Thursday, September 29, 2016

Animated Pie Charts

After doing yesterday's tutorial on animating circles, I thought I'd look up something more specific relating to making pie charts. I came across this tutorial from ECAbrams. It was more complicated than I thought. Evan Abrams is awesome, and the tutorial was easy to follow as long as I paused occasionally to finish the expressions, but I had a hard time making sense of how he connected all the layers. Basically, I started with one wedge and linked it to a slider control. After that, I made 4 duplicates to complete the pie chart. The confusing part was mathematically linking them to each other. He walked me through how to add an expression (AKA mathematical equation) that made the next wedge start where the last one ended. This way, when the pieces of the pie animated in, they would all stick together as one continuous unit, no gaps.

While I was able to duplicate what he did, I have little concept of how to apply it. That's a bit frustrating. I haven't developed the ability to see potential connections b/t layers and effects yet. That's something TOTALLY new in After Effects that I didn't experience in Premiere. Layers and effects can tie to each other. This is overwhelming b/c there are an incredible number of effects and layers in every After Effects project, even the small ones. This only shows 60% of the layers and effects in this ONE pie chart I made. 

Additionally, every parameter can be given a mathematical expression to make it happen over time, happen randomly, loop continuously, and more. For example, if you enter an expression: wiggle(10,10) on the position parameter of an object, it will wiggle ten pixels ten times per second. That's just the tip of the iceberg. The amount of base knowledge one has to acquire before really knocking out something super creative in After Effects is incredible.

A couple of things to work on:
  1. Run through more tutorials like this so I start developing a baseline set of expressions I can apply to various situations. I know two or three, but it's not enough to do anything advanced. 
  2. Look for opportunities to pair layers to each other. Take notes during tutorials and list layers that traditionally get pick whipped (paired) together.

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