Here’s a little test of Newton – the physics engine for After Effects (almost a snip at €179 from motionboutique.com).
I wondered how easy it would be to build a quick pinball simulation – so I threw together some pretty crude shapes in Illustrator, pasted them on to an After Effects layer and let Newton do the rest. It automatically splits each mask on to individual layers (if you choose to) and allows you to set all kinds of properties for each object (friction, bounce, angular and linear damping etc).
I did cheat the flippers a bit, which in the original project were just flapping about like crazy using wiggle expressions. Tweaking them for the few collisions is the only post-Newton fiddling that’s gone on. Oh, apart from tilting the whole thing in 3D and putting auto-orient towards camera on the ball. The important thing here is that the motion of the ball is entirely automatic and probably next to impossible (or at least mind-numbingly tedious) using traditional keyframing.
Anyway, here’s the result.