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After effects animation with dots

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Holly Smith
After effects animation with dots
on Jan 5, 2018 at 10:38:01 am

I have an animation with dots brought in from illustrator I’m unable to create the dots individually or with a repeater witching after effects because of brand reasons. How would I go about animating them so they move along a line/path or along x axis all at different times to end at a point
Any help much appreciated
It’s about 100+ dots


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Walter Soyka
Re: After effects animation with dots
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:35:26 pm

If you put each dot on a separate layer in Illustrator, you can import the Illustrator file as a comp and get separate layers for each dot in Ae. Then you could keyframe them individually, or write an expression to control them en masse (depending on what you want to accomplish creatively).

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Stephen Smith
Re: After effects animation with dots
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:00:53 pm

If you want dots to move along a path it is easy to create in After Effects. Use the pen tool to create your path line. It will create a shape. In the shape layer, Contents, Shape: disable the Fill checkbox. Make the stroke the color you want and increase the stroke width if needed. Change the Line Cap so it has "Round Cap" in the box. Next to the word Dashes is a + box. Click that twice. In the Dashes section change Dash to 0. Change the Gap to whatever number creates the spacing you like. Then you can keyframe the offset to make the dots move along your path. Hope this helps and best of luck.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Kevin Camp
Re: After effects animation with dots
on Jan 5, 2018 at 9:18:36 pm

to make that easier in illustrator, you can select all the dots, then from the menu in the layers palette, choose 'release to layers (sequence)'. that will put each on it;s own layer.

alternately, in after effects, if you bring the illustrator file into a comp, right-click it and choose 'create shapes from vector layer' you will get all the vectors as separate shapes... the shapes are all on the same shape layer, but you can animate the individual shape paths (each has it's own set of properties).

personally, I think i'd do it in illustrator, but the shapes-from-vectors is an option.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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Holly Smith
Re: After effects animation with dots
on Jan 5, 2018 at 11:22:40 pm

So I have been able to bring them all in from illustrator. My problem is I have to manually key frame each one to move at a different position along the screen. I am wondering if there is an expression or effect that I can apply that will make this a lot quicker?
Key framing over 100+ layers is time consuming at the moment.
Thank you


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Walter Soyka
Re: After effects animation with dots
on Jan 5, 2018 at 11:50:17 pm

[Holly Smith] "I am wondering if there is an expression or effect that I can apply that will make this a lot quicker?"

Sure, but you have to describe how you want the motion to work. A couple of pictures would help us understand what you're working with, too.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Kevin Camp
Re: After effects animation with dots
on Jan 5, 2018 at 11:52:09 pm

you mentioned having the animate along the x-axis but varying the timings. so what you could do is select all the dots, type 'p' to reveal the position properties, then slide the time indicator to a point where you want the animation to stop (or where all the dots should be in their final position) and click the stop watch for one of the position properties to add a key frame. if all the dots are selected, that should add a key frame for all of them.

then move the time indicator to the beginning of the animation and, with all the dots still selected, drag the x-value of on of the position properties to a point where you want them to start. each dot should now have two keyframes, and if you scrub the time indicator, they should all move along the x-axis to the final position.

now you can manually slide individual layers in the timeline to stagger the timings. it may seem tedious, but it really won't take very long.

one thing you might consider before re-timeing the layers... if the dots don't move completely off screen, you might want to also add an animation to the opacities of all those dots so they fade up from 0 to 100 as they move to their final position. you'd do that exactly as described above for position, but for the opacity properties. typing 't' will bring up the opacity properties, typing shift-t while the position properties are visible will show both position and opacity.

staggering the timings after that will have each dot fading in and sliding into position.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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