How To Create Animated Geometric Lines In After Effects


Hey everyone, this is Owen with Motion Array and in this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to create this complex geometric gemstone type thing. I don’t really know what to call it but it looks cool and it’s all happening with just a handful of keyframes. If you look carefully you can see that the lines are “connected” so as the shapes move, the lines the lines that connect them do as well. Alright let’s get started.

How To Create Animated Geometric Lines In After Effects

This text has been transcribed from the video for optimal reading

Begin by making a new composition that’s 1920x1080, 29.97. Then add a new solid that’s comp sized to be the background (Layer > New > Solid). With the solid selected add a gradient ramp (Effect > Generate > Ramp) and adjust the colors to your taste. Create a new shape layer (Layer > New > Shape Layer), name it "Poly 1”, and add a Polystar to it. In the polystar options change the type from Star to Polygon, Points to 12, and Outer Radius to 400. Add a stroke and set the width to 5. Duplicate the shape layer (it will be Poly 2) and adjust the duplicate’s path settings to 8 points and an Outer Radius of 300. Now, duplicate the new shape layer (it will be Poly 3) so that there are three shape layers and two are identical. Right click on the polystar path in the shape layer’s contents and select Convert to Bezier Path (do this for all 3 layers). Once this is done, the path won’t have the same options of increasing points and radius so make sure you are happy with it before doing this. Highlight the paths and click the Points Follow Nulls button in the Create Nulls From Path panel. This creates a null object for every point on the polygons and the points of the polygons will follow the null objects. If you don’t see this panel go to Window > Create Nulls From Paths.jsx and then you can dock it wherever you’d like. Create a new null object and name it “CNTRL 1” and then duplicate it so you have 2 nulls. Parent all the nulls of Poly 1 to CNTRL 1 and all the nulls of Poly 2 to CNTRL 2. Your shapes should look like the image below. 

Now the fun begins. While holding shift parent Poly 3’s null 1.0 to Poly 1’s null 1.0. Holding shift parents the layer but it also moves it to the exact position of the parent. This will move the point on Poly 3 up. Repeat these steps with Poly 3’s 1.2, 1.4, and 1.6 being parented to Poly 1’s 1.3, 1.6, and 1.9 respectively. Then shift + parent the remaining points on Poly 3 to the identical ones on Poly 2. Your shapes should now look like the image below. 

To finish up the look of this shape we’ll be drawing shapes with the pen tool and doing a similar process of attaching their points to nulls. Making sure no layers are selected, use the pen tool and draw 4 separate shapes connecting the remaining Poly 1 points with points of Poly 2 that are connected to Poly 3. I know it’s sounding complicated but take a look at the image below and it will make sense. In the image below I’ve changed the stroke color so that the newly drawn shapes are easier to see. 

Name this new layer “Extra” and select all the paths and hit the Points Follow Nulls button again. Now shift + parent the new null points to the points that they were drawn to. With that done, all the “rigging” is over. Set a scale keyframe on the CNTRL 1 null at frame 0 and change the value to 0%. Then at frame 12 set the scale to 115% to provide some overshoot. At frame 17 change the scale to 98% and then at frame 22 set the scale to 100%. Ease the last three keyframes. On the keyframe at frame 12 set the incoming influence to 80% to give it a nicer ease in. The rest are good as they are. At frame 60 set another keyframe on scale with a value of 100%. At frame 65 set a scale keyframe with a value of 115%. At frame 85 set a scale keyframe for -115%. At frame 90 set a scale keyframe for -98%, and at frame 95 set a scale keyframe for -100%. Ease all five of these new keyframes. For the keyframe at frame 65, set the incoming influence to 50% and the outgoing influence to 60%. For the keyframe at frame 85, set the incoming influence to 80%. Highlight all the scale keyframes and copy them. With the playhead at frame 0 paste the keyframes onto CNTRL 2. Offset the CNTRL 2 layer so that it begins at frame 3. Highlight the last five keyframes on CNTRL 2 and drag them forward in time so the first one is at frame 58 (two frames before CNTRL 1). 

To add a constant rotation, create a new null object and name it “Rotate”. Parent the CNTRL 1 and CNTRL 2 nulls to the Rotate null. On the Rotate null add the expression “time*30” to it’s rotation. This will make it rotate 30 degrees every second. You can adjust the value of 30 to whatever you like. 

To create a matte for footage, duplicate the Poly 2 shape layer and name it "Matte". Add a fill to the Matte layer. Bring some footage into the composition, directly below the Matte layer and set it’s track matte to Alpha Matte. When the shapes scale to nothing for that brief moment, you can transition to another piece of footage if you desire. As a finishing touch I set Poly 2’s stroke width to 15, Poly 3 to 10, and Extra to 8. This added some variance and looked a little bit nicer.

Well, that concludes this tutorial. I hope you found it helpful, if you did, please give us a thumbs up and if you’d like to see more tutorials please go ahead and subscribe because we’re making new ones all the time.  I hope you guys found it helpful.  If you did, we’ve got lots of other Premiere Pro tutorials, After Effects tutorials and filmmaking tutorials!

Thanks for watching and see you in the next video.

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