Creating an Interactive Mindmap

This is going to be one of the coolest mindmaps ever!


Today we will use Photophop and After Effects to create a Mindmap. This mindmap will be highly interactive. It will have sound que’s before you speak as well as have the elements come in with little pop noises. The pop noises are the sound que’s for when you begin speaking about the part that just popped in. I will give you an idea of what I mean in THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO. I created this mindmap for a school project and decided to make a tutorial on  it. I didn’t want to make a regular mindmap with no interactivity because the project required me to give a presentation along with it. I will only be covering the making of the mindmap here. The thank you outro uses Element 3D as well as some elements from the Red Giant VFX suite. I plan on making a different tutorial to cover those later on. I hope you find this useful.

Downloading the Assets

Since I use Adobe Stock that is where I got my mind map. However not everyone has an Adobe stock subscription so I will provide links to a free one. The same goes for my background music and the pop sound effects. I also have a subscription to Envato. So that is where I got my sound effects from. I  will provide a link to some FREE sound effects and music. Of course you’re going to have to plan out what content goes into you’re mindmap but this will help you make something striking for your audience.

Here is the link toTHE MINDMAP. You will have to sign up for pngtree but they give you 2 free assets a day. I recommend downloading the ai file as it will give you full control over editing the colors and positioning. I will briefly explain that in the next section. Here are some links to SOME FREE MUSIC. As well as SOME FREE SOUND EFFECTS. Finally A link to a WEBBED BACKGROUND LAYER. So you can achieve something very close to what I have here. Go ahead and download the assets. Then we’ll get started with the tutorial on the mindmap.

Using an ai file gives us more control opposed to using a png file. What if the mindmap has too many circles for our plan? Or what if we don’t like the colors? Well that’s why we downloaded the ai. Open up illustrator and load the mindmap file provided from the link above. I will briefly explain how to edit the colors and positioning of some of the elements to give you an idea.

Let's start with Illustrator


Setting the Canvas

Let's get illustrator opened up. Unzip the mindmap into your desired folder and drag and drop the ai file into Illustrator. Next select File, new set the value to pixels and set the values to 1920px wide by 1080px high. We are using these values because this mindmap will be used for our live presentations. Most likely on a 1920x1080 screen. Set the color mode to RGB and the raster effects to 72 ppi. Press the blue Create button. This will be shown in image #1. Now lets get our mind map assets into our new canvas. Click on the tab containing the file with the mindmap. Press v on the keyboard to ensure the selection tool is selected. Left mouse press, hold and drag around the entire artboard. This will set a blue bounding box around everything in the document. Click and drag within the middle and drag all of the elements into the new document tab we just created. Image #2 will show you what things should look like. Notice the blue bounding box around everything. This will allow us to scale everything to suit our needs better. While holding shift drag the outer edges of the bounding box inwards. Holding shift while doing this will scale it smaller proportionally. Click in the grey area outside the artboard to set things once you are happy with the size. Don't forget to save your file. Mine looks like image #3.

Positioning the Elements

Since I used a different ai file when I created my original mindmap. You are going to have to get creative with the file I provided you and come up with your own colors and styles. What I have done will be shown in image #1. I re named my layer to mindmap. Next let's create a new layer and call that one background. In the layers panel drag this layer below the mindmap layer. Next drag and drop the webbed background file onto this layer and scale it to your liking. Make sure the made by pngtree logo at the bottom is not within the artboard so you don't have to remove it later on. You don't have to scale it proportionally the whole time. Play around with it and make it look good. Check out image #2 for an example.

Now lets export this for photoshop. Select file, export, export as. Select JPEG or PNG from the list in the options dropdown and save it to your desired location. Next we’ll be getting into photoshop to add in the content for our mindmap. After that we will take everything into after effects and animate it.

We could have just designed our entire mindmap in Illustrator. Then used that in after effects. But because we will be using images. Photoshop is better since we can utilize it’s masking tools. Also exporting a png file is quicker in photoshop. This will make things a little easier for us since we will be using png files a lot here. From here on out I will be using the file from in the youtube video. You will just have to follow along with what you have. I will do my best to guide you through the process.

Now on to Photoshop.


Creating Our Layout

First start by opening photoshop. Press file new. Create a document 1920x1080 pixels, 72 pixels/inch 8 bit color mode. Press the blue create button. Then drag and drop your mindmap jpeg into the artboard. Make sure it is centered and sized to fit. My mindmap will be in image #1. I turned off all my layers to give you an idea what it will look like. Now lets use fill out mindmap with content. Use the type tool to create your text elements. Make sure you choose a color that will both match and be easy to read. I chose white text. For any images use masking techniques like we learned in the meme tutorial. You can also use the layer styles techniques from the meme tutorial to create a unique header. Mine is shown in image #2.

Prepping for After Effects

Now you want to create a new folder. This will make sure these images don't get mixed up with all of the other ones. Turn off every layer except 1 layer. Image #3 is an example if I wanted to save my header layer only. Save the file as a png. Do this for every single layer. Don't worry if you used white text and it looks like it isn't there. This will be fixed once we go into After Effects. Once you are done your folder should look something like mine in image #4. If you saved your psd somewhere else that is ok. We won't be using that in After Effects.

Alright. Now we’re ready to have some real fun inside of After Effects and bring this mindmap to life! If you’re happy enough with what you’ve got so far you don’t have to carry on. I want to create something interactive for my presentation. For that reason I am going to carry on. This will also aid us in presenting because using After Effects will allow us to add in sound que’s. A static image would not allow for this and wouldn’t be nearly as interactive.

Animating the Mindmap.


We’ll use After Effects to bring our mindmap to life. I’ll show you how to get everything started. Then I am going to leave it to you to finish your project off. Because bringing in every layer is pretty much the same process I will only show it once. I used a short clip of me doing a backflip off some waterfalls as a short intro clip. This will allow me some time to introduce myself to my audience. The dramatic clip will draw in their attention by creating a feeling of suspense. It’s good to start things off with either making your audience laugh or drawing them in with suspense. This will captivate their attention right from the get go. 

Setting the Scene

If you haven't already. Go ahead and open up After Effects. Click on create new composition. Set the settings to 1920x1080 square pixels with a frame rate of 30. Set the duration to 0:02:00:00 for 2 minutes. Yours can be longer or shorter if needed I just had to keep mine within 2 minutes. Check out image #1 for an example. Press OK. Next drag and drop your mindmap background image onto your work area in After Effects. Mine looks like image #2. Because we created a 1920x1080 image we won't have to worry about any scaling for our background.

Animating our Elements

To make things easier bring in the items you plan on animating 1 at a time. Then there isn't un needed clutter in your workspace. Lets start by bringing in our pop sounds. In the project panel, right click. Select new folder from the menu. Name the folder sounds. Drag all of you pop sounds into this folder. I will draw an arrow towards what to look for in image #3. Now let's bring in a few of the other elements. I will start with my header and the main image in the center of my mindmap. I will demonstrate how to make them animate in with a popping sound, show you how to add the music once everything is done and then leave the rest to you. Drag the elements you want to animate in to the project panel. Next drag them onto the work area. Be sure to use the pan behind tool to adjust the images center point to be in the center of the image you want to animate. Image # 4 will show you what mine looks like. I will circle the pan behind anchor point of my header to show you what I meant there. You will see why the position of that anchor point matters when we start rotating the elements. First let's drag a pop sound onto our timeline. If you want it to happen at a certain time move the frame indicate to the frame you want it to start and hold shift while dragging it onto the timeline. Next you want to expand the sound layer to show the wave form by pressing the > button on the layer within the timeline. Check out image #5 for an example of this. Alright now, take your frame selector and move it to the high point in the audio. Set a keyframe at this point for the scale, rotation, & opacity. Image #6 will show you what to look for. Most humans have a reaction time of about half a second. So we'll keep that in mind when animating these things. Not to go to much faster or slower. In this case my file is 30 frames per second and I am on 5 seconds, frame 20 so Lets see how it looks with 10 frames. In my case it's looking pretty good so I will leave it at 10 frames. Move your indicator back 10-15 frames and adjust the opacity to 0, the scale to 0, and the rotation to 3 X 0. This will make the elements "pop" in. Image #7 illustrates this for you. Now that you know how to do that I'll let you finish off animating all of your mind maps elements into the scene. following the same procedure as demonstrated here. For the last step of brining in your music. I set mine to about -15db in the audio levels options. We don't want our music to be too loud as we will be speaking over this for a live presentation. I will use the pop layer to show you in image #8. That's it you're done! Great work!

The End...

I hope you enjoyed my blog post! If you found it useful or have any ways on how I can improve my content. Please kindly let me know in the comments section. Also if you have anything you’d like to learn suggestions are always welcomed. I look forward to creating more helpful content for you to aid you in your projects. Thank you for showing interest in my blogs.

Take Care…

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