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How to Create Infographic Elements in After Effects

How to Create Infographic Elements in After Effects

Infographics are great tools to make data and information easier to understand and they’re also super entertaining to watch. In this article, we are going to show you how the elements in the box below were created and manipulated in After Effects.

A sample of Infographic elements in After Effects.

Below are ways to create infographic elements in after effects. Once you learn some basics, you’ll have a toolset to build from. You’ll probably need a basic understanding of After Effects to follow along. If you feel like you need to go over some After Effects basics first, you can visit the Adobe getting started site here.

Gathering the Elements for Your Infographic

Before you start creating your animated infographics, you’ll want to gather some elements to bring into the project. Even though much can be created inside After Effects, there is no reason to recreate the wheel if you can find the elements elsewhere. More often than not, creators will use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to manipulate and create content to bring into After Effects. For this sample, we won’t do that. There are many online resources to find graphic elements to use for your project. It will all depend on the topic of the infographic.

Before gathering elements, you’ll want to figure out where your project will live on your computer. Find the location you want to save all elements of your project to. It’s good to be organized from the start. If you don’t, it can lead to lots of errors and issues in the future. Create a folder and name it the name of your project. Inside that folder, create a folder for the After Effects project. Create another folder for graphic elements.

The images you’ll want will be either PNG files with transparent backgrounds or illustrator/vector files. Below is a list of various sites that you can use to find images for your project.

  1. FilterGrade – Find incredible animated elements that will save you time.

  2. iconfinder.com – Has free and pay vector images

  3. CreativeMarket – Various price ranges

  4. flaticon.com – Free icons and graphics

  5. icons8.com – Has free and pay vector images

  6. Adobe Stock – Images available for purchase.

Looking for Icons and graphics to help you with creating Infographic Elements in After Effects.

Starting Your Adobe After Effects Project

When you first open After Effects, it will have a window that allows you to open previous projects or create a new project. Select a new project. Once you do this, the standard After Effects screen should open up. This would be a good time to give your project a name other than untitled and save it. So, select the “File” tab at the very top and scroll down to the save option. Save your work in the folder you created for this project. You can also always press CTRL+S to save your work at any time. It is good to save your work often.

You can press CTRL + N to start a new composition. Here you’ll want to fill in your infographics name, the dimensions, and the duration. There are presets you can scroll through if you aren’t sure of the dimensions you want. The standard size for HD is 1920 x 1080. When done, press ok to close. Now you can import any elements you have gathered for this project. To do this click on the “File” tab on top and scroll to “Import”. Once you are hovering over import with your mouse it will show you the option for import files, or multiple files.  at the top on. Now it’s time to create a background.

Creating a Background Layer

There are a lot of different ways to find a background for your Infographic. As a general rule, the background shouldn’t be too distracting. Backgrounds shouldn’t take away focus from the animations and data. You can always use an image from any stock site like Pexels.com or Unsplash.com. You can also create one in photoshop or illustrator. If you do download or create a background graphic, it should be large enough to at least fill the screen size of the infographic. The standard HD screen size is 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution. You often want your background to be much larger than your screen size.

You can also create backgrounds in Adobe After Effects. From the main screen, double click on the composition you created and named. This will open it up in the timeline. Once this happens, press CTRL + Y to create a new solid layer. Name the layer “background” and close it. You have various ways to make this background into something interesting. If you don’t see the Effects & Presets Panel open you can press CTRL+5 to open it. In the effects and preset box, type gradient ramp. You see that name below as an option once you do this. If your comp name is still selected in the timeline, you can just double click gradient ramp to apply the effect. Or you can do a dragging motion from the gradient ramp text to the composition layer in the timeline. Once the effect is placed on the layer, you can go to the effect controls to adjust colors by clicking on the black or white box. Choosing two opposing colors will give you a nice gradient effect. If you want a more detailed or patterned background, you may consider this tutorial by UKRAMEDIA.

Animating Text and Titles

Select the horizontal text tool. Then click on the composition window to start typing text. In the Character Panel you can adjust the size of the text.

Right above that area is where you can select the font type.

The right font selection is very important for your project. The color of the font can be adjusted by selecting the white box and using color picker.

Once you have the font sizes, colors and type the way you want it. It will be time to animate it. Make sure your text is still selected in the timeline. Once the text is selected you’ll click on the Animation tab on top. A drop down will show various options including Apply Animation Presets.

You select Apply Animation Presets, then you’ll find whatever animation you’d like to apply to the text. For this example, the location of the preset is: ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS – Support Files – Presets – Text – Animate In. The title of the preset is called “Spin In By Character.ffx”. When you select this, you can scroll through your timeline back and forth and see the animation.

As you can see with the above example, the text animates but starts on the screen. We will want it to start off the screen. To do this, you will open up the text properties in the timeline. You’ll scroll down to the animator. You will open up range selector. Then you’ll want to move your play head to the first keyframe. Back under range selector, you’ll see the position adjustments. You’ll want to adjust the y position axis so that the text starts off the screen. This will let your text appear from off-screen and animate spinning in.

Creating Animated Lines

With your timeline selected, go to the Layer tab on the very top of the screen. Scroll down in the dropdown to New, then to Shape layer.

This will create Shape Layer 1 in the timeline. After you create this, you’ll want to use the pen tool to start creating lines. You can click the first starting point in the composition window. Then hold shift to keep a straight line and click on the ending point of the line.

Once you have your line points done, find the Shape Layer 1 in your timeline. Toggle the arrow next to the Shape Layer. Find the Add button and hit the arrow next to that to open up a selection box. Select Trim Paths.

Now go back to the shape layer. Find the stroke adjustments under the shape layer. Make the size as thick as you want.

After this, go to the Trim Paths adjustments. Toggle that arrow so you can see start and end adjustments. On the timeline, set your play head at the area you want the line to finish the drawing. Then hit the stopwatch next to the end. Now move your play head to where you want your drawing to start at. Once you do this, adjust the end to 0 percent. This will allow the line to start drawing from this point. Shuttle the play head back and forth to see the animation.

Animating a Bounce Effect for Icons and Infographic Elements

When creating infographic elements in After Effects you’ll want to figure out ways for them to appear on the screen. A nice effect for bringing in icons is to have them pop on the screen with a slight bounce. It’s pretty simple to do.

Drag your icon or graphic you want to use to your timeline from your project panel. Move your icon to where you want it to appear in the composition window. Now move your timeline play head to where you want your icon to appear in time. Press the s button to have the scale adjustments available. Hit the stopwatch to show you want this point in time to be 100% scale size. Now move your timeline back to where you want it to shrink to zero percent from. Type 0 in the number area.

Now press alt over the stopwatch to have the expressions box open. Once you do this, you’ll want to copy and paste the below expressions into the white expressions box.

n = 0;

if (numKeys > 0){

n = nearestKey(time).index;

if (key(n).time > time){

n–;

}

}

if (n == 0){

t = 0;

}else{

t = time – key(n).time;

}

 

if (n > 0 && t < 1){

v = velocityAtTime(key(n).time – thisComp.frameDuration/10);

amp = .05;

freq = 4.0;

decay = 8.0;

value + v*amp*Math.sin(freq*t*2*Math.PI)/Math.exp(decay*t);

}else{

value;

}

This bounce effect can be applied to Text as well as other graphics. The amp, freq, and decay can be changed in the expression script to alter the bounce. To find out more about how to use the bounce, watch this tutorial from ukramedia.

All the above effects can be used in various ways. When it comes to creating infographic elements in After Effects, you are really only limited by your imagination. Bringing images from stock sites, making backgrounds, animating icons and text, as well as drawing lines, are just some of the things you can do to create great infographics in After Effects.

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If you are looking for some time-saving help consider some of the great elements you can find on the FilterGrade Marketplace. With pre-made templates and animated graphics, you won’t be starting from scratch.

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