This is my first go at asking a video production related question...

I have a programming / data science background.

I have about 30,000 spatial co-ordinates (i.e x , y coordinates) These have come into existence over about 15 years. I want to animate this.

So, I need a programmatic approach - there are just too many points.

Also, when each point appears...I want it to initially appear at say 100% opacity and then over about 15 frames fade to about 30% opacity.

What tool is the best to do this in...?

I am not sure if After Effects has sufficient programatic control..?

What about Flash..? (i.e Adobe CC Animate).

Eventually, I want this animated series of points to be a layer and I will stick it on top of a base map. And do some other stuff. So eventually, the layers will be composited in After Effects.

What tool should I use to create this animation...?




3 Answers 3


I would do this in Blender, which uses Python as a scripting language. This gives you a powerful way to "fly" through the data as it animates.

If you are happy with just a static perspective of the map with the points being animated, R has an extraordinary range of graphing capabilties that can be used to generate animations.

  • Thanks MT. I have a Maya license. I was thinking of using this but the result will be in 2D not 3D.... May 28, 2016 at 22:22
  • Yes, R is pretty cool. But eventually I want the output in HD video. At the moment...I am thinking that Adobe Animate CC might be the best. May 28, 2016 at 22:23

I often use Processing for simple graphics or scripting projects, which would be difficult to achieve with After Effects expressions. If you prefer coding in C++ to Java, you could look at OpenFrameworks which is a similar tool. Both are designed to make it easy to experiment visually while using the data processing tools of a coding environment.

tomh mentioned the GeoLayers plugin for After Effects but, while it's a really nice tool, I'm not sure it's designed to deal with data sets like yours.


I would look at the After Effects plugin GeoLayers, or if you need something more advanced, maybe DEM Earth in Cinema4D instead.

  • Thanks very much @tomh I had a look at the plugs ins and their awesome. But I am not sure whether they will help me solve my specific problem. Basically, at a particular time (say 13 secs 24 frames) I want a specific point (say x = 13, y = 130) to display a dot. Ideally, this do would have some type of basic animation such as fade in / fade out. All this needs to be done programmatically as there will be perhaps 100,000 points. Jun 15, 2016 at 21:39
  • @markthekoala, AE scripts (basically it's JS) are not limited to expressions. I wrote a simple point coordinates exporting script back in the day. Surely you can implement the reverse problem. The only open question is can AE handle 30000 layers in one composition.
    – Sergey
    Nov 4, 2016 at 17:11

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