Searching for another asset to add to your After Effects toolbox? In this video tutorial, we’ll cover how to create simple 2D animations that pop.
Learning After Effects will always be an uphill battle. I’ve been at it for two years and still find myself pulling my hair out. Don’t worry, though, this is a super-easy look to achieve, even if you consider yourself a beginner.
What I love about this effect is that it’s really easy to make, but trying to reverse engineer it is difficult. Plus, having this in your After Effects toolbox will help add value to your animations. So let’s jump in.
Go ahead and make a composition to whatever specifications you need, and make a rectangle in the middle. Click the drop-down arrow for Shape Layer 1, then for Rectangle 1, and finally Rectangle Path 1. You’ll see the parameter Scale and next to that there’ll be a chain icon that links the X and Y scaling proportions. You can unlink them by clicking the icon.
Change the X value to 150 and the Y value to 30. Close all the drop-down arrows you opened earlier and duplicate the rectangle. Do not duplicate the entire layer — only the Rectangle 1 listed inside of Contents on Shape Layer 1.
Click the drop-down arrow for Rectangle 2 and change the X Scale value to 45. Right under that, you should see Position. Change the Y position to -29. Now, collapse all the drop-down arrows opened up to where you only see Rectangle 1 and 2 inside of the Contents section of Shape Layer 1. Now, the base of the animation is set up and we’re ready to manipulate the original shape.
The next step is to bring in Shape Modifiers. Right next to Contents, you should see Add with a button next to it. Click on it, and a list of all the Shape Modifiers will pop up. Select Repeater, and place it under both of the rectangles. This is crucial because whatever is under this shape modifier won’t be repeated.
Open up the Repeater, change the number of Copies to 60. Open up the transform properties inside of the Repeater, and unlink the X and Y values for Scale, then change the X value to 112. Right above Scale, change the Position X value from 100 to 0, and the Y value from 0 to -59. Go ahead and close the transform properties of Repeater 1 and for the Offset right above Transform, change the value to -5.
Now, you can see that we almost have the final shape we’re looking for, we just need to give it motion.
Add in the Shape Modifier called Wiggle Transform, and place it under the Repeater. Open up Wiggle Transform, and change the Wiggles/Second to .5. Open up the transform properties inside of Wiggle Transform, and for the position X value, change it to -29. Go ahead and preview the animation. You should see the whole structure swaying left to right.
Now, we’re in the final steps of the process. Add in the the Shape Modifier, Merge Paths, to make the shape one solid layer. Note that when you add it in, there won’t be a visual difference, unless you have a stroke greater than 0 on the whole shape.
Next, add the Shape Modifier, Round Corners. At this point, we have the final look and can close all the shape modifiers. The final thing we need to do now is go back to Repeater 1 and keyframe the Offset that is at -5. Drag your playhead to the beginning of your composition and then click the stopwatch next to Offset. Drag the keyframe to the end of the composition while keeping the playhead at the start. Then, change the Offset value to -15, and a new keyframe will pop up at the beginning of your composition.
Finally, we’re done. Chef kiss!
When the opportunity arises to use this effect, just popping it on won’t do it justice. You’re going to need to customize it to fit into your project. This could be as simple as turning down the opacity and changing the fill color, or using it as a track matte to transition to the next scene in your animation.
Interested in the tracks we used to make this video?
Looking for more After Effects tips and tricks? Check out these tutorials.
How to Mask in After EffectsCreate Your Own 8-Bit Pixel Art in Adobe After EffectsThe Basics of Rotoscope Animation in After EffectsAfter Effects Playbook Part 2: 10 MORE AE Tips and Tricks I Always UseAfter Effects Playbook: 10 Tips and Tricks for Almost Everything
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