Mograph Techniques: Physics Simulations in After Effects
Illustration by John Hersey

Mograph Techniques: Physics Simulations in After Effects

with Eran Stern

Video: Overview of the Rope Letters comp

In this movie, we will start to lay For a moment I'm going to make my timeline full screen by pressing on the ~

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Watch the Online Video Course Mograph Techniques: Physics Simulations in After Effects
2h 0m Intermediate Apr 11, 2014

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Explore how to create complex physical animations inside After Effects using Newton (a third-party plugin) and the Connect Layers (a free script). This project-based course covers a few specific and popular types of effects, such as letters suspended from strings and connected, randomized spheres. Artist Eran Stern shows how to connect any type of element together in a complex 3D array of strings and work with different dynamic simulations in order to create Dormant and Collision as well as Staggering and Kinematic animation types.

These lessons are perfect for motion graphics artists who want to create earthy physics simulations and add realistic motion to their projects.

Topics include:
  • Building a random sphere animation
  • Creating a tree connection
  • Animating letters dangling from rope
  • Creating body types and groups
  • Staggering layer simulation
Subject:
Video
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Eran Stern

Overview of the Rope Letters comp

In this movie, we will start to lay the foundation for the animation of the rope letters. In order to see where I'm going with this, let's open up the final comp folder, and double-click on the ropes letter final composition. I'm going to go to full screen and create a ramp preview so you'll see the final result that we are after.

>> We're faking experiences so we have something to share, so we can feel alive. >> So, we have couple of letter that looks like there are hanging from a rope and at some point we are taking a snapshot of these, releasing their ropes and we are being left with the word experiences. Now, this is quite a complex scene, although it may look a little bit simple. But most of the animation will be done automatically using the Newton plug in simulation.

And of course we will also use the connected layer script that I showed you in the previous chapter. Before getting inside Newton and start to play with the simulation, I just want to make sure that you understand the preparation stage. So, let's open the rope letters composition, which hosts all the elements which are needed in order to pull this trick. For a moment I'm going to make my timeline full screen by pressing on the ~ key, and this is just so you'll see that we are dealing with a lot of layers here.

To be exact 112. The bottom layer here are the sound guy that we have, and our background which I'm going to turn on, only at the last step. Here we can see that the blue group are the letters themselves. And I've already took the liberty to convert everything to shape layers, so I basically start up with the text and then selected the text from the Layer menu, just as I showed you before, I used this command Create Shapes from Text and let Newton to divide them to to separate shapes.

So these are, of course, the letters themselves. It's also worth mentioning that there were some creative choices over here. So for the P and the R we've decided to ignore the holes inside the letters. And this is something that you might want to do as well or not, this is just a design choice. I'm also going to zoom out so we can see that we have a lot of dots. And those dots, each one are represented by its own character.

So for example, the E1 until E9 over here are all on top of the E letter. Same thing goes for the other letters. The reason that we have these tiny dots over here, is that we can later connect them inside Newton and create a string or joint and this will later behave as ropes. We recreate the rope using the connect layer script, but this will happen only at the last stage of the project.

For now, just make sure that if you're doing such a thing you need to prepare everything as you see over here. This means that you should take the time and colorize the layers, so it will be easier to control. Also note that at the end stage, we will turn off the eyes and also enable the shy switch. Because all of those tiny dots that you're seeing over here are only to help us to create the simulation.

They are not part of the final animation. Okay, so now that we understand what we have over here, we're ready to select all the layers that we need and create this simulation. And now we show you how to do it in the next movie

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