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.

Class Start Date:

October 10, 2022

Session Duration:

12 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

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12 Weeks

of video lessons,

podcasts, guides, community
and critique from pros!


What Expressions can (and can't) do.

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!

Different looping methods

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.

How variables work

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.

How to not fear math

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.

How to randomize things

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.

Manipulating strings

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.

How far can you take 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.

Converting to / from comp, world, layer space

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.

How to plan out a big project

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.

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.

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Better than in-person training

School of Motion courses are unlike anything you've ever experienced. Along with world-class training, you'll also get 1-on-1 feedback from an industry pro, a 24/7 network of likeminded artists, and more support than you'll know what to do with.

Over 17,000 artists have taken School of Motion courses, find out what all the hype is about.

What makes us different?

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 and 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 and 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 materials

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.

A world-wide 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. 

Meet your 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.

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Our no-risk money back policy

We want to make sure you have a positive learning experience with us, so for any session based course you're enrolled in, you can request a refund up until the end of Week 3 of the course

Class Start Date:

October 10, 2022

Session Duration:

12 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

Register Now

Join over 17,000 alumni around the globe

Frequently Asked Questions

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!

You will not recognize your work when class is over.

Our courses have been meticulously designed to simulate real-world situations so that you're learning best-practices from day one. You'll be challenged, supported, and celebrated by your fellow artists as you level-up in real-time.

Are you ready to take the next step in your career?

Class Start Date:

October 10, 2022

Session Duration:

12 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

Register Now