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Animate A “Top 10 Countdown” Screen Using After Effects

Joshua Noel

Learn how you can create a “Top 10 Countdown” screen with automated numbers and creative motion graphics in After Effects.

Like most motion graphics, creating a top 10 countdown is usually subjective to the artist’s opinion. Essentially, there are infinite ways you can animate a top 10 countdown. Whether you are creating an intro for a film or putting together a top 10 video, our countdown After Effects tutorial walks you through each of the creative and technical elements of this project.


What You Will Take Away From This Tutorial

In our Top 10 Countdown tutorial, you will learn how to use an expression to automate a countdown from ten to one. Further, we’ll take a look at how background compositing plays a large role in creating aesthetically pleasing scenes. We will also go over the importance of animation with incredible particles and 2D motion graphics.

Animate A "Top 10 Countdown" Screen Using After Effects — Screenshot

Step-by-Step Breakdown

  • Create automated number countdown.
  • Composite background elements.
  • Design looping 2D motion graphics.
  • Generate particles to react every second.

The Countdown Automated Expression (Copy This)

rate = -1;
clockStart = 11;

function padZero(n){
if (n < 10) return “0” + n else return “” + n
}

clockTime = Math.max(clockStart + rate*(time – inPoint),0);

t = Math.floor(clockTime);
min = Math.floor((t%3600)/60);
sec = Math.floor(t%60);

Animate A "Top 10 Countdown" Screen Using After Effects — Automated Expression


The rate refers to the degree of change the number increases or decreases by. Setting the rate at -1 means the countdown will decline by one number every second. The clockStart allows you to choose where the countdown will begin. The rest of the expression controls the time of the clock and ensures that the countdown changes every second. If you want to change the time to two seconds, then you must change the last two lines of the expression with the correct math.


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