Expression Session

Master Expressions in After Effects!

Expression Session will teach you how to approach, write and implement expressions in After Effects. Over the course of 12 weeks, you'll go from rookie to seasoned coder. By the end of this course, you will have all of the foundational knowledge you need to be able to write, understand, and use Expressions in After Effects to improve your daily workflow.

Course Duration
12 Weeks
Software
After Effects
Verified Credential
Advanced Expressions in After Effects
Next Session Starts:
October 10, 2022
Next Session Starts:
As soon as you register
Enroll NowNotify MeLearn More

Cohort-based learning

Exercises & Project Files for Every Lesson

Technical & Creative Support Along the Way

Verified Credential Upon Course Completion

Course Overview

Expressions are the secret weapons of After Effects. They can automate repetitive tasks, build flexible rigs for animators, and open up creative new solutions that are difficult or even impossible with keyframes alone. If you use After Effects and want to advance into a whole new level of creative problem-solving, you need to learn Expressions…and there are no better teachers than Zack Lovatt and Nol Honig.

Expressions are lines of code that can be used to create all kinds of automations and tools right in After Effects. Some of these can be generated easily by visually linking—or Pickwhipping—different properties to each other, while others may be entered manually, almost like a short computer program. Even if you’ve never written a single <line of code> before, we’ll have you hacking the mainframe in no time. By the end of this course, you will have all of the foundational knowledge you need to be able to write, understand, and use Expressions in After Effects to improve your daily workflow.

Course Outcomes
Learn coding language that will enable you to write powerful expressions
Discover expressions that you can use right away, and more to inspire future work
Demonstrate your new workflow with an expression-boosted animation

What You'll Learn

Each week is jam-packed with intense learning. While you have some flexibility in how you tackle your workload, the course is curated in a specific order. We build up foundations that support more and more advanced techniques with lessons to practice your new skills along the way.

Week 1
Day 1
You'll Learn:
What Expressions can (and can't) do.
The basic lingo of expressions.
How and where to apply your code.

Get acclimated to the structure of Expression Session. This course is unique not only because of the nature of teaching code, but also because we have two instructors teaching at the same time. You will start out by learning the basics of expressions: what they are and why you want to learn about them. You will also learn some general coding best practices that you will use through the entire course. Finish the week with a simple exercise to get you started using expressions!

Week 2
Day 2
You'll Learn:
Different looping methods
The ins and outs of the wiggle() function
How to manipulate text layers

In this first week, you will learn the foundations of good code. Discover slider controls, which are some of the coolest and simplest ways to control a rig with expressions. We will even tackle some basic math. After that, you’ll explore functions, such as Wiggle and loopOut, and how those work.

Week 3
Day 3
You'll Learn:
How variables work
How to reference & manipulate properties
The value of valueAtTime()

It’s time to work through some very important coding foundations: variables and properties. Once you learn about these code components, you will start building more complex rigs and using more expression controls than just the slider. Then it’s time to learn about If/Else statements which unlock a new world of possibilities by allowing you to add different options to your code (like If this check box is on then make this Wiggle). You will also learn how to apply code to different effects and be able to stack to create complex visual looks all controlled by a single check box.

Week 4
Day 4
You'll Learn:
How to not fear math
Useful trigonometry
Oh my! Here comes Pi!

It’s time for a Math lesson. That's right. Math. Code is math, and while a lot of artists tend to shy away from it, knowing some basic mathematics can help you a lot in your MoGraph work. In this first Catchup Week, take the opportunity to study some very basic math, and also hear from a Mographer who turned to the Dark Arts of Code and all things math to help improve their workflow.

Week 5
Day 5
You'll Learn:
How to randomize things
Using linear() to map values
Automating multiple elements

Meet linear(), your new best friend. It is like a great translator. It allows you to take one type of value and turn it into another type of value, such as position into scale. While this may sound abstract when it's typed out, mastering this powerful concept unlocks another level of possibility with your code. After that, you’ll learn about how Random works with expressions and code.

Week 6
Day 6
You'll Learn:
Manipulating strings
Automating layouts using code
Working with CSV and JSON files

Now that we've got the foundations down, it's time to start having some fun. During this week we'll focus on all things text. You will build dynamic, easily changeable lower thirds and learn how to turn them into Mogrt templates. You will then take a look at Master Properties in After Effects. After that, we'll get into deeper text subjects and look at how you can build a rig that takes boring old data from a spreadsheet and turns it into something stylish in After Effects.

Week 7
Day 7
You'll Learn:
How far can you take automation?
Examples of MoGraph Automation

This week is another Focus Week, giving you time to catch up if you need it. You'll also learn about automation options for Motion Designers who can code.

Week 8
Day 8
You'll Learn:
Converting to / from comp, world, layer space
Basic usage of loops
Triggering animation with markers

This week we get into coordinate space transforms. Sexy, I know. In this final week of foundational lessons, you’ll learn about loops in code, and then move on to learning about the different coordinate systems in After Effects. These topics are more advanced than anything that we've talked about so far in this course, and are the final foundational pieces that you will need before your final project.

Week 9
Day 9
You'll Learn:
How to plan out a big project
Creating master project controls
Advanced expression techniques

It's time for the final project. You will take all of the knowledge that you’ve learned over the past few weeks and apply it to the ultimate Fake UI project. Zack and Nol have some tips and tricks along the way in their last two lessons to help set you up for success with this last assignment.

Weeks 10-12
You'll Learn:
Extended Critique Period

The final 3 weeks of class are Extended Critique. You can use this time to catch up, complete your final project, then turn it in for critique.

What You'll Get

School of Motion courses are custom-built to provide you with an unmatched learning experience. We want you to actually enjoy logging into your classes, and we’ve designed our programs to be the most effective form of online education out there. In every course, you’ll get:

Cohort-Based Learning

Join artists from around the world on our custom learning platform. Never learn alone, as you’ll have immediate access to a forum of fellow students to share work, ask questions, and improve together. 

Exercises & Project Files for Every Lesson

Each course comes packed with free project files, assets, and additional material to keep you learning and growing long after the course ends. Our exercises are designed from real world briefs, so you’re learning the skills you need to excel on your next project or venture.

Technical & Creative Support Along the Way

You’ll be assigned a Teaching Assistant with years of experience in your chosen course. They’ll provide technical and creative feedback to guide you through new skills, improve your techniques, and provide encouragement along your journey. 

Verified Credential Upon Course Completion

Completing a course isn’t just about bragging rights. Once you’ve completed at least 70% of your work in a given course, you’ll earn a verified credential that can show current and future employers exactly what you’ve accomplished.

Permanent Access to Course Material

We all need a refresher now and again, which is why you’ll keep access to your course—and all the assets and project files—for the rest of your life. Come back to listen to exclusive interviews, review old lessons, and try out new techniques using your old assets.

An Expansive Alumni Community

You’ll gain instant access to our alumni platform, The Square. Here you can network with professional artists at every stage of their career. You’ll get access to new job opportunities and exclusive alumni events, such as meetups, virtual hangouts and reel reviews. 

Upcoming Course Dates

Enroll Now

Our cohort-based leaning program runs on a designated schedule, so you’ll always have a group of like-minded artists working alongside you for support and encouragement. We offer multiple sessions each year, so choose the best start date for you and get ready to go!

October 10, 2022
Fall 2022
Course Starts:
As soon as you register
Course Duration
12 Weeks
Enroll By
October 13, 2022
Always Open
Enrollment Options
Pay all at once
$997

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Full Price
$997
Pay all at once

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Full Price
$348
3 payments of
$348

One payment now, two more 30 and 60 days from now = $1044.

3 payments of

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Free Course
This one's on us!
January 9, 2023
Winter 2023
Course Starts:
As soon as you register
Course Duration
12 Weeks
Enroll By
January 12, 2023
Always Open
Enrollment Options
Pay all at once
$997

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Pay all at once

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Full Price
$348
3 payments of
$348

One payment now, two more 30 and 60 days from now = $1044.

3 payments of

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Free Course
This one's on us!
April 10, 2023
Spring 2023
Course Starts:
As soon as you register
Course Duration
12 Weeks
Enroll By
April 13, 2023
Enrollment Options
Pay all at once
$997

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Full Price
$997
Pay all at once

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Full Price
$348
3 payments of
$348

One payment now, two more 30 and 60 days from now = $1044.

3 payments of

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Free Course
This one's on us!

Course Instructor

Zack Lovatt & Nol Honig

Between the two of them, Nol Honig and Zack Lovatt have a combined 30 years of experience in the field of motion design. As a freelance technical director for some of the biggest studios in the world and the creator of After Effects tools like Explode Shape Layers and Flow, Zack brings the technical expertise necessary for the subject of expressions. As the creative director for The Drawing Room and distinguished teacher at the Parsons School of Design, Nol brings his years of industry experience and teaching know-how to the table. The combination of their two skill-sets (often referred to as “Zol”) is a force to be reckoned with.

Our alumni are hired by companies like

Megumi Ikeda
Video Editor
“School of Motion courses provided me with the skills and feedback that my school couldn't provide. I wouldn't have gone viral or landed my internship without their in-depth courses.”
Justin Peterson
Motion Designer
“The decision to take Animation Bootcamp from School of Motion was a life changer. I have turned my passion of motion graphics into my career.”
Deanna Reilly
Animator & Illustrator
“School of Motion courses quickly reignited my passion for animation and helped me launch my career in an exciting new direction.agency”
Leigh Williamson
Illustrator & Animator
“I'm more confident, more relevant, more equipped, better connected and close to my goals since School of Motion entered my life.”
Join our growing community of over
15,000+ Alumni

FAQs

How do I know if this course is right for me?

Expression Session is for students with an intermediate level of skill with After Effects. If you want to improve your animation workflow, this course will be a great fit. You'll learn how to use expressions to create all kinds of automations and tools right in After Effects. By the end of this course you will have all of the foundational knowledge you need to be able to write, understand, and use Expressions in After Effects to improve your workflow.

What are the prerequisites?

We recommend that you have an intermediate level of skill with After Effects and feel confident in the software. Check out After Effects Kickstart and Animation Bootcamp before taking this course on.

One to two years of industry experience is recommended but not required before taking this course.

What is the required software?

Required Software

After Effects CC 2019 (16.0.1 or Higher).

Recommended Software

Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 (20.0.0 or Higher).

Adobe Illustrator CC 2019 (23.1.0 or Higher)

Will I Need Plugins or Scripts?

Nope! Everything you need to have to complete this course comes in your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

What is the course format?

Expression Session is an 12-week course. Lessons become available at a specific time each week but you can watch them and do your work whenever it is convenient for you. The lessons include pre-recorded videos, podcasts, PDFs and assignments with working files.

All student work is critiqued by our highly trained Teaching Assistants. School of Motion TA's are professional Animators with real life experience in the industry.

During the course you will be invited to a private classroom that contains all of the  students and Teaching Assistants in your session. This is a great tool for connecting, asking or answering questions, sharing thoughts or insights, and winning cool contests!

How much time do I need to commit?

Expression Session is a 12-week course. You'll have the flexibility to watch the course content and complete your course work on your schedule. However, you can expect to commit at least 15 - 20 hours per week on course material. The video lesson are 1-2 hours in length. There are 13 assignments total. Assignments are typically assigned on Mondays and Thursdays with soft deadlines the next day. We have designated catch-up weeks built into the schedule so students have extra time to complete their assignments if needed. There is also an extended critique add-on for those that want more time with a Teaching Assistant after the 12-week course or need more time to complete assignments towards earning a credential.

Do I get a certificate at the end of the course?

Yes, if you complete, submit, and have 70% of your course assignments approved by your Teaching Assistant you will be eligible for a Course Credential through Credly. With your Credly Course Credential, you can share your accomplishments across your social networks, the blockchain, or to print out yourself.

Can I access my course content after the course ends?

Yes! Once you complete Expression Session, you’ll have lifetime access to all the course lessons and materials, so you can revisit them whenever you like. Also, if we make any changes to Expression Session following your session, you’ll automatically receive access to the latest version.

Please note: Video critiques change each session, so you’ll only have access to the video critiques during the session you're enrolled in. The written critiques you receive in your homework locker as well as the classroom content will also remain available to you forever!

Are you interested in learning more?
We can help! But first we need to learn a little more about you. Submit the form below to get the full course syllabus and more information on the course.