Tutorial 169: FUI with Nodebox

Joe Clay | Mar 29, 2019

In this week's After Effects tutorial, we explore Nodebox again! If you're unfamiliar with Nodebox and you missed Tutorial 167, go check it out. Last time we made an FUI-style element with random data. This week, we bring in CSV data.

I used an app on my iPhone called Sound Spectrum Analysis to make noises and capture the audio data. You can send an email with exported data using the app. It puts some extra info at the top, and adds in some extra spacing for some reason. It also separates with semicolons, which Nodebox can use if you want, but I like to keep them commas. So I simplified the CSV's header and used find and replace in a text editor to remove those lines and convert the semicolons to commas. After that, the CSV worked perfectly in Nodebox.

Anyway, Nodebox is great for generating these types of elements. Play around with it and see what you can come up with!

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This download contains the Nodebox file for the setup shown in the tutorial as well as additional CSV data that you can import into this setup. There's also final rendered elements included in a setup for the thumbnail and the After Effects project file that I used to build the thumbnail. It uses Deep Glow, but it'll work without it.

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

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Tutorial 168: Fields Reveal

Severo Ojea | Mar 22, 2019

In this week's Cinema 4D tutorial, we're exploring how to use fields and vertex maps to break up a dissolve to reveal geometry. We build the fields in the vertex map and then use that to drive the animation of a fracture object with a plain effector.

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This project file includes the setup shown in the tutorial. It's R20+ because we're using fields.

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Tutorial 167: Intro to Nodebox

Joe Clay | Mar 15, 2019

In this week's After Effects tutorial, we explore Nodebox instead. Nodebox is a free node-based application that is perfect for 2D graphics—especially for data-vis. Since a lot of motion graphics work overlaps into this field—especially with future user interfaces (FUI)—it's an excellent tool for building elements to bring into After Effects. In the short time I've worked with it, I've made a few interesting elements that would've take a lot longer to build in AE, and it's fun working and thinking in a different manner—especially without keyframes.

Since you're basically manipulating data, it's really easy to build things that are representative of data. I've brought text files in and animated an interesting take on a file system. You can go line by line and add things based on filtering text. It's crazy how far you can take it if you like tinkering. So I encourage you to download Nodebox and give it a try. It's available on all major OSes and other than a few quirks, it's rock solid. And don't forget to check out the docs and tutorials on their site too!

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This download contains the Nodebox file for the setup shown, as well as a few others. There's also final rendered elements included in a setup for the thumbnail. I've used a VR effect in this, so that file will only open properly in CC 2018+. But the rendered files are mp4 that will open in practically anything.

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

Get the project on Gumroad

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Tutorial 166: Free 3D Terrain

Joe Clay | Mar 8, 2019

In this week's After Effects tutorial, we explore an old effect—Wave World. The last time I used this effect, I was watching Total Training DVDs from Brian Maffitt in like 2005.

Today, I was trying to do something else, and I accidentally clicked on Wave World. I had forgotten it has a 3D preview of the waves. So, with some quick tweaking, I was able to get rid of the UI elements and get a 3D terrain.

Hopefully you can take it and build on it.

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This project file contains all of the setups shown in the tutorial as well as some other graphic elements used in the final design.

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

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Tutorial 165: Generative Art

Joe Clay | Mar 1, 2019

We just got back from Keyframes Conference so we're going to explore a little bit of what we talked about there. We'll take a look at how to set up a grid that can generate imagery using master properties in a single precomp. Building the grids using StackIt, it's pretty easy to make some interesting imagery with short expressions.

Expressions

Inside of your block precomps, add a controller layer. Add a slider to it called Brightness. Then you'll have to add your own expressions to achieve whatever you're looking for. Here are some examples.

For poly shape points:

Math.floor(thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Brightness")("Slider")%.06*100)+3;

For shape strokes:

thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Brightness")("Slider")*7+1;

For grids (sized from width):

b = Math.floor(thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Brightness")("Slider")*8);
if(b < 1) { b = .5 }
30/b;

Then in your main comp, also set up a controller layer. On that layer you'll need a Layer Control. Then add this to your precomp with Brightness Master Property.

l = thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Layer Control")("Layer");
b = l.sampleImage(position,[5,5], true);
b[0];

And then duplicate your layers with either StackIt or do it manually. If you grab the project file, there is a 60x60 and a 30x30 grid already set up.

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This project file contains all of the setups shown in the tutorial, as well as a corrected version using the more efficient setup. It also includes the slide deck from my Using Master Properties for Generative Art session at Keyframes. I'm not sure what you can gain from that, but you can at least see how they're all built using greyscale maps that are completely changed using Grid effects driven by brightness.

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

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Tutorial 164: Maximum Impact

Severo Ojea | Feb 22, 2019

In this week's Cinema 4D tutorial, we're going to take some techniques we've recently explored and use them to make an impactful logo reveal. If you need a refresher, check out how we made smoke and how we fractured objects.

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This project file contains two different setups. One has the particle setup shown in the tutorial, and the other one has the fracturing setup. These are both R20+ only.

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

Get the project on Gumroad

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Tutorial 163: Uncle Fill

Severo Ojea | Feb 15, 2019

In this week's Cinema 4D tutorial, we'll explore how to set up an object so that it can be filled with smoke. We'll use X-particles to create the smoke and then finish it by rendering it in Redshift.

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This project file contains two different setups. One is a simple example of a platonic being filled with smoke, and the other is the complex object being filled with smoke shown in this tutorial. This will only work in R20+ and it requires Redshift and X-Particles.

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

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Tutorial 162: Beat-based Time Shifting

Joe Clay | Feb 8, 2019

I was asked, a while ago, to look into time shifting based on audio. So in this week's After Effects tutorial, we use audio amplitude along with an expression to shift a layer's time. We're using the Timewarp effect for time shifting, since we can change speed pretty easily. We could use time-remapping but that would be more complicated.

To get the audio amplitude, I'm using Trapcode Sound Keys but you can make due using built-in audio effects to pull out specific frequencies. When you use Animation > Keyframe Assistant > Convert Audio to Keyframes, it takes those audio effects into account when determining amplitude. You could also run Convert Audio to Keyframes on a special track you've run through another audio program, like Audition. Of course, Sound Keys is the best way to achieve this effect because it has other options, like falloff, that allow you to fine tune the effect to your taste.

The music used for the beat is: Jesse Warren - Miles Above You.

Expression Code

This is only an example. You'll need to modify what layer you're picking amp from if you're using Sound Keys for example. You'll also need to modify the ease() to match your actual audio amplitude or Sound Keys.

amp = thisComp.layer("Audio Amplitude").effect("Both Channels")("Slider");
ease(amp, 7, 8.5, 100, -400);

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This After Effects project file contains everything shown in the tutorial, including the footage and music track. There is also an additional piece of footage that was used in testing that was included. This version was created in AE CC 2019, but a version has been saved that will open back to v14.

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

Get the project on Gumroad

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If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it. Patrons get all sorts of benefits, from additional files to early product releases depending upon the tier.

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Tutorial 161: X-Particles Cloth Tearing

Severo Ojea | Feb 1, 2019

In this week's Cinema 4D tutorial, we explore the X-Particles cloth engine. We go through the setup to pull parametric cloth through a hole. Then we look at the setup for a dynamic tearing effect.

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This project file contains two different setups. One is a simple example of cloth being pulled through a hole, and the other is the complex cloth tearing shown in this tutorial. This will only work in R20+ and it requires X-Particles..

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

Get the project on Gumroad

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If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it. Patrons get all sorts of benefits, from additional files to early product releases depending upon the tier.

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Tutorial 160: Procedural Mechanical Animation

Joe Clay | Jan 25, 2019

This week, we look at a technique for splitting up parts of a precomp using a luma matte. This basically makes a puzzle out of it which allows us to animate each section step by step to produce a mechanical-style animation. And since we built it entirely from one precomp, we're able to put whatever we want in there and keep the same animation.

This can be expanded further using Master Properties so that you can more easily make multiple comps. You could even use Master Properties to make variations of the procedural effect itself so that no two animations are exactly the same. Linking all of the text to Master Properties and building the full look of the example are handled in the BTS available for patrons.

Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This After Effects project file contains everything shown in the tutorial, including the graphics and the Master Properties setup to change the text in the precomps. There are legacy versions back to v14, but only v15+ will be able to use Master Properties. If you get an error about a missing plugin, it's probably Deep Glow from aescripts. I'd recommend you grab it as it's way better than the default AE glow.

If you're buying project files, consider becoming a Patron. At the $5/mo. tier, you get access to project files as they come out and some tutorials also come with additional BTS content showing more of the builds.

Get the project on Gumroad

Become a Patron

If you'd like to help support Workbench, check out our Patreon page. Thank you for even considering clicking this link to support what we're doing. We appreciate it. Patrons get all sorts of benefits, from additional files to early product releases depending upon the tier.

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