In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to animate a clock hands in After Effects with the help of simple expressions. This is a follow up tutorial of the tutorials Creating An Animated Clock In 3ds Max Using Expressions & Custom Attributes, and Animate a Clock in Maya Using Expressions
What You’ll Be Creating
1. Creating the Clock Template in Photoshop
Photoshop. Import the
BG.jpg file which has been provided with the tutorial. I
have made this template for the reference which would help in making the clock.
Press Shift-Ctrl-N to create a new layer. Rename this layer as BG.
With the Elliptical Marquee Tool selected, draw a circular selection.
white colour inside the selection.
Text tool and type 12 in black color. Keep it aligned to
the background spike.
Following the same way, type all digits and place them accordingly.
Press Shift-Ctrl-N to create a new layer. Rename this layer as Minute Hand.
the Rectangle Marquee Tool, draw a minute hand selection and fill it with black
With the Minute Hand layer selected, press Ctrl-J to make a duplicate layer of it. Rename this layer as Hour Hand.
the Hour Hand layer selected, press Ctrl-T
for Free Transform. Rotate the hour hand and align it to 3.
With the help of Free Transform, shorten the length of the hour hand.
the BG layer selected, click on Add a layer style icon (fx) on the bottom. Select Stroke option in the fly out menu.
It opens the Layer Style window. Select the desired color and width for the stroke. It creates the border around the clock.
Add a Bevel and Emboss layer style also and follow the settings shown in the following image.
Save the file as
Saving a file in PSD format insures
that you can control each and every layer in After Effects. Please note, this
is a very simple and basic clock setup just for demonstration purpose. You can add
details and make it fancier as per your need.
2. Creating Clock Animation in After Effects
After Effects. Import the
it as a Composition with Merge Layer Styles into Footage option.
The composition contains all the layers in order just like in Photoshop.
Open Rotation properties of both the minute and the hour hands.
want the minute hand should control the hour hand. With the Alt key pressed, click on the Rotation
stop watch. It opens the expression editor. Here write,
alternative way is to click on the pick whip of the Hour Hand’s rotation and
drop it to the Minute Hand’s rotation.
Right now, when the Minute Hand rotates 360 degrees or performs one full rotation, the Hour Hand rotates just like that. I want the Minute Hand to rotate 360 degrees and the Hour Hand should rotate only 30 degrees. In the expression editor, divide the expression by 12.
done. Animate the minute hand and see. When the minute hand performs one full
rotation, the hour hand shifts form one digit to another. Just animate the
minute hand’s rotation value and the hour hand will rotate automatically.
I hope you must have enjoyed the tutorial. Expressions can do miracles and save your a lot of time. You can do amazing and complex works easily with the help of expressions.
However, a little bit of mathematics is required. I would try to come up with some more tutorials based on expressions.