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December 2, 2013
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Animated Map: After Effects Video Tutorial

Show directions visually with this dynamic 2D map animation in After Effects. This effect is great for any local business videos or to advertise events.

Adobe After Effects

Sure you could put up a simple static map in your video, but instead take it to the next level with an animated map graphic. In the following After Effects tutorial I show you how to create a map with an animating route and starting/ending labels, ideal for showing how to get from one place to another. This After Effects animation requires no third party plugins or complicated expressions.

Best viewed full screen:

Create this map animation in After Effects using these basic techniques:

  • Create an AE camera and add simple lighting
  • Using the Pen tool draw a route on the map
  • Use shape layers to create labels for the starting and ending position on the map
  • Using a trim path animate the line drawing on along the route
  • Finish it off by tweaking the lighting to add dynamic shadows to your placeholders

How would you use this After Effects map animation? Got any modifications or suggestions? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  • Kjell Brataas

    Thanks, great tutorial!

  • Mac

    This tutorial was so helpful! I learned a lot. As I tried this myself, I did run into one issue when flipping the “Ending” sign. When I changed the orientation of the word “ending” to 180 (after reversing the sign to flip the opposite direction), the text disappeared altogether. Now it seems like it hides behind the grey sign. Is there a way to fix this?

    • Evan Abrams

      well first consider if the text is behind the other layer. Is it in actuality behind the layer in question as relative to the camera? And is the text layer above or below the other layer in the timeline’s order of layers? And third have you tried to offset the text to be “in front” of the layer in question using the position?

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  • Scott McCoy

    Great map tutorial! Question – how do you make the small, natural camera movement during the example at the beginning of the tutorial? I’m really trying to learn how to make those subtle, more natural movements in my projects. I’m also interested if you have any tutorials on how to make bounces — like how an object comes in and has a little over-shoot and bounce? Thanks!!

    • Evan Abrams

      Hello Scott. I’m glad you enjoy the tutorial. I think the little motions are caused by the wiggle() expression, and the bouncing is the product of using an “inertia bounce” expression like you can find at Grey Machine or I think in some of my other tutorials on here. Cheers and have a nice day.

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