Category Archives: Newton

apply a mask on an Illustrator layer in After Effects

Dealing with Illustrator files and shape layers in Newton

You may know that you can use Adobe Illustrator files with Newton for Adobe After Effects. You can do this by using different techniques like converting them into shape layers.

It’s important to know that the more your objects are complex, the slower your simulation will be.
Also, you won’t get better results if you use complex objects in your simulation. And by complex, we mean plenty of path vertices and detailed Bezier curves.

So, what are the best practices?

Use a mask


You can apply a mask to your Illustrator layer so Newton can interpret its outline correctly.
You can also use the auto-trace function of Adobe After Effects.
If you copy/paste the path from Illustrator, you should use before the “Simplify” and “Cleanup” function in Illustrator to have the most optimized shape.

Note that here, what’s inside the robot has been removed since we don’t need it for the simulation. The mask only cover the outline of the artwork.

apply a mask on an Illustrator layer in After Effects

Converting your Ai files to shape layers


You can convert your Ai file to shape layers.
But be sure to ONLY send to Newton what’s needed. You can simply hide the path or the groups that you don’t want to use in Newton and unhide them after the simulation is complete.
In this example, mouth and eyes are not needed for the simulation and will be unhidden after the simulation is complete.

Also, always try to simplify the transformation applied to your shapes. In most cases it is recommended to have the inner transform  of a shape (transform properties of groups for example) set to the default values and use layer’s transform instead.

Watch for self-intersecting shapes!


Newton prevents to load shapes and masks that have self-intersecting path or orphan vertex. It will warn you if one of the paths cannot be correctly interpreted. You’ll then have to manually modify it.
Be careful when working with paths created using tools like the cutter tool in Ai!

Creating proxy version
of your objects


Best pratice to use complex Ai vectors is to replace them by a less complex version of them and simply parent them to the original ones.
Just like in this breakdown.

Need more tips and tutorials?
Check our Learn page!

Tutorial: Textless effect

A tutorial to achieve the amazing effect where the content of a sign is falling drove by physics.

Tutorial: Fill-Mix-Flush using Newton3

A classic case of animation which uses physics intensely!


Our friends from Motion Café invited us on their show to talk about our history, our products and do some demos.

Newton2 and macOS 10.5 Catalina fix

So, you have upgraded to the last version of macOS 10.5 Catalina. But suddenly when you launch After Effects you get that message that tells you that you cannot run Newton.

Now, the bad news:  support has been dropped for Newton2.
The good news, you can still use it with macOS 10.5 Catalina, here’s how!

→You can use aescripts manager to install it and register

→Or you can go to your security preferences into macOS to allow Newton2 to run it (more info here):

– You have to launch Adobe After Effects and macOS will say that Newton2 is not signed.
-Click cancel
-Go to your security preference.
-MacOS will ask you if you want to run Newton2.
-Click Open Anyway


Note that if you have the same message with Newton3, you just need to download and update to the last version.

Or you can upgrade Newton and get up-to-date features!


Need more tips and tutorials?
Check our Learn page!

Tutorial: Textless effect

Remember the amazing “Textless” short by Gareth Smith & Jenny Lee?
Well, here’s our own tutorial that recreates the workflow to achieve this amazing effect where the content of a sign is falling drove by physics.
We are going to use Adobe After Effects, Mocha AE to track the sign and Newton3 for the physic simulation. Adobe Illustrator to vectorize the artwork and Adobe Photoshop to clean up the sign using the content aware tool.
That’s a lot of tools for an amazing result. But don’t worry, everything is going to be quite easy to do.

“Textless” by Gareth Smith & Jenny

If you need more in depth about the tracking with Mocha AE, check the great tutorial of Mark Christiansen at School Of Motion:

Get Newton for Adobe After Effects:

Link to the video used in this tutorial .

Get Rift for Adobe After Effects:

Music: Otis McDonald.

Want to ask something? Contact us!


Our friends from Motion Café invited us on their show to talk about our history, our products and do some demos. Finally, we had so much to say that we did 2 shows!
In the first we talked a lot about our history and Newton. Valentin was able to come back to the genesis of this product, show a little moment of history with the first video made with it and also the first version of our tool. We also have show more technical things as well as tips.

(Video is in french but you can use the subtitles option to translate it)

In the second show, we came back to Newton and in particular to the (new) skater’s setup. We then talked about Pastiche and LayerGenerator with new features, and we ended with a little tour of ConnectLayersPRO!

You can find these videos on the Motion Café Youtube channel.

Newton 3 is live!

We are happy release today Newton 3, the third version of our physics engine for Adobe After Effects!

Here’s a quick tour through the new features.

More info on the product page!

Newton 2.2 update

What’s new?


  • Fixed conflict with some Mocha-related extra plug-ins
  • Fixed numerous bugs with shape layers (including anchor point issues, incorrect interpretation of rotated shape)
  • Fixed bug with layers having 0%-scale at t=0
  • Fixed bug with Desired Length property of spring joint


  •  Completely rewritten shape layers code (shape transform properties are now correctly interpreted)
  • Adjusted GUI appearance to better match latest AE versions
  • Updated internal GUI library (from Qt4.8 to Qt5.6)
  • Tabbed docks/panels can now be moved by group (when multiple docks are nested)
  • UI Theme option removed (in prefs dialog)
  • Added new preference for Comp Bounds color
  • Added warning message when the scene contains a lot of polygons (> 2000),  that suggests to use the Use Convex Hull option
  • Replaced all dashed lines in the preview with solid lines (selected bodies and joints, gravity tool)
  • Added an informative message above the preview to inform the user when Newton is loading settings
  • Updated documentation
  • Added CC 2015, CC 2015.3 compatibility

Dropped support for AE CS5 and AE CS5.5
System requirements: mostly the same as the system requirements for AE CS6.
CS6 being the oldest supported version. On Mac: OSX 10.7 and later. On Windows: Windows 7 and later

Platform Specific Changes

Mac OS X

  • Dropped support for OSX 10.6. OSX 10.7 or later is required.


  • Added a setup for installing the plug-in and all required components

This update is FREE, you can download it from

Newton 2.1 update

We are happy to announce that we’ve updated Newton to version 2.1!

What’s new?

  • Settings are not tight to a composition anymore! We added a Load Settings dialog that allows you to choose between layerID (AE internal identifier, comp specific), layer index or layer name, when importing settings file.  In previous versions only layerID was used.
  • Randomizer: Allows you to randomize the value of mostly any settings in Newton.
  • Copy/Paste body settings
  • Copy/Paste joint settings
  • Loads of bug fixes
  • FREE

The  complete list of change can be found on Newton2’s product page on aescripts “version history”.

You can download the update from


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Tutorial : Balloons with Newton2

Tutorial : Balloons with Newton2

The final product:

Music: “Against My Will” by The Fisherman

You can download the AEP with Newton2’s settings (CS6 and above) here.

In this example, I wanted to illustrate the Gravity Scale feature in Newton2, and how we can use it to simulate flying balloons that interact with their environment.
Gravity Scale allows you to set a custom gravity per body.
I’ve used Connect Layers to represent the ropes attached to the balloons.

There’s no “Flying in the air” option in Newton, but you can somehow make objects fly if you use a negative Gravity Scale value!

balloons gravity scale

You need to tweak some parameters to make it look correct: for instance, balloons have lower density and higher bounciness coefficient. I’ve also increased the Linear Damping value to fake air resistance.


To add a sense of depth in the animation, I’ve used the Collision Group feature: the pink and green balloons collide with each other, but ignore the orange balloon. The little squares that simulate the ropes can only collide with the walls.


I’ve animated the hand graphics using AE’s Motion Sketch. I wanted the ropes to start from a unique point, but animated freely when the hand releases them. I’ve simply parented the start point of 2 ropes to the animated one. Then in Newton, I’ve chosen the Kinematic body type for all start points. At the end of keyframes animation, when bodies become dynamic, ropes move independently!


Creating the ropes was made easy by the use of the Rope feature of Connect Layers. You just need to select the reference objects, and hit Rope.

balloons Connect Layers


One common mistake is to forget to place the anchor point of your objects to the desire place, where the rope must pass through. You usually think about this after creating the keyframes in Newton. To solve this, create a null object, place it appropriately, and parent it to the reference object. Then choose the null instead of the reference object for creating the rope.

balloons null connect layers

Download test scene





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Create Soft body using Newton2 and Connect Layers.

Some more experimentations on creating soft body using Newton2 and Connect Layers….

Inspired by the work of Lok Fu, we conducted some tests to create soft bodies using Connect Layers (for another technique that makes use of the puppet tool, see the tutorial from ‘Tercel’).


The final product:

music : Robgroove – Mashed up walking home in the dark //

You can download the AEP (CS6 and above) and Newton2 settings file


Newton2 Soft Bodies demo aep


The basic idea is to create the outline of the soft body with simple objects (e.g., box, circle), and connect them with soft joints.
Make sure that the anchor point of these objects are layer-centered.
We set up different joint rigs in Newton that create different behaviors for the soft bodies.

The first circle behaves like a bubble. We created a circular chain of distance and piston joints.


The second one resembles to a soft ball. We used a circular chain of pivot joints, and distance joints as spokes.


And don’t forget to rise the Sub-steps value in the Solver panel to produces a more accurate simulation!


Finally, the key is to activate the “closed” rope feature in Connect Layers.



Breakdown : Landor Chinese New Year Card 2014

Create soft bodies that react to a predefined animation using Newton2 and Connect Layers.

Motion Designer Lok Fu show us how he rigged the head and the neck of his horse using Newton2 and Connect Layers.

The final product:

Some animation tests:

02. Launch Newton, use the pivot joint to connect the body, neck and face (all the boxes). And tick the “Enable Limit” box, set the lower and upper angle to control the amplitude of those elements. Then tick out the same group from the “Collide With” box to make sure the boxes won’t affect each other.


01. First, animate the BODY (the boxes will follow the animated shape)


03. Turn the BODY to Kinematic to use the animation done in After Effects in step 1.


04. And let the neck and face Rock the world…


05. Finally simply just use Connect Layers to connect the boxes to create the smooth neck and the face.

The image above show how the horse reacted with the environment using Newton. But In the very beginning I just had no idea how to make the boxes looks smooth, then I’ve tried Connect Layers. The hair are done with Trapcode – Particular.

About the deformed circles.

The circles is created by a lot of little boxes, and all linked by the distance joint. The key is to set all the boxes anchor point at the same location, and set them as AEmatic bodies, so that they can be deformed by the horse because of the AEmatic tension. Also all the boxes will affect by each other via the distance joints to make the circle looks smooth. Finally use connect layers to connect all the boxes to create the circle outlook. The attached screen shot is the Newton setting, and you can see the testing result from the CNY14 testing animation (at 1″27).


Thanks Lok Fu!


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