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Creating a falling leaf effect

Posted: Mon May 24, 2004 11:15 am
by malex
Posted by Dan Ebberts on AE List June 18 2003

A falling leaf can be a pretty complicated simulation - sometimes they just
fall gently, sometimes they do barrel-rolls, sometimes glide back and forth, or
any combination. These expression roughly simulate the glide back and forth
variation. I tried this on a 3D solid positioned above the camera view,
oriented with Z pointing down and Y pointing in the positive Z direction
(orientation [90,0,0]).

Then I added these three expressions:


yVelocity = 200; //pixels per second
oscFreq = 1.5; //oscillations per second
oscDepth = 35; //oscillation depth (pixels)
drift = 25; // drift (wind?) (pixels per second: - = left, + = right)

value + [oscDepth*Math.sin(oscFreq*Math.PI*2*time) + drift *time,




oscFreq = 1.5;
maxTilt = 15; //degrees


If you edit the parameters, you need to make sure that the oscillating
frequency is the same in both the position and y-rotation expressions (or map
it to a slider control). If you wanted to apply this to a bunch of leaves,
you'd want to introduce some randomness into the various parameters along with
a random starting phase.

Re: Creating a falling leaf effect

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:48 pm
by radiotvpro
Even though this post was 14 years ago it was still very useful to me and my current project, with one reservation: I can't see how to stop the falling leaf 's motion so it comes to rest on the floor I've created in AE.  I'm not really very familiar with expressions but usually at the copy-and-paste stage right now.  Could you give me an idea on how I might stop this animation at a precise frame so that the leaf does not continue through the floor but stops, producing a shadow.  Thanks for the inspiration.  I really must learn expressions!