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mrTibbs

I want to learn to write expressions

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I just came across this thread on the site about the "5 expressions that will change your life", and it really struck me as a very powerful aspect of AE that I don't know much more about than cutting and pasting code. I'd like to learn how to write expressions like that. My question is about where to get started with that? Any info on where I could start looking to learn about writing expressions?

Thanks!

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after effects expressions are based on JavaScript, so that's a good place to start to learn how the syntax of the language, and generally how object-oriented programming works. there's a lot online, so you don't really NEED to know it, but if you understand those basics, things will make a lot more sense and you can write more of your own expressions or make adjustments to what you find online.

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expressions = software rot.

the idea of graphics apps are to supply intuitive tools. There's always the pull by boneheads to undermine that concept, and take things away from artistry and back to bonehead comfort zone. The last shop I worked in, entire comps were nothing but expressions and scripts by a worker who was scared shitless that a real talent would work easily in his project and get his job.

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HERE, HERE!

Clearly a real artist only works in PURELY visual means.

 

The idea of using math, design principals, philosophy or technique? PREPOSTEROUS!

 

That designer, who, at first might appear to be simply using one of the tools at his disposal to make his life, and the lives of others more simple, is actually undermining your refined visual skills, and keeping you from the job you deserve!

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expressions = software rot.

the idea of graphics apps are to supply intuitive tools. There's always the pull by boneheads to undermine that concept, and take things away from artistry and back to bonehead comfort zone. The last shop I worked in, entire comps were nothing but expressions and scripts by a worker who was scared shitless that a real talent would work easily in his project and get his job.

 

I don't necessarily think that it has to be entirely one or the other. I'm not abandoning the pursuit of visual artistry for technical mastery. Instead, I'm trying to become a more well rounded artist (and I'm sure it's not a lonely pursuit). I think both concepts can co-exist to bring about even better visual pieces.

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I bought this book a few years back and found it a pretty good introduction. I actually need to go through its again myself!

 

http://www.amazon.com/After-Effects-Expressions-Marcus-Geduld/dp/024080936X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371621796&sr=8-1&keywords=after+effects+expressions

 

I'll second this book. It's especially good for those who have no programming experience whatsoever.

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Just because you know karate doesn't mean you go around kicking everyones ass. Being the dude that uses expressions on everything is just as silly as not knowing expressions. You can easily save the day by having a solid understanding of things that will take 5 minutes of programming versus 4 hours of comping. The inverse is true, as well. If someone is being trigonometry nerd where parenting and nulls get the job done faster, then it is time to call them out.

 

In celebration of my old age and bitterness, I am making it rain by tossing out my old expressions series for free:

 

www.graymachine.com/free/products/AEexpressions.zip

Edited by graymachine

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expressions = software rot.

the idea of graphics apps are to supply intuitive tools. There's always the pull by boneheads to undermine that concept, and take things away from artistry and back to bonehead comfort zone. The last shop I worked in, entire comps were nothing but expressions and scripts by a worker who was scared shitless that a real talent would work easily in his project and get his job.

 

tomcat's posts never disappoint. I haven't ever agreed to a single one in history, but they do bring a smile. The irony of stating that 'expressions = software rot' by USING an expression is inspired. Although in some Java based languages it would be:

var expressions = software_rot;

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You can easily save the day by having a solid understanding of things that will take 5 minutes of programming versus 4 hours of comping. The inverse is true, as well. If someone is being trigonometry nerd where parenting and nulls get the job done faster, then it is time to call them out.

 

Oh man, i was having a chat yesterday on how some of us (read: me) need to put up post-its that say things like "Doing it the smart way is doing it the hard way". I should know better by now, more keyframing less "you could also do it with dynamics so it looks 0,5% better but is totally not reproducable."

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Oh man, i was having a chat yesterday on how some of us (read: me) need to put up post-its that say things like "Doing it the smart way is doing it the hard way". I should know better by now, more keyframing less "you could also do it with dynamics so it looks 0,5% better but is totally not reproducable."

 

+1. Exactly my point why I don't usually get too much out of dynamics simulations for text treatments and other mography stuff on a quite general level. Though the same is true when people try to look smart and use the tracker in AE for something that would require a hand full of keyframes only as well....

 

Mylenium

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the idea of graphics apps are to supply intuitive tools.

 

But then again, we still work with masks, selections, tracking and all that other "unintuitive" shit.... ;-)

 

Mylenium

Edited by Mylenium

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You can easily save the day by having a solid understanding of things that will take 5 minutes of programming versus 4 hours of comping. The inverse is true, as well.

 

Amen.

 

Mylenium (expression nerd)

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As a quick aside "screwing around with expressions" is much more frustrating and less fun then screwing around with particular. Having an actual, tangible problem to solve actually makes it a lot easier in my opinion. Give yourself a series of tiny challenges or have them assigned to you ala the excellent gray machine training.

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