How to Create Animated Sun Rays in After Effects

After Effects October 16, 2019 2 min read

Hey everyone, this is Owen with Motion Array and in this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to make some animated sun rays in After Effects. Alright, let’s get started.

I’ll begin in this composition where I have a sun drawn and a background. No rays yet. With no layers selected, use the pen tool to draw a horizontal line that starts from the center of the composition and goes out to the right. Use the grid and snap to grid features under the view menu to make this easy. This creates a new shape layer. Rename this layer “Ray”. In the Ray shape layer delete the fill. In the stroke settings make the width 15, the color an orange-red color, and set the line cap to Round Cap. Hit the plus button next to Dashes twice to add one dash and one gap. Set the dash to 100 and the gap to 50. Option + click the Stopwatch for Offset and add “time*-150” to the expression box. Add a repeater to the Ray shape layer and set the copies to 6. In the repeater’s transform properties set the X position to 0 (it defaults to 100) and the rotation to 60 degrees.

Duplicate the Ray shape layer. In the duplicate (“Ray 2”) adjust the path so that it’s a shorter line (about 2/3 the length). In the stroke settings make the color a lighter version of what it was before and the stroke width 10. Hit the plus button by Dashes two more times to add another dash and gap. Have the first dash set to 70, the first gap set to 50, second dash to 30, and second gap to 50. Adjust the expression in the offset to be “time*-250”. The larger number will make this dash cycle faster. Pull up the rotation for the Ray 2 shape layer and set it to 30 degrees.

Right now the rays are animating but in order to get them rotating around the sun there’s just a few more steps. Parent both ray layers to the sun layer. Pull up the rotation of the sun layer and Option + click the Stopwatch and add this expression “time*10”. The sun layer will be rotating now but since it’s a circle you won’t be able to tell, however you will see the rays rotating!

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