How To Create An Unfolding Map Animation – After Effects Tutorial
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In this video we look at how to create a custom unfolding map animation inside of After Effects. Whether you’re wanting to advertise a location or just create something flashy and impressive, this unfolding map animation is sure to wow your viewers (or clients)! This tutorial covers a variety of tips and techniques in After Effects including breaking up an image into multiple sections, parenting, and working with 3D layers just to name a few.
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Everyone this is Owen with Motion Array and in this tutorial I’ll show you how to make a map unfolding animation. In the animation there are some 3D layers happening with the way the map is unfolding and then after it zooms in, there’s some really nice depth of field. All right let’s get started.
The first thing to talk about is the map image itself. I created an image using Google Maps. I zoomed in so it would have enough detail when I put my location pin down when I took several screenshots while panning around the area I did this so I got plenty of resolution for my map so I can start far away and then zoom in enough screenshots I used to Photoshop to stitch them together into one image using the Photomerge feature. I then cropped out some of the extra stuff so that I had a perfect rectangle that was fully filled in. After that it was good to go. The way you approach this step is up to you, you might not need to be as zoomed in as I made it, or you might want to be even more. Either way this is a quick and easy way to get a solid source image.
So now that the map’s ready it’s time to get into After Effects. Go over to the project panel and double click to bring up the import dialogue. Select your map source and import it as footage. With the map PSD in the project panel drag it over to the create new composition button. This creates a new composition the exact dimensions of the footage. Now desaturate the map image by going to Effect > Color Correction > Hue/Saturation. In the Hue/Saturation panel bring the Master Saturation down to -100 and that will completely desaturate the image. Now rename the layer to “Map Light 1”. Duplicate it twice and rename the second duplicate “Map Dark 1” and go to Effect > Color Correction > Curves. In the curves panel, drop the top control down to give an overall darkness to the image. This is going to be the shadow side of the map. Then duplicate the dark map. Make a new solid by going to Layer > New > Solid. Click the Make Comp Size button and then click on the width value and add “/4” to the end of it. This will divide that value by 4 which will make it exactly one quarter of the width of the composition. Hit okay and then rename that new solid “Map Sliver 1”. Bring it all the way to the left side of the composition using the Align panel. Then duplicate it three times so there are 4 total pieces. Move the 4th piece all the way to the right side of the composition with the Align panel. Then bring the 2nd and 3rd pieces away from the left edge and use Horizontal Distribute in the Align panel. Now all 4 solids are evenly space and filling up the composition. Use the Pan Behind tool to move the anchor points on all of the pieces so that they’re in the right spot for rotating. For the first one, move it all the way to the right and if you hold command it’ll snap to the edge. Move the second to the right as well and the third and fourth, move to the left. Now reorder the map layers so that they’re each underneath one of the slivers and alternate it so that they’re light, dark, light, dark. Then select all the map layers and set their track matte to alpha matte. That leaves you with an alternating version of the map with light and dark. Make all these layers 3D by using the 3D toggle to the left of the blending modes. Then parent each one of the map layers to the sliver above it. Then parent the first sliver to the second, and the fourth one to the third.
So now we’ll start animating the Y rotation on all these pieces to create my map unfolding animation. Start with the fourth one and move to 1;05 on the timeline and set a keyframe. Then move back to frame 15 and set the value to -174 degrees. Going back to frame 1;05 set a keyframe for the 3rd sliver’s Y rotation. Go frame 15 again and set the value to 87 degrees. For the 1st sliver, repeat the process. At 1;05 it’s value will be 0 degrees (the default) and at 15 it will be 174 degrees. The 2nd sliver will be 0 degrees at 1;05 and -87 degrees at 15. Highlight all the keyframes you just set and right click on one and go to Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease. Then right click on a keyframe again and go to Keyframe Velocity. Set the incoming influence to 90% and the outgoing influence to 60%. This will create a stronger ease than the default 33%.