TUT01 - Interact Objects with Lines Using Expression

By Megan Palero
March  — 2019

Slow Life With Sunshine
By Yu Manabe

In this tutorial is a simple animation technique without using any plugin to achieve a plexus style animation. We are going to connect objects or texts with lines together using Beam effect and control the layers with customisable settings.

Intermediate Level
Must have the basic knowledge in Expressions and Keyframes
Software Used, Adobe After Effects CC

01. Create a number of Text Layers with the same name and distribute them in random position. Layer > New > Text

02. Create a new Solid Layer with the same size of your composition. Layer > New > Solid

03. Add a Beam effect in your first Solid Layer. We will use this effect to create our first line to connect layers. 
Decide your preference of colors and thickness in the Effects Control panel. Effect > Generate > Beam.

Let’s use an expression in the Beam > Starting Point and Ending Point to link the endpoints of the line
in the position of our layers. In this example, we are linking the endpoints of the line to Layer 1 and Layer 2.

Starting Point
thisComp.layer(”Layer 1”).transform.position

Ending Point
thisComp.layer(”Layer 2”).transform.position

05. Make the Length in the Beam effect control settings to a maximum of 100%
to extend the line to the anchor point of each connected layers.

06. Connect the other layers with another line by duplicating your Solid Layer with Beam effect
and edit the expression of your Starting Point and Ending Point on which number of layers are you going to connect with.

07. Do the same process in the other combination of layer numbers.

Let’s animate each layer’s Position.

Layer Demo

Use Shape Layers as objects to connect the lines together.

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