AE Project Diary: 4) Mixing up a cake with maths

Using simple maths to save hours of work

I like cakes a lot, especially cakes with lots of layers.  After Effects also has lots of layers, but when you have to start doing boring and repetitive tasks those ones don’t seem as much fun as eating a nice slice of opera gateaux.  This project diary takes you through a real-life project where I was faced with the prospect of having to animate lots and lots of layers – both the After Effects and the cake varieties – for a very long time.  And I really didn’t want to do it by hand, so I looked for a way to get After Effects to do as much of the work for me as possible.

I’ve previously published an article on automating multiple versions in After Effects, and so when I saw how much work I had to do, I looked for a similar solution to help take the tedium out of the process.

After a bit of thought, I was able to set up a project to produce 20 minutes of animation in just a few hours.  While I know that expressions aren’t every After Effects user’s favourite thing, in this case the solution is pretty simple and easy to understand.  And if nothing else, I’d like to demonstrate that maths can actually be quite useful for animators – even if “ability to maintain balance” is not.  Don’t know what I’m referring to?  Watch the video to find out!

I’d also like to quickly apologise that it’s been so long since my last project diary.  I’m hoping to get some more out in the near future.

And of course, if you’ve enjoyed this then please check out my other articles!


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Chris Zwar

Chris was born a geek, and was lucky enough to own a Commodore 64 at a time when the number of students at his primary school who owned a computer could be counted on one hand. Upgrading to an Amiga with the onset of the desktop video revolution, Chris began experimenting with digital graphics and animation in his bedroom, and incorporating them into his high-school video productions.

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