utility to export motion from AfterEffects to JavaScript
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README.md

Cyclops


Minified JS | [AE Script](https://github.com/Instrument/cyclops/raw/master/aftereffects scripts/cyclops.jsx) | Documentation


A tool to export After Effects motion for use in JavaScript. Cyclops aims to solve the following problems commonly associated with motion on the web:

  1. As a developer it's difficult to implement motion designs with perfect accuracy.
  2. Due to the difficulty, the original motion design seldom survives implementation.
  3. Because of #2, motion designers either have to accept that their work won't survive the development process, or end up hounding developers to endlessly tweak the animation code until it's as close to the original design as possible.

This process is not ideal, and in the end it causes needless time spent on re-working animation code rather than letting everybody focus on their area of expertise and artistry with the knowledge that the final product will reflect the original design intention as closely as possible.

Architecture

Cyclops is comprised of two parts, a script for After Effects, and a JavaScript library. The After Effects script is used to export frame data for any animated property in After Effects. The data exported from After Effects is then used by the Cyclops JavaScript library to re-create the motion in the browser.

After Effects --> Cyclops AE Script --> JSON Data --> Cyclops JavaScript --> Motion!

The motion data is stored as a JSON that captures individual per-frame values for animated properties. This frame data is read by the Cyclops JavaScript and is used to dynamically generate a function which will return the same motion dynamics as normalized values. This function can be dropped into most commonly used animation tools like jQuery's animate method, as well as most other popular libraries that support custom tweening functions.

Cyclops != After Effects Player

Cyclops is meant to create bite-sized pieces of motion like roll-over, loading, and transition effects for use throughout a website.

It's important to note that the purpose of Cyclops is to export the dynamics of the motion from After Effects for use in code. It's not built for use as a playback engine for complex and lengthy sequences of animation. If that is what you need, there are existing tools much better suited for that sort of thing, like Flash, Swiffy or just use pre-rendered video.

Once loaded in JavaScript, curves can be adjusted dynamically and applied to any property via JavaScript, but the dynamics (the change over time) will match the original animation from After Effects. Think of Cyclops curves just like the handful of standard easing functions, but the behavior of the easing is completely customizable using After Effects as the content creation tool.

Usage

While this will vary greatly depending on the specifics of your team structure, project, and deployment process, the basics are as follows:

  1. Install the Cyclops After Effects script.
  2. Create some motion
  3. Export the motion
  4. Load the motion data via JavaScript.
  5. Animate HTML elements using the motion.