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QuickTip: EZ Altimeter

Linking different parameters with simple expressions By Ko Maruyama
This piece first appeared in May within a DMNForum post.  Since then, the same question, with slight modifications has been asked over and over again.  Although the tutorial was originally produced for someone using After Effects 5.5, it is also applicable to users of Adobe After Effects 6.0 and 6.5.   The text plugin, although mostly replaced by Textacy, still remains in the program.

In order to create the EZ Altimeter, you can easily link expressions from one value to another, even if the values are not from the same descriptive parameter (like position=position).  In this short exercise, we'll create an altimeter with the standard NUMBERS plugin and a single expression that requires no typing of additional commands.

First create a cube.  I've cheated an only used 4 sides because I won't see the other sides from my comp camera.  If you want to learn how to make a cube, you can use Digital Anarchy's Box Creator, or check the tutorial archives for methods to complete it manually.

Next, create a floor, wall and a couple of lights to your scene.  I've also added a 3D camera in order to animate the scene as the top of the cube rises from the floor (using the scale parameter).

Next up, add a Null.  Make sure to position the null at the floor level, at the bottom of your cube.  This will ensure that when you scale the cube vertically, it will scale from the ground up.

Link the cube's faces to the Null using parenting.  To do this, select the faces of the cube, then use the pick whip to select the Null as the parent.

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Related Keywords:Adobe, After Effects, 3D Layers, Expressions, parenting, 3D box

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