Expressions : )

After Effects has this little things called expressions. You may have seen them in our tutorials. You may also fear it like the Chupacabra, but the fact is, they are here and they are real as are the goat eaters.

The majority of expressions I use are simple equations, so simple they can hardly be called equations. However they can be very powerful as well with a little bit of knowledge.

Check this site out for a great overview and very good solid information:
http://www.jjgifford.com/expressions/basics/index.html

And for some more practical examples check out Dan Ebberts newly designed site:
MotionScript.com
Be sure to click on the design center.

For now, I have to go check on the live stock :=

QUESTION: Are the expressions in the online tutorials easy to follow and understand? At the very least is everybody comfortable with pick whipping of other parameters and linking them to others through expressions?

POSTED:
7 years ago
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83 Comments

Expressions are crazy-awesome. Parenting on crack.
5 years ago
i find myself only using the wiggle and time expression most of the time. i always thought they were just little random actions until i say your 3d stroke tutorial thats when it hit me they were like a program language thank god i have some experionce with those otherwise i would have been stuck at the x= blabydyblabdy part
6 years ago
hai andrew, i'm still need learning from you a lot, all your tutorial vid, is really usefull :D, i still little bit confuse on expression, do you have any table or a list command i can use on expression ,

oh yeah, by the way i'm from indonesia, nice to see you :D
Jonas
7 years ago
hi. i have downloadet the lightsaber effects but it dosnt work. it says that the saber_control is missing... can any boddy help me with that

PS. im from Denmark so my english is noot so good :D
7 years ago
Very easy to follow ;)
if i don't understand i just go backward and listen again.


i'd ask u something , Will Videocopilot launch a "A.K's work Fans" Contest ? :D

1st place = News on the blog with his video shown
2nd place = A Video Copilot T-Shirt
3rd Place = 10 Guitar Lessons with Andrew Kramer !

Could Be Fun ;)
Jeff
7 years ago
AE Enhancers is not a very active forum, but there's some useful scripts & tricks here...
http://www.aenhancers.com
Orc Master
7 years ago
Actually, the pronounciation if you're aussie would probably be choo-pah-cah-brah, although if your american it'd be choo-puh-cuh-bruh (uh as in duh :P).

You know, you could as well have said it scares us like La Llorona ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llorona )...
m.abulazm
7 years ago
Alexander Jansen Says:

July 15th, 2007 at 1:32 am
Greymachina has a very good training DVD - Andrew tipped me off actually about him. : ) Check it out!


can you give me more information about this DVD.
thanx
Piotr Piotrowicz
7 years ago
@guy

chew per(silent r sound) car(silent r) bra i guess

or chew peh cah bra
Alexander Jansen
7 years ago
Greymachina has a very good training DVD - Andrew tipped me off actually about him. : ) Check it out!
And the expressions in the tutorial are easy to understand and follow.

But as it said on one of the pages listed above: Stay away from expressions if you can. =)
7 years ago
choo-pah-cah-brah

beware, if the chupacabra spots you, it will ask you to write an expression of his choice, if you mess up well..... Just don't mess up. Andrew save us!!!
7 years ago
Andrew,
I read the links you posted and they were very helpful. I'll go back and watch some earlier tutorials where you lost me in the expressions and I expect to get it much better. I would love for YOU to do a video tutorial about expressions because you are such an outstanding teacher and you understand that your audience is a visually oriented crowd. The written tutorials take much more time to understand so a video tut would be great!
Guy
7 years ago
Ive never heard of the Chupacabra, being an Aussie probably explains that. Im so interested haha whats the pronunciation?
Piotr Piotrowicz
7 years ago
Oops forgot, i think its called dont stop believing
Piotr Piotrowicz
7 years ago
yeah w/e

i personally love the wiggle expression, but would like to see more

just on another note, andrew do you like the band Journey, Midnight train is a great song
7 years ago
i hear an echo in the blog.
7 years ago
:)
7 years ago
hope on sunday we get somthing.
7 years ago
WOW!!! FIRST POST, SWEET! I BEAT ALL OF YOU TO THIS! Yeah, an expression based tutorial would be nice, I never use them unless I'm "wiggling around" or following a tutorial. To know the basics of them to make my own would be nice.
Robert
7 years ago
Always doe copy/paste of what you say Andrew... When you explain them I do understand but they are easy to forget.
sam
7 years ago
Iam telling you guys this portrait is going to knock andrews socks off completly.iam posting a video of the process.this will send AEback to the stone age.haa. kidding.
Dustin James
7 years ago
people have stopped to post 6 times in the same blog.
7 years ago
Sorry to say, but seems to me like the comment count
on the blog page is decreasing extremely...
Some tutorials have over 300...the new blogs
have 100 or less..

http://www.et-films.net
Piotr Piotrowicz
7 years ago
@sam, look in the contact us page
Piotr Piotrowicz
7 years ago
hey andrew, Why do i get the feeling that you are a believer, like fox mulder?

make a tutorial on how to make somone look like an alien using only tools in after effects mayby, but then use expressions to make somthing awesome happen, like, he morphs into the shape of a dog or somthing?
sam
7 years ago
indiana jones oil painting coming soon for mr andrew for his hard work ,but ohh idont know where to send it.
Dustin James
7 years ago
as long as you explain what the expressions do... And what each part of the expression is.
7 years ago
That post just made my day. Thank you.
Kellogs
7 years ago
I just spent 2.5 hours or so reading up on Chupacabra.
They claim it's canine, but it looks like a feral cat. Feral Vampire Cats With Mange - B Grade movie extravaganza!
Of course given that they're frequently malnourished, they don't appear to be terribly formidable.
I wonder why you chose to ref a Chupacabra? I wasted my Sunday morning, damn you mythological creatures! DAMN YOU!
Darth Italy
7 years ago
I was working with expressions today and had the opacity of a layer linked to an audio keyframe slider, but I didn't want it to go below a certain point so i began to panic, and then the voice in my head that sounded peculiarly like Andrew Kramer told me "just type +70" after the expression", and bingo. I don't know if that was from a tutorial or if I just got lucky, but either way, thanks.
7 years ago
oh yea, forgot to mention...I want to do a sky replacement for that one shot and Im hoping your next tutorial will help me out in a big way! Can't wait.
7 years ago
ANDREW check out the teaser trailer for my latest movie called, "Mr. Berringer." It's a crime/comedy. I used riot gear and some designer sound effects to pollish it up. let me know what ya think! Cheers!

www.MichaelBrodner.wordpress.com
Orc Master
7 years ago
Expressions? Explained by Andrew Kramer? A Chupacabra link from Wikipedia? What else can you ask life for? :P

I love the wiggle expression (when you mix it with some text and add a glow to it, results can be amazing :o). Also pickwhipping is one heck of a useful technique. If I want to see more expressions? YEAAAAH!!! :P
7 years ago
BTW, has anyone ever tried making music with After Effects' expressions using the "tone" effect? It's so cool :)
Ultimate Bart
7 years ago
expressions created by the pickwip etc are very easy. the wiggler as well. very good explained

the language too create them yourself is almost like the language in "Matlap" (very powerfull modelling and programming software) and that is alot tougher. but very logical :)
It can safe you alot of time when knowing how to work with expression.

Bart
7 years ago
Expressions can be so powerful. I love expressions, been using them for a few months now. Today I happened to simulate a car's suspension in a short animation. Looks great!
Some Guy
7 years ago
I love expressions. Especially the expression in the Basic Color Keying Tutorial (#10). ("Look at that face... Yeah." -Andrew Kramer)

Seriously, I would like to see more of them, because they are very powerful. Expressions that you've used till now were easy to understand. I would like to quote a wise man at this point: "Let's take it a step further." -Andrew Kramer.

Thanks for the links and keep up the great work!
7 years ago
I have always been happy using expressions and have no problem following the ones you use like Mr. Wiggle, The Pick Whip Society and the like. They are indeed extremely powerful and should really not be skipped.
7 years ago
I still find expressions a little intimidating. I'm comfortable pickwhipping them, adding slider controls, etc, but the actual code kind of makes my head spin. It looks (to me anyway) that you need a degree in astrophysics to be able to compose an original expression.
J
7 years ago
expressions make my head hurt :`(

thanks for the links
Jeff (NoodleMaps)
7 years ago
I say go crazy. Would love to see a full impact tutorial where you just get crazy with expressions and leave some of us in the dust. It may allow some (myself included) to play a big game of catch up on expressions, a game that I should of learned a long time ago.
Mark
7 years ago
I would love that, I really need to learn expressions, I don't understand em' very much.
7 years ago
I love expressions even though I'm also terrified of them. I love using the wiggle expression, but for the life of me I can never remember which numbers do what, so I end up changing values until I get the results I want.
7 years ago
"I avoided expressions for 4 years before it finally hit me one day. I would like to hit you guys ; ) "-Andrew Kramer

That Andrew is one aggresive dude. He's like the HULK and Zack Morris(Saved By the Bell) rolled into one with a hint of Jon Stewart. ;)
7 years ago
the expressions you use in the tutorials are super easy to follow. even if people don't exactly understand how they work, you go at a good pace so its not too hard to follow along. you're doin good, don't worry.
ChaRLeS x
7 years ago
Expressions used in your tutorials are easy...
7 years ago
Hi ,

Expressions are especially cool for realistic movement which would be next to impossible to animate by using keyframes. ( well , not "impossible" but quite time consuming )

Clip bellow uses wobble expression shamlessly ripped from motionscript.
(Also using Riot Gear and Designer Sound FX -> my first ever clip with sound , heh )

http://www2.vladik1.com :8080/next.mov

I wish there was more tutorials and sites like motionscript.
Josh Dunn
7 years ago
Expressions used in your tutorials are easy enough to pick up on. Course this is coming from a college aged computer programmer, so i guess that might help with the whole "logic" end of things when it comes to coding something in... However i would LOVE to see the power of expressions in the tutorials that you use, it would probably make our monitors explode from the awesomeness of it all... lol, but seriously, they could really help everyone out if they just got over the fact that you'd have to learn to type a few things ;-)
sabeer
7 years ago
i can easily follow the exprssions in ur tutorials . I need to know if we can link the camera of two comps. I also need to know how can we create a 3d world and the camera flying around each object and zooming, i also need to know a ribbon or an arrow so that iit just moves in 3d space creating various shapes like steps in a graph.Pls reply . thanking u
Dmitri
7 years ago
Hi Andrew,
your tutorials are very easy to understand and easy to follow, so keep on giving expressions...

Regards,
Dmitri
Andrew
7 years ago
the expressions you use are very easy to follow. i wouldn't mind if you used some more complex ones myself, i think they can be useful in creating random and organic animations.
Ben Sanders
7 years ago
Keep the expressions coming! You make understanding them, much easier, and we can always go back and watch it again to understand it.
tryx
7 years ago
to Neeraj

thank, This is my first work
Kyle Shields
7 years ago
I haven't really messed with expressions, probably nothing I'd use. But why not learn it?
Miguel Carrera
7 years ago
Hey Andrew, I really like your tutorials but I'd really love to see some of the work you've done like shorts and videos and movies! Keep up the good stuff!
Dustin James
7 years ago
Your tutorials that use expressions are easy to follow...

and yes I would like to learn more using expressions.. (but I don't really care about a paper puppet..)
7 years ago
Hi Andrew,

they're not difficult to me, but I gotta say that being an engineer helps a lot :) With the expression I did something similar to a "film-gets-out-of-the-gate" kinda thing.

See ya!
Stefano
Felix
7 years ago
Yeah, working with "Scripts" or Expressions, thats good...i don't know how to work with or to make something with it, so it's time for AK to change this!!!
yeah, i will like to know expression to more depth, basically cuss i like to manipulate things in a scripting language

i have checked out the link you gave out, i can see they got some good stuff to know about...

if truely expression can enhance my job, then i think i will go for it,

andrew i think we need more encouragement on using or adopting the act of using expression in our animation

thanks
Jody Wilson
7 years ago
Hi Andrew: Expressions are awesome! Any tips or tricks you have related to expressions would be wonderful. Even your more advanced tutorials are explained in a way that is clear and easy to follow, so I would love some advanced expression tutorials.
Bart
7 years ago
Hi andrew, I love your tutorials and i'm trying them all! :)
But is would really like it if you could make a tutorial about: How to make a clock as in "24".

Bart
Ezequiel
7 years ago
expresions are cool! please explain more about them
chapacabras is cool! please explain more about him
Bader Ahmed
7 years ago
wiggle baby,

i like this expressions.
it gives a kind of reality .

you are so simple in explaining hard subjects of expressions


mmmmmmmmmmmm
Spence
7 years ago
Working in AE everyday, I have come to need those expressions to save my skinny little hide! Any tips would be welcome. Also, off topic, have you ever heard of VUE 6? I Think you might some of its features usefull for skies and landscapes.
www.e-onsoftware.com
Chip
7 years ago
Put me in your movie and you can hit me all you want and not get arrested for it.
Neeraj
7 years ago
to tryx,

awesome clip =)

neeraj
Neeraj
7 years ago
The only expression I keep using for my work after going through all your tutorials is the famous wiggle expression. I think it's quite handy and can give a lot of cool effects when used correctly with the respective parameters. I was afraid of using expressions or any kind of programming language for animation, until I was hit with the wiggler expression ;) I'm finding other expressions a little difficult, but I'll catch up.
Thanks Andrew. You rock man! =)

Regards,
Neeraj
Singapore
7 years ago
Thanks man, the answer on your question: Yes, I love expressions. It makes some things a lot easier. I'm not very advanced at them but I understand your expressions. Keep it up!
Gonads
7 years ago
That first link is pretty good. A quick flick through its pages and it has some cool effects using expressions.
Lord Scales
7 years ago
Hello Andrew. First, thanks for the wonderful site!

Well, I love the expressions and I always wanted to know about them because of the Math behind. But after a long time, I still was "afraid" of simple expressions. Since some months ago I understand almost all of the AE exp. I see (I have got a big difficult with looping like for())
The expressions you show here are simple but who is starting can have some difficult to understand. Example: the 3D Stroke With No Plug-in.
Of course now with MotionScript.com updated and the good JJ Gifford resource, this powerful "tool" in After Effects is no longer secret to anyone.
Sandy
7 years ago
oh that was of gr8 help. thnx 4da link.

Warm Regards
Sandy
tryx
7 years ago
7 years ago
Actually that show on discovery did a whole feature on the chupacabra, it was quite interesting, but of course they did not find anything.
7 years ago
[Andrew];x,y

Expressions=0,(true)
are good to know.

start = end;
sholto
7 years ago
Expressions make more and more sense to me thanks to these tutorials. Pickwhipping them is very handy, as are the slider controls. I don't understand numbers at all but I can get my head around all the expressions in your tutorials so far so you're obviously doing it right...

WORD
Alan
7 years ago
And I thought the Chupacabra was a name made up for an episode of "Dexter's Laboratory" - it being the only time I've heard the name until now. You learn something every day.
7 years ago
Expression have limitations but they can be an amazing work around. (I think the best example in AK library is tutorial # 30 3d stroke with no plug ins)

For example, lets say you want to animate the exterior of a house wall falling apart like a cardboard box. Lets say you wanted to show off floor planes or a nuke went off and knocked the wall down. Forget hand animation. You can use expression on a Y axis and connect it to a Null Object or a expression control and you can now Animate all the walls pushing up on the same access through the null instead of doing it 4-8 times on your layers. Takes about 1 minute. It doesn't seem useful but hand animation takes time, learning expression basically is like adding an extra processor to your toolbox.

Expressions are good in all areas.
marco
7 years ago
LOL, i like how you put a wikipedia link to the chupacabra!
Shouryu
7 years ago
I do like expression, especially if they are shown in tutorials XD.
Expression is kinda, hit and run: They appear in your (and others) tutorials, and then after I've played with them they run away. I just can't remember them!
7 years ago
Oh... I guess I wasn't the first post... But I also want to know, can an expression be linked to literally any parameter? And what are some other uses for them?
7 years ago
Well, I'll just have to do a tutorial that will teach you expressions instead of just showing you one or two. I avoided expressions for 4 years before it finally hit me one day. I would like to hit you guys ; )
7 years ago
First Post!!!! The expressions are easy to understand, but I don't know nescessarily what I am doing with them. A little insight into how we can use these more without you holding our hands would be awesome.
JonL
7 years ago
Expression that are bigger then one line i rarely use because i cannot remember them, which is because i rarely find one which does something useful.
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