7 Minute AE Tutorials


EPISODE 37: How to Create HUD Elements Using Shape Layers

In this DOUBLE EPISODE, I'm going to show you how to make some cool HUD elements using Shape Layers. You can easily create these in After Effects using Shape Layers, but just a word of caution: you'll be creating a LOT of Groups inside your Shape Layers, so labeling is essential.

As with all Shape Layers, these can be saved as presets for future use, so when you have time you can create a ton of these and then bank them up for future projects. HUD elements are very common in infographics and futuristic animations. Chances are, you're going to come across them at some point or get a request from a client that calls for HUD elements. There's no rule to how these should look, so let your imagination run wild when creating them.

EPISODE 36: How to Create a Shape Layer Transition with Multiple Controls

In this double episode, I'm going to show you some very cool tricks. First, we make a shape layer transition. Then, we add a multiply and divide expression that will create alternate versions of a color gradient. We also add transform controls so that you can alter the anchor point location of this shape layer, essentially allowing you to have four transition possibilities within just this one layer. Then, we add checkbox expressions that allow you to easily toggle between the multiply and divide color schemes. Finally, we save this shape layer transition, along with all of its added features, as a preset so you can bring it into your comps with the click of a button.

Episode 35: How to Create a Shape Layer Bouncing Sign Using Zig Zag and the Repeater

In this episode, I’m going to show you how to create this bouncing shape layer sign using Zig Zag and the Repeater. Zig Zag is a shape layer attribute that’s not used very much, which is why I wanted to go over it. This animation uses just one shape layer and a text layer. As with other shape layer animations, you can save this as a preset, and I'll remind you how to do just that.

Episode 34: How to Create a Graphic Novel Scene

In this episode, I'm going to show you how to create a graphic novel style animation. There are a lot of steps to this, and we may go over our 7 minute allocation, so please keep that in mind. You can apply these techniques to any image, but the settings may need to be adjusted depending on the color, brightness, hue, and contrast of your image.

Some of these concepts are advanced, so if you’re a beginner, you may have difficulty keeping up. But the magic of YouTube allows you to pause and adjust your settings! This is a fun episode, and I hope you get a lot out of it. In addition to learning the techniques, you’ll also learn a ton of keyboard shortcuts.

Episode 33: How to Create Flashing Party Lights

In this lesson, I'm going to show you how to create these cool flashing party lights. We'll be using shape layers, adding expressions, parenting layers, and a lot more, so you'll learn quite a bit over the next 7 minutes. Sometimes these lessons go super fast, so I'm including the project file as well as documented notes for you to refer to later on.

This technique can be amplified using Red Giant Universe’s glow settings to get more organic light settings. There are a number of expressions and scripts at aescripts.com and I highly recommend you checking that out.

Episode 32: How to Make a Character Speak

In this episode, I'm going to show you how to make a character speak. It's important to know how to create custom animations by hand before using plug-ins, such as Character Animate, that will create them for you automatically. Understanding the underlying technicalities helps build a solid foundation for your animation skills.

The process of making a character speak is quite tedious, so be patient and you’ll nail this! It’s easy to get frustrated with more complex animations, but it’s worth it in the end. Keep your head down, move through this tutorial, and you’ll be glad you did.

Episode 31: How to Create Custom Text Animations part 3

In this episode, we'll review using Position and Scale and go over the need to create multiple instances of these properties, and we'll also go over adjusting your anchor point as well as using multiple instances of Rotation. I mentioned before that you don't always need to use multiple instances of Rotation, and while that is true, there are times that you do.

I recommend that you experiment with all of the available settings in text animations. Some of them are intuitive, while others require some research or just some good ol’ fashion playing around with. A huge of a being a motion graphics designers is experimentation and curiosity.

Episode 30: How to Create Custom Text Animations part 2

In this episode, we'll continue learning more about text animators by creating text that slides in and then scales up one character at a time. This animation requires the use of position, opacity, skew, and scale animator controls, and I'll also show you how you might want to use the Anchor Point control as well. You'll learn some cool things about how these properties work.

Episode 29: How to Create Custom Text Animations part 1

In this episode, I'm going to introduce you to custom text animations. These are accessed in your Text layer, and is also how After Effects text presets are created. Instead of using the stock presets that come with the software, we're going to be creating our own custom text animations from scratch. The possibilities are virtually endless, and you'll learn a lot about how these properties affect text. It can get a bit complicated, but follow along and you should be catch on pretty quick.

Episode 28: How to Use a Slider Control to Move a Vehicle

In this episode, I’m going to show you how to control multiple transform properties with a slider control. In our example, we’ll be linking the X-axis and rotation of tires and the X-axis of a vehicle to a slider control, which will allow us to get a realistic movement. Our tires will move consistently with our car along the X axis. This will save time by only requiring one set of keyframes as well as not having to worry about lining up the movement of our car with the exact rotation of our tires. There’s a lot to get through, so let’s dive right in.

Episode 27: How to Use The Repeater to Create a Holiday Design for President’s Day

In this episode, we're going to celebrate President's Day. Regardless of your party affiliation, you'll learn some pretty cool tricks. So put politics aside, and we'll get more familiar with After Effects. I'll show you how to create a patriotic design that incorporates the use of shape layers, the repeater, and alpha mattes.

You can do some pretty cool animations with the Repeater. Understanding how it interacts with other Groups as well as the Shape Layer itself is essential. I recommend taking some time to spend with this Shape Layer attribute and really learn the value of knowing how it works.

Episode 26: How to Create a Character Using Shape Layers part 5 - Giving Your Character Personality

This episode rounds out our character creation 5 part series. So far, we’ve built our character’s face and body, and we’ve rigged our character, and we went over the basics of DUIK, a free third-party plug-in specifically designed for rigging and animating characters. In this episode, I’m going to go over ways to give your character personality while you animate movements. We’ll go over a few movements, and you can download the project file to practice and get started on your own character creation. We have a lot to get through so, let’s dive right in!

Episode 25: How to Create a Character Using Shape Layers part 4 - Using DUIK

We’re almost through our character creation mini-series. We’ve created a character’s head, body, and we’ve rigged our character. In this episode, we’re going to dive into DUIK, a free third-party plug-in that’s designed specifically for rigging character. I decided to cover this topic first because it makes more sense to cover DUIK before we go over character movements. DUIK is a very powerful tool, and it’s impressive that it’s absolutely free. I highly recommend getting this plug-in and watching as many tutorials as you can that fully cover what DUIK can do. We’ll be scratching the surface today, but we will cover enough that you can work with DUIK, rig your character, and start animating it.

Episode 24: How to Create a Character Using Shape Layers part 3 - Rigging Your Character

Over the past two episodes, we’ve created a character using shape layers. First, we made the head of our character. Then last week, we gave him a body. This week, we’ll go over rigging using resources that are native to after effects. Which simply means, not using third party plug-ins. This method gives you a ton of control over your character, but it can also mean a ton of keyframes. With a little patience and a lot of creativity, you can do some pretty awesome things with this method.

Episode 23: How to Create a Character Using Shape Layers part 2 - Making the Body

In the last episode, we began our character creation journey by building the character’s head. In this episode, we’ll create the body. Following this episode will be a few installments that will include rigging, character movement, and how to add some personality to your character. We’ll also go over using DUIK - a free character rigging plug-in. But that’s for later. Today, we’re going to focus on giving our head a body. I’ll be creating this in a way that will give you options for movement as you continue with your own character.

Episode 22: How to Create a Character Using Shape Layers part 1 - Creating the Head

In this episode, we will begin the process of creating a character using shape layers. This is the first in a series of episodes, so be sure to check in next week. Specifically, this week we will create the head of a character. In the next episode, we will create the body. Then, we will rig the character in After Effects. After that, we will rig the character using a free plug-in called DUIK. We will also create some movements, and go over what it takes to give your character a personality.

Episode 21: How to Create a Custom Color Controller

In this episode, I'm going to show you how to create a custom color picker. This is extremely useful for when you need to change colors across multiple comps simultaneously. For example, backgrounds, lower third color palettes, and overall color schemes. I'm going to show you how this applies to a character that I built from shape layers. You'll see how using a custom color picker can save a ton of time. If there is enough interest, I'd like to go over creating characters like the one you're seeing here. It would require several 7 minute tutorials - building characters like this takes some time. So please let me know in the comments below if you'd like to see this.

Episode 20: How to Convert Text to Shape Layers and Add Trim Paths

n this episode, I'm going to show you a few tricks. The main one is how to convert text to shape layers so that you can then apply effects, such as trim paths, to create some cool text animations. There are a lot of effects you can utilize in shape layers, but in this episode we'll touch primarily on trim paths. I'll also show you how to use an alpha matte with solids to supplement your animations. Remember, each group within a shape layer has its own anchor point, so if the anchor point is relevant to your animation, you must manually move each one. Unfortunately, there is no short cut for doing this. Note: I'm not talking about the SHAPE LAYER anchor point, but rather the GROUP anchor point.

Episode 19: How to Fix Issues When Converting Vectors to Shape Layers

In this episode, I'm going to show you how to deal with issues that sometimes arise when converting vectors to shape layers. As amazing as After Effects is, sometimes it just doesn't get this conversion exactly right, so it may take some finessing to get the results you want.

You may run across other issues when converting vectors into Shape Layers. In those cases, be sure to research it online or feel free to drop me an email and I’ll help you along the way.

Episode 18: How to Custom-Made Dynamic Lower Thirds

In this episode, I'm going to show you how to create a custom-made dynamic lower third with some interesting effects, presets, and scripts. What makes this lower third dynamic is that the size of lower third bar resizes itself based on the length of the name being presented. It's a very cool script, and a huge time saver. I'll also show you how to create a quick long shadow that's interactive with your text as well as a quick shortcut that bypasses the need for using an alpha matte layer. For the final touch, we'll use a lens flare to add a polish. I'll also show you a few quick ways to animate this lower third out.

Episode 17: How to Create a Simple Robot with Moving Parts

In this episode, I'm going to show you how to create simple, flat robotic machine with moving parts. You'll learn some basics about how to parent layers as well as how to use the slider control to your advantage. This project is another example of just how powerful shape layers are in After Effects.

Everything in this episode was created within After Effects, which goes to show just how much can be done with Shape Layers. If you’re not familiar with Shape Layers, I highly recommend watching my other tutorials to become better acquainted. Have questions? Email me.

Episode 14: How to Create a Realistic Bouncing Ball

In this episode, I'm going to show you how to create a realistic bouncing ball. The reason I wanted to post this is because I recently did this for a client, and it was more involved than I thought it would be. I knew this would require more than simply moving a ball across the screen with keyframes, but the more I explored it, the more control I realized was needed to give the effect a realistic, physics-based look.

Remember to pay attention to your keyframes, and know which ones should be linear, and which ones should be bezier. The more you understand about keyframe interpolation, the more realistic your animations will become.

Episode 13: How to Sequence Layers to Create Transitions and Backgrounds

In this episode, I'll show you how to Sequence Layers in order to create transitions and backgrounds. This is one of those tools you may have never used or even known was available. It took me a while before I noticed it, ironically, stumbling across it in a tutorial. You can do a ton of things with Sequencing Layers, but today I'll go over the basics of how to set it up so you can experiment, try some cool things out, and add one more tool to your motion design belt. I'll also show you some more shortcuts to make this process faster and more efficient.

Episode 12: Shortcuts You Need to Know part 1

In this episode, I'll go over shortcuts. If you watch this series, you know I'm a huge fan of saving as much time as possible so I can focus on creating. This will be multi-part tutorial miniseries simply because there are so many shortcuts and I don't want to overload you with too many in one episode. We will take a look at handful of shortcuts, and you'll be on your way to saving a ton of time. Feel free to go back through and watch to make sure you have all of these down. I'll also be uploading a text document with these shortcuts so you can have them at your side until you memorize them.

Episode 11: How to Use the Repeater to Create Tiled Background Transitions

In this episode, I'll show you how to use the repeater to make a tiled background transition. The repeater is a powerful tool within shape layers. You can use the repeater to create patterns, transitions, and so much more. The more you experiment, the more comfortable you'll become using the repeater. Becoming familiar with the repeater is the key to unlocking creativity in your design style. To save shape layers as presets, simply highlight all of your contents (and transform properties if they are affected) in the shape layer, click Animation - Save Animation Preset - and name the file. It's that simple!

Episode 10: How to Use the Repeater in Shape Layer Animations

In this episode, we'll go over how to use the Repeater in shape layers. We're only scratching the surface of what this powerful tool can do, but you'll have a solid understanding of how to access and use the Repeater, what its purposes is, and see the potential for what you can do. A good way to learn more about thing like shape layers and its elements is to experiment - a lot. Use the knowledge you get here and apply it in your own creative way.

Episode 09: How to Save and Import Expressions and Presets

This episode is somewhat of an extension of last week's, but with some really cool new information. In this episode, I'm going to show you how to save the expression presets we created last week so that you can have instant access to these expressions at any time. While I do believe it's a good idea to create these by hand until you get the hang of how these expressions work and what the terminology means, creating expression presets will save you a ton of time, especially if you tend to use the same ones over and over again, like wiggle or time.

Episode 08: How to Use Expressions in Your Animations

Learn how to use wiggle, time, Loop out cycle, and Math.round in this episode! Expressions are so vast and have so many applications, and I'm sure you'll see more of these tutorials in the near future.

These simple expressions are used by most intermediate to advanced mograph designers. So, if you’re a beginner, it is to your advantage to learn these as well as other common expressions an scripts. Knowing what the coding language means will allow you to add more creativity to your projects.

Episode 07: How to Use Illustrator to Convert Vector Images into Shape Layers for Use in After Effects

In this episode, we will take a look at converting vector images into shapes, but our focus will be on vectors that contain multiple images, such as collections. After Effects treats vectors as a whole, disregarding masks, so you may have run into this issue in the past. We touch on some Illustrator tips and I show you how to isolate layers, as opposed to groups, in Illustrator so that AE can recognize your images the way you want.

Episode 06: How to Create More Shapes from Vector Images

In this course, I focus on bringing a simple vector into After Effects, and show you how to group the shape layer version of that vector. By understanding the way After Effects groups shapes converted from vector images, you'll be able to more easily animate those shapes, have more control over each group with regard to transform properties as well as coloration, and, as always, you can save these shapes as animation presets, which will save you a ton of time with future projects.

Episode 05: How to Create Shapes from Vector Images

This week I'll be showing you how to create shapes from vector layers. This is extremely helpful if you tend to use vector images on a regular basis for projects like infographics, explainer videos, and training videos. This is one of those very powerful yet little known tools in After Effects - and there are a ton. I'll also show you when it's best to use this option and when you might want to consider not using this option, how to group elements, set anchor points, and animate the new shape layer. As always, these shape layers can be saved as presets, which will save YOU a ton of time with future projects.

Episode 04: How to Animate Shape Layers with Trim Paths

In this episode, you will learn how to animate shape layer strokes using the Trim Paths option. Trim paths, like other properties in the shape layers, enables you to create impressive animations that can be saved as presets and easily access for future projects. If you're a designer who uses shape layers on a regular basis, you don't want to miss this tip!

Remember: Trim Paths only works on strokes, not on fills. This is one of those cardinal rules you don’t want to forget. Experiment with all the properties of trim paths to see how you can make your projects more creative!

Episode 03: How to Animate Text Using Masks and Text Properties

This week I'll be showing you how to animate text using masks and text properties. This tip is really useful for designers who create infographics, explainer videos, lyric videos, and kinetic text projects. Specifically, it really saves time when you need to hide behind graphics, shapes, or lines.

There are some really cool tricks in this episode, and make sure you understand why we are using text properties to animate the text as opposed to transform properties (position, scale, rotation).

Episode 02: How to Create Transitions Using Shape Layers

This week's tutorial is somewhat of an extension of last week's. We'll be using shape layers to create a custom transition and saving it as an animation preset so you can use it any time! Also, learn how to get multiple transitions out of only one shape layer transition.

I’m all about saving time and getting the most out of my Shape Layers. Saving transitions as presets allows you to access them in the future with the click of a button, and having the ability to get more than one animation out of a Shape Layer is just smart designing.

Episode 01: How to Create Animation Presets for Shape Layers

Welcome to the first ever 7 Minute AE Tutorial! You’ll learn tricks, tips, and shortcuts. No BS. Just AE.

In this course, you'll learn how to create animation presets for shape layers. This value of this is to save time... a LOT of time. Whether you use shape layer animations on a regular basis or just want to build up a library of stock shape layer animations, by saving your shape layers as animation presets you will never have to import the animation because the preset resides in your USER PRESETS folder on your hard drive.