BLOGS: My COW Blog Adobe Blog Editing Technology After Effects Final Cut Entertainment

after effects

How to change the corner radius of a rounded rectangle in After Effects

Here's a really short, mythbusting tip. Recieved wisdom is that when drawing a rounded rectangle mask, once you let go, you can't change the radius. Turns out you can!

In this mini tutorial I cover changing the radius while drawing, altering it afterwards and also show how Shape Layers make this much easier than masks.

Posted by: Graham Quince on Mar 28, 2020 at 11:21:35 am after effects, ae, masks, rounded, corner, radius

Just the tip: How to keyframe a wiggle in Adobe After Effects

This is a common question I see all the time on the forums.  The Wiggle expression is really useful, but there are plenty of times when you want it to start, then fade down or vice versa.  This quick tutorial shows you a really simple way to control the Wiggle values using the Expression Controls effects.

The tutorial also includes how to use the Transform effect so that you can save a Fading (reducing) Wiggle as a preset

Wiggle Expression:


which would be used like:


Posted by: Graham Quince on Mar 7, 2020 at 11:11:20 am after effects, expressions, wiggle, keyframe

Just the Tip: Making a Twister / Tornado in After Effects using CC Particle World

Here's a quick tutorial showing how you can create a particle Twister in Adobe After Effects, using just the native plugins, mainly Cycore's CC Particle World with a bit of CC Vector Blur too.

I use a set of expressions from a previous tutorial, Linking CC Particle World to a 3D Null in After Effects:

Expressions used for the 3D NULL link:

Position X:

x=thisComp.layer("Null 1").transform.position[0]-thisComp.width/2; x/thisComp.width;

Position Y:

y=thisComp.layer("Null 1").transform.position[1]-thisComp.height/2; y/thisComp.width;

Position Z:

z=thisComp.layer("Null 1").transform.position[2]; z/thisComp.width;

Adding a wiggle in only two directions / axis:

X = wiggle(1,50)[0]; Y=value[1]; Z=wiggle(1,50)[2]; [X,Y,Z]

Project download:

Posted by: Graham Quince on Feb 15, 2020 at 10:47:42 am after effects, expressions, particles, cc particle world

Just the tip: White balance, scale and focus reference card for easy compositing

Here’s a short tutorial and giveaway of a digital (and physical) asset I use to help me composite greenscreened actors and CGI elements into a physical scene. This tutorial covers using the reference cards in Adobe After Effects, Video Copilot Element 3D and the included Lumetri Color, Camera Lens Blur and Match Grain effects.

I demonstrate how to composite the free Star Wars BB-8 model from VC’s Star Pack into a regular shot.


Video Copilot Star Pack:


Expression used to roll BB-8:





Xpos=thisComp.layer(“Element NULL”).transform.position[0]*-1;
scalePercent=thisComp.layer(“Element NULL”).transform.scale[0]/100;

Just the tip: Free tracking images for tablets and phones for easy screen replacement

Here's a giveaway for anyone interested in trying to do a screen replacement for their iPad, iPhone, Tablet or phone.

After a lot of trial and error, I've created these two images which makes it much easier to track your screen using After Effects and Boris Mocha. The video has a brief tutorial showing how to use the included Boris FX Mocha plugin for After Effects CC.

Official Boris Mocha tutorial:


iPad / Tablet:
iPhone / Smart phone:
(Files are hosted on Dropbox, and shouldn't require signing up to view and download)

Posted by: Graham Quince on Dec 21, 2019 at 11:35:31 am after effects, tracking, boris

Just the Tip (a new set of mini-tutorials for After Effects) - Rolling a ball using Expressions

I'm currently prepping a much larger series of tutorials, but to take a break from those, I've also be creating a series of short tutorials for the things I go back to again and again - but not so frequently that I have them memorised. I find myself searching the internet (and the Cow of course) for these tips, but then often have to wade through a 30 minute tutorial - just to find that one thing... that one trick. Well, these mini-tuts are built for that purpose. I hope you find them useful.

This tutorial uses an expression to calculate how much a circle / image should rotate based on its horizontal position. I've then adapted the expression slightly to help you roll 3D objects too.


2D Layer

CC Sphere in one dimension:
diameter=effect("CC Sphere")("Radius")

CC Sphere coming towards camera:
diameter=effect("CC Sphere")("Radius")

Project file:


Posted by: Graham Quince on Oct 12, 2019 at 3:39:27 pm after effects, expressions, rolling, roll, rotate

After Effects tutorial: Converting a 2D effect to 3D (using a bit of Maths) to make a Black Hole

Long title, but it about covers it. In this tutorial, I'm demonstrating how to get the look of an Interstellar Movie-type Black Hole using the Bulge effect, 3D layers, adjustment layers and how to use expressions to compensate for the fact you can't use Bulge in 3D space.

I've included the project file here:

Other tutorials mentioned:
CC Particle Galaxy tutorial

Cinema 4D Black Hole

Posted by: Graham Quince on May 26, 2018 at 4:00:59 pm after effects, space, expressions

Here you'll find a bunch of tutorials for using After Effects (mainly). I have a YouTube channel, called ShiveringCactus (long story - not funny anymore) where I post the videos.


March 2020 (2)
February 2020 (1)
January 2020 (2)
December 2019 (1)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (1)
August 2019 (4)
July 2019 (5)
May 2018 (1)


expressions (9)
after effects (7)
Video copilot (7)
Orb (6)
planet (3)
rings (2)
particles (2)
space (2)
rolling (2)
show more
© 2020 All Rights Reserved