Synthetic Stop-Motion in After Effects: Quick and Easy Techniques for Hand-made Animations | Rich Armstrong | Skillshare

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Synthetic Stop-Motion in After Effects: Quick and Easy Techniques for Hand-made Animations

teacher avatar Rich Armstrong, Artist & Designer

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What Is Stop Motion Animation?


    • 3.

      Easy-Peasy Stop Motion


    • 4.

      Add Imperfection With The Wiggler Tool


    • 5.

      The Posterize Time Effect


    • 6.

      The Paper Cut Out Look


    • 7.

      The posterizeTime Expression


    • 8.

      The Wiggle Expression


    • 9.

      Controlled by An Expression Layer


    • 10.

      Inconsistent Light


    • 11.

      Precomps and Time Remapping


    • 12.

      Per character Text Layers


    • 13.



    • 14.

      Let’s Make a Film


    • 15.

      The End


    • 16.

      Bonus Lesson 1


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About This Class


I love stop-motion animation, or perhaps you call it stop-frame animation. I love it because it’s rich in character; because it looks hand-made; and because it drips with human imperfection. Most of the time we aim for perfect designs and animations, but this class is about reversing that idea to deliberately create a hand-made and imperfect look.
The class covers creating a stop-motion look inside After Effects – that means no cameras and no endless moving elements. Normal stop-motion takes a long time, but inside After Effects it’s quick and easy if you know how.
By the end of this class you’ll be able to create your own synthetic stop-motion films quickly and easily, with a range of different techniques ranging from dead-simple to highly detailed.

You may also enjoy my other animation classes:

Meet Your Teacher

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Rich Armstrong

Artist & Designer

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Hey! I'm Rich Armstrong, a vivid and imaginative artist with ADHD. My bold and colourful creations draw inspiration from childhood fantasies, igniting joy & passion in a uniquely authentic style.

I design, illustrate, animate, doodle, and code. I love it all. I studied multimedia design, then graphic design, and taught myself how to code. I've freelanced, worked for agencies and startups, run my own product design studio, written a published book, and became a full-time artist in 2021. Also, I can touch my nose with my tongue!

I’ve been creating all kinds of things for a long time. And I want to help you create, experiment, explore and succeed—in the most fun and a... See full profile

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1. Intro: Once upon a time, there was an After Effects animation, and all she desired to be was a real-world stop motion animation, and animation with flaws and character one made with human hands, so the animator, although he could not bring her into the real-world, cost and illusions spell to make the animation, feel as if she was a real stop-motion animation. "TADA," just like that, the animation had been transformed, she now felt much happier and lived happily ever after. Most of the time we aim for perfect designs and animation. But this class is about reversing that idea to deliberately create a handmade and imperfect look. Whether you call it stop-frame animation or stop-motion, what makes a cool is its flaws, its bombs, its jiggles, its inconsistencies. You can see it's had a human touch, and in this class, I'm going to show you how to create a synthetic stop-motion animation in After Effects. What this means that you don't need a camera, you don't need lights, and you don't need to painstakingly, move elements frame by frame. We're going to cheat, we're going to have fun, and we're going to do it quickly, and we're going to do it all and After Effects. I'm Rich Armstrong, and I'm going to show you how to get going super quickly with some simple techniques and affects, and then get into more complex methods that you need for different situations, so join the class knowing a heap of new stuff and come have some fun. 2. What Is Stop Motion Animation?: What is a video? What is a phone? Well, it's basically a bunch of pictures strung together and moved frame by frame at a certain speed, a frame rate. At a frame per second speed, and this creates an illusion of movements. Whether it's a stop motion film, a 3-D animation, or a live action film. Illusion is what's happening. Your eyes are being tricked into thinking there's movement, there's motion. Think about how stop-motion films are made. Move an element take a photo. Oh no, I bumped something. Reposition the element. Reposition the camera. Take photo. Move element. Take photo. Move element. This is how stop motion works. In the real world. Things change. We bump things, the wind blows, clouds block the light and even in Hollywood blockbusters, things get messed up. Perhaps a brilliantly done stop-motion animation will look super smooth. Be animated at 30 frames per second and have no wiggles, bumps or anything like that. That would take forever and they'll probably be a massive budgets. We don't have a massive budget. Most stop-motion films have at least a little bit of jitter, a little bit of jump and this is the look we're going to learn about recreating. What's happening when an animator is taking photos in the real-world? Each picture they're taking equates to a single frame in a film. If a film is being animated at 30 frames per second. That means every pictured taken will appear only a 30th of a second. The frame rate is a very important aspect to keep in mind. We measure frame rates in frames per second. 20 frames per second equates to showing a frame every 20th of a second. Every 50 milliseconds will change the frame. Five frames per second equates to showing a frame every fifth of a second. That's every 200 milliseconds. The higher the frame rate, the more smooth the animation will be. 25 to 30 frames per second. Feels natural to the human eye. But it's really hard work to try animate at this frame rate. Stop-motion animators often make the films at ten or 15 frames per second. Fewer frames means it's less smooth animation, but it means it's quicker to make. The good thing is that an aftereffects we won't have too many of these problems to deal with. We're going to be recreating a stop motion look rather than creating a stop motion film from scratch. Check out the resources for great examples of stop-motion animation. 3. Easy-Peasy Stop Motion: What I'm going to show you in this video is how to do the real basics of stop-motion animation. I've got a white square that I'm going to animate from the left of the screen, to the right of the screen, and rotate it 360 degrees at the same time. Let's drill down to our transform properties. I'm going to add a key-frame on the position property and the rotation property, then at four seconds, I'm going to add a key-frame on position and rotation again. Let's move out square to the right-hand side, and let's rotate our square 360 degrees. Fantastic. If we had to move our work area in bits, I can also do this by pressing "N," then when we play our animation, it will loop. Fantastic, we have a looping animation, super smooth, After Effects is doing an amazing job here, look at what After Effects is doing. If we go to frame 1, and we've set out two key-frames here, and then our two key frames at the end, in-between After Effects is working out everything. I'm going to go frame by frame, through animation and show you what After Effects is actually doing. It's impressive. I'm going to hold down Command and press the right key on my keyboard. You see here, how there is a rotation there and a position change. Every single frame After Effects is calculating the rotation and the position of our square. It's amazing. If we were to try do this by ourselves, it would take a long time and be super tedious, so thank you After Effects, we love you. Amazing. We had the super smooth animation, it's perfect. Now we want it to look like a stop-motion movie, how do we do that? Well, at the moment, our composition frame rate is 30 frames per second. We can check this out in Composition, Composition Settings. Here, our frame rate is 30 frames per second. That means that for every second that we play After Effects is going to show us 30 frames. Our eyes can only really see 24 or 25 frames per second, so 30 is more than enough. Now, if we reduce this to 10 frames per second, we're only going to see 10 frames every second. I would recommend going for a frame rates of 10 or 15 frames per second, if you're going to make stop-motion animation. If you want it to be more jumpy, decrease your frame rates more smooth, increase your frame rates. Now, the other composition settings that I've got, my widths and heights, which are traditional HD composition settings, I've got a duration of 10 seconds, so hours, minutes, seconds and frames, then I've got this really cool blue for my compositions background color. Now at 10 frames per second, have a look at what our animation looks like. It looks amazing. It's jumpy, I like it. That is step one for creating a super-simple stop-motion look. Now, let me tell you about the problems with this method. The first problem is that you can't have any animation in this composition that isn't stop motion animation. If you want to have some smooth texts rolling in, it can't be done, it's all stop motion or no stop motion at all. The second problem, you may not come across that often, but let me show it to you anyway. Say we create a new composition and the frame rate is 30 frames per second, then we add Lesson 3, composition in to there, and we press Play. All of a sudden, it doesn't look so jump anymore. That sucks, what happened. Well, if we're going to Lesson 3, and we go to Composition and Composition Settings, go to the Advanced tab, and you just click this Preserve Frame Rate When Nested or in a Render Queue. You go to Comp 1, you press Play, and voila. Now we have a jumpy animation again, and it's recomposed. Fantastic. Remember that. Now with this, you can go and make some really cool stop-motion animation, but the next video is really important when it comes to this basic stop-motion effects. With these two things, you can conquer the world of stop-motion animation. 4. Add Imperfection With The Wiggler Tool: We ended last video with a really cool, jumpy, stop-motion looking animation. It looks fantastic. But imagine in real life, moving the square from the left to the right on top of a blue piece of paper. You're not going to rotate that thing perfectly and you're not going to move it perfectly. It's going to shift around a little bit. Sometimes it's going to rotate it too much to the right, sometimes too much to the left. Other times you may bump it up or bump it down. How do we mimic this in After Effects? Well, with the Wiggler a tool, of course, if you've never used a Wiggler a tool, it's really fun. We're going to go to a fairly basic composition, you may recognize this from the first video. It's a square and it's absolutely no animation and that's at all and we're going to apply the wiggler tool to the square. I'd like to just duplicate the square one to square and I'd like to change the color to black and I'm just going to press T4 opacity and changes to 50 percent and this way we can see the differences between square 2 which one have any wiggle applied to it and square 1, which will be wiggled. Square 1 let's go to window and let's click on wiggler up, and you'll get this interface here. Now what the wiggler requires is that we wiggle a certain property. I'm going to wiggle my position. What you need to do is you need to create two keyframes at least. I'm going to create one, the start of my animation and one at about four seconds and for now, I'm going to keep them exactly the same just so that I can show you what the wiggler tool does. What you need to do next is you need to select both of these keyframes. Your first annual last keyframe, and make sure you don't select all of these properties. You either need to select rarely narrowly, or what you can do is just select the property and all of the keyframes or their property will be selected. Once you've got the first and last keyframe selected, you can go to your wiggler tool and I'm going to apply to spatial path. The noise type can be smooth and the dimensions, you can actually just wiggle the x position or the y position. Or you can say I want to wiggle the x and y at the same amount. Or what we're going to do is animate them independently and then the frequency. This is how many times per second the wigglier creates a new keyframe. This isn't a typical stop-motion value, but I'm going to put this at one key frame per second and this is just to show you what the regular actually does. My magnitude is how much the values can vary, both positive and negative from the current value on that frame and I'm going to put this at 200 again, just to show you what the wiggler tool actually does. Once you've set up your settings, you can click apply and you'll see that a bunch of keyframes get inserted between your first and last keyframe and let's just have a look at what this does. I'm going to hide square 2 and maybe we can just go to four seconds and press "N" just so that our work area is shorter and so that we can see the loop. Okay, so have a look at that. I'll squares now moving fairly randomly. In comparison to our original square. You can see the difference. Pretty cool, so what's happening here is that on our first keyframe, it's exactly the same. On the next keyframe, what the wiggler tool does is it goes. Okay. Let's see what the x and y position is. Then what I'm going to do is I'm going to generate a random value between negative 200 and positive 200, whatever your magnitude was set at and then I'm going to add that to your current exposition N y position. Remember these two values will be different because we had the dimension sets at all independently. Then the next keyframe, it does exactly the same thing. It says 960 plus a random number that's between 200 above that, and 200 below that and again on this key frame, and then it goes back to the original position. Now what's really interesting is that in-between the keyframes, it actually animates, which is a great thing for the wiggler. But it's not really what we once for stop-motion animation. What we can do here is we could actually convert these to hold keyframes. I select all my keyframes, right-click and say Toggle hold keyframes. Now what this does is that it will just jump, jump, jump, and jump. Which is great. That's the effect that we're going for, except we don't want so long in-between each keyframe. What we can do now is we can just remove these or command ,Z, command Z, command Z, command Z. We're back at square 1 square to four seconds again and press N to trim our work area and what we can do here is we can apply some more traditional wiggle values. You can see that I've selected all my properties again, this just select position and the frequency. Let's go for something like ten key frames per second and let's change our composition settings to ten frames per second. What this does is that it says there's going to be ten frames per second and I'm going to put a new keyframe ten times per second. That means that there will be a keyframe on every single frame. Now, my magnitude, I'm going to change to 20, and then I'm going to click apply and you'll see there's a bunch more keyframes added here and let's have a look at what this looks like. Perhaps you should just hide our square 2. Okay, so it's wiggling around quite a bit. This is what the wiggler tool does. We can also apply this to rotation. If we go to rotation and let's go to our last keyframe, add a new keyframe here. Select our rotation property and frequency ten times per second magnitude. I'm going to go for something like four and apply. That looks pretty fun. But this wouldn't happen in real life because, well, we wouldn't really be moving this much if it is in the same place. This would only happen if we're moving objects. I'm going to go to our previous composition and I'm going to apply the wigglier tool to this composition. I've got my position property and rotation property. Let's go for possession property first and I've got a frequency of ten times per second. That basically means I'm going to be adding a keyframe every single frame. Remember that I have a frame rates of ten frames per second. We can see that in our composition settings. Okay. Our magnitude this changes to 20 again and click apply. If we were to zoom in here, we can see that every single frame has a keyframe on it. This is basically the same as setting your keyframes. Behold keyframes, there's no time for animation between the key frames. We can just zoom out here and let's press play and that has a really nice effect to it. It looks like there's a bit of bumps and wiggles. It looks like there's been a human hand involved. We can do the same thing for rotation now. We're going to change the magnitude down to four pixels and click apply. Okay. That looks really, really good. If I had to just undo this and undo this and duplicate square one and change the full color to black and change the opacity to 50 percent. We can reuse the regular tool now and let's go for 20 here and we can see the difference. Pretty cool. What's really cool about this is that every single time you apply the wiggler tool to a property, it creates new random values. You're never going to get the same random values. If you don't like these random values, what you could do is you could change individual keyframe values, or you could just undo or remove the keyframes and reuse the wiggler tool. This is fantastic. We've got this really cool, jumpy looking animation. There's a bit of random movements and they're fantastic. If you're happy with us, go make amazing stop motion animation just with the wigglier tool and by changing your compositions frame rates, you can make amazing stop-motion phones. This wiggly tool is amazing, but I still have some issues with it. The first issue is that it adds a whole bunch of keyframes, which means that there's a lot of visual clutter and if you wanted to change your animation values, you either have to change all the keyframes or you have to remove keyframes and reuse the wiggler tool. Also, if you've got a bunch of key frames in between your first and last keyframe, and you apply the regular tool, you don't really know which ones you put there and which ones the wiggle are put there, which can get a bit messy. The last thing that I don't like about the wiggler tool is that you can accidentally move keyframes, which can be really cool but it means that there's more chance of things getting messy or more chance of things getting messed up. Again, if this works for you and you don't run into any issues with changing the frame rates and using the wiggler in carry on and using it. It's easy to understand and easy to get going. You can play around with it, have a lot of fun, plus you don't need to do much work to make it look good and handmade stop-motion film. 5. The Posterize Time Effect: In this video, I'm going to introduce the posterize time effects. We're going to use this effect to create a synthetic frame rate for one layer. This is really helpful because it means that one layer can have a jumpy, jittery look, and another layer doesn't have to. Whereas if you apply a low frame rate on entire composition, everything has to be in stop motion. I've got these two squares, and they animate from left to right, pretty much exactly the same, barring the Y position difference. What I'm going to do here is I'm going to go to my Effects and Presets panel. I have it open here, but you can find it under Window and Effects and Presets. You then search for Posterize Time, like so, and you drag it on to one layer. So I'm going to drag it on to square 1, which is at the top. You'll see that I have this Effects Control panel, which is next to my Project panel and I can change the frame rates for this layer. So I'm going to change this to 10. Now, when I press Play, you see that it looks like a stop motion piece of animation. Really cool, right? If I select this, you can see that this is where it really is, with a Posterize Time effects applied, that information hasn't been sent to the preview. If I change this color, perhaps to red, you can see it more clearly. So if I just go from frame to frame, because we're going at 10 frames per second, it means that every three frames, I will then see an update. Because again, my composition is at 30 frames per second. So 1, 2, 3, update, 1, 2, 3, update. This is really cool. We can also change the frame rate to one frame per second, and this will give us a really jittery, jumpy look. Kind of weird, but you get the gist of it. So fantastic. What we can do now is wiggle our position, and rotation. Let's go to Window and Wiggler and with our position property selected, we can apply those values, and without rotation property selected, we can apply some values. Apply. So there we go. It's really the same animation, we've just applied some effects and used the wiggler tool. Fantastic, really, really easy. For most 2D work, that Posterize Time effects will be fantastic. It's easy to work with, and works for an entire layer, not the entire composition, an entire layer. You'll find yourself stuck with a Posterize Time effects when you want to posterize individual properties like just rotation, or just position, or when you're working with 3D Layers, or lights, or shadows. But everything else, the Posterize Time effect is golden. So this is a pretty standard technique for stop motion in After Effects. You can fall in love with it pretty easily. 6. The Paper Cut Out Look: In this video, I'm going to show you how to get that cool paper cut-out kind of look. But I'm also going to show you a few flaws in our Posterize Time effect. What goes into making this paper-cut-out look? Well, it's lights. If you think about pieces of paper in real life, they're flat, and when you start to lay them on top of each other, they cast shadows on each other. How do we mimic this in After Effects? Well, one way would be to add a drop shadow. This is pretty easy. We can go to Layer, right-click, and if we go down to Layer Styles, we can add a drop shadow layer style. If we go down here, we can change the angle to something like 90 degrees. We can change the distance, we can change the size. Yeah, that looks pretty good, but this isn't real. What I want is real light. I want to be able to change the light, I want to be able to change all of it. Let's remove our layer styles, and let's select all of our layers and make them 3D layers. If you don't understand much about 3D layers, it's okay. If you do want to understand and a lot more, I have a whole class on 3D inside of After Effects. Let's check this 3D box. It makes all of our layers a 3D layer. We're then going to add a light, so "Layer", "New, "Light layer", and I really like point lights. "Okay". There we go. We have some depth, which is great. Now, what I want to do is go to all of my layers, go to Material Options, and I want to cast shadows. Fantastic. Then I'm going to press P for position, and then it collapses all of my layers, and then P again, and I'm going to change the position of my layers that I can get a better shadow. Water 1, let's go for minus 150 pixels. Water 2, let's go minus 100. Water 3, can be minus 50. Then my background, I'm going to set at 150 pixels. We can see the background now. I'm going to press "Shift S" to my scale property and change this to 300 percent so that we don't see our composition background anymore. Look at this. We have some shadows and looks like that cool paper cutout look. Fantastic. Now, let's start to animate this. Let's animate my water first. So I'm going to animate the position. After four seconds, it's going to move somewhere. My water 1 and my water 3, I want to animate this to the left. I don't know why I've got my Y tool selected or my pen behind tool. I want my Selection tool. Let's go for water 1 and water 3. Let's move you guys to the left. Yeah, that looks good. Then my water 2, let's move you to the right, like so. We have waves that are moving left and waves that are moving right. That looks great. Now, we can move our boat layer. Let's add a keyframe at the start and a keyframe at the end, and you can move to the right. That looks pretty cool, nice paper-looking animation. What we need to do now is we need to make it look jumpy. We could do this with a composition frame rate, but I'm going to try do it with the Posterize Time effect first. I'll introduce some issues that it causes. Let's add it to our ship, like so. The frame rates we can change to 10 frames per second. We then press "Play". You may notice something weird here. I'm going to go frame by frame here. You see that the shadow is moving at a constant speed, whereas the ship is jumping. One, two, three, you see the shadow is moving? One, two, three, it's like Peter Pan shadow, a magic shadow. But we don't want this. That's a problem. The next problem with this Posterize Time effect is when you start adding it to layers that have shadows on them. You can see as we added that Posterize Time effect, there was no longer a shadow crossed on that layer. The Posterize Time effect is great for 2D layers, not so much for 3D layers that have lights involved. Let's just remove that Posterize Time effect. Let's go into our ship and remove the Posterize Time effects. What we can do now is go to our "Composition", and we go to "Composition Settings". Let's change our frame rate of our composition to 10 frames per second. Now, when you press "Play", yeah, we have a nice, jumpy look. Fantastic. Now, all we need to do is use the wiggler and we'll be set with a stop motion look. Let's go to water 1, I'm going to press Shift R, and you'll see there's a bunch of rotation values. I'm going to animate my Z rotation and my position. Let's go to the last keyframe and add another keyframe on the Z rotation property. Then we can start wiggling these values. Let's select our position. I'm going to change my magnitude to 20 and frequency 10 per second, "Apply". Then for my Z rotation, I'm going to change my magnitude to something like four, and "Apply". Let's see what this looks like. That's a really rough sea, undo. Let's change the magnitude to maybe one. Yeah, that looks pretty good, but I'm still not a big fan of the position jumping too much. I'm going to remove all of these keyframes, and let's just select our position property again, and our magnitude. Let's change this to maybe something like eight. "Apply". Yeah, that looks pretty cool. I like that. We can go to our water 2, water 3, ship, and press Shift R, and we can add a keyframe for the Z rotation, and we go to the next keyframe and add another keyframe for the Z rotation. Then for position, we can apply. Then again for our ship's position, we can apply. Then we can do the rotation, which was just a magnitude of one, and we can apply. Then let's go for Z rotation on water 3 and Z rotation on water 2. Have a look at that. Okay, that looks pretty fun. There's rotation happening, there's movement happening. It looks like a stop motion form, there's shadows. It looks like a really cool paper cutout stop motion animation. Sure it's simple, but it's way better than a bunch of squares on a screen. It's a little composition. It's a little scene. It's a little animation. It's our first stop motion form. It's fantastic. Now that we've got our animation sorted, we can start to play around with lights and cameras because objects aren't the only thing that can be animated. We can animate our camera, we can animate our lights. That's the other thing. If you select a light or a camera, you can't posterize it. You can't even drag it on. Another problem. The Posterize Time is really only for 2D layers. Now, I'm going to add a camera, "Layer", "New", "Camera". I'm going to go for a type of a one-node camera just because it's a lot simpler. Preset 35 millimeters. Now, I can animate my camera. Let's go for transform position, and let's go to the last keyframe at four seconds, and we can set that as the imposition. Or maybe we can set our keyframe around about here. The camera starts. Let's just see. Unified Camera tool, I don't want that one. I want my track XY. We can start from down here and then move up. Check this out. Yeah, that looks pretty cool, right? Fantastic. We've now got a stop motion animation with some camera moving. We can also move our lights. But remember that sometimes you bump the camera. How do we replicate that? Well, let's wiggle our Z rotation. Let's select our rotation, frequency, magnitude. Well, let's try it at 10, let's see what happens, "Apply". Wow, makes it look really rocky. Maybe we can just change that to one. Yeah, that looks pretty cool. Maybe we can spread this out of it. I'm just going to hold Alt. Yeah, that looks good. I'm going to remove the keyframes in the middle, and then just apply this again. It means that our camera is always rocking. That's fantastic. We can also wiggle our position property. We can wiggle this by maybe two and apply. That looks really good. Now, our point lights. Let's do some animation here. Transform, we can only transform as position, which is fantastic. Let's set it to right here. Maybe let's move this back a bit and perhaps a little bit to the left, and this one can be a little bit to the right. Let's check this out. It looks great. It's a really simple animation, but it shows you how you can apply these techniques really easily in a real animation and not just with squares. Besides unpacking this cool paper cutout look, we've discovered that there's a few issues with the Posterize Time effect. We mainly can't add it to 3D layers that have light supply to them. We also can't add it to camera and light layers. Bit of a bummer, but it's okay. Use the Posterize Time effect on 2D layers, or we could always use a lower composition frame rates, which we've ended up resorting to. But just remember, when you're using a low composition framerates, everything in your composition will have that jumpy stop motion effect applied to it. 7. The posterizeTime Expression: We've discovered that the posterize time effect doesn't work well for all areas in After Effects. You can't apply the posterize time to things like cameras and light layers, and 3D layers don't work well with the posterize time effect. Another thing is that we can't control individual layer property frame rates with a posterize time effect, so we need another way of posterizing time, another way of changing frame rates per property on a layer; and this is way the posterize time expression comes in. In our composition here, I've got two squares animating from left to right. Square one has a posterize time effects applied to it, and you'll see that there's nothing much happening besides the four keyframes on position and rotation. The same thing is happening for square two, except there's no posterize time effect to it, and our composition frame rate is at 30 frames per second. What is an expression? Well, an expression says to After Effects, hey, I'll manage the value of this property with code over time and I'll provide the value, and so for every frame, it tells the property what the value is. You can do some really fancy stuff with expressions, but we'll keep it simple. Expressions are written in JavaScript, which is quite handy because I know JavaScript. If you don't know JavaScript, it's okay. We're going to keep things really simple. How do we add an expression? Well, you click on the property and there is two ways that I like to do it. You can either go Animation and add expression, like so, and you'll see that you get this text area to write some code. Another way to do it, if we just press backspace and out, you'll see that there's now no expression, is to hold on Alt option and click the stopwatch and same thing happens. You'll see that your values now become red. This means that code is managing your property. Fantastic. What does this transform.position mean? Well, if we click out, you'll see that transform. position remains there and it looks pretty much the same. This transform position basically means use the values that the user provides. Thanks very much code, you're relying on humans again. But we can do some things that are a little bit more powerful than that. If we wanted to provide our own value, what we can do here is we can just simply provide an x and a y value. If I wanted to put in 450 and, let's go for 800, what this is basically doing is saying, let's give you an x value and a y value, and I'm going to put it in an array because that's what the position property expects; and it just chills there. Even though we've got these two key-frames, it stays there because the code is saying that's where I want you. Stay there. If we do the same thing for rotation, if we Alt, click the stopwatch and we provide it a value, we can provide something like 45. You'll see that it's a different kind of value to the position property value. Just like that, we can make our squares stop. What we're going do now is we're going to add a post derive time expression. Let's do this for our position property first, we pressed backspace, and then we can use the pick whip and you can get any value with this expression pick whip. You just click and drag and release on something that you want. We could say, always be the same as square one's position. Now what this means is that, well, it will follow the position of that square. But what we really want to do here is we want to use the pick whip to get our square to its positioning. We've got transform position, and before this line of code, we want to add our posterize time expression. Using this little button here, which is our expression language menu, we can click that and go to global and use the posterize time frames per second piece of code. Now this menu is really cool. There's a lot of pre-written expressions here; you can explore these in your own time. But I'm going to use the posterize time expression, and all I need to do here is supply the frames per second amount. We can just supply 10. Now what I like to do is just put a semicolon after my posterize time piece of code, and just like that, our position value is now jumping. We can do the same thing for our rotation value. Instead of using 45, we can use the transform.rotation; and then before that, we can either write our own code, like so, or again, you can insert it using the expression menu. There we go. We've just written a posterize time expression. It's super simple and you can control the individual properties with this piece of code. If we wanted to change the frame rates of our position property, it's pretty easy to do this too. R if we wanted to change the frame rate of our rotation property, pretty easy to do this too. Pretty interesting that. If we change this to five, maybe it'll be a bit better. There we go. That's the posterize time expression. What's great about this is that we can change the frame rate per property per layer and we can apply to things like cameras, lights, and 3D layers. Fantastic. 8. The Wiggle Expression: We've now played around with the wiggler, composition frame rates, and posterize time. We've been able to create great stop motion look, but using a wiggler has its limits. Since we've learned a little bit about expressions already, I'm going to teach you another expression that can replace the wiggler tool. This expression is called wiggle. Yeah. We've got this animation, there's two squares. The first square has an effect on it, it's supposed to rise time effect and we photo frame rates of 10 frames per second. The next square has an expression on its position property, which is the posterize time expression, and again, our frame rate is 10 frames per second and the same for our rotation property. You can see that these two squares look identical, baring their white position. Now what we need to do is we need to add some wiggle. What I'm going to do is, on square one, I'm going to use my wiggler tool. Let's go for position first, frequency, let's change that to 10 frames per second, or inserting 10 keyframes per second; and then our magnitude, let's change this to 20 and apply. There we go. Then what I'm going to do for my square two position is I'm going to write an expression. Where it says posterize time, 10 frames per second and transform position. Instead of transform position, what I'm going to do is I'm going to write a wiggle expression. Again, we don't have to write this by ourselves. We can go and click the expression language menu. You may be like, where is this? How do I know where this is? Yeah, good question. You may have to do some research, but I'll tell where the wiggle expression is. It's in property, and you can see just over here, it says, wiggle and it's burned to different options in there. Let's click that. We can actually take out all of these ones, octaves, amplitude multiplier, and t. They are already set. All we have left to input is our frequency and our amplitude. Frequency, you already know, frames per second; we can change this to 10 frames per second, and our amplitude is much like our magnitude on our wiggler tool. We can change this to 20, and just like that, we have a wiggle. Pretty cool, and now we don't have any visual clutter. We can change this really easily. We can change this to 40, and that will jump around a little bit more. Hey, we can even change this to 200 super easily. Crazy square. Let's change back to 20. Now what this also means is that, on our last keyframe, we can just drag our square and it'll basically change all the keyframes in between. We don't have to remove keyframes. We don't have to re-wiggle. It's really powerful. Let's update our rotation with this wiggle expression tool. Instead of transform rotation, what we're going to do is we're going to go to effect, property, wiggle, and then we can just take out all of that. If you want to know what all of those other options do, just research it. Some of them are pretty cool. I don't find them too useful for what we're doing here. Again, frequency, let's go at 10 frames per second, and our amplitude, we can make that above four. Sweet. Fantastic. That is the wiggle expression. 9. Controlled by An Expression Layer: We've worked with one or two less so far, sometimes a little bit more, and it's been great. But as you get more confidence and audacious, you want to add more and more layers. When that happens, you want to stay organized. One of the most important things you want to keep organized and easy to change as all of your layers frame rates. This lesson applies specifically to you, if you're not using a low composition frame rate to achieve your jumpy luck, but rather if you're using posterize time effects, and posterize time expressions for the jumpy luck. So let's jump in. What I've got here is bunch of squares jiggly, jangly going into the center of my composition, pretty cool. Most of these layers have a posterize time effects applied to them to achieve the jumping and one of my layers, this one at the top here has a posterize time expression on its position and rotation property. All of the layers have a wiggle expression applied to the position and rotation properties and what I've used across the borders, are frame rates of 10 frames per second. You'll see inside my composition settings, I have a composition frame rates of 30 frames per second, and this is so I can add an animate elements that don't look like they're in stop-motion. But now what we want to do is you want to change our frame rates from 10-15 frames per second mission. What I like to do here is I like to just press the Tilde key like so, or just double-click on my tab just so that I can see all of my layers. Now what I'm going to do here is I'm going to start changing 10-15, and then this has just been one layer and I know you're already bored, that is a mission. Another way you could do it is you could just change, one from 10-15, and then you could click Position, you go Edit and then Copy Expression Only, and then four squares, eight through to square 1, we press Command V, and then their expressions should change. They're not 15 frames per second,we still have our rotation to copy and paste, well, that's great. But now what happens if we want to change it back to 10 frames or 20 frames or five frames, big mission. What I like doing is adding some composition settings to my composition and the way I do this is by adding a null object layer. Let's go layer, new layer, a null object, and we can drag it to the top, and you'll see that it's just a blank square. Let's just rename it to settings, we can actually hide it, it doesn't make a difference and then we can add an effect to it., so let's add effect, expression controls and slider control. This is just a value that we can change, and we can even rename it, so I'm going to rename slider control to FPS, frames per second. You'll see that when I drill down into my settings, effects, frames per second, and I'll have a slider that I can change the value one. Let's change this to one frame per second. Now at the moment, this doesn't do anything, it's not magic. This what we're going to have to do is we're going to have to use our pick web and our expressions to change this. So I've got posterize time 15 frames, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to pick up this value here, and that may look a little bit complex. I'm going to undo that, and underline above here, I'm going to go left ps equals, and then I'm going to pick up this. I'm going to put a semicolon after that, and then my posterized time expression, I'm going to write FPS, fantastic. If we go down here to wiggle, we can also write FPS. Now this way, specifically on this one square, you can see that it's going at one frame per second, fantastic. I would suggest setting this up in the beginning, if you know you're going to a lot of layers. But if you don't, you can always do what we're going to do now, we're going to copy and paste some of this code to all of the different layers and all of the different properties. We can use this FPS, and what we have to do here is we have to just copy and paste at FPS code to each expression piece of code and we are just right there. Now that we've copied and pasted that, we can just write FPS. From square 9 downwards, our expressions are exactly the same. I'm going to click "Position" and then go Edit and Copy Expression Only, and then for each of my position properties and all of my squares, I'm going to go Edit and Paste then my rotation property, let's go Edit and Copy Expression Only. Then for our rotation properties of all our squares, we can then go and Command V or control V, and let's see what's happening here. We still haven't done everything, and that's because on square 9, we have a posterize time effects. Let's go to our posterize time and if we Alt click on "Frame rates", again, we can use the pickup to get our value up here. Let's just tap Tilda, and when we start to write this, we can scroll up and use the pickup to get our frames per second. We don't have to write FPS here because it's going to access it directly so we can see that our frame rates is one frame per second now. We can copy our posterize time effects and paste it on all our layers beneath it, so Command V, there we go. That's one frame per second, pretty cool. Now if we scroll up click in our settings and change our slider to 10 frames per second. Hey, look at that, it's really cool. What's even cooler is we can now add a text layer or another shape layer and say, hey there, and we can animate this from the left, just press P and animate its position from there to there. This one be in stop motion, so we've got a combination of stop motion and normal animation inside of the same composition and with our settings layer, we can change the frames per second of all of our layers really easily. If we wanted to make this really smooth change it to 25 or maybe even 30 then press Play. They look like nervous creditors, so there we go. You can use that technique with a bunch of different values and properties. You can add all different expression controls to that null object, and if you can always keep the long-term in mind, got to ask yourself, will I remember what's going on in my composition when I come back to it in two years time? I don't know. Will your colleague know what's going on when she opens up your composition? Very good questions. If you have a settings layer with a frames per second option, it's really easy to change that, you don't have to go copying and pasting, you don't have to freak out and ask what's going on. 10. Inconsistent Light: Sometimes when you're shooting stop-motion, you move a light or the sun sets, or someone with a really broad phone screen gets a message and momentarily lights up your scene or the camera you're using freaks out for shots. These things happen and it's one of the things that gives you a stop-motion work it's great handmade feel. Wiggling the movements of a light is fairly straight forward and we've covered this already, but how do we change the color of a light? What we've got here is a couple of shapes and we've got a light layer, it's a point-light. Now what I'm going to try to do is I'm going to wiggle some other properties. Let's try to wiggle our intensity. You could use the wiggler tool, but what I'm going to do is I'm going to use a wiggle expression. Hold on out, click your stopwatch, and let's add wiggle. Remember this is frames per second so let's go 10 and let's wiggle it by 50. If we play this, flickerly light effects, very nice. You see that just keeps on changing. What we can do here is we can change this to one frame per second and you'll see that every second it changes. You'll see that it animates in between the values changing, which is problematic for stop frame animation. Let's change this back to 10 and we can posterize time. Remember we can use this little menu here. Global posterize time and we can change this to 10. That's wiggling and is jumping. It feels really nice but the intensity of the light is not the only thing that we can change. I'm going to remove this expression and let's go to our color. Click color and if we wiggle this, so 10 frames per second, and let's change it by a value of 10. What does this do? You can get some pretty intense effects and pretty fun effects wiggling your lights. This is pretty crazy. The reason for this is that the values in your color property value are no bigger than one, so they range from zero to one. What we can do here is change our amplitude to 0.2. Let's see what this looks like. A little bit more manageable. Fantastic. If we add some posterized time to it, 10 frames per second. Yeah, that looks a little bit better than that freaky out color show. But your lights are not going to change this quickly in real life. This is a weird effect. It looks pretty cool, maybe like a disco, but this is not going to happen in real life. We've got to add a little bit more code and now if you're scared of code, don't worry, I'll provide this code for you, but I'll explain it really, really easily. It's called the short straw method. Let's go into our code here, to our posterize time but with code. Now, what we're going to do is generate a random number. We're going to say random. Now again, this piece of random code, we can actually find it, I think somewhere in here. Random numbers, there we go, random. Now, random can accept any kind of values. We want a random number between 0 and 10. Fantastic. What I'm then going to do is below posterize time, I'm going to set short straw to false and I'll picture us with a bunch of short straws. At the moment, no one's picked a straw so I don't have the short straw. Then what we're going to do is we're going to say if random number is bigger than 5, then short straw is true. This is just a random chance that I'll pick the short straw. If we want to make that less likely, we could say if random number is bigger than 9, so it's going to generate a random number every single frame. If the random number on that frame is bigger than 9, then short straw is true. But in this case we're going to say if it's bigger than 5, and if you wanted to make it more likely, obviously make it 1. Let's go for 5, so short straw is true. Then we can say, if short straw equals, equals true, and we use that equals, equals, because if you use one equals, it assigns the value to short straw, whereas this is comparing. If short straw is true, then let's do something. What will we do? Well, we'll wiggle. Let's cut that and paste that and then we'll say else and we'll use the p quip to say lightOption. color. What are we doing here? Well, we're generating a random number between 0 and 10, within same cool, posterize the time so it gives us the jumpy look. Then we're saying short straw, false. We don't have the short straw yet. We then saying, if a random number is bigger than 5, which it could be, but it's going to range from 0 to 10, then the short straw is true. Next, we're saying, if the short straw is true, wiggle, else, we just use the normal light color. Let's see what happens here. Still pretty intense. If we go down here and we change our random number to something like 9, you can see that there's a slight flicker only every so often. Pretty cool. If we wanted to change that intensity down a bit, we can even change this to 0.1 or 0.05. Now let's play now. You'll see it just a slight jitter. Maybe we change this back to 0.1. How does that look? There's a bit of a flicker. It's pretty cool. If we copy this and we go to our intensity, we can paste this here too and instead of light option color, we can change it to light option intensity. We can wiggle this, say by 10. That's how you achieve some inconsistent lights in a scene. Play around with these values. Perhaps you have perfect lights, perhaps you don't. If you're going for an authentic and handmade stop motion foam it's a great effect to add to it. 11. Precomps and Time Remapping: We've learned a lot about synthetic frame rates, expressions, and various ways to make our compositions feel more like a stop-motion form. But what happens if we've already made a video on entire composition and rendered it and it's taken 30 hours and now we want to make it just a little bit more stop-motion-ish? I'll show you two really easy ways to achieve this, and then one way that's really powerful and a little bit more complex. Using these techniques will also be able to solve issues in future videos. First of all, I've got a movie. I've imported it by double-clicking and just importing it like so. I've now got two, so let's just delete that one. If we drag this into our timeline panel and resize it like so, you can see that this is me playing the fool. Yeah, that's me. What can we do to make this more stop-motion-ish? Let's got to Composition, Composition settings. We can just change the frame rates, that's pretty easy. You can see the effects. But what happens if we want to add in elements and we don't want that element to have a stop motion look. Press Command K to get to our composition settings, change the frame rate back to 30, and what we can do is use our posterize time effects and just pop that onto our Movie Layer, change the frame rate to 10, or maybe even one, and then we can just play this. Cool expressions. Let's change it to 10 frames per second because that will feel more like a stop motion form. Imagine somebody coming in and molding my face and putting on my cheeks and making my eyebrows go up, that'd be like a super realistic stop-motion form. That's how you can achieve it in two really simple ways. Now the third way, let's remove posterize time effects and it's called time remapping. This is really fun. With your layer selected, you go into Layer, Time, Enabled time remapping, or shortcuts is Alt Command T or Option Command T. Now what this allows us to do is this allows us to play with the time. If I create a keyframe here, you'll see that this keyframe's value is at two seconds and 28 frames. I can move this all the way here, and if I play it. It's quite funny. What it does is placed from 0-2 seconds and 28 frames in just 13 frames. Then it goes, "I'm going play from two seconds and 28 frames all the way to the end and the rest of the time." Then it slows it down. This is really, really fun. What we can do here, instead of adding that keyframe, I'm just going to delete it now, is I'm going to Alt click on the stopwatch and I'm going to write my posterize time expression. We can go to Global, Posterize time and change this to 10 frames per second. If you've done this by mistake, you may just need to press "Enter" and then pick up your time remap value. That's funny, it's really cool. If we change this to five it'll sound even funnier. I think that's funny. Anyway, that's how you can change your frame rate really easily using the time remap tool. But now while we're on the time remap tool, let me show you another thing. Let's go to our project. Let's go to Lesson 11.2 and what I have here is a character. On the first frame he's happy, on the second frame he sad, third frame, he's like, "Oh wow," like those Facebook little like icons, wow, then no. Like you just told them some bad news, like you're an idiot, and then the sulking face. If we were to play this, that happens really fast. What I'd like to do here is I'd like to create a new composition called character, and then I'd like to add in 11.2, and then I'd like to just add time remapping. Time, Enabled time remapping, and you can see that if I zoom in here on my layer, I get each chapter markers. Now, how to add a chapter marker? You just drag this chapter marker over there and you double-click it and then you can rename it. Unfortunately, if you add one after you've added that composition to a new composition, it won't come through. What can we do now? Let's add keyframes on each of these expressions. Now, this is pretty easy. We just go all the way to the end and remove our last keyframe. Now we can zoom out and space out our keyframes a bit, and a little bit more. We select all our keyframes and change them into hold keyframe. Right-click and toggle hold keyframe. This means that in-between keyframe and another keyframe, there'll be no animation. If there was no toggle hold keyframes, you'd see that there'd be some animation. We don't want any animation between keyframes, so we're just going to go Command Shift Z to redo, or if that doesn't work, just right-click and say toggle hold keyframes. Still ready really quick, so we can spread these out even more. This guy is a happy chap for quite a while, and then you make him angry, space this out some more, that's sucks, and then that isn't so bad anymore. Then somebody tells them a drag. You copy this first frame, Command C, Command V, and just like that, he's happy again, and then, that's sucks. You can see just like this, it's really easy to create facial expressions and use them in your stop-motion projects. Let's play this, I'm happy. Good joke, bad ending. "Oh, look at that mountain." You can see how you can have some fun here with time remapping, it's a really useful tool to use in stop-motion projects. 12. Per character Text Layers: Imagine you've made some wording some cool typography and you're animating it in stop-motion in the real world, you have to move every letter separately. It could take a long time. But, in After Effects it could also take a long time. Imagine trying to animate nine different letters, 10 different letters, a whole bunch of different letters. Unless there was a quick and easy way to animate text per character. This is what this video is about. We need to add some text first of all. Let's go to our text layer. Let's type something like You rock, and we can select all of it just increase the font size. So it's quite big. Press "Command Enter", and we can align it to align tools down here. You rock. Now what we want to do is, let's press this little triangle guy. Go to animate on the right chair, and then what we can do here is add a property animator. So let's go for Position, and what this does is it allows us to animate our Position. Not rocket science. But with this Range Selector, what we can do is we can animate per character. But that's pretty uniform, which is not really what we want. On this animate a line and we're going to add a property, we're going to add a Selector, and we're going to use the Wiggly Selector. Good old wiggle, coming back in a different form. Yep, that's right. We can actually delete this Range Selector. Thank you very much, and I'll opposition, I'm going to change this x to 0 just for now, and the y to say 50. Now, there's a whole bunch of options on our wiggly selector, for now, what we need to change is our wiggles per second. Almost like the frame rate. Change this to 10 frames per second. Now position 050. Let's play this which is pretty cool. It looks like a dancing. What we need to do now is, well, what we can do is we can change this to 52 or whatever value you like, and then it's going to animate the X and the Y position. If you want to make it a little bit more dancy, again, you can change the wiggles per second maybe to something like two or five. Different kind of dance moves. We want it to be not so much dancy, but more jiggly. Let's close the Wiggly Selector and we can just add a Posterize Time effect here. We scroll over, add up Posterize Time effects and change this to 10, let's check it out. Yeah, that looks pretty good. Obviously these things are not going to be animating that much so let's move these down to about 10 10. That looks pretty good. When you animate this from, didn't mean to do that. Let's go for P, add a keyframe for the position property here. If we animate this from, let's go outside of the frame and over four seconds. Let's animate it in like so, press "N" to keep our work area short. That looks pretty cool, right and maybe we can just shorten that. I can stay there for a little bit. Fantastic. You rock. That's how you get going with 2D character animation. You don't have to do a lot of work. You've got a bit of a stack frame effect with all the characters using Wiggle and Posterize time again. What we can do now is we can actually just add some rotation. If we drill down to our text and we go to our animator, perhaps we can add a property. Let's go for rotation. Fantastic, and then our rotation, we can maybe just animate this two, and maybe if we change this to something like 20, you can really see what's happening. You rock. Two is pretty good. Just to make it a little bit more natural. We can add a whole bunch of different properties. They get animated per character. Now that we've got some great 2D stop motion happening, let's move on to 3D stop motion with some letters less than 12.2. What I've got is exactly the same piece of animation, except it's 3D. I've added a background layer. I've checked the 3D checkbox, and I've made the you rock layer, 3D Layer, and I've bought the position up to negative 150. I think there's actually a keyframe here that's missing some things up. Have a look at this, You rock It's in 3D, but you'll see that for zoom in here if we go from frame to frame, our shadow is moving like a Peter Pan shadow and separate from our layer, and that's because we're using the Posterize Time effect. Not ideal, so we'll have to remove that just Posterize Time effect. But now I don't have any jumpy sort of lock, and the problem is with text is that we can't use the Posterize Time expression because it's per character and we can't get into each character. We could separate it into shapes, and then animate every single one. But again, that's going to take a long time. We're going to have to work around this. The first thing we need to do is we need to go into either You rock layer, go to animate and enable per character 3D. Now this is really cool. Let's just play it here. Zoom out. Then now we can add a little bit of a z position on our characters to. If I go for 100, you will see that. Hey, now they're jumping. Which gives them a lot of character. I like it, I like it a lot. But now we need to get that jumpy luck again. How do we do this. We pre-composites. Let's go to the You rock layer. Let's right-click it, and we go down to pre-compose. There we go. You rock, let's just call it You rock precomb. You'll see that now there's no shadows. We can make this a 3D layer and we can say collapse transformations. If you want to understand more about this, I have a whole class on 3D in after effects. Now if we play this, it should feel exactly the same. Fantastic. Let's try add Posterize Time to this now, all of our shadows disappear. Not great. Let's remove Posterize Time. It's not the right thing to use here. Let's try use the Posterize Time Expression. Well, where do we put that onto? We're going to use time remapping. Good thing we covered that. Let's go to layer time, enable time remapping, and we're going to add an expression here. I'll collect that stopwatch. Let's go to a new line before time remap, click on our "Expression menu", go to global, posterize Time, and we'll change this to 10 frames per second, and just like that we have are jumpy effect back. This is pretty cool. The only thing that's not ideal about this is that every time we want to change the animation, we have to double-click and go into our you rock precomposition and then to preview what it looks like. We have to go back to our lesson 12.2, composition. The other way of doing this, of course, is just changing your compositions frame rate to a lower frame rate. We've learned a few new things and combine them with other things we've learned in previous videos, and now these letters have a life of their own. I really liked this effect. I think it's one of the funnest things to do with text in After Effects. 13. Recap: We've covered quite a lot. Let's go over everything we've learned really quickly. There are two main things that all techniques cover. One, adjusting the frame rates, either the composition, the layer, or a property on a layer. Two, wiggling properties like position and rotation to make it feel handmade and a little bit random. Remember how he started adjusting the compositions frame rates, this was by far the simplest option. We then started using the posterize time effect, which works well for most animation and allows us to change the frame rates of individual layers, which means we can have other layers that don't have a stop-motion effect applied to it. We transitioned onto the posterize time expression, and so how it solved a lot of issues and gave us the ability to change a frame rate for individual properties. With the Wiggle, we started using the wiggler tool and then moved on to learning about the wiggle expression, which made our timelines much cleaner and easier to maintain. We moved on to animating per-character texts. We learned about the Wiggly selector and how it makes let us move about dancing or jiggly manners, really cool. Besides those core concepts, we also learned about expressions, the short straw method for inconsistent lights, using a null object to control the frame rates of a bunch of layer frame rates, adding lights and shadows to create a paper cuts outlook and time remapping. That was the quick recap. I'd suggest watching videos again, if you still a little bit confused or want some clarity on some matters. Also, just ask me any questions that you may have. I'll happily answer them. 14. Let’s Make a Film: Let's make a little synthetic stuff motion film. You can watch me making one and then with your newly acquired skills, you can make one of your own. Combine it with your own design and animation style. If you're stuck for a project, why not introduce yourself or tell a very short about an animal. Add some audio if you want and remember that you can import artwork from Illustrator and Photoshop. Once you're done or if you want some feedback, upload your videos and any progress shots to project gallery, to YouTube, to Vimeo, to Instagram, and share it with me, and the rest of the students and the rest of the world. I'm @taptapkaboom on most social networks. Here is my final little foam with a few tricks and edits that I added after this video was shot. 15. The End: Thank you for taking the class, I hope you've had fun, I hope you've learned a lot, and I hope you can use what you've learned for more than just synthetic stop-motion uses. If you've enjoyed the class, give it a thumbs up and write a review. Love to hear your feedback. Well, that's it for me, find me online and I'm @taptapkaboom on most social media type things. So keep on having fun, keep on learning and most importantly, keep on making. Bye for now. 16. Bonus Lesson 1: This is bonus video number 1. What I'm going to show you is how to write a wiggle expression for a 3D layer that affects the x and y position only and not the z or Z position. This is quite useful if you have something like this. You can see how sometimes it dips behind my background layer. If you have a 3D object and you really like its position in Z space, you may not want to wiggle animated Z position at all. How do we do this? Well, inside our expression editor, I'm going to store this wiggle expression inside a variable called w is just short for wiggle. They're going to put a semicolon after that line and on a new line, what I'm going to do is I'm going to then give my position property and array of values. We could do this like so, we can say 200, 200, 200. Let's put a semicolon and you'll see that my face is no longer visible and if we change this last one to 0 it may become visible. It's at the top left of my composition. We can actually just set this now and it will stay there. Because remember, an expression says to the property, I'm managing this. Instead of 200 for our exposition, I'm going to change it to the first value in our w array. It should be 0. This wiggle property transforms the position property and whales the x, y, and z value, and it returns an array of x, y, and z to the property. We're going to store this in w. Now we're going to say w is first property, which is the x property and we're going to set that to alphas property. For the next property, which would be our y property, we're going to say w and its second property, which is number 1. Then for our third, we could just set this at 0, or we could use our pickup to net possession of a layer and then get its third property, which would be the Z value. Just like that, it wiggles the x and y-values only. Now the Z position is controlled by us.