If you’ve ever wanted to create a dynamic, rhythm-based animation without relying on actual music, this tutorial is for you. With the help of After Effects expressions, you can simulate the effect of a music bar pulsing to an invisible beat.
Step 1: Open After Effects and Create a New Composition
Open After Effects, go to Composition > New Composition. Specify your desired dimensions and frame rate, then click OK.
Step 2: Create a Shape Layer
Use the shape tool to create a vertical rectangle bar on your screen. This will serve as the visual representation of the “music bar”.
Step 3: Animate the Bar
The magic happens with After Effects expressions. These allow you to create complex animations using code, which is especially useful when you need to create dynamic, procedural animations like this one.
Here, we’ll create an expression that causes the bar to oscillate up and down, mimicking the effect of a music equalizer. To do this, we’ll animate the Scale property of the bar.
Select the shape layer, and hit ‘S’ on your keyboard to bring up the Scale property. Then, Alt + Click on the stopwatch next to “Scale”. This opens the expressions editor.
Step 4: Write the Expression
In the expressions editor, type the following code:
freq = 1; // Frequency of oscillation amp = 50; // Amplitude of oscillation y = Math.abs(Math.sin(freq*time*Math.PI*2))*amp; [value, y];
This code creates a rhythmic, looping oscillation. The ‘freq’ variable controls how fast the bar oscillates, and ‘amp’ controls how much the bar moves. You can adjust these two variables to get the look you want.
Step 5: Create More Bars (Optional)
If you want to create an equalizer effect, you can duplicate the shape layer and adjust the ‘freq’ and ‘amp’ variables to create different rhythms. Remember to position the new bars next to the original one.
Step 6: Preview the Animation
Press the Space key to preview the animation. You should see your bar (or bars) pulsing in a rhythmic manner, similar to a music equalizer reacting to a song.
After Effects expressions provide a powerful tool for creating complex, dynamic animations. Even without a soundtrack, you can create a rhythmic, music-like animation. Whether you’re creating an abstract music video, a dynamic background for a title sequence, or simply exploring the possibilities of After Effects, this technique offers a wide range of creative potential.
Keep experimenting with different values and properties, and see what unique animations you can create!