Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Forums Adobe After Effects Expressions step move based on distance of an object and "an effector"

  • step move based on distance of an object and "an effector"

  • Mikhail Vasilev

    December 2, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    Hi guys!

    we have an object and we have an effector
    when object comes closer to the center of the effector it starts to throttle more
    something like this but it does not work(posterizeTime effect does not properly work too)

    magnet radius = 500; //red circle
    a = linear( length,0, magnet radius, 1 , 30 ) ; // when we come closer to red circle we change posterizeTime framesPerSecond ;
    posterizeTime(a) ;

    Ive been trying to solve this for 5 days but have no luck
    Tried Dan Ebberts’ random approaches but it does not work the way i need
    I came up with the idea to divide a whole path to equal sections(min step) and then kind of feed new step value to the function, feed it with min Step rate
    but it does not work

    is there any ideas how to do it using only expressions?
    Thanks Dads! )

  • Max Haller

    December 4, 2022 at 4:08 am

    Here is one possible way to achieve the desired effect using the linear() function and the posterizeTime() effect:

    // Set the magnet radius and the minimum posterization rate

    const magnetR adius = 500;

    const minRate = 1;

    // Calculate the distance of the object from the center of the effector

    const distance = length(thisComp.layer("Effector").position, thisComp.layer("Object").position);

    // Calculate the posterization rate using the linear() function

    const rate = linear(distance, 0, magnetRadius, minRate, 30);

    // Apply the posterization effect using the calculated rate


    The above expression uses the position of two layers, “Effector” and “Object”, to calculate the distance between them. The distance is then used to calculate the posterization rate, which is passed to the posterizeTime() effect. The closer the object is to the center of the effector, the higher the posterization rate will be. You can adjust the magnet radius and the minimum rate to achieve the desired behavior.

    You can also use other mathematical functions, such as the pow() function, to calculate the posterization rate in a non-linear way. For example:

    // Calculate the posterization rate using the pow() function 
    const rate = pow(distance / magnetRadius, 2) * 30 + minRate;

    This expression uses the distance and the magnet radius to calculate the posterization rate in a quadratic fashion, which means that the rate increases faster as the distance gets smaller.

    I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Mikhail Vasilev

    December 4, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    thanks Max

    it looks like it should work but it gives same jumpy motion i had before
    something wrong with posterizeTime effect/expression command
    it just does not work properly, that why i tried Den Ebberts random stuff to handle this jumpy thing. I even made some progress but my steps are random and not depend on distance between Obj. and Effector

    here is an example with your expression
    i tried both posterizeTime effect and expression
    tried it in cs6 and cc2022
    same jumpy thing…
    any other ideas?
    it should be something that stops expression for sometime(while we are on the plateau) than feed new new numbers(plateau length/hold time) to the function

  • Mikhail Vasilev

    December 4, 2022 at 3:34 pm

    also “const” declaration does not work for me
    had to clear it

  • Mikhail Vasilev

    December 4, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    here is my best result so far

    start = 0;

    end = 0;

    j = 0;

    endPos = 0;

    tDur = thisComp.frameDuration ; // by one frame

    //time generation!!!

    while ( time >= end) // it sets new milestone for the time then time follow it and reach it, became larger and we have new ‘ end ‘ jump


    j += 1;


    // start = end;

    //end += Math.abs( Math.floor( random(tDur,tDur) ) ) // it sets time jumps\sectors

    end += Math.abs( random(tDur*j*2,tDur*j*2) ) // it sets time jumps\sectors

    endPos += Math.abs( Math.floor( random(2*j,2*j) ) ) ;// it sets pos +


    it gives this kind of graph
    but it does not depend on distance between objects

  • Dan Ebberts

    December 4, 2022 at 11:39 pm

    I don’t really understand what you’re trying to do with the random stuff, but this example might be helpful:

    E = thisComp.layer("Effector");
    radius = E("Contents")("Ellipse Path 1")("Size")[0]/2;
    minFactor = .1;
    f = thisComp.frameDuration;
    p1 = E.position;
    p2 = position;
    tAccum = 0;
    for (t = inPoint; t <= time; t += f){
    d = length(p1.valueAtTime(inPoint+tAccum),p2.valueAtTime(inPoint+tAccum));
    if (d < radius){
    factor = linear(d,0,radius,minFactor,1);
    tAccum += f*factor;
    tAccum += f;
  • Mikhail Vasilev

    December 5, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    hmm…interesting..some alien stuff here )
    Thanks Dan, will explore it today

  • Mikhail Vasilev

    December 6, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks Dan,
    tried it today

    in your version it kind of speeds up the object rather than changing its “stay still time”
    I also try to do it without any keyframes. Position will be driven by expression as well
    your version is actually usable for me but not exactly what i need

    here is an image of the Object position graph which will illustrate it better
    i need this position graph to be generated with expressions only(no effects no keyframes)

  • Dan Ebberts

    December 6, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    Maybe something like this:

    E = thisComp.layer("Effector");
    radius = 500;
    stepSize = [10,0];
    minHold = .1;
    maxHold = .5;
    offset = [10,0];
    curOffset = [0,0];
    t = inPoint;
    while (t <= time){
    d = length(E.position,position+curOffset);
    t += linear(d,0,radius,maxHold,minHold);
    curOffset += offset;
    value + curOffset - offset;
  • Mikhail Vasilev

    December 7, 2022 at 9:19 am

    Dan, this is amazing! This is acxactly what i need
    Where is your damn book about Ae.expressions? )
    You have to write this book
    Every your peace of code is very interesting to study

    Im mostly graphic/motion designer and i would love to work on this book with you!
    I Enjoy to mix math and art but im not that experienced as you, i mean in math
    here is some of my stuff if you interested

    You know, this thick 300 pages book with a lot of divers examples, cool illustrations and animations/

Viewing 1 - 10 of 10 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy