The beat . A blog by premiumbeat

January 13, 2014
After Effects

Video Tutorial: Unfolding Animation in Adobe After Effects

Fold and unfold elements in your After Effects project! In this tutorial we show you how to create this visually impressive effect.

In this Premiumbeat exclusive tutorial, you’ll learn how to fold (and unfold) objects in After Effects. The tutorial specifically covers folding/unfolding a letter, but you can certainly use this technique for any number of elements. We’ll cover a few advanced AE fundamentals, including:

  • Position snapping
  • Parenting
  • Using the Graph Editor

Prefer reading to watching? Check out the full step-by-step tutorial below.

It is very easy to get overwhelmed when working with an After Effects project with many layers, such as this one. Be sure to label all your layers so you don’t get confused!

See our blog for more informative tutorials in Adobe After Effects, as well as other professional video editing and motion graphics applications.

Step-by-Step: Unfolding After Effects Tutorial

1 Create a new composition. Create the letter “U” and lock.

2 Create a new polygon shape layer, set stroke to 0, points to 3 and toggle 3d on.

3 Scale up to fill in bottom of the “U”.

4 Duplicate the root and snap to the center of the triangle vertex.

5 Set 1 second rotation keyframes to the top layer over the X axis.

6 Create a new point light.

7 Duplicate triangle layers and parent each duplicate to the original.

8 Easy Ease and offset layers by 4 frames.

9 Continue duplicating until the entire right side of the letter is covered by triangles.
10 Duplicate the letter so that each triangle layer has a duplicated letter under it.

11 Parent each letter to it’s corresponding triangle (after you move the playhead to the end).

12 Select all letter layers and set to alpha matte. Change the transfer mode to alpha. Add and change the strokes from 0 to 2.

13 Pre compose.

14 Duplicate and flip horizontally.

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    Enjoyed this tutorial. This is a really cool effect that can be applied in many ways. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Henrik Lopes

    3:00 the corners does not connect with “CTRl”, what can i do?
    (sorry for my english, I’m Brazilian)

    • Evan Abrams

      It’s a feature found in newer versions of Adobe After Effects. If you’re not using a newer version you may not have the same control options.

  • manu

    very cool effect, a nice visual work appliable to a lot of things ! Thanks !!

  • Jariel Oliver

    Very very cool…and as already the guys said..Appliable to a lot of things! Great!

  • GC

    When I reach the point of easy easing, my graph is only half of yours. starting points are +180 & -180, tapering to zero at the end of my key frames. help?

    • Guest

      reference pic

    • Evan Abrams

      Well you’re looking at what’s called a “value” graph. You want to look at the “speed graph” to see the same image as me. BUT you can change the influence handles exactly the same in both to achieve the same motion. Have you tried looking at the speed graph?

      • GC

        Hazaaah! Didnt realize there were diff graphs. Thanks for the swift response dude! Srry for the duplicate picture uploads wtf..

  • Confused

    Why doesn’t this work with precomped letters? If you simply pre comp your letter, it throws everything off. I’d like to do this with an .ai file logo that I have, but it’s all screwy

  • Confused

    Why doesn’t this work with precomped letters? If you simply pre comp the letter, it screws everything up. The reason I ask is that I’d like to have an .ai file logo animate in with triangles, but I don’t know how to do it.

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