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Updated: 29 November 2018

Controllers & Expressions Sections:


This tutorial series has two main goals. The first is to provide you with ways in which you can build controllers right on your After Effects composition panel, making often-used controls such as blinking and speaking easy to access. These controllers can be moved around anywhere within the composition panel so you can keep them out of your way while you work. By placing often used controllers on the composition panel, you eliminate having to select layers to get to the controls in the Effects Control panel. Also, you can place images within these controllers, such as a row of lip phonemes and positions to power switch layers for a mouth, making it easy to select the mouth position you need.

Secondly, controllers are useless without expressions. I’ll be introducing some expressions that I’ve found to be extremely useful. If you’re building puppets beyond a simple armature, I guarantee you’ll find many of these scripting tools invaluable. If you’re new to expressions, check my JavaScript Primmer page for a kick-start to diving into After Effects expressions. Also check out the expressions section of the Off-Site Resources page where you’ll find some excellent (and free) resources which will span from beginner to advanced concerning expressions.

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Download Project Files

Downloadable work files: This 14 MB zip file contains all the files needed for the entire series.

controllers and expressions work files zip file

This download contains three folders and the following files (folder numbers reflect the range of videos covered):

  • Folder: 02-03 Rigging a Simple Door
    • 2D Horizontal
    • Simple Door
  • Folder 04-09 Rigging Angie’s Head
    • Angie Head
    • Horizontal Controller
    • Switch
    • X Horizontal Controller
    • X Y Controller 200px,ai
  • Folder: 11-13 Icon grid for Lip Synchronization
    • Angie 3.1 Icon
    • Angie Head
    • I’m Hungry.mp3 (audio file)

Understanding Linear Interpolation

Rigging a Simple Door

Rigging Angie's Cheek Blush

Rigging Angie's Eyes

Creating an Icon Grid

Controllers & Expressions Series announcement graphic
Controllers & Expressions Series
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