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How to Create a Simple Animated Speedometer

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This tutorial is about how to create an animated speedometer using audio controls in After Effects. We'll also look at how to tie the digital number growth to the speed of the analog dial.


1. Adding a Background Image

Step 1

Create a new composition, go to Composition > New Composition rename it "Speedometer Animation" and make the settings as shown below.

speedometer-new-comp

Step 2

Now add a new solid layer to the composition. Go to Layer > New Solid and rename it "BG" or any name you like.

speedometer-new-solid-3

Step 3

Now, select the background layer "BG" and go to Effect > Generate > Ramp.

speedometer-ramp-bg-4

Step 4

Change the Ramp Shape to Radial Ramp.

speedometer-ramp-radial

Step 5

Drag the Start color towards the composition middle.

speedometer-ramp-start-color

Step 6

Change the "Start Color" to #202020 and "End Color" to #000000

speedometer-ramp-colors

Step 7

Now, Drag the End Color control point downward until you get something like below. You can add any color you like.

speedometer-end-ramp

2. Animating the Speedometer

Step 1

Select the meter_Icon.png, speedometer.png and car sound.mp3 and drag them in to the timeline. Make sure "meter_arrow.png"is above "speedometer.png".

speedometer-drag-images

Step 2

Select the layer "Car sound.mp3" and go to Effects > Audio > High-Low Pass.

speedometer-sound-effect

Step 3

Go to the first frame of the timeline and click the stopwatch icon in "Dry Out" setting in High-Low Pass. This will create the first key frame for the animation. Set the value of "Dry out" to "0.00%". Go to around 12-14 seconds in timeline and set the value of "Dry Out" to 100%. This will set the end keyframe for the animation.

speedometer-sound-keyframes

Step 4

After setting the last keyframe, hit "N" on the keyboard. This will set the timeline end point. Right click above the timeline and select "Trim Comp to Work Area".

speedometer-comp-trim

Step 5

Now select the layer meter_Icon.png and hit "Y" on the keyboard. This will bring up the Pan Behind tool. Drag the Anchor Point towards the "center" of the small white circle so the arrow will only rotate from that position.

arrow-anchor

Step 6

Again selecting the meter_Icon.png, hit "R" on the keyboard. This will bring up the rotation controls of that layer. Now select the car sound.mp3 layer and hit "U" in keyboard. This will show the animation keyframes which we already did before using "Dry Out".
Pressing "Alt" key on keyboard, click the timer icon of the rotation of meter_Icon.png. Now click and drag the pick whip tool ( 3rd icon ) to the "Dry Out" setting of car sound.mp3 layer and then click anywhere on the timeline.
Now you can see the speedometer arrow animates according to the car sound.mp3

speedometer-pick-whip

3. Increasing the Arrow Speed

Step 1

To increase speed of the meter, you can give higher values to the "Dry Out" end key frame in car sound.mp3. Try playing with 125%, 130% etc.

speedometer-increase-speed

4. Adding the Digital Animation

Step 1

Go to Layer > New > Solid. Name it "Digital".

speedometer-timecode-solid

Step 2

Select the Layer "Digital" and go to Effect > Text > Timecode.

speedometer-timecode

Step 3

In Timecode Effect, change "Display format" to Frame Numbers. Time source to Custom. Then uncheck Show Box and Composite on original.
Go to the first frame and set a keyframe in Time units inside custom and change the value to "1".
To change the number color, click the eyedropper tool in Text Color and click the number inside the gauge. This will take the color of the number you click.

speedometer-time-anim-1

Step 4

Move the timeline forward. When the speedometer arrow reaches 20, change the value in Time Units to 11.00.

speedometer-time-anim-2

Step 5

Again move the timeline forward. When the arrow reaches 40, change the value of Time Units to 8.00.

Tip: For a different speedometer gauge, the value of Time Units will be different depending on the gauge speed marking. Just play around with the value inside the Time Units to get the correct value displayed.

speedometer-time-anim-3

Step 6

After setting the correct speed values, click the Text position and move it to the place shown below.

speedometer-time-position

Step 6

After doing the above step, lets Pre-compose the "Digital" layer. Click the "Digital" layer and go to Layer > Pre-compose. Name it "Digital" and select Move all attributes into the new composition.

speedometer-digital-precomp

Step 7

Select the Pre-composed Digital Layer and go to Effect > Rectangle tool.

speedometer-rectangle tool

Step 8

Using the Rectangle tool, Drag and draw above the last 3 numbers as shown below.

speedometer-digital-trim

5. How to Change the Digital Color

Step 1

Double click the Digital layer comp. From the Text Color change it to any color you want as shown below. To get the color of gauge number use the eye dropper tool and click above the gauge number color.

speedometer-digital-color

Step 2

Click the Digital Comp and go to Effect > Stylize > Glow. This will give it a nice bit of extra realism.

speedometer-digital-color-glow

Final Render

final_render

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. This basic setup could be customized as a nice element in any sort of GUI or HUD. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Again, I'm Reni, for Aetuts+. Until next time!

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