After Effects CC Expressions For Beginners - Introduction To Expressions | Will Bartlett | Skillshare

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After Effects CC Expressions For Beginners - Introduction To Expressions

teacher avatar Will Bartlett, Video Creator & Entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (11m)
    • 1. After Effects Expressions For Beginners INTRODUCTION

    • 2. 01 Introduction To After Effects Expressions

    • 3. 02 After Effects Expressions For Beginners Part 1

    • 4. 03 After Effects Expressions For Beginners Part 2

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About This Class

Welcome to my 'Introduction To After Effects Expressions For Beginners' Class!

Expressions in After Effects can seem very intimidating, however with just a little bit of training, you can do a lot of really amazing things! My goal in this class is to provide to you an introduction to expressions so that you feel comfortable using them and exploring the potential of them as you progress your skills in After Effects CC

In this Adobe After Effects CC Class, you will learn:

  1. What expressions are
  2. Why expressions can be beneficial in your videos
  3. An introduction into how to start using expressions
  4. How to create simple automated animations for motion graphics work
  5. How to leverage expressions within footage to create a new look such as creating a hand held camera feel, or an earthquake feel.

I'll be your instructor for this After Effects CC class on AE Expressions; My name's Will Bartlett and I've been a Professional Cinematographer & Editor for over 10 years and a Content Creator for over 15. I run an established video production company based out of Toronto, and an online brand that's trained 200,000+ students.

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Meet Your Teacher

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Will Bartlett

Video Creator & Entrepreneur


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About me:

I've been a professional Cinematographer & Editor for 10+ years and a Content Creator for 15. Over the years, I've worked with dozens of production companies and hundreds of clients from Canada and the United States. I run several media businesses including a Toronto based video production company, an online brand that's trained over 350,000 students, and a Filmmaking YouTube channel called Alli and Will.

Categories I specialize in: Video Production (Filming, Editing, Visual Effects), Entrepreneurship/Business, Investing, Marketing and Branding.

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1. After Effects Expressions For Beginners INTRODUCTION: welcome back to another video my name's will. And in this after effects video tutorial, we're gonna be talking about expressions what they are, what they could do and how they can improve your video work. And if you want to learn more for me, I have several other courses on video editing, as well as a YouTube channel called Ali. And Will we make travel videos, flogs how to tutorials and review videos, all based around cinematography and editing or filmmaking in general. So we have a ton of other great content on our YouTube channel if you want to check that out on Allie and will. 2. 01 Introduction To After Effects Expressions: and this after effects video tutorial. We're gonna be talking about expressions, what they are, what they can do and how they can improve your video work. So what is in after effects, expression and after effects? Expression is a programming language made for after effects similar to Java or HTML for building websites. They can be very simple, just a few characters in length or they can be extremely complex. You can think of them like automated commands that perform specific actions within the layers of your aftereffects composition. When video editing, it's common practice to use key frames. And while key frames are very efficient and get the job done, there are times when it would make much more sense to use an automated command so that you're not spending hours duplicating and creating key frames. So then, how do you know when to use an expression and when to just use key frames that completely depends on what you're trying to do? It's always best to think about the end result and what you need to do in order to get there, then decide if key framing will require more time or if creating expressions will require more time. So now that you have a bit of an understanding, I'll show you a few examples 3. 02 After Effects Expressions For Beginners Part 1: All right, So with aftereffects open, let's go up to the rectangle tool. Ah, hold shift to make a perfect square and then with the pan behind. Two, which also acts, is the anchor point tool. If you hold command on the Mac or control the PC and double click, it will reposition the anchor point to the middle of the shape so that when we rotate it, it spins perfectly around the center point. So command on the Mac control the PC than double click, and that brought it to the middle. And then down here, let's open up transform. We'll set a key frame for rotation at our first frame, and then we'll go to one second in 12 frames and we'll set this to one. That means it'll do one full rotation between those key frames, so this is manually creating key frames. We haven't made any expressions yet, and then on the second key frame, I'm gonna right click it go to keep from Assistant and Eazy E's in. So what that does is as it rotates and rotates, is about the same speed. But then, as it gets to the second key frame, it slows down, so it eases into the stop. So if we wanted to have this infinitely loop throat are composition. Of course, we could duplicate the key frames by selecting them, copying and pasting them throughout our timeline a bunch of times. But that is an inefficient way to work, so a better way to do that is by using a loop expression. So to do that on our shape layer, we're gonna hold option on the Mac or ultimate PC and click on the stopwatch here on our rotation, where key frames are that will open up the expression box, and this is where we can enter in expressions. Let's type in loop, and then we will select the loop out expression and hit enter. So now we've created a loop, and if we preview this, you'll see what it does. So even though there's no key frames throughout the rest of our composition because we've set a loop expression, it is looping the animation from the beginning throughout the rest of it. So that's a pretty simple expression, and it creates a really cool effect. And for the loop expression, keep in mind that it only works if you have key frames on that layer. All right, so now let's start over with no expression and no key frames. Now, for a second example, let's say we wanted are square shaped to rotate continuously, throat our whole composition. And we wanted to do that quickly and efficiently without creating key frames. The way to do that is once again option on the Mac or ultimate PC. Then click on the stopwatch for rotation and then in the expression box, will type in time multiplied by 10 for example, So what that's doing is for every second of time in the composition, it will rotate clockwise 10 degrees. So if we go to one second here, you'll see that it has turned clockwise 10 degrees. And if we wanted to make a go counterclockwise before the 10 we just simply put a minus side so it's crank up the number to a higher mallets a 50 so every second will go 50 degrees. So that's what that looks like. We've used no key frames and just a few characters within the expression box to create a simple, continuously rotating square shape. Now the power of expressions really shows when you have multiple layers with expressions. So, for example, let's duplicate this layer we're going to transform and then under rotation will delete the expression from that layer. And then on the rotation, we will grab the pick whip, and we will bring it to the rotation. Then when we go into the rotation, you'll see that there is a longer expression, and this may look intimidating. However, I'll explain what's going on here. So what this expression is saying is on this composition for the layer shape layer one, which is this layer, it's going to follow whatever the transform rotation does. So I'm gonna go back to my main tool and then just move this over a bit. And if I play this, you'll see that both do the exact same thing. And by doing it this way, you don't need to write a whole bunch of after effects expression code. You could just link the layers together and the work accordingly. You can even take this a step further by going into the expression on our duplicated layer that has been Pickwick to the bottom layer, and then, at the end of the expression type space slash space to. Let's preview that. So what this is doing is our 1st 1 is rotating at the same speed, and our 2nd 1 is rotating at half the speed. So we divided it by two. If we wanted, we could go divided by four to exaggerate that a little more. Or we could even multiply it by, Let's say, 15 to make the 2nd 1 go much faster. Okay, so moving on, let's delete the top layer and then on our bottom one that is right now just spinning. Let's change this scale to 25 so it's a little smaller. And then, once again on the position, stopwatch here will hit option on the Mac or ultimate PC, then click. And for this expression, our goal is to have our shape randomly move around on screen. So to do this will delete the transform dot position expression that's currently on it. Well, type in W I. And then we will select the fourth option, which is wiggle, and now we need to tell our expression how much to randomly move around our shape layer. So the first value we will input is our speed. So for this one, let's put two, and then We'll Atacama and then the next values how many pixels on the screen it will move around. So for this one, let's do, let's say, 200. So it's randomly moving around the screen and you can see that it's creating a cool effect . We still have the original expression, which is the rotating at 50 degrees every second. But this one is doing a movement of 200 pixels randomly at a speed of two. Also, and the result we get is a really cool effect, with two different expressions on the same shape layer. And if we were to try to do this with key frames, it would be a lot more difficult. We have so many key frames, and it would just be a huge mess, and this is a great example at how beneficial expressions can be. 4. 03 After Effects Expressions For Beginners Part 2: with the wiggle expression. If we selected copy and then add it to the scale and then let's preview that and you can see what that does. So it's flying around everywhere here so you can get really created by mixing and matching different expressions. Expressions also work on footage as well, so it's delete this. I have a clip here of a tornado in the camera was locked off just sitting on top of the tripods. There's no movement, but the scene is calling for some camera movement, I think because it is a tornado, it is a scary thing to see and to be close to. So I think it would make a little more sense of there was some movement in the camera. What we can do is add a fake camera movement, so it's going to the clip, and then we will add the wiggle expression again. So this time we'll do a speed of one comma 25. So that's going to do is it's going to have a slower speed and it's not gonna move as many pixels, and this will imitate more of a handheld feel. But as you can see, we're seeing some of the edges of the frame being revealed, so we need to scale in just a little bit. So it's a 105 and then we've created more of a hand held camera. Feel from the static shot, and you can play around with the numbers as well, if you'd like. If you think it should be a little faster, we can go, Let's say to 50. But keep in mind when you're using the wiggle effect on footage and you use larger numbers for the second number, you will see more of the edges of the frame, so you'll need to scale and more. And that's not always a good thing, because if you scale in too much, you might introduce him noise into your footage. So, as you can see with just the wiggle effect alone, you can get a lot of different results as another example. This time, let's go 30 for the first number and only two for the 2nd 1 What this is going to do is, is going to be really fast movement, but only gonna be moving at two pixels, so it's gonna look more like an earthquake. So adding some very fast wiggle motion to your footage can help sell the effect. All right, So, as I said in the intro of this video aftereffects, expressions can be very simple, but they can also be very complex. So in this video we just touched the surface. I talked to just a few expressions, but there is so much more you can do. We will see you next time if you want to learn more for me. I have several other courses on video editing, as well as a YouTube channel called Ali. And Will we make travel videos, flogs how to tutorials and review videos, all based around cinematography and editing or filmmaking in general. So we have a ton of other great content on our YouTube channel. If you want to check that out on Allie and will