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Digital Anarchy's Data Animator 1.0

If a client asked you to make a graph for them, how would you do it? By Kevin McAuliffe

If a client asked you to make a graph for them, how would you do it? That's the same question I asked myself when I sat down to do this review. First, I would take alot (and I mean alot) of time in Photoshop and After Effects creating masks and shapes and animating them over time to create what I want. When I really started thinking about it, it occurred to me that it would be a long (very long) and tedious task. Thankfully, that is no longer the case with Digital Anarchy's Data Animator 1.0.

Much like most other plug-ins for After Effects (AE), Data Animator 1.0 (DA 1.0) installs quick and easy. After installation, I launched AE to jump right in. Needless to say, DA 1.0 is a plug-in that you will need to read the manual for, as there are alot of parameters and none of the chart information is input in the AE interface. It is all done with text files that you can easily create in TextEdit. Installation : 8 (out of 10)


What you get
With DA 1.0, you get the capability to create Bar Charts, Bubble Charts, Line Charts, Pie Charts, Polar Charts, Stock/Range Charts, Timeline Charts and the Easy Chart (which is almost all seven other charts combined in a simplified format). Not only do you have the flexibility of creating these charts in 2D, but you can also create 3D versions of all the charts to add some additional flare to your projects. I was extremely impressed with what DA 1.0 had to offer. 
What You Get : 9 (out of 10)

Ease of use
I was surprised and impressed with how DA 1.0 deals with the chart information. Instead of inputting it in the AE effects window, you actually create relatively simple text files that have all the information you need, and simply import them into After Effects. Quick, simple, and it will help speed up your workflow, as you can have someone else create text files with all the chart information you need, and simply have them e-mail it to you, and you're ready to go.   

The easiest way to create a chart is to simply put a solid in your timeline, select it, and go to your effects drop down, and select the type of chart you want. Next, simply press "F3", and then click "Load Chart Data."  Navigate to your text file, and press Enter. You should now see a 2D version of your chart on your timeline. 

One thing that DA 1.0 gives you is options. You have the ability to change almost any parameter of your chart from the color of the pie wedges or bars to the color, position and font of the legend. You can even change from a flat, 2D chart to a 3D chart that the camera can rotate around. I was very impressed with the extreme ease that came with DA 1.0, and I was up and creating animated charts in no time. Ease of Use : 9 (out of 10)


Final Total : 8.5 (out of 10)

Purchase Recommendation : Buy

  • 8 different chart selections
  • very easy to pick up and use
  • excellent results
  • chart data can be created by anyone, anywhere


  • Priced a bit too expensive at $495, and not included in a bundle
  • very specific market
  • 3D can be a bit of a render hog

Final Thoughts
Overall, I am impressed with Data Animator 1.0, and the charts it can create. I would recommend this plug-in to anyone who works on charts on a regular basis, as it will speed up their workflow from not only an animation perspective, but a data management perspective as well. I can't wait to see what Digital Anarchy has in store for us with Data Animator 2.0.

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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at

Related Keywords:3D animated chart, data animator, after effects plugins,

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