The After Effects Expressions Cheat Sheet: Everything I’ve Ever Wanted


Need the occasional refresher? Don’t we all! Well, we’ve got you covered with this impressive After Effects expressions cheat sheet.

Last night, I was served an Instagram comedy reel by a developer. The first part of the video had the developer in a hoody hunched on his chair, and it read: When you just start coding, and the character googles: How do I code a div? It then skips ten years ahead when the character is now a successful developer with a large desk and expensive setup. And he, once again, googles: How do I code a div?

The skit suggests that no matter your experience, sometimes the basics require a slight refresh to nudge that memory awake. I also have something similar to which I constantly need refreshers on, and that’s After Effects expressions.

After Effects Expressions

I use them quite often. However, I’ll still find myself sometimes googling “After Effects loop keyframe expression,” even though I’ve done it a gazillion times in the past. Like the developer skit, there’s a form of coding with expressions, and anything regarding coding or math isn’t my strong point.

Well, starting today, I think Google will assume I’ve become an expressions master as I’ll no longer be googling that information. Unfortunately, I’ve not become a human dictionary of all things After Effects expressions. Instead, I’ve come across this convenient and animated expressions cheat sheet by Good Boy Ninja.

After Effects Expressions Cheat Sheet
After Effects expressions cheat sheet. Image via Good Boy Ninja.

Good Boy Ninja

Good Boy Ninja produces various After Effects tools for motion designers. And, given that I seemingly like to collect After Effects plug-ins and scripts like Thanos collects infinity stones, I’m sure I’ll be picking up some of these enticing tools shortly.

Outside of that, just yesterday, they released an After Effects Expression cheat sheet. However, I feel like calling it a cheat sheet somewhat diminishes the grandeur of the web page because it’s not just your average cheat sheet.

Upon clicking one of the plethora of expressions available, you’re greeted with a pop-up window that inundates you with information about the expression—what the expression does in an animated form, how it does it, how to do it, and the variables available to the expression.

Cheat Sheet
How the cheat sheet works. Image via Good Boy Ninja.

And, the information on what the expression thoroughly does isn’t light. Good Boy Ninja has gone into full detail with every expression, even providing real-world examples.

In the case of the wiggle expression, the cheat sheet denotes every form of wiggle, and again, there’s an animated example for each type of wiggle. For the new motion designer, this will save you a heap of time, as you don’t have to go back and forth in After Effects trying to figure out what the expression does exactly.

And, more importantly, if you know how these expressions work but just needed a coding refresher, the expression code is the first bit of information you’re greeted with upon clicking the expression.

Cheat Sheet Code
Need a code refresher? This cheat sheet has you covered. Image via Good Boy Ninja.

Now, one of my most minor favorite things to see when creating something in After Effects is “This project contains an expression error.” Which results in me yelling at the PC, “I did it just like the website said!”

Well, at the bottom of the cheat sheet, you’ll also find several common errors and ways to solve them. As I said, the term cheat sheet doesn’t do it justice.

Cheat Sheet Error
The cheat sheet is also handy in tackling “errors.” Image via Good Boy Ninja.

If you’ve got this far without going over to the cheat sheet and experiencing the sheer delight of how easy expressions are to implement from here on out, well, here’s one final outbound link.

For more on After Effects, check out these articles:

Cover image via Good Boy Ninja.


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