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

Staggering layer simulation


From:

Mograph Techniques: Physics Simulations in After Effects

with Eran Stern

Video: Staggering layer simulation

In this chapter, we are going to see an We're going to move to the composition panel, press the ~ key, make sure that we >> As usual, in order to achieve this look, I've already took the time and did the prep work for you.

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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
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Projects
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Eran Stern

Staggering layer simulation

In this chapter, we are going to see an example of using the kinematic body type inside Newton. This will assist us to create a simulation where layers which already have a dynamic motion need to be using a secondary animation such as rotate or push or even create some kind of a movement inside a movement. This is one of my favorite scenes from the movie.

So let's begin by watching the final result of this project. We're going to move to the composition panel, press the ~ key, make sure that we are switching it to full screen, and then press zero in order to see the run preview. >> In a world where time is money, in which our surroundings heavily pressure us to achieve more and more, our social life becomes tainted and more demanding than ever before. >> As usual, in order to achieve this look, we must first prepare the layers that will be affected.

And also plan ahead and include other elements in the relevant timing inside the After Effects timeline. I've already took the time and did the prep work for you. So let me show you what we already have here. I'm going to close the file comps folder and also close the timeline over here. And then double click on the staggering and kinematic composition over here. In this composition, we have 60 circles that are actually appearing on top of everything.

We can't really see them yet, but I'm going to zoom out in a moment. I just want to draw your attention to this whole circle and to this arc, which I've prepared earlier. The arc and the whole circle will be elements that will help us to drive the animation in general. We also have the narration over here. And let's just zoom out, couple of clicks. So command minus, or control minus on the PC.

And this will reveal all the circles that I've placed outside of the boundaries of the composition. Now, my plan is that all of these circles, 60 in number, will dive in. So they will fall as a dynamic object and then this arc will hold them in place. After a while, and I've already timed it to the narration and to the sound effect, will have this whole circle which is only appearing around 10 seconds in the timeline.

And this also have key frames already in place. So, I'm going to press u, and you can see that under the rotation, and let's just zoom in once again and press the space bar. The rotation is actually active here and this layer which is the whole circle contained of two simple masks is actually rotating in place. Now it is very important to mention that we have transparent pixels in the middle of this layer.

These transparent pixels will be respected by the solver of the newton plugin. Okay, I'm going to fit my view to the window, and before we start to create the animation, we first need to create the staggering effect. Note that those circles which are waiting patiently over here are falling in a different rhythm. So, we need to create some kind of a cascade animation just for the circles themselves.

We'll start by selecting the first one, and then Shift+select the last one which is Circle number 60. Then let's press page down in order to move one frame ahead. And then let's stream everybody by pressing on the Option key, Alt on the PC and the closing right bracket. So now we have one frame of each and every one of them. Since I selected them from the bottoms up, the next command that I'm going to use will respect the selection order.

And the command is under Animation >Keyframe Assistant >Sequence Layers. You don't have to do anything here except of pressing the OK button. Now if we're going to take a look at the timeline, we can see that After Effects as push each one of the layers to start after the end point of the previous one. So each one of these circles will have a different starting point. And of course the simulation that we are going to create will respect this timing.

Now we do need them to be active until the end of the composition, so press end on your keyboard. And assuming that everything here is still selected let's extend the out point of the layers by pressing on the same keyboard shortcut. Out or option and the closing right bracket. All right. Now we are set to go, and we are ready to continue with the second part of the simulation itself.

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