The After Effects Apprentice series was created by Trish and Chris Meyer. These tutorials are designed for After Effects CS4 through CC, and can be used on their own or as a companion to the Meyer's book, After Effects Apprentice.
- Creating and managing expressions
- Linking together different parameters
- Randomizing a layer's movement
- Looping an animation
- Controlling multiple layers from a single source
Skill Level Intermediate
- Hi I'm Chris Meyer of Crish Design, and welcome to the After Effects Apprentice lesson on Expressions. Now normally the way you animate a layer in After Effects is you use keyframing, where you say at this time, this parameter takes on this value. You set up multiple keyframes across time and After Effects will interpolate in between them for you. When it comes time to change the animation, you need to change the keyframes. However there is another approach where you give After Effects more general instructions, such as this layer should follow what that layer is doing, but only do it half as much, well that's what expressions are, and they can come in extremely handy when you're trying to coordinate the movements of multiple parameters or multiple layers, or trying to accommodate client changes on a deadline.
These are simple things you can use on many, many different jobs. If you do want to take your expression skills to the next level, however, we do have another book called Creating Motion Graphics that has a couple of chapters that will take you deeper into this great, powerful tool in After Effects known as expressions. But before I dive in, I want to show you what all can go wrong if you rely strictly on keyframes and don't take advantage of the power of expressions. So let's dive in and have some fun.