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Create a linear wipe, quantise its "steps" with a Mosaic effect or an expression, turn it into a circe using Polar Coordinates and use it as a matte.
Are you new to AE? Do you have any experience creating effects of animating layers? This is can easily be duplicated using shape layers and glow effects. Shape layers have additional animators you can apply like repeaters. The glow can be achieved with only a couple of duplicates of the shape layer, some fast blur and the add or screen blend mode.
Here's a quick step by step.
- Press the Q key until you get the Ellipse tool
- Make sure you have the fill set to a color you want and the stroke is set to your liking
- Draw a small circle anywhere in the comp frame
- Press the U key to quickly reveal all modified properties of the layer
- Look for Ellipse Path 1 size - set that to 25
- Look for fill color and set a keyframe
- Look for Ellipse Path 1 > Transform > Position and set the X and Y values to 0 and -300
- Find the Add button just above the Blend Mode property in the Modes column and select Repeater
- Move to the repeater and set the Transform Repeater > Position to 0,0
- Set the Transform Repeater > Anchor Point to 300
- Set the Transform Rep[eater > Rotation to about 8º
- Adjust the Repeater Copies and the Repeater Offset to give yourself the number of lights you want. Animate number and offset to make the lights rotate around the center of the comp
That should get you there ring of lights. Now either add something like Glow. Set a keyframe for Color, move down the timeline and set another keyframe. You're done. If you want to animate color changes then you can set keyframes. Animate offset to get the circle of circles to move. That's all there is to it. Now just add your glow effects.
Thank you so much Rick! This is exactly what I was looking for! Your explanation is simply brilliant and works fine for me. I'm not a pro in AE but experienced in animating user interfaces. From now on I want to learn more about creating realistic effects like those flickering LEDs…