Change the Rows value to 1 and the Columns value to 40 – this splits the image into 40 vertical columns. Open the X Rotation section and change the Source menu to Intensity 1. Doing this will mean the X Rotation value will also be influenced by the layer map.
Let’s add visual interest by animating the Multiplier value. Click on the X Rotation Multiplier stopwatch in the Effect Controls panel to tell After Effects that you want to animate the property. Move the time marker to the beginning of the comp and change the X Rotation value to 360. RAM preview.
There are lots of other options with these effects. In Card Dance you can choose a second Gradient Layer to control other properties. For example, you may create an animated Turbulent Noise map to control the scale of the cards, adding a bit of random movement to your design. To make this work, choose Intensity 2 from the Source menus.
You don’t have to use the Intensity value to control the particles. The Source menus provide you with a choice of various other properties you can use, including the individual colour channels. You can be clever here, designing one file with a different ‘controller image’ embedded into each of its three colour channels.
Who: Angie Taylor had a long career as a freelance animator and illustrator before joining GridIron Software as Creative Director. She has produced work for the BBC, Channel 4 and for music videos, including Chris Cunningham’s Rubber Johnny. She is the author of two Creative After Effects books on using the software in creative ways.
Software: Adobe After Effects CS4, Adobe Illustrator CS4, Adobe Photoshop CS4 and GridIron Flow
Time to complete: 1 hour
Files for this tutorial: The files for this tutorial are available here