Fun with After Effects


I’m a huge advocate of self-development so when Udemy had a mega Black Friday sale, I purchased a few courses for the bargain price of £10 each! Over Christmas break, I broke up blocks of writing my dissertation with working my way through one of the courses.

The course I completed was the Animated HUD Interface taught by Evelyn Lee, would recommend this as I learned so many great tricks and shortcuts in After Effects. Although I was following the tutors plan, I still had to create the assets in Illustrator and complete the animations. First I made a rough sketch of how it should look based on the tutorial.  It was to appear tilted and the angle as if being viewed from above. I created an variety of different circle and square assets using the shape tools and applying different brush patterns to them. I even made some of my own brushes for some of the assets.


Animation for the circles was done in After Effects. I chose the option create shapes from vector layer then used the trim paths option and experimented with the start, end and offset options. This made the circles look like they were being drawn on the screen and will be useful for making them appear as though they are spinning.

I repeated the same stage as before for all the circles, making sure that some are going in the opposite direction.  I used the animation graph to smooth out the movements for some of the circles.

Before positioning each circle, I created a grid in After Effects and created a 3D layer. I added in a camera and using the 2 view option on the viewport I tilted the camera up so the HUD appears as if it’s being looked down upon. I started positioning the circles,  I experimented with the scale so I could position circles on the inside of the first circle and on the outer. Also I began placing a duplicate of each circle underneath the original and lowered the opacity. This gives the impression of reflection, as if the HUD is on a screen. I added a tint to all circles to make them the same colour and the placed a glow over each circle to make them seem like they are lit and coming to life on the screen.

I placed additional assets such as the squares and dials. The squares will be filled with text later. I started adding text in the form of random numbers to appear like code and will animate this with the timecode effect and tweaking the character value and offset. The 4-colour gradient adds a very interesting element and will help the HUD look like it’s backlit. I had a bit of fun with the colours and ended up going for more oranges and reds with a touch of blue.

I then placed a mask over the top in the form on an ellipse and added a lens blur and some noise to make the glowing screen seem realistic and blurry in places where the light is most bright. I used a lot of adjustment layers here to keep the effects separate from one another incase I needed to change anything and to avoid the effects all merging into one. I also changed the colour of the text to orange to stand out against the blue glow of the HUD circles and squares.

To finish, I added some blinks to make the HUD seem like it is flickering to life at the start of the animation. I did this by key-framing the opacity on and off at random increments.  Rotation was added to some of the circles to keep them moving throughout the animation.

Here is the final animation. I’m very pleased with the result and learned so much by completing this course.

Yahni 🙂