LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Animating Text Reflections with Expressions

Animating Text Reflections with Expressions
A Creative COW After EffectsExpressions Tutorial


Creative Cow Adobe After Effects Expressions Tutorial

Trent Armstrong

Trent Armstrong
Allen, TX USA
©Trent Armstrong and CreativeCow.net


Article Focus:
In this tutorial from Creative COW Contributing Editor Trent Armstrong, you'll see how to use Expressions to animate reflected light across text. You can get great results using only ingredients included free with AE, including track mattes and the AE Camera.


There is a fairly current beer commercial with some with some very cool text reflection animation.  I was curious as to how I could pull that off in AE without any 3rd party plug-ins.  So I turned to a very simple expression and got a pretty cool result. Click the image below to play the movie.

Creative Cow Expressions Tutorial Adobe After Effects

 

Step 1:
Create a Comp called "Reflections".  It doesn't really matter how big this Comp is.  It only matters that you can get a good feel for what's going on in it.  I'm going with 1280x720.

.

 

Step 2
Create a new white solid approximately 1280x1000.  We are going to use the Rectangular Mask Tool to cut it into a tall sliver and just need enough pad to feather the mask on the X Axis. 

Once you've created the long, tall mask, hitting "f" on the keyboard will twirl down the Mask Feather property.  Adjust the X feather to about 130 or until it looks similar to Image 2.

Creative Cow Expressions Tutorial Adobe After Effects

 

Step 3:
•  Create a Camera with a Preset of 35 mm and set its Z Position to 0.

•  Open the Auto-Orient Panel and set Auto-Orient to OFF.  This can be found under Layer Menu> Transform> Auto-Orient or with the "opt+cmd+O" (Mac) or "alt+ctl+O" (Windows).

 •  Turn on the 3D switch for the Solid and offset the Anchor Point on the Z Axis to about -800.  Then duplicate this solid about 10 times while rotating each new solid a little bit on the Y Axis.  The goal is to have the solids all randomly rotated around in a rough cylinder.

 Creative Cow Expressions Tutorial Adobe After Effects

If you are able to see the top and bottom edge of the layer, just stretch it tall on the Y Axis until the edges are off screen.

What we have just done is create the environment from which we will take our reflections.


Step 4:
Now, create a new Comp (same settings as before if you like).  Name it "Text with Reflections".  Using the Text Tool create some nice, fat and tall text.  I'm going to use "CREATIVE COW."

Creative Cow Expressions Tutorial Adobe After Effects

Note the following settings:

•  Arial Black - Size 130 px
•  Height scaled to 115% and Width scaled down to 75%.
•  Black Text with a White Stroke
•  Stroke set to 8px
•  Fill Over Stroke
•  Text Centered


Step 5:
Set the Text Layer to 3D and duplicate the text layer once.  Then use the Pick Whip to parent "CREATIVE COW 2" to "CREATIVE COW."

Creative Cow Expressions Tutorial Adobe After Effects


Step 6:
Bring the "Reflections" Comp into "Text with Reflections" and make sure it extends at least to the full bounds of the Composition View.  Also, put the "Reflections" layer between the the two text layers.

Creative Cow Expressions Tutorial Adobe After Effects

 

Next, set the Track Matte of layer 2, "Reflections", to Alpha Matte of "Creative Cow 2."

Creative Cow Expressions Tutorial Adobe After Effects

 

And you should see something that looks like Image 8.

Creative Cow Expressions Tutorial Adobe After Effects

 

Step 7:
Now the magic happens.  Enter expressions!

Open up the "Reflections" Comp, twirl down the camera's rotation, and opt+click or alt+click on the rotation Y Axis' stop watch to reveal the expression window.

Assuming you have named the comps and layers correctly, you can enter the following expression into the expression field and hit "enter" on the number pad or just mouse click outside the field.

EXPRESSION:

-comp("Text with Reflections").layer("CREATIVE COW").rotationY

This expression takes the negative of the rotation value from the "CREATIVE COW" text layer.  It uses this number to actually spin the 3D camera in a reverse Pan inside it's 3D environment.

Head back over to the Comp "Text with Reflections" and spin the "CREATIVE COW" layer on its Y Axis to see this in action.

The Track Matte, using the alpha from Layer 1, reveals only the part of the "Reflections" Comp that is inside the body of the text causing the camera's rotation to simulate actual reflections on the text.

You can now rotate the "CREATIVE COW" text to get some nice reveals of the text and the camera provides the reflections!

 Check out the project download for the finished product and a little extra "finish". 



If you found this page from a direct link, please visit our forums or read other articles at CreativeCOW.net





Comments

Re: Animating Text Reflections with Expressions
by Erik Waluska
I knew there had to be some easy way to do this in AE. Very useful, thank you.

-Erik
i live very much because the
by arun pandian
i live very much because the reflact light is very nice
Animating Text Reflections with Expressions
by pxlguy
Thanks, Ron!

It's exciting to think that with a lot of help and a lot of patience, someone with a math phobia like me, can actually start to wrap the old melon around something as cool and useful as expressions.

Even the simplest expression can produce powerful results!

Sincerely,
Trent
Animating Text Reflections with Expressions
by Ron Lindeboom
Nice expressions technique, Trent. Thank you for penning the tutorial. You are helping take away my abject fear of expressions. ;o) I was one of those kids who shuddered at the thought of math class.

Best,

Ron Lindeboom


Related Articles / Tutorials:
Adobe After Effects Expressions
Adobe After Effects Expressions 101

Adobe After Effects Expressions 101

Expressions in Adobe After Effects open up a world of possibilities for your visual effects! Expressions can be daunting when you first get into them, though, as you have to essentially write 'code' - and code can be scary. Join After Effects guru Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio for the first in a series covering expressions, from the very basics - all the way through to programming the Matrix!

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects Expressions
In The Loop - A Killer Expression

In The Loop - A Killer Expression
  Play Video
A detailed explanation and demonstration of the uses of the loop expression in After Effects. Examining the loopOut(), loopIn(), loopInDuration(), loopOutDuration() commands and their "ping pong", "cycle" and "continue" modes.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Matthew Tompkins
Adobe After Effects Expressions
EQ Animation using AE Expressions

EQ Animation using AE Expressions
  Play Video
In this video tutorial Matt Tompkins gives some great tips on how to create and animate a rack of Graphic Equalizer bars using solely expressions in Adobe After Effects.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Matthew Tompkins
Adobe After Effects Expressions
Jack of All Trades, Master of Expressions

Jack of All Trades, Master of Expressions
  Play Video
In this video tutorial, Creative Cow contributing editor Eran Stern demonstrates how to create a jumpy and squishy animation using the power of expressions.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Eran Stern
Adobe After Effects Expressions
AE Quick Tips #4: Copy Expression Only

AE Quick Tips #4: Copy Expression Only
  Play Video
In this video tutorial, CreativeCow leader Aharon Rabinowitz shows you a menu item for speeding up the process of copying expressions to other layers, without typing or altering the current values.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Aharon Rabinowitz
Adobe After Effects Expressions
Swinging A Realistic ChainSwinging A Realistic Chain

Creative COW member Trent Armstrong shows you expression features that apply all the way from After Effects 5 to today. He combines his experience as an average expressions user with tips and shortcuts for many core features that every AE user will be able to start using today.

Tutorial
Trent Armstrong
Adobe After Effects Expressions
Building and Animating a CG SnakeBuilding and Animating a CG Snake
  Play Video
In this video tutorial from CreativeCOW.net you will learn how to create a dynamic animation based on a chain rig. You will also learn how to animate one layer using keyframes, expressions, or both, and make other layers follow the leading layer. The rest of the tutorial is about texturing and making the final look.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Jerzy Drozda Jr
Adobe After Effects Expressions
Using Expressions to Create a Volume MeterUsing Expressions to Create a Volume Meter
  Play Video
In this video tutorial from CreativeCOW.net you will learn how a smart way of creating dynamic a sound reactive Volume Meter using Expressions in After Effects.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Jerzy Drozda Jr
Adobe After Effects Expressions
After Effects Expressions Simplified

After Effects Expressions Simplified

In this After Effects tutorial from The Creative COW Magazine, see through the confusion of After Effects Expressions with just a few simple steps.

Tutorial
Andrew Kramer
Adobe After Effects Expressions
A better Grid using expressions

A better Grid using expressions

This tutorial from Mylenium will show you some basic principles when using expressions in After Effects. These include using the pick whip and some simple things you need to think of when referencing elements and converting numerical values.

Tutorial
Mylenium
MORE
© 2016 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]