What, exactly, are the differences between the documentation and what you are seeing?
Twice I tried to update and manage to lose everything, here goes # 3
From the help page
1) For example, select a vertical grayscale gradient layer (black on top, white on bottom) from the Gradient Layer 1 menu, and then select Intensity 1 from the X Rotation Source menu
A) There is no Gradient Layer from the New Layer Menu, so I create a new Solid Layer to start from
B) Then I ADD a Gradient Overlay from the Layer styles menu
C) Then I add the Card Dance Effect to the layer
D) Now I have a Gradient Layer 1 Choice in my Card Dance menu, but there is no "Vertical Grayscale Gradient Layer" choice
There is an "Intensity 1 ' in the X Rotation, so I make this choice.
2) If you want half of the cards in a layer to come in from the right, and the other half to come in from the left, create a gradient layer that is half black and half white. Set the gradient as the source for X Position, and set X Position Multiplier to 5, and animate it to 0
A) There is no "Gradient" Choice as a source for the X position
If you use a gradient overlay or generate a gradient from effects then you must pre-compose the layer before Card Dance can use the gradient information on the layer to displace the grid. If you use a shape layer with a Gradient fill or an image or even a video you will not have to pre-compose. This is a render order thing. The Card Dance plug-in needs to see the different color values to displace the grid but the gradient effect and the gradient fill layer style are calculated after Card Dance has looked at the layer so no displacement is produced. Pre-composing solves this problem because the gradient values are generated before Card Dance has had a chance to refer to the layer.
Here is a simple project with a shape for the gradient layer. I put a 50% gray bar at the bottom and set a black to white radial gradient in the center. This will distort the Card Dance layer pushing the black to the back and pulling the white to the front in Z. I also used X and Y scale to give a little space between the cards.
This is what the Shape Layer looks like:
You can see that the cards are pulled into the shape of a cone with the 50% gray bar representing no displacement.
So you can play with the controls here's a CC project for you to mess around with: Dropbox - CardDanceBasics.aep
NOTE: Dropbox will add a .txt extension to the file name if you just click and save. Delete the .txt and the AEP file will open just fine. You can avoid this on most browsers by right clicking and selecting the Save AS or Download Linked file as option.
That is a beauty Rick Gerard, let me play around with that for a while
Rick I was able to use the file you dropped for me, I immediately liked it and I immediately put it to work as a background for my video I was working on
I am still not sure what the correct process is for creating the gradient layer. I used the shape layer and then added a Gradient overlay. Is that the correct way to do it. I also tried making one (card dance from scratch) like yours from scratch and I was unable to get the card dance going. I am going to try it again now that I finished the video.
You cannot use gradient overlay and less you pre-compose. You have to fill your shape layers with the gradient to avoid that. Take a close look at the gradient layer in my sample comp by selecting it and pressing the u key twice. You will see what I mean.
Rick Gerard I am again getting very frustrated trying to do a simple FILL in After Effects. One help file told me you have to use the add tool to add gradient and another told me to use the fill tool like you have in Photoshop menus. I don't have either of these tools visible on my screen. Where are the tools I need to add gradient.
In the pic below I added a shape and then tried to fill it with gradient and I can not find a tool to do this!!!
This is what my screen looks like
You need to study up on Shape Layers. You have added a gradient stroke. You want to add a gradient fill. Up in the tool bar you will see fill options. Or you can delete the gradient fill and the fill from your rectangle and click the little add button and add a gradient fill.
Please type Shape Layers in the Search Help field at the top right corner of AE and you'll be directed to a ton of resources.
Rick I think I finally got it. I had seen those help files before but I got to be honest, I like the video tutorials better. One of the help files pointed me to a video and I found how you get the tools for add gradient I was looking for. I also noted something else. I have times when After Effects is not responsive. It appears to be working but not all functionality is there. For instance when I added a shape and then applied a gradient, I then selected the "Selection Tool" to adjust the size of the gradient. The tool was there sometimes and sometimes not. Then when it was there I would drag to expand the gradient and the tool was unresponsive. Out of frustration, I closed out the application and restarted it, then the functionality began working as it was expected it to work. When I noticed this was a work around, I began restarting After Effects when I was having functionality problems. I am sure this is not what you want to hear, it is very frustrating when you are learning. I don't know if this is my machine or the application. But it is worth noting..