Project Description

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It’s yo’ boi here, back with another HUD Tutorial inside After Effects. Let’s explore some in-depth techniques on creating circular HUD shapes.

To start off, I cover a workflow technique on how to “model” your shape in mirrored mode. This way you only need to take care of a quarter of our circle, and the rest gets mirrored over. You don’t need to waste time adjusting all your masks and shapes, when you just need to take care of 1/4 of your composition.

Our base shape is created through using circle masks, in combination with other shapes, and duplicating layers to fill the gaps in between. After our initial shape is created, I go over a simple trick you can use to create oscilating animations (in this case for a simple small circle) to create the up and down motion along the center lines.



This expression will take your keyframes and repeat them in the same order.
A->B,A->B,A->B, etc.


This expression will take your keyframes and zig-zag in between them (this is creating the oscilating animation).
A->B,B->A,A->B,B->A, etc.

Next step, creating the radial lines in the center. We use a simple circle shape for this.
To add detail to this shape, we create a “dot” (same thing as with the straight line), and we offset it’s position to line up with our circle stroke.
Then, using expression time*50, we automate the animation for it.

Alright so here comes the hard part. BIG BOYS ONLY FROM HERE ON OUT OK.

We set up a circle shape, that has a stroke applied to it, and a Trim Paths property.
Now, we set up an expression for different properties on this layer, so whenever we duplicate it, we generate a completely new shape.
This way we can very easily populate our area of the composition, by simply duplicating our initial layer.

The expression to generate random values is as follows:

seedRandom(1,true) // This will ensure that the generated value is kept throughout the composition
random(-100,100) // This will generate a random number between -100 and 100, change these values to whatever you want

Now you can use this generated number anywhere you want in an expression. To do this, you just make it a variable:

x = random(-100,100) // Use any letter you want for this (even words)

Now you can take value “x” and place it inside your expression wherever you want. Examples:

position + [x,x,x] (this one’s dirty, i know)
rotation – x


Hopefully, I was clear enough in the tutorial and you could follow along.
Final steps here are just setting up a camera and some minor basic adjustments, to achieve the final look.

What you will learn

• Mirrored Design Workflow

• Advanced Expressions

• General Tips n’ Tricks


• After Effects CS6 (and above)

Show me your results and tell me what you think in the comments!