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Charts and Graphs in After Effects

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On one level creating and animating charts and graphs in After Effects is easy, but it can get tricky quick if you go much beyond transformed shapes or the Write-On filter. Here's a few tools and tutorials that may help get you beyond the basics:

Tools

  • There's 2D and 3D chart functions in Boris RED and Graffiti.
  • Another filter for AE & NLEs is StageTools MovingChart.
  • From 2006, there's A line chart script for After Effects by Creative Workflow Hacks.
  • Pie Chart, a custom effect preset by Jorrit Schulte, creates pie charts and has a variety of animation and shading options.
  • Digital Anarchy Data Animator later Red Giant Datamator, a full-featured native After Effects plug-in, was discontinued after this article was written (as noted by Kurtis Thomas in Comments).

Tutorials

  • Recently posted by Rob Mize, Graphs and Charts in After Effects shows how to use After Effects to create masks and simple expressions to generate and animate Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, Area Graphs and Pie Charts in 3D space. The styling is spare but techniques are good. [Part 2 added later]
  • Video Copilot has a tutorial on making Dynamic Bar Graphs"...we will isolate bar elements from a 3D render to build a customizable bar graph in After Effects. We will use expressions to control time-remapping and link values for the displays. The tutorial is a cool 20 minutes for quick viewing and easy reference for when you get the call…"
  • Harry Franks uses Radial Wipe in Expression Based Pie Charts (tutorial embed below). See also his 3D bar chart without plug-ins, an AE 6.5 project on AE Freemart.
  • Alan Shisko explained how to convert animating vertical bars to a pie chart with Polar Coordinates (Rect to Polar) and enhance it in 3D with Zaxwerks filters in Animating 3d Pie Charts.
  • Awhile back, Mylenium posted Creating Line Charts with expressions (includes AE 6.5 projects). He has a newer free project too, Column Diagram 2.5D.

Adobe Illustrator has a comparatively powerful feature in its Graph Tool, so check out 3D PieChart using Adobe Illustrator by Dave Cross at Layers, as well as No More Boring Graphs EVER and Create Beautiful 3D Graphs and Charts in Illustrator. There's also Apple Keynote and Microsoft Excel, and a ton of other apps and utilities (eg, Flare) for visualization.

Here's Making Pie Charts with Expressions by Harry Frank:

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