Review – Mamoworld’s Squash & Stretch for After Effects, A Keyframe Animation Assistant
Mamoworld’s Squash & Stretch Extension for After Effects serves as a full toolkit for animators wanting to add classic squash and stretch properties to their motion but without creating deformations by hand. The free version includes 10 behaviors while 61 are available in the Pro version. The developer Mathias Möhl, wanted to create a designer first motion tool:
“The great thing in Squash & Stretch, that I am really proud of, is that there are a lot of complex technical things going on to make sure behaviors look good no matter to which layer, comp size, etc. they are applied but the designer does not even need to notice all of that. It is all behind the scenes and wrapped into the most simple UI that I could come up with”
I created every motion in this example using only Squash & Stretch in a very short time. No additional keyframes were created, and should give you a basic idea of what you can achieve:
The download weighs in at 200mb and installs easily using the ZXP extension installer from aescripts. From there it’s a matter of selecting from Window > Extension which will take you to the main interface.
If you are looking for an existing frame of reference, it is similar to Animation Composer, where you’ll have a menu of preset behaviors that you can apply to the selected layer. Squash & Stretch however allows you to tweak many more attributes and since it creates keyframed animation via a bezier warp, you can still go in after the fact to adjust to your liking.
The preview window allows you to gauge how the changes to the sliders will affect the motion. One slider is the amount of squash and stretch, and the other controls the ‘oomph’ or how far the animation will go. You also have the ability to flip and rotate the behaviors before applying. And the animations created are not expressions, but bezier warp keyframes you can further adjust
Squash & Stretch aims to keep workflows fast with helper tools. The work area button will set your work area to the duration of the selected behavior (useful for visualizing the start/stop frames), will precompose any layers that require it, and also explode text into individual precomps for animation. Also included is a stagger layers tool to allow for quick distribution of animation.
The rundown: This tool is actually a very robust option for creating dynamic animations extremely quickly. Sometimes you need a way to create interesting motion but don’t have the time to build up from scratch every time, and deadlines are always king. Squash & Stretch is really a kit that, after spending some time with it, I think you’ll end up working into many projects. The price tag for the Pro version is $99. It’s well worth it and with a free version available you will want to give it a try.
Check out the store page on aescripts.com