Data-Driven Motion Graphics Templates in After Effects 2019

by Marissa Joyner November 20, 2018

Creating infographic animations is easier than ever with Adobe’s new csv spreadsheet enabled data-driven motion graphics templates feature in After Effects 2019. You can create and update infographics (and really any text-based animation) from a spreadsheet in both After Effects and Premiere Pro 2019. The free data-driven motion graphics templates can be downloaded here and even more are currently in the works!

It was very exciting to get a first look at this feature and learned A TON along the way. Check out this post where I share expressions for working with data that utilizes the new Javascript expressions engine in After Effects 2019. Hopefully these will spark your imagination to see what’s possible with data-driven animations!

In this post we’ll cover some of the basics for creating a .csv file and how to use it in After Effects 2019. You’ll need a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets to create the spreadsheet and the ability to export it as a .csv file.

How to set up the spreadsheet

Think of the spreadsheet like creating an ice tray mold- data goes in each cube and plugs right in to the chart in AE. When making a data-driven motion graphics template the ae project should stick to the same “mold” or number of spreadsheet rows. If you have 10 data sets of numbers but only 2 data sets for text- it’s better to add the two data sets natively inside AE instead of from a spreadsheet.

The first row in the spreadsheet will be the Column Names- the end user won’t be able to change these- only the data.
adobe after effects csv mogrt columns

Add your data to the spreadsheet- you can put numbers, text, and HEX values for colors. **Putting a # symbol before the HEX value is required**
hex color column data after effects csv spreadsheet

Save as a CSV file.

How to use the spreadsheet in After Effects 2019

Open After Effects and import the .csv file.

To take advantage of the updated Expressions Engine you may need to change your Project Settings- go to File>Project Settings>Expressions.

In the Expressions Engine dropdown select ‘JavaScript’.

Here’s a brief overview of how to connect properties to your imported spreadsheet data file-
Create a new Composition (Cmd + N or Ctrl + N)
Drag the .csv file from the Project panel to the Composition.
Select the ‘Data’ property then drag it to the Essential Graphics Panel.
drag data layer to essential graphics panel adobe after effects

Click the ‘Edit Properties’ text: In this window you can choose how After Effects uses the data for each column. Select ‘Color’ for Hex data.
color picker data driven essential graphics panel

Connecting layer properties to the Data

In the Essential Graphics Panel the Text Data has an input field where the text can be edited.
Numbers now have a slider control, click on ‘Edit Range’ and choose minimum and maximum values relevant to your data.
Colors now have a color picker, whoo hoo!

Once the spreadsheet is added to the composition you can use the expressions pick whip to connect properties to the data.

Connecting Source Text

Connect the Source Text property of a text layer to a row of data

Connecting Hex Color

Use this expression to connect color controls to Hex values in the spreadsheet:

colorText = thisComp.layer(“data-driven.csv”)(“Data”)(“Outline”)(“Color Data”)(“Color Data 1”).toString();

Remember to change the “thisComp.layer(“data-driven.csv”)(“Data”)(“Outline”)(“Color Data”)(“Color Data 1″)” part of the expression to your spreadsheet name and column name.

The user can still have control with the color picker in the Essential Graphics Panel.

Connecting Number Data

Number data can be used for just about any property, try using the expressions pickwhip on a layer’s Scale property to connect it to the spreadsheet.

A Few More Things…

Changing the data in the Essential Graphics Panel will overwrite the spreadsheet data. To revert back to the original spreadsheet data right-click on the .csv file in the Project Panel, select ‘Reload Footage’.

You can give the user control over how many data sets are used in the animation by linking the “Number of Rows” data property to a Layer’s Opacity property:
if(thisComp.layer(“data-driven.csv”)(“Data”)(“Number of Rows”)>0)

Using the mogrt in Premiere Pro 2019

Once you’re done plugging in all the data the motion graphics template can be exported from the Essential Graphics panel as Motion Graphics Template (.mogrt) to use in Premiere Pro 2019.

Open Premiere and import the data-driven mogrt, drag it to the timeline.

In the Essential Graphics panel you can drop in a new .csv in the dotted box

Or click the’Edit Spreadsheet Data’ button to immediately change the data-

Do cool things with For Loop Expressions

Connecting all these data properties to separate layers will take quite some time, especially if you just want to display the data in a row or in a column. Here’s where forLoop expressions come in handy!
Check out our post of 12 Useful Data-Driven Expressions to make working with data a snap!

The post Data-Driven Motion Graphics Templates in After Effects 2019 appeared first on FluxVFX.

Marissa Joyner
Marissa Joyner


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Data-Driven Expressions for After Effects 2019

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