De-sync Expressions Tutorial by Sebastian

March 7, 2011

In this short tutorial, Sebastian Bap shows you how he made the follow arrow effect from his popular animation, “Make it better” using After Effects and Expressions.

Make It Better Animation (Example)

You can see more of Sebastian’s work at

Tutorial Focus:  

  • Great tip for simple workflow, thank

  • That was pretty awesome. You did great with your english too.

  • Wow! It was really amazing!!! I love it!! Good Job!

  • thank u so much; it was an interesting and cool tip!

    sebastian accent makes him sound like he’s from Latin América – argentino? (o uruguayo tambien!)

    greetings from Buenos Aires 😛

  • Good and simple.Great tut!

  • Really useful. Thanks!

  • yeah, everyone envies Nick’s mic! X)))))

    thanks, Sebastian! There are many people from different countries watching this video, and you help us all ((=

    and thanks, Nick! Always liked the openness of your approach to creativity 😀

  • Awesome tips dude!

    Can’t wait for more!!!

  • I’d like to see a tutorial in how to create “Make It better”
    interested in animation technique

    • Hello, i am also interested in the animation technique for the texts that you did for make it better, could you kindly show us?

  • It’s nice to see some more After Effects Tutorials. Great Job!!!

  • =)Please, there is really no need for you to worry about your eng. & Thank you for sharing great stuff!

  • new tut, cool

  • Thanks a lot. I didn’t knew about the index expression. Thats a great one.
    Personnaly when i use a slider control , i prefer to put it on a single top layer , easier to find it back.

  • why not using the echo fx instead ?
    sure it might be slower, but it is also more dynamic on the number, delay, alpha,… isn’t it ?

    • echo has a lot of limitations:

      works with frames not with variable values
      you can’t replace selected objects (layers)
      you don’t have the values of the objects (layers) to connect, parent or whatever you want to do

      and more negatives things. Echo works in another case, is very specific.


  • Excelente tuto!! gracias!! lo hubieras hecho en castellano jeje

  • Great tutorial. I love what this blog is turning into. Thanks Nick and Sebastian.

  • haha, don’t be rude with me, I will have to use that in the future. Your English is certainly better than my Spanish. Thanks for the tutorial, this is very useful.

  • Very nice, can’t wait to how I can implement this into a project.

  • Wonderful…. Thanks..

  • Vielen Dank.
    Thank you very much.
    This is a really cool way to make some organic things..

  • sebastian I’m very interested in know how did you do your work “I wear no underwear”… I ‘m not sure about the facial expressions…they are doing totally using animation 3d or It’s a mix between 2d and 3d?..thanks dude

  • Thanks so much! Great tip!

  • Sebastian should be recording some more tutorials. his style is superb. thanks mate

  • How did you do all 2D animation, I mean vector transitions.

    Did you use a lot of mask animation? I like the way how this words are transitioning.

  • Awesome! Thx

  • Thank you Nick for great web site!Thank you Sebastian for great tutorial!Make more tutorials for us:)

  • fi

    after effects again! 😀

    love it! great tut.

  • Great tutorial! It’s nice to see some after effects on GSG again!

    And your english was very good! Thank you for sharing!

  • Holy crap an AE totorial on GSG! It’s been like 4 months since we got one of these. I’m pretty excited! I hope we can see more soon!

  • Buenísimo, aparte de la flecha se usó la expresión en otro momento del video?
    Por cierto yo también hubiera usado Echo.

  • Excelente tuto y muy buen ingles, Sebastian. Groso total, seguí asi. Un abrazo

  • thx man, you’re tut is cool shit as Nick would say. thx again.
    i mtrying your technic on a sort of TRON tribute of my own, try to publish as soon as.

  • Quick, simple and very powerfull stuff! Thanks, Sebastian and Nick for posting!

    Your English were fine; as a non-native Englishspeaker myself I managed to follow without problem. Thanks again!

  • Buen tutorial Sebastian!! Ya hacía falta algo de after nuevamente!! Saludos!

  • question:

    when I attempt to keyframe the slider, some of the arrows (usually the ones near the end) lose their “auto-orient” and point 90 degrees right for a frame or two, then adapt back into their ‘auto orient’.

    any ideas why this is happening? anyone??

    • Yeah i am getting the same problem! I imported an arrow from illustrator then animated the position, did all stuff as Sebas explained and I got that issue too.

      I am not key framing the slider y just set the slider to -0.15 but still getting the arrows lose their orientation at the end of the animation.

      If someone can explain us what is happening would be awesome and helpful…..

      Thanks for this great Tip Sebas!

    • any help on this? i am getting the same issue.

  • Hola Sebastián!

    Primero tengo que decirte que la animación te a quedado padre, me encantan los movimientos tan fluidos. Como has logrado manejar las curvas del after effect? mira que no logro entenderlas por más que lo intento. Te seria posible explicar otra cosilla?! las mascaras de la animación las animaste a keyframe o creaste algún script con sliders para manejarlas? Me alegra que alguien mas hable español aquí ya me sentía solo :). Soy puertorriqueño de donde eres tu?

    Bueno no te quito más tiempo un millón de gracias por la inspiración y el conocimiento que compartes.

  • thanks for the tutorial. really great.

  • AWESOME!!!!! Now I want more…. =) Great Job with your english too!

  • muchas gracias Sebastian!

  • Hola Sebastian, yo hablo español ahora estoi estudiando ingles espero de aqui ha un año ya saber, para mi que acabo de entrar en este mundo de la animacion y el diseño eres un maquina en todo esto 😉

  • HI Sebastián! Nick!
    As always, interesting tutorial, very international, so far understandable, perhaps a bit further info about those expressions for those who are beginners with ” expressions”… anyway! the overall was impressive, simple and useful!

  • Cool! More after effects techniques please! : )

  • Love This, Nuts & Bolts type stuff.
    Ingredients are good to know.

  • Awesome! now how did you do everything else? Oh and look out for the PO-PO at 10:00!

  • great tutorial Sebastian !!! tu ingles es muy bueno simplemente sigue practicando… yo vivo en Houston Texas y si te sirve una alluda en saver los nombres de after Effects..yo estaria muy dispuesto en alludarte..por ejemplo ” la trajectoria es ” (the path ” ) sigue con el buen trabajo .grasias otra vez.. Martin

    • Gracias. Si que lo sabía, pero me salió apenas terminé de grabar. Hacer un tutorial es mas dificil de lo que parece. Hasta tengo mejor pronunciación en la vida real, pero estando un poco nervioso y teniendo que pensar tanto todo sale esto, jeje

  • Muy buena tecnica esa Sebastian, felicidades por el tutorial te ha quedado de PM


    i tried to apply your tut to letters
    see the result

  • Hey Sebastian,

    I like your speech, it’s easy to understand – even for a non-native-speaker like me 😉

    Could you make a tutorial of how to make some of these nice Texteffects?

  • Great tutorial Sebastian! Good work on your english as well ^_^ Would love to see more of your work as well as your make it better animation is very inspiring!

  • PLEASE do more tutorials on the more complicated animations in your piece!

  • Hey Sebastian,

    thanks for this tutorial. For me, coming from C4D its good to know, that this whole expression-thing is also as easy to use in After Effects as in Cinema.

    And you’re english is good 😉

  • A very good tutorial!
    The only critique is the language barrier, which kind of delays what would be easier for him to teach in Spanisch!
    Nevertheless, I really like that stuff!!!!
    Thanks for bringing him to the Gorilla Galaxy!


  • Sebastian, tengo que felicitarte por el video de Make it better porque realmente es impresionante! El tutorial me ha gustado bastante también, muy útil!

    The english barrier was kinda fun but completely understandable, so don’t worry about that! I’m actually from Barcelona and I can assure you it’s not very common around here for somebody to be able so speak properly in english like you did.

    btw, looking forward more tutorials, and ask Mr Casavecchia if he wants to say something about all this stuff too! You 3 making something together could be HUGE!

    Un saludo y un abrazo!


    pd. no pude determinar de donde eras porque casi no se te nota el acento!

    • Un Uruguayo con pasaporte Italiano pero que nunca fué a Italia, que vivió tres años en Barcelona y que ahora vive en Londres, eso soy… ¿no se me nota el acento?


  • Would love to see a tutorial on this in Cinema 4D using Xpresso. Haven’t been able to work out how to use the “History” node in xpresso yet, would love some help!


  • Please sir may I have another, another tutorial! Great stuff.

  • Great Tut! Thank you.

  • Hola GReY, Sebastian…
    La verdaD…MUY CONTENTO…que bueno tener algunos tutoriales en spanish (AYUDA A COMPRENDER).
    Una consulta…donde puedo ver mas sobres “expressions”??

    Te dejo un gran abrazo desde Argentina y MIL GRACIAS!!!


  • Grandioso Tuto Sebastian… Soy de Venezuela… y siento orgullo por ese talento tan grande que existe entre latinos… Como nos gustaria a la comunidad mas tutos tuyos de verdad que si…

  • Nick,
    I love you posting other people doing tutorials. It really does show that you have a real talent for the tutorials.

    Not to say these others aren’t good they just have a while to go before they reach Jedi level.

  • Clever use of expressions! Thanks for taking the time to post!


    any idea why keyframing the ‘Delay’ slider causes the arrow to change it’s ‘auto-orient’ status?

    it’s the only part of this otherwise awesome tut that’s puzzling me…

    • mmm… weird. I never use auto-orient in this cases, I just did it on this tutorial, I prefer to animate the rotation separately, you have more control. Sorry 🙁

  • hi sebastian. nice tut.

    are you rendering while you made this?? i can hear your machine taking off (like a aeroplane engine starting up)

    i thought it was my my mac at first, funny

    🙂 electricpalmtrees

  • That was an extremely handy tutorial man. Thanks very much for putting that together 🙂

  • Just yesterday I was watching every great piece from Sebastian’s site and what a surprise to come here today and see a tutorial from him. Grat tip dude, keep them coming.

  • Holly crap! I want more… please

  • Sebastián para presidente!

  • great tutorial, more simple short expression tutorials like this would be great!

  • good job buddy, here is what I have been doing from last week.


  • Great tip!
    It never occurred to me to use the layer number as a value.

  • nice tut

  • Muy buen tutorial! Y me gustó mucho el tip! Exito!

    Saludos desde Puerto Rico.

  • Que grande Sebas!!! con dos cojones 😀

  • Great tutorial, very useful and your English is ok . do proceed!

  • Thanks to Nick. thanks to Sebastian.
    Great trick for AE. Sometimes it needs to mix cinema with ae 🙂
    And very nice English, Sebastian.

  • Muy buen tuto Sebas… Espero subas mas… y si tienes algunos en español seria mucho Mejor… Saludos desde Honduras en Centro America XD

  • Te felicito por el video, timing perfecto !!
    Gracias por el tutorial ! Saludos de Colombia !

  • Great great great. Thank you so much or sharing thing. I love learning more about expressions and how to use them to smoothly animate. Great work to you both Sebastian and Nick.
    Keep the amazing coming.

  • buen trabajo sebastian, podrías hacer un tuto de las transformaciones que empiezan de 00:50 a 0:59 de “make it better”. o de una vez mandete un tuto de todo el video, jeje. felicitaciones y sigue adelante.
    saludos desde Ecuador.

  • hey sebastian, love the tutorials. I would love to see some more on other sections of your movie

    – the Text transition at the start – 0:17
    – transition from I’m – 0:26
    – the end resolve from 0:50 onwards

    Just my wish list, thanks for taking the time to show.

    By the way is the bit at 0:50 where the text changes to a pyramid just animating the points of the letters?


    • Hahaha, nice list.

      For the moment I just can promise the first one. I don’t know when exactly, but I’ll try to do it as soon is possible.

      The second one is just a lot of rectangles with De-sync (this tutorial), then you use this as a MASK and done.

  • This looks amazing, I’m definatly gunna have a go at this. My guess is that the majority of it is done through masks, clever keyframing and fancy fonts.

    I can’t work out how the light switch swinging is done at 00:35, anybody have any idea’s???

    muchos respect for anyone who can tell me.

    • Beam and Bend It

      You can connect ich points with expressions, easy 😉 Enjoy it!

    • Thanks for the advice Sabastian.

      I had a go at this and put it as the starter for my showreel. See it here

      To be honest the only thing I think I did right was the S at the end, that has your above tutorial applied to the scale. I didn’t realise you applied they same property to the M at 00:26 and other times. It all comes clear now! If I had another go I would definatly do it differently.

      Thanks again for the tutorial 🙂

  • Nice tut man! I really wanna see who you did the text shapeshifting at 0:17… Looks amazig…


  • Now, Life is much easy

  • Brilliant. Thanks so much. I love your clever use of expressions.

  • we like. we like a lot.

  • Ea, gracias por el tip, habia estado buscando como hacer este efecto hace tiempo, se agradece. Saludos de Mexico

  • la verdad es que tu ingles es lo que menos importa, bueno supongo que nadie se quedo con cara de o_O?????,porque lo que es de verdad importante es esta calidad de tutoriales que si nos enseñan algo aunque pequeño detalle o como sea pero si da un gran apoyo para nuestros proyectos. muchas gracias desde México y pues nada espero ver mas tutoriales de usted caballero y muchas gracias por los tips.

  • This one is much more effortless, just name your top layer as “leader” and apply this expression to the childs
    Also you can play with the delay value to get different results:

    //applyTo: position
    L = thisComp.layer(“leader”);
    delay = 1.5;
    timeToStart = 0;
    myDelay = (index – L.index)*delay;
    t = time – (timeToStart + myDelay);
    if (t > 0){
    delta = L.transform.position.valueAtTime(t) – L.transform.position.valueAtTime(timeToStart);
    value + delta

  • Welldone Sebastian, I’m looking for your next tutorial on Text Transforming

    thanks soooooooo

  • Great tutorial, many thanks! And your English is awesome (better than my Spanish at least, haha).

  • So cool. Wonderin how you did the transitions. Love to have a tutorial on your process of transitions and then an overview of how you’d do them.

    Look forward to more.

  • This is brilliant! So simple, but the results are so smooth. More tuts like this! 🙂

  • Super-awesome! Thanks for sharing.
    Please do a little tutorial on the text transition stuff.
    Pretty please.

  • Thanks for a great tutorial. Did you animate the original to the sound or was the sound design done afterwards?

  • geniales tutoriales aprendo mucho….

    podrían hacer tutoriales en español….

    gracias y exitos

  • Genial la info!!
    Muchas gracias por hacer este tutorial!!

    Saludos desde argentina!

  • Very useful….Thank you

  • Great tutorial! Great!
    I would like to see a tutorial about I am going do it better! Very nice! 🙂 Are you planning to do it?

    Thanks again!

  • Hey Sebas, muy buen tutorial, ahora quiero saber más. Me sentí demasiado identificado con tu espanglish, a veces me sucede lo mismo. Te felicito por la animación de “Make it better” it’s awesome.

  • Gracias !!!!

  • I would love to see a tutorial on that “make it better” animation 😛 anyways great tutorial mate!

  • Great tip sebastian.

    I wish we could see more of these kind of stuffs.

    Thank you nick for organizing this tut..

  • yes thats Amazing tutorial. What i have been finding from two Years. Thanks Greys for AfterEffect and which version did u used.
    Jobs in India and Pakistan

  • What font did he use at :17 in the example?

  • Buen tuto!

    ESPERAMOS MAS! Tu técnica es simplemente fascinante Sebastian!

    Felicitaciones y espero q sigas compartiendo tu conocimiento con la comunidad!


  • this tutorial is so awesome!
    thank you man!

  • Muy bueno Sebastián felicitaciones de un vecino argentino, estoy terminando de estudiar acá y pensando en q se viene después, sos un buen ejemplo a seguir y para saber q se puede dar un paso hacia otras experiencias.. como dicen por allá.. go to the next level!.. jeje abrazo y felicitaciones por el inglés tb!.. q tal barcelona con motion graphics o vfx ???.. alguna recomendación ??

  • Nice , Nice ? More Than Nice ? Thanks

  • This is great! Does anyone have an expression to control the opacity of all the layers to where they would all diminish inline?

  • jajaja “recorrido” jajaja Sebastian me encanto tu manera de explicar y siento que tu ingles lo entiendo mas jeje es enserio 😀 espero tenerte mas seguido aqui saludos desde México, este pequeño fan de los efectos visuales y los mothions graphics de apenas 17 años te admira desde hoy 🙂 espero algun día llegar a ser grande en este mundo tan fantastico.

  • Great tutorial. I will definitely use this in the future

  • hi Sebastian,
    this was a nice tutorial. I want learn the hard part of the video. like letters distorting and all that. the drop effects. They were really nice also. by the way. thanks
    Pritam Singh

  • thank you for a tutorial! very nice!!

  • Great little tutorial! Bien hecho! Very very clever way of controlling a simple repeated animation!

    Just curious, but did you use C4D to make the text? How did you make it? Great piece though. Very nice work. Saludos!

  • Sebastian,
    Thank you very much for this helpfull and cool trick/script!!!
    Love it, use it!!! And don’t worry about your English…. Love your accent 😉
    Best, Vince

  • This was very helpful. Thank you very much.

    P.S. Your English was great.

  • More tutorials like these please.
    Obviously love all the tutorials but some more from Seb would be great too

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