When it comes to software, there can be a dozen different ways to accomplish something, especially when it comes to tools in post. We all have our favorite ways of working. Some can be faster than others, but they all eventually reach the finish line. When you're first jumping into a program, the learning curve can be steep, and it's why tutorials are valuable. 

After Effects is one of those programs that can be daunting for beginners. It's a mix of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro all in one. Once you get a handle on it, creative possibilities are nearly endless.

After Effects is used by many as a way to create animated maps. The comp tools and layers allow you to easily navigate the project in a linear fashion. Creating animated maps is a topic Jason Boone has previously detailed using the Map Route Generator plugin, but what if you want to save the $38 and do it without any plugins? 

Filmmaker Brittney Janae has come up with her own method of animating maps that is a nice workaround. Take a look at her tutorial below and sync back up with us after the jump. 

Screen Capture Your Map 

The first thing you're going to want to do is screen cap your destination using your favorite maps website. By plugging in the address of the starting location and the destination it will give you the background you'll be working on.

After importing the map into After Effects, you can add graphics and text to the image highlighting the destination. Once the graphics are created, you'll want to nest the layers so that they are one composition.

To do this, you'll select everything, then right-click on the timeline and select pre-compose and create a title for the nest. 

Create the Animation 

To animate the map between the two destinations, you'll want to use the brush position tool and keyframes. Once the brush position tool is at the initial location, you can simply draw on the map using the tool, marking a keyframe each time you move the position.

As Janae points out, it might be "tedious," but it's effective. 

Layer Motion Effects

To add pop to the animation, you can add a zoom for effect. You can do this using the scale and position tools while placing keyframes to trigger the animation.

We like the approach of using keyframes. It's very old school, and everyone should be familiar with how keyframes work. Janae suggests adding Keyframe Assist>Easy Ease to the keyframes in order to create smoother transitions between the keyframes. 

Once your initial animation is complete, you can add other graphics to add more flavor like a car, destination stops, or have photos pop up along the way. 

Have any tips for animating maps? Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to check out Janae's other videos—she offers tons of helpful tips. 

Source: Brittney Janae