After Effects

Animating Radar Screen

When dorks like me start experimenting with effects and expressions… they come up with something like this.

It starts innocent enough. “How can I use the Polar Coordinates effect to make a radar sweep?”. Then, I start drawing in Illustrator to add some elements. Then I add some text elements using expressions. At this point, I am fully qualified as a nerd as I keep tweaking, adding waveforms, even text that uses trig functions.

What we end up with is a looping RADAR screen. I’ve also added some mysterious object approaching with a tracker object attached and some misc. text driven by X position. and its visibility coming and going with the sweep.



Stumble Upon

I LOVE this little Firefox plug-in I’ve.. heh.. stumbled upon.

What it does it place a button at the top of your browser called “Stumble”. When you press it, you are taken to another web site. What’s the big deal?

Well, the site you are taken to is qualified by several criteria. First, I’ve specified that I want only “Design” based content. When I click “Stumble”, I am transported to a design based site. These sites are rated by other fellow StumbleUpon users, including many looking for design web pages as well. Users submit a “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” for any given site.. and the ratings add up and compose a list of suggested sites based on the ratings of other users. I’ve found some incredible content this way.

Really, you can use it to find ANY type of content you are interested in. The topics range from activism to web design.

After Effects Preset

Shapes: No Symbol

The universal symbol for ‘No’ is just a circle with a diagonal line running through it from the upper left to the lower right. You put this over anything that is not permitted… like ‘No Smoking’ or ‘No Entry’.

This shape should be applied to any color of full screen layer. It will automatically fill with red, bevel the alpha and add a drop shadow. Scale as needed.

Download the ‘No’ Symbol’ FFX file (zipped).

To install: Drop it into your Presets folder in your Adobe After Effects application folder. Refresh your Effects and Presets list if needed, by choosing ‘Refresh List’ in the flyout menu on the Effects and Presets palette.

After Effects

Elastic Snap Expression for After Effects

Here is a keyframe-less X position animation, using an elastic snap style movement.

The timing is easily defined by placing a marker on your layer (asterisk key).

I’ve made several crude inclusions for varying wobble amounts based on distance traversed and transition time. I’m no coder or mathematician, so suggestions are always welcome! And don’t forget the marker!

Also, I must credit much of the Trigonometry to Dan Ebberts Physical Simulations section of THE BEST expressions reference anywhere, and he’s a really nice guy.

The Expression

displace = 600 ; //user enters # of pixels to move

startBounce = marker.key(1).time;
speedFactor = 1 + (startBounce – inPoint) ;
veloc = (displace / 50) / speedFactor ;
amplitude = ( displace / 3) / speedFactor;
decay = 3;

t = time – startBounce;

if (t

x = amplitude*Math.cos(veloc*t)/Math.exp(decay*t)-amplitude;

value + linear(time , 0, startBounce, 0, displace) + [ x , 0 ];