggle(freq, amp, 1, 0.5, t); //our normal wiggle expression
wiggle2 = wiggle(freq, amp, 1, 0.5, t - loopTime); //our wiggle expression that is offset byk in time by loopTime
linear(t, 0, loopTime, wiggle1, wiggle2) //blends both wiggle expressions

The above seems complex but is quite easy when broken down line-by-line. Basically what we do is create two wiggle expressions.

One normal Wiggle expression and one offset back in time. Then we blend between them, that way we match the start with the end time perfectly.


What useful Wiggle Expressions do you know of? Share your knowledge in the Comments.


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Alex Glawion - post author

Hi, I’m Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I’ve built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I’ll do my best to help out!

Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.


Thanks a lot. Very useful article. Just one more question: How can I make wiggle start intensively with high values and frequencies, but fade with time, so that my objects doesn’t move in the end?

Alex Glawion

You’ll need to add in the time component into your wiggle. instead of adding a fixed number to the strength add something like:


That way the strength starts at 10 and then decreases over time.



Hi, i’m an beginner, can somebody please help me with the start and stop at specific times expressions? I tried to copy paste them, but they didn’t work. Everything else works fine 🙂 thanks for the explanation 🙂

Alex Glawion

Hey treakzy_,
What exactly doesn’t work? Did you adapt the start and stop times to what you need?



Thank’s a lot!


I can’t find the wiggle effect in effect & present.
I’m using cs6

Alex Glawion

Hey Favour,
If you have activated the Expression on your Property such as the Position Property (Menu Animation -> add expression), you should be able to find it under property -> wiggle.

See this image here:

Hope this helps,

Ben G

Hi Alex,

Does the wiggle expression work of parameters like “Mask Feather”?

I just finished building a rig and would like your opinion on it.
It’s first priority was gaming during my off hours; Second strong enough for rendering at home if needed/ working on personal projects.

CPU: Ryzen 2700
RAM: Corsair Vengence LED 3000MGHz (2x16GB DDR4 kits)
GPU: Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080Ti 11GB GDDR5
Boots off SSD
6TB* RAID 5 work drive (*configured size)
1000W Corsair PSU

Thank you for your time.

Alex Glawion

Hey Ben,
Sure, Mask Feather can have a wiggle applied to it as well.

Some thoughts on your build. It will definitely work! The 1080Tis are unreasonably expensive nowadays, as the stock is disappearing. So might want to look at a RTX 2070 or some other card from the current generation.

1000W PSU is not really necessary, you could do with a ~550W PSU for those components unles your RAID consists of a lot of drives, but 6TB is not that much.

What are you planning on Rendering in? After Effects?


Ben G

I know the PSU is more than I need but it will allow headroom for overclocking and building a larger RAID when needed.

I managed to get the base components for my PC at $1,500 total, used for 1 month before I bought the PC. I rebuilt it to ensure that everything was done correctly to my satisfaction.

Yes I will be rendering in After Effects .