In After Effects, expression controllers are extremely useful and effective for creating stunning motion graphics. It's incredible how a few programming codes can assist in making your animation move organically.

They can save time using a single slider to control various layers and effects values. They can even make it easier for others to handle your project. In short, expression controllers in After Effects assist in the creation of animations by streamlining the process.

In this blog, we will introduce you to five important expression controllers in After Effects that can prove to be very useful for video editing. This can make your daily work as a motion graphic designer simple and satisfying.

What are expression controllers?

By clicking Alt-Click in any “Time-Vary stopwatch,” you can insert an After Effect expression, a programming Javascript language code.

When you use expression controls, your work can be more dynamic and easier to maintain. Instead of changing the values in the expression editor all the time, you may attach them to an Expression Control in the Effect Controls panel.

They can be used to control variables in your expressions. You can use a slider to move a layer within specific limitations or a dropdown menu to let the user choose multiple alternatives.

You may add checkboxes to enable or disable layers and adjust the colour schemes on the text and graphical layers. Angle controls may be used to rotate several layers and color controls can be used to adjust the colour of text, glows, and forms.

Where can you find the expression controller and use it in after-effects?

You need first to select the layer and then go to the effect panel. Inside the effect panel, you will find different controllers.

5 important expression controllers

1. 3D Point Control

You may use 3D Point Control to link the 3D positioning of a layer or parameter to a slider. This makes connecting numerous layers to a single point in three-dimensional space simple. Add a 3D point parameter to the expression controller for 3D Point Control.

3D Point Control is quite similar to the expression controller Point Control. Simply use (option+click) on the stopwatch next to the parameter you want to associate with the 3D point control. When you select an option, you will see a little swirly logo.

To use the 3D Point Control expression controller, click and drag the swirly logo to it. Pickwhipping is a technique that connects your 3D parameter to the position of the 3D point control.

2. Angle Control

Angle Control is ideal if you have a parameter that has to be constrained to 360 degrees, such as rotation. This is particularly true if you wish to connect numerous layers to the same rotation parameter quickly.

Add a rotation parameter to the Angle Control expression controller using the Pickwhip. Pickwhipping a rotation or angle parameter to the Angle Control expression controller is a simple way to change Angle Control.

To connect a rotation parameter to the Angle Control expression controller, just (option+click) on the stopwatch next to it. A swirly logo will appear. Drag the swirly logo to the Angle Control effect in the Effects panel with your mouse.

If you're adding the rotation to a separate layer, you might need to lock the effects panel to that layer. After you've connected your rotation to the Angle Control, you'll be able to modify the angle using the Angle Control right away.

3. Color Control

You may use a Color Control to link a colour parameter to a colour expression controller. This is useful if your scene contains a lot of various coloured items. A Color Control, in a nutshell, allows you to adjust the colours of numerous layers using a single colour control.

All you must do is (option+click) next to a colour effect parameter stopwatch in the timeline to utilize a Color Control. A little swirly logo will appear. To use the Color Control expression controller effect, drag the little swirly logo to it. The colour control should now allow you to modify the color.

4. Point Control

The only difference between a Point Control and a 3D Point Control is that a Point Control lacks a third z-space value. In 2D space, Point Control is ideal for moving objects.

Pickwhip a 2D point to the expression controller Point Control. Simply (option+click) on the stopwatch next to a 2D point value on the timeline to utilize a Point Control. A swirly logo should now appear. Drag the swirly logo to the expression control effect Point Control. The Point Control effect should now allow you to manipulate your clip quickly.

5. Slided Control

In After Effects, a Slider Control is a great value set method. You might, for example, link a layer's opacity to a Slider Control so that users of your After Effects project file may choose how opaque a layer should be.

Sliders, on the other hand, may modify a lot more than simply opacity. With a slider effect, you may quickly attach single value places, transform attributes and effect intensities.

To the Slider Control expression controller, Pickwhip a value parameter. Simply (option+click) on the parameter you wish to attach to the timeline to utilize a Slider Control.

A swirly logo should now appear. Simply drag the swirly logo to your expression controller effect, Slider Control. The slider control will now have your parameter value associated with it.

It should be noted that by right-clicking the slider in the Effects panel and selecting ‘Set Value,' you can set the minimum and maximum Slider Control. You may easily alter the slider's minimum and maximum values from there.

Got a clear understanding of Expression Controllers?

In After Effects, each expression controller requires at least one more step to make it function. They can help you save time by allowing you to manipulate settings across several layers and effects with just one slider. We hope this blog gave you a clear idea of the 5 expression controllers that are commonly used.

Are you interested in making animated videos or motion graphics? Let us help you with there – Contact us!

                                                                                                                                Editor: Amrutha

Frequently Asked Questions

The expression control in After Effects is a feature that allows you to create user-friendly interfaces for controlling and adjusting various parameters and effects within your compositions. It provides a way to simplify complex animations and make adjustments more accessible.

To create a controller in After Effects, you can use expression control effects like Slider Control or Checkbox Control. Apply these effects to a layer, and you can link them to various properties or effects, allowing you to adjust those properties using intuitive controls in your composition.

  1. In After Effects, sliders are a type of expression control effect. They provide a user-friendly interface element in your composition that allows you to adjust values by dragging a slider handle. Sliders are commonly used to control parameters like position, scale, opacity, or any other numeric value within your animation.

Using sliders in After Effects involves applying a Slider Control effect to a layer or property. Once applied, you can link the slider to the property you want to control. To adjust the value, open the layer's properties, locate the Slider Control effect, and drag the slider handle to achieve the desired value. Sliders provide a visual and intuitive way to animate or adjust various properties in your composition.